No Greater Love Than This

When I think about this verse of scripture, John 15:13, I realize that it is speaking of laying down your life for your friends, but what about the people you don’t know, or ones who may have hurt you? Can you still say that you would be willing to lay down your life for them? Matthew 5 has the Beatitudes, and also the following scriptures that teach us the best way to interact with others:

41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

We certainly couldn’t love our enemies without realizing that the grace and mercy the Lord extends to us, is also available for those who may not know him, yet. I know that I am often quick to avoid those who may have disappointed me, but I’m working on building trust, through Jesus Christ.

If anyone had a right to turn away, it had to be Jesus Christ. People rejected him; yet, he loved them enough to sacrifice his life at Calvary.

Would I be willing to lay down my life for my enemies? I really don’t know, yet through Jesus, I can learn to forgive my enemies.

I am thankful that both men and women were willing to go into danger, some losing their lives, so that we might keep our freedom. They didn’t know us, yet they were willing to go and serve.  For that, I am thankful.

Memorial Day 2017

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Is the Lord Saying that He Misses His Time with You?

How many times have we missed precious time with the Lord, because we were too busy serving the Lord?

It never fails: the more actively involved we get in ministry; the less time we spend in prayer. Instead of sitting in his presence, we are scurrying around going from one task to the next, stamping out potential “fires” that may not even need to be stamped out. We replace our devotional time with the latest on Facebook, the news, or some other distraction.

It used to be enough to sit out on the porch and read the bible every morning; yet, there’s barely enough time to start our over packed daily routine, so we postpone the most important part of our day, to get about the family’s business, and we wonder why we feel so empty at times. Just like breathing in the natural, we must take in the breath of life.

Moses was leading a “stiff-necked” people, according to the Lord. Where there’s people, there will be differing opinions on priorities. In the grand scheme of things, the top priority is to love the Lord with all of thy heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to do God’s will. It doesn’t matter what ambitions we may have; unless we filter those ambitions through the will and purpose of God; it will not stand.

I desire to do the will of God, and even when I have to shut out all of the noise from those who could distract me with their opinions, I know that I can hear from God for myself. He promises to direct my steps, so when I do get overwhelmed, I try to separate myself to a secret place and learn to sit in his presence and listen. Sometimes, he may speak to me through his Word, and at other times, he may drop something into my spirit, but no matter how he chooses to speak to me, I must be willing to stop long enough to listen.

Moses took the time to talk to God as he led the people through the wilderness. It is important to notice that if the Israelites had not spent their time complaining and falling into sin, they would have reached the Promised Land much sooner. If you’re waiting on your prayers to be answered it would be good to find out what might be hindering your answer from being delivered. After a while, Moses met with God on behalf of the people. He had to be sure that God would be with him,  or he didn’t want to move forward.

12 And Moses said unto the Lord, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight.

13 Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.

14 And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.

15 And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.

16 For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.

17 And the Lord said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.

The Lord knows us by name. He hasn’t forgotten us; he is waiting on us to give him the praise and the honor that he deserves.

Follow this week’s Lattereign to find out the secret to success.  What is the Secret to Success?

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Mom’s Quick Thinking and “Kissing the Bear”

How anyone could create a loving home in the midst of a chaotic family atmosphere is a mystery to me, but by the grace of God, my mother was able to accomplish that in our home. We were never quite sure if dad would be sober when he came home from work, so we stayed prepared for it just in case he wasn’t. Our life was uncertain. but one thing was sure and constant in our home: our mom’s love for us. We knew that when we got off of the school bus, she would be waiting for us to arrive.

As we got older, we often made bad choices. Did that stop mom from loving us? No. No matter how badly we fell into a sin or some trouble, we knew that we could always come home and find mom waiting for us. She never said, “I told you so; she never interfered when we had major decisions to make; she didn’t judge us harshly, (She practiced the scripture, “Judge not that ye be not judged.”)

I remember one time when mom put a giant stuffed bear in my bed and covered it up so it would look like I was asleep. I had wanted to spend the night with my girlfriend, but I was in the 4th grade and daddy worked out of town, so I couldn’t get permission first. After I practically begged mom to let me go, she conceded (I think we were supposed to go on a field trip the next day). The next day when I got home, mama told me that her heart almost stopped beating when Daddy came home late, and went in to kiss me goodnight! I was sleeping so soundly, that he didn’t even turn on the light when he went in to kiss me. Daddy never realized that he had kissed the bear.

Whew, Moms. They are such a blessing to have around and today, on Mother’s Day
we get to recognize them.

“In all things give thanks”

I thank my mother today for teaching me about Jesus and his love. I thank my mother for never giving up on me accomplishing something great—even when I often missed the mark by miles.

I thank my mother for giving me a reason to sit still and visit—even though the visits were rare occasions because often I was too busy to be still.

I thank my mother for not turning away from me when I was angry with God—her prayers brought me through a desert time in my life, and as a result, I made my peace with God and built a stronger bond with her.

I thank my mother for protecting me from all of the monsters both real and imagined in my life. When the nightmares came, it was mom who was there to take me in her arms and hold me as I explained that the skull was on my pillow so I was afraid to move. She turned on the light and showed me that the skull I saw was only the shirt that I had crumpled up at my pillow. In mama’s arms, the world was safe.

I thank my mother for finding a way to encourage me to follow what the Lord laid on my heart at a young age—writing. She didn’t laugh at me when I told her what I felt the Lord wanted me to do, just because I was only eight years old, writing seemed like such a faraway dream. Mama’s response to my plans was to buy me my first journal and ink pen. I can hear her saying “Gracie Ann, you can do anything that you set your mind to do.”

I thank my mother for finding something to love in me. We weren’t rich in material
possessions, but I was the richest girl in the entire world, because I had my mother.

Find out how He Promises to Protect and Guide Us by clicking on the link to this week’s Lattereign.

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We Have the Promise of Strength

12.Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret fault.
13. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
14. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:12-14).

What will it take to be “acceptable in his sight”? Programs are important, but more important is the time that I spend in God’s presence.
Has the Lord ever woke you up in the night? It’s the quietest time of the day. Nothing demands anything from you, and the time holds still, while you listen to God, as he ministers to you on a personal basis.

Recently, the Lord woke me up. I looked at the clock and couldn’t believe that it was only 2:30 A.M.. As I looked up into the dark, I began to pray. For once, it seemed that I could talk to God and I didn’t have to fight my way to the throne, because I was immediately in His presence. Usually, I have to work so hard to get into prayer because of so many distractions, but it was different at that hour on that particular night.

The Lord prepares us a place of refuge and after a daily battle with the world, it’s refreshing to find time with God. Time with God is vital to our victory because the world drains our energy. I found out some things about myself:

1. I willingly give the enemy my peace of mind when I continue to worry about the very things that I lift up to God in prayer. You see, if I worry, I’m not trusting God, and the Lord desires my total confidence and trust, and I must make the time to worship him, no matter how tangled up I become in my daily living.

2. If I want to be free from condemnation: I must worship so the Lord can break the chains.

3. If I want to be blessed by God: I must be righteous.

4. If I have a spirit of doubt and fear: I limit God.

5. If I need strength: the “joy of the Lord is my strength.”

6. If I can’t find my way: go “from strength to strength”.

7. If I want the victory: put God first in everything.

Dear Lord, My life is in your hands. Not my will; but your will be done. Your daughter, Grace.

7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward” (Psalm 19:7-11).

Follow this week’s Latteregn for the assurance that  We Have the Promise of Strength.

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I Choose Life More Abundantly

John_10-10

After all is said and done, how you choose to live your life is a choice. No matter what obstacles you may face that try to derail you, remember that God is still in control, and nothing that you face will be allowed outside of his will. He shows up when we learn to trust him in all seasons. I am thankful that God is on my side. I would not survive if I had to make all of the decisions that life sometimes throws at us, if God was not in control.

Confused? Give it to God. He is not the author of confusion.

1 Corinthians 14:33

33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

He’ll work it out for you in his will.

Troubled? 

Matthew 11:28-29

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

The enemy has been defeated and we are victorious.

Jeremiah 1:19

And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee. 

 

No matter what I will face, I trust God, so I have decided that I choose life more abundantly.

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“Go Ye into all the World…”

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore” (Psalm 121:1-8).

Although we are living in troubled times we have a steadfast Savior: Jesus Christ. There is no situation that he can’t handle and we can depend on him to shield us from harm. The Lord promises to never leave us nor forsake us and I continue to hold him to that promise as each and every day becomes a greater challenge.

I can rest assured that the Lord will keep me because he knew everything about me before I was formed in my mother’s womb. I am blessed. I am blessed. I am blessed. There is nothing that I need that the Lord can’t supply. He is my provider and my high priest. He is the next breath that I take, the joy in my soul, my light, and my song of praise. If there is any peace in my soul, it’s there to testify of Jesus Christ.

Before I found the Lord, it seemed that every time I climbed out of the pit, that circumstances pushed me back down into the pit. I couldn’t breathe; I always cried out to God. It didn’t seem like He heard my cry, but I reasoned why should He listen to a child who walked away from serving him? The truth was that the Lord did hear my cry, and when I became sincere about finding him, I got honest with God and realized that I needed the Lord in my life desperately, so I prayed that he would restore to me the joy of my salvation and he did.

If we’ll allow God to work in our lives, we can have the life that we’ve always wanted but never quite reached. It’s a life without fear. It’s a life based on trust and commitment. If you’re tired of wandering through life aimlessly, unsure of what direction to take; try Jesus. He is no respecter of persons. He came to seek and to save those who are lost. It doesn’t matter if they are rich or poor, the Lord promises that if we will lift him up that he would draw ALL men unto himself. The Lord wants us to prosper, to be in good health, and he has plans for each of us.

We have a great task ahead of us in the endtime. There are so many people that may never be reached in our communities,  if we don’t go to them. People are hungry for the gospel, but if we never reach out beyond the church doors to share it with them, or teach Bible studies, they’ll never know how to find the answers that they seek in Jesus.

“My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in the infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong:” (2 Corinthians 12:9-12) .

Making Excuses

It’s not that we’re uncommitted that we fail time and again to share the word.
It’s not that we don’t believe that you’ll send hungry souls; or that we don’t trust that you know what is best for us; we worry needlessly about your plans.
We aren’t slothful with the talents that you give; we lack confidence that you chose us.
Even though the way seems dark and uncertain, we know you’re on the throne and you hold our futures in the palm of your hand.
“Is there anyone in the whole world hungry for you, Lord?”, we cry.
“Yes, my child, but you must meet them there. Go ye, into all the world and preach the gospel, tell them, that I sent you, and then seek my face in prayer.”

And Ye would not

 

 

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Lord, When my Heart is Overwhelmed, Lead me to the Rock!

“I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1).
“The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them” (Psalm 34:7).
“The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate” (Psalm 34:22).

I am humbled that Jesus loved me enough to go to Calvary for my sins. His sacrifice gave the world salvation, and we celebrate it this Easter morning. Let’s enjoy this freedom of worship that we can experience; by entering into his presence with singing, and into his courts with praise; keeping our goals focused on his will. He whom the Son sets free is free indeed.

“For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partakers of the afflictions of the gospel according the power of God: Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began; (2 Timothy 1:7-9).

I thought about how much sacrifice some people make for the gospel, and then, I wondered how the disciples must have managed ministry in their day. Think about it—the disciples didn’t have electricity, or air conditioning. They didn’t really have a home to go to. But when Jesus called them to follow him, they didn’t hesitate, or make excuses: they followed—forsaking family and friends, and any hindrances that could have drawn them away from their mission. They had met the Messiah, they had been trained to be servants, leaders in their community. It meant great sacrifice.

They didn’t grumble or complain when their feet hurt, or when they didn’t get proper rest the night before. No. They were cast into prison for preaching the name of Jesus! Even when they were rebuked by the religious Pharisees and scribes of the temple, they continued on to serve the Lord without doubt and without wrath.

When people following them tried to sow discord among the brethren, tearing down the church instead of edifying it, the disciples always put a stop to it. They had a keen sense of right and wrong, and because they loved the Lord with all of their heart, mind, soul, and strength; doing what was right in the eyes of God was not only desirable, it was also obedience. We can have peace, if, no matter what the circumstances—we learn to trust.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Psalm 37:4-5).

Just like the disciples of old, we have been called to serve. No matter what the Lord has asked us to do, we should be willing to do our best with zeal, as unto the Lord. When we learn to make the best of every situation that we face, we will find that our circumstances may not change; but there will be a significant change in our view.

In this week’s Lattereign, my prayer is that the Lord will lead me to the foot of the cross, to give him honor for the love he has shown to us. We should never take our relationship with Jesus Christ for granted. It is well with my soul.

Lord Lead me to the cross

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Today is a Great Day to Receive Your Miracle

“For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:9-10).

“Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness” Psalm 9

Today is Palm Sunday, the day that Jesus was honored with palm branches being laid before him as he rode into the city, and we are just one week away from Easter. It humbles me to reflect on the sacrifice that Jesus made for us at Calvary for our salvation. The world tries in every way that it can to keep the saints of God distracted. If I allow the world to convince me that joy in the Holy Ghost isn’t for me, today, I may not pray until I have the joy of the Lord, which is my strength.

If you’re sitting in his presence, today, and worshiping God, then he’ll meet you. God is truly more than enough to supply every need that we could ever have. Since God is all of these things: why do we fret when we feel pressure from the world? I must stay in prayer and encourage myself in the Lord, even when it seems that I walk alone.

If I’m not convinced that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him, I might not bother to seek him. I know, beyond a doubt, that loving God with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength, will cause me to triumph with confidence.

When I ask God for his will and question it; he teaches me to have faith. I used to worry until the Lord spoke to me through his word, “My grace is sufficient for thee,” and because he overcame the world, the enemy couldn’t destroy me.

“My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me”(2 Corinthians 12:9).

He told me to trust in him to bring a peace that passes all understanding, and now, the peace has arrived in my life, in the midst of the storm. There’s no question that if we choose to stand, we will be victorious.

It’s the same peace that I want the world to be confounded by when they see me. I may not have all of the answers, or know how the Lord will bring it all to pass, but I know that he’s faithful to deliver his promises. We serve a mighty God, and when people see me, I want them to see Jesus. God spoke the worlds into existence, and even when people rejected him, he still stood on his word because he loves us. There’s no fear when we trust him; there’s no compromise if we walk with him. Compromise yields great pressure; standing on the truth of God’s word will help you endure it to the end.

Nothing is too hard for God. How many times do we actually meditate on that truth? Our society has a tendency to forget the Lord and what he can do for his people if we’ll only trust him to bring it to pass. If nothing’s too hard for God to do, then why do we have such a hard time receiving the promise for ourselves? He knows every thing and he is sovereign. He meets all of our needs. He knows my uprising and my down sitting. He knows the very hairs of my head and still he is mindful of all his creation. He created the universe and he filled it with his glory, and still, he lives in me. His splendor outshines anything that man could ever put together.

“Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called a house of prayer for all people. The Lord God, which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him” (Isaiah 56:7-8).

In this week’s Lattereign, we celebrate Sunday.  Today is a Great Day to Receive Your Miracle

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We Have an Advocate

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9

I am thankful that I have a God who watches over me. No matter what situation I may find myself in, he is God. God is a spirit. He loved us enough to manifest himself in flesh and take on the form of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the “begotten” son. He had a beginning in his flesh, but he is eternal. When he rose from the grave on the third day, he had taken the keys of death, hell, and the grave, and paid the price for our sins. In John 3:16, it says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

The Lord takes care of his children:

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:1-2).

In this week’s Lattereign we find out more about how God takes care of us.

We Have an Advocate

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I Choose to Believe the Report of the Lord!

In a world where we could get caught up in the continual onslaught of negativity, it is good to know that we can go to the word of God and find our peace. We don’t always have the answers in certain situations, but we do have a God who is the answer to every situation. it’s time to get in his presence and find out what he desires for us.

Dear Lord,

My heart is full tonight with so much stuff, that it’s hard to sort through everything. but I’ll try. You are the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, and in all of your majesty, you still loved me enough to die for my sins. You chose me before the foundations of the world were made, even though you knew the many mistakes that I would make as I grew in you. You saw something in me that I’m still trying to figure out, and even though I struggle to reach my potential in you, at times, you have confidence in me.

It is beyond my comprehension how you can still love me, after I have failed so many times. Is it that you see me through the blood of Jesus Christ, and my sins have been forgiven and are no longer remembered by you? Yes, I am thankful. My soul can be fully restored and your promise in Psalm 23 is to lead me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Before I was saved, I went my own way and usually it led to sorrow, but now, I have a new path to take that leads to joy unspeakable and full of glory.

It’s time to pause and remember that God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. He is in control and not fretful when circumstances cause us to lose our focus on the plans that he has for us. He can take what seems like the worst situations and change them for our good. He is God. As Psalms 23 says later, he will prepare us a table in the presence of our enemies. God will not be intimidated by evil, and neither should we. The bible tells us to “Resist the devil and he will flee.” that is simple to say, but if we don’t understand that the devil doesn’t have power over us, then, it is harder to carry out.

“Greater is he that is in me, than he that is in the world.”

In this week’s LattereignI choose to believe God’s Report. (Click on the link. It will open in a new window).

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