“…Don’t Be Dejected and Sad…”

10 And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”— Nehemiah 8:10 NLT

Nehemiah 8:9-12 NLT

After the work on the walls of Jerusalem had been completed and the gates were hung in place, Ezra gathered all the people together and took a census.  Then he sent them all home.  They reassembled in Jerusalem and asked Ezra to read to them all of the Book of the Laws of Moses.  As Ezra and the scribes read the laws, the people wept remembering their disobedience.  They realized how much God had forgiven them and how he had brought them safely back to Jerusalem.  They had seen how God had provided everything they needed to rebuild the walls.  Though the enemy came close shouting insults and discouragement, God had protected them while they finished the work.  Ezra and the priests explained to the people that this was not a day for weeping but a day for rejoicing and celebration. There are times in our lives, when some things need to be rebuilt.  When some unexpected event has shaken our faith, we need time to rest and heal.  Perhaps a close friend has broken our trust or one of our spiritual leaders has fallen from grace. The enemy will come close whispering discouraging words in our ear.  God will protect us through the storm and when the skies are clear, it will be a time for rejoicing and celebration for us just as it was for the Israelis in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah.

Psalm 30:1-5 NLT

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“And There Was Great Joy…”

31 And there was great joy throughout the church that day as they read this encouraging message. — Acts 15:31 NLT 

Acts 15:24-32 NLT

“There was great joy” when the people were told that they had done the one necessary thing they needed to do to be saved.  When we are first saved in today’s society, we need to be very careful who we listen to.  As Paul said, “if anyone, including an angel from heaven and/or me, comes to you and gives you some different message, that person should be cursed.”  Gal. 1:6 (my paraphrase}. The letter did go on to give the new converts some guidelines as to what they should or should not do. The letter did not claim that these guidelines had to be followed to complete their salvation.  It is still the same today, when we personally witness to someone who accepts Jesus as their Savior, we need to take a few minutes and give them some encouragement and guidelines as well.  We need to explain to them that satan will waste no time in trying to discourage them and make them doubt their salvation.  We need to encourage them to find a good Bible teaching church and a good mentor to help them along the way.  After the initial acceptance of Jesus as our Savior, we need someone to help us understand that the Holy Spirit will come alongside us and help us learn to “walk in paths of righteousness”.  

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Consider the Joy…”

17 “But consider the joy of those corrected by God!  Do not despise the discipline of the Almighty when you sin. — Job 5:12 NLT

Job 5: 17-27 NLT

Eliphaz was wrong in assuming that Job was being punished for some hidden sin that Job had not confessed. God was allowing satan to test Job’s love and loyalty to Himself.  But those of us who have sinned and are being disciplined can receive great encouragement from these words of Eliphaz. God not only allows us to be tested and disciplined, but when that time of testing and/or disciplining is over, He heals us.  Eliphaz lists several ways that God takes care of us and protects us and our families from dangers.  He blesses us in times of distress and provides everything we need to live Godly lives {2 Peter 1:3,4).  We are disciplined so that we can share in His divine nature and become more like Him.  And James tells us that “we should count it all joy ( James 1:2-5 ).  Some say “Life is a marathon”.  I prefer to think of it as a series of short sprints with some refreshing stops in between. Testing-joy-testing-joy, you get the idea.  Whether we consider it a marathon or a sprint, the point is there are hills and valleys, there are times of testing and there are times of refreshing.  Those times are means to an end.  That end is to arrive at our heavenly home after we have run the race.  Some of us will run all the time and some of us will need to rest more often.  Either way, press on to “press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us”.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Marvelous Things”

even-smaller-bug-light1

1 I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;  I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. 2 I will be filled with joy because of you.  I will sing praises to your name, O Most High. — Psalm 9:1-2 NLT 

Psalm 9 NLT

As we tell and retell the Gospel story and talk about all the marvelous things God has done for us, we are filled with joy. The more we tell the old, old story, the more sure our hope becomes and the more joy we have to help us get through each day.  That old liar, satan, comes around every day telling us how bad things are and pointing out all the things we don’t have.  But all we need to do is stop and consider all the things with which God has blessed us. Then we need to thank Him and praise Him for all that He has done, is doing and will continue to do for us. We need to remind ourselves and satan about Paul’s admonition to us in Philippians on the things we need to focus on in our daily thought patterns.

Philippians 4:8, 9

God tells over and over that we should not worry, fear or be discouraged, yet, we spend more time considering what we are going to do when bad things happen than we do praising God for what He has done, is doing and will continue to do for us.  Just as we don’t want to hear our kids complaining about what they don’t have all the time, neither does God want to hear our murmurs and complaints every day.  It was this kind of behavior by God’s chosen people that caused Him to be angry with them on their trek through the desert. Do we want best friends who only tell us about their problems or those who share their concerns and their victories with us?  God is our best friend, let us treat Him like we would our best friend.  Talk with Him, not just to Him every day and praise Him for all of His goodness, then we will be filled with His peace and His joy, which is His gift to us.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Oh, Satisfy Us Early With Your Mercy”

even-smaller-bug-light1

14 Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy,
That we may rejoice and be glad all our days! – Psalm 90:14 NKJV

Psalm 90:14-17 NKJV


God has an abundant supply of Love and Mercy.  As we arise each morning and acknowledge Him as our Savior and Lord, His Spirit renews us and prepares us for the battles of the day.  Immediately, satan attacks our minds, filling them with fearful thoughts of what the day will bring, reminding us of all the things we have failed to accomplish in the past. The devil, the father of lies, begins to tell us that we will not be able to make it through the day without some sort of catastrophe. The Holy Spirit speaks peace, love, and joy, telling us to lean on Jesus and He will fight our battles for us. We must learn which voice to listen to and heed.  Jesus said that His sheep know His voice, they follow Him and He gives them eternal life so that they will never perish.  If we listen to His voice, we will learn to live in peace.  He will restore all the things that satan has taken away from us and replace evil with good.  Let us learn to listen and live the abundant life that Jesus died to give us.  Let us spend less time each day focused on the lies of the evil one and more time on the goodness of God. Those around us will see that and get a glimpse of the glory of God.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“A Great Deal of Suffering”

even-smaller-bug-light1

6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord. In spite of a great deal of suffering, you welcomed the word with the joy that the Holy Spirit produces. ​- 1 Thess. 1:6 ISV​

1 Thess. 1:3-6 ISV

God has chosen each of us and has a plan for each of us.  We are sanctified, set apart, for a particular purpose.  Our faith produces works that are a part of that process. We show our love for Christ by laboring and helping others. We are able to endure because of the hope we have in us, the hope that we have because God has poured His love into us. When the Gospel is preached, it goes forth with power to accomplish whatever purpose God has intended for it.  The power is the Holy Spirit which can cut us to the bone and convict us of our need for redemption.  This is the message Paul and his companions preached among the Thessalonians and in all the other places they traveled.  They were successful, not because of their powers of persuasion, but because they were completely obedient to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. It is the same message that each of us should be preaching every day with our lifestyle and as St Francis of Assisi encouraged us to do: “Preach the Gospel at all times and if necessary use words.”  We should follow the example of Paul and live lifestyles that are worthy of imitation, just as we have become imitators of Christ.  Then those who are suffering will receive the message with great joy.  Their joy will be observed by others who will want to know the source of such great joy.  The kind of joy that endures in the midst of suffering and persecution, the kind of joy that is caught, not taught.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Keep On Loving One Another”

even-smaller-bug-light1

1 Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. 2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some  people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. 3 Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.— Hebrews 13:1-3 NIV​

Keep on loving each other! Some of us have a real problem expressing our affections in words and actions.  We may have to overcome some hurts from the past before we are willing to open up to other people.  It helps if we realize that all of us need love.  If God had not loved us enough to send His Son to die for us, we would never have been able to experience the joy of loving others. So, let us show others the love and kindness of our God by showing our concern for them.  We can do this by praying for others, starting at home and praying for our families  Then for our brothers and sisters in Christ, especially those who are being persecuted daily and imprisoned. Then we need to pray for those that are persecuting and killing our brothers and sisters.  Though we sometimes forget it, Jesus died for them as well. Being able to pray for our enemies is hard to do, but we must, if we are going to be obedient to Jesus. Above all, we must continue to love one another.

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.—- ​Colossians 3:12-14 NIV

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. — 1 Cor.13:13


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“The Wonderful Joy”

13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. – 1 Peter 4:13 NLT

1 Peter 4:12-16 NLT

Some of us have thought or been taught that once we are saved, life is just sunshine and roses. This can be true for us inwardly because we have the joy of the Lord abiding in us as our strength. But on the outside, satan is still around and sin still abounds, so we are going to have to face some offenses and situations. We should not be surprised when these issues arise.  Instead, we should rejoice in the situation.  Not because of the situation or offense, but because we know that if satan is confronting us with his garbage and lies, we must be messing with his plans. Sometimes it hurts deeply, but warriors on the front lines are the ones who get wounded. Should we complain?  Was Jesus not “wounded for our transgressions”?  Yes, He was and He suffered silently. Is the created better than the Creator? No, we are not.  We should count it a privilege and a joy to participate in the sufferings of Christ.

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. — James 1:2-3 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“You Must Also Testify About Me”

26 “But I will send you the Advocate—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me. 27 And you must also testify about me because you have been with me from the beginning of my ministry. – John 15:26-27 NLT

Though the disciples don’t know or understand at this point, this is the 2nd greatest gift that God has promised. His best gift was His Son, Jesus, giving His life for us. Now, that Jesus is leaving, God the Father is sending us a Helper. The Helper will tell us more about Jesus and our Father. Jesus has been telling the disciples what the Father says and He has been showing them what the Father is doing. Now this Helper will do the same for each of us. Our job is to tell others what we are told. These are exciting times to be alive! With all the junk that is going on in the world, God is still in control and our Helper will show us the way home. Not only that, but He will teach us how to live and how to pray. Just as the disciples learned when they received the Helper, so are we learning now. Their sadness turned to joy and so should our lives reflect the joy of the indwelling Helper.

Post 06-11-2020

A Son is Part of the Family Forever”

35 A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever.- John 8:35  NIV

Our Father 

We are born of the flesh and thus we follow after the lusts of the flesh just like the crowds in the day of Jesus. We follow the advice of our fleshly father, satan. Yes, we may have earthly parents who have accepted Jesus, but unless we have made that decision for ourselves, we are still children of the flesh, just as the people were then. If we were truly children of the living God, we would not live a lifestyle of sin. We would follow the example Jesus set for us. We should know and understand that when we accept Jesus, our lifestyles will change. When we have been born of the Spirit, we walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. Yes, we will occasionally sin, but it will not be our lifestyle. Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship with a living Lord. It is not a negative lifestyle, but it should be the most positive of all lifestyles since we, and we alone, have the hope of eternal life with Jesus. Jesus came to us from the Father to redeem us from sin and show us the way to the Father. If God is truly our Father, we will tell others about our hope in Jesus because we will be overflowing with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.—Romans 15:13 (NLT)

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 04-25-2020