Love Is NOT Blind

freestocks-org-552875-unsplashAnd I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart, so they will obey my decrees and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God. But as for those who long for vile images and detestable idols, I will repay them fully for their sins. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”

Ezekiel 11:19-21

As Valentines Day approaches, may I recommend that we keep our focus on Jesus! The world groans. It is predictable. We are in a relationship with the only One who gives hope and provides us a home in Him. Remember, this world is not our home if we know Jesus. This is a time for believers to tighten our grip and be all the more devoted to the One who saved our soul.

The Old Testament passage above tells of God being the only one capable of heart transformation. His capability of giving a people a heart of devotion toward Him is spectacular and miraculous. But another side of God appears in the same passage as one who opposes those who are not serving Him and He repays them for their sins.

So what about now? We learn early in church that God is Love. I didn’t go to seminary and don’t have any impressive jargon to explain God’s love. But this is one thing I’ve learned. God is love, but…

His love is NOT blind – Lost people act like lost people and He sees. Lost people wander in darkness and produce much wickedness and evil. It is up to us, His children, to pray for hearts to be transformed. We are also commanded to witness with our lives and our lips on a regular basis.

His love is NOT blind – Even believers can produce surprising amounts of wickedness and evil which He sees. Although we are His children, we still give in to our sin nature for a moment or even a season. When we do, His discipline, designed to chase us back will come. (Proverbs 3:12). As for consequences, those soon become self-evident. Grace is wonderful, but we still break God’s heart when we sin. However, His love is not blind to our confessions and desire to turn back to Him and follow His ways. (1 John 1:9)

His love is NOT blind – He sees the good things His children do and rewards them. (Galatians 6:9) This is particularly encouraging if you’re in a thankless and under appreciated environment. Being the personal God that He is, it is thrilling when He approves of who we are in some particular way or in something we are doing at any moment in time.

Be warned however that God will never give approval to anything He has stated in the Bible as sin.

His love is NOT blind – For His children, we are given grace and mercy in all of life’s seasons whether we are devoted or not. He is not blind. It can’t be overstated how kind God is to His own. And yet, He uses that kindness often to lead us to repentance.(Romans 2:4).

For the unbeliever, they have the wrath of God on them. ( Romans 1:8, Hebrews 10:31)

As believers, we are to walk humbly before our God. God is all-knowing. We can rest in His love and know His love is not blind which is good news for His devoted ones looking at the evil of this world. God sees all and He has a justice system that is not based on human emotion or shifting shadows. He will punish the wicked.rocky shore

 

Here are a few action tips for believers living in this dark world:

  • We can sharpen our spiritual disciplines in prayer, Bible reading, witnessing, sharing with those in need, fasting, memorizing and meditating on scripture, taking care of our bodies, praising Him, holding our tongues, committing to kingdom work through the local church.
  • We can remember that God is light and in Him there is no darkness, at all. Make times to focus on Jesus.
  • We can take a break from the news.
  • We can examine our own lives and ask God to show us any ways that don’t please Him.
  • We can humble ourselves and ask God to fill our hearts with His love for this world.
  • We can pray that the hearts of people won’t be hardened especially those who are in places of authority.
  • We can remember God loves the righteous and the unrighteous. We used to be enemies of God.
  • We can strive to live in such a way that the Lord takes pleasure in us and provides His protection to us.

With all that is going on so rapidly in our world and in our country, it is comforting to know that God’s love is not blind. It is also important for His children to look for where God is working. Ask His Holy Spirit to show you and thank Him for these good things. We must pray for those in authority over us and live our lives in a way that pleases Him. We are God’s way of reaching the world. When He looks at His kids, we want Him to see us actively involved in His work. After all, His love is NOT blind.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Matthew 5:43-48

 

photo-1479107574602-b42882f52baa

 

The Power of the Call

Have you ever been puzzled by what a call on someone’s life is? If you’ve been a church goer for any amount of time, you may have heard someone say that God called them to do this or that work.  I had heard this all my life in church, but had little understanding of the meaning.

When I was in a Christian setting years ago, I asked others one day, “ What does it mean when someone has a call on their life?” That was met with silence and I knew then that I wasn’t the only one that didn’t know. However, I may have been the only one in the room at that time that wanted to know. It wasn’t long after that I received my call to missions.

Prior to this, a series of personal and deeply spiritual events had occurred in mine and my husbands lives. A Christian marriage retreat, and my husband getting laid off were 2 of the events. God used those things to lead my husband and I to question what God was doing in our lives.

It was at a marriage retreat that Henry Blackaby challenged 500 couples with this question…”Is God calling you to more than just serving in your local church as a lay person? If He is, stand up.” We’d already been having some interesting thoughts about our lives and when that question came, we could have been the only ones in the room. We both stood up and that began what we would understand to be a call to full-time Christian service. We didn’t know what we were doing. We didn’t understand it all at the time.

We were compelled.

We knew God was “calling” us.

The following weeks and months were profound in our lives as we experienced God in our life circumstances, in His Word, and other people. God was active and He had our attention.

Then there were 2 mission trips to Ukraine. Those trips were so spiritually impacting that English words seem empty to tell of how each trip delivered potent effects in our lives. The cost of following Jesus was being counted and we were attentive to His plans.

22281844_10214457241450555_5036762925128793766_n

It would be after the last trip to Ukraine that the “call” to mission came for me. This is what happened.

I was standing at my kitchen sink. That kitchen sink was home to many thoughts in those days. And that night was no different as I questioned God about calling us. Why not others? And then I got specific and named a few names of the “others”. My train of thought was that Clark and I already did so much for Jesus. We were already heavily involved in church and our lives were turned toward our neighbors and others who needed to know Him. It seemed logical to me that calling us was unnecessary since we did everything already.  It also seemed that God needed to call people who didn’t do as much and then perhaps that would get them more involved in His Kingdom work.

I felt this a good argument.

As I’m pouring out my questions to God, my turbulent spirit was interrupted when a physical pressure came onto my shoulders. Yes, I mean like a person putting their hands on my shoulders.

Then tear drops begin hitting the bubbles in the sink as tears rolled down my cheeks.

The arguing ceased and gently in my head I heard, “But would you be willing?”

That inaudible, penetrating question along with the pressure on my shoulders led me to whisper, “Yes Lord, I would be willing.”

Immediately, the pressure lifted. Peace restored.

From that point on, I’ve never doubted, wondered or questioned again God’s call on my life. I could go on and on about how this call has put glue to my feet when I wanted to leave and swiftness in my step when it was time to. I could tell you how it has calmed me when the days were desperate and how its certainty has given me peace. I could tell you how this call has become who I am and how defining it is to my life.

Is God calling you to a task or to a lifetime of mission service to Him? If you are wondering, it very well could be that He is. How will you respond?

To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by His power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 1:11-12

No Excuses Chicken

Healthy eating is a lifestyle for me. Some of you may be starting this lifestyle because of the new year. If you’re looking for an easy recipe that is healthy and satisfying, this one may be for you. I call this No Excuses Chicken because everything needed is purchased at the store and there’s no chopping and no excuses for not having something healthy to eat.

For a long time I’ve enjoyed whole wheat pasta, and chicken is one of my top protein choices most anytime! I eat vegetables often, even breakfast. This recipe passes my checklist for a healthy meal. The pictures are my actual packages and since you literally need only 4 to 5 items to make this meal, it certainly goes in the easy category.

Ingredients:

Diced Chicken

Vegetables

Whole Wheat pasta

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Instructions:

Put a couple of cups of water on to boil in a pot. Add a bit of salt. Put half the bag of pasta in the water and wait for it to boil. Boil for only a few minutes. Don’t over cook. Drain pasta.

Add  a Tablespoon of olive oil to a pan.

When heated, add the diced chicken and brown. Add the veggies toward the very end so as not to over cook them.

Get a single serving bowl. Add pasta. Drizzle about a teaspoon of olive oil on it. Stir and add the chicken and vegetables on top. Enjoy.

Of course, if you’re cooking for your family, you likely would use half the bag of chicken, the entire package of pasta and vegetables.

This simple, but healthy meal has lots of nutrition, and the ingredients are easy to find. You could add beans to this, or even a white cheese like mozzarella. As is, this is low in fat, high in fiber, nutrient and protein packed meal that is long on flavor and short on time. Enjoy!

Better a small serving of vegetables with love than a fattened calf with hatred. Proverbs 15:17

Perspective in the New Year

One day rolls into the next and much of life can be lived in crisis mode. But we must be sure that we aren’t reacting to some really small things in a big way. We have to conserve energy for the big things. We can’t give so much energy to the stopped up drains or traffic jams that we have none left for the terminal diagnosis or layoff.

God is the giver of all things including perspective. This is why staying true to Him is so very important to our spiritual lives. Staying true to Him gives our lives meaning and much needed perspective. Here are some reasons to stay true in your relationship to God as this new year is here, fresh and new.

  • God sent His One and Only Son from glorious heaven to depraved earth to be with us and live with us. That alone makes Him worthy of our devotion.
  • If you’ve accepted Jesus into your life as your Savior, then every day is a good day to make Him Lord or to keep Him Lord. He is over all and in all…
  • Jesus is after your character development and although He may seem cruel at times, all He does and all He requires is loving on His part. We must settle this because life really is hard and as He uses people around you to build your character, you must know that it is HE who is loving in all HIs ways.
  • Jesus will not share glory. He will orchestrate circumstances that give you a choice to take glory for your own or give it to Him. He is not an ego God, but He is God and all glory and praise are due to Him. He gave all He had so that we could have a life worth living here on earth and eternity with Him. He is worthy of all our praise.
  • At the point of your choice to receive Jesus into your heart, you became a child of God. That infers that God is your Father. That means there is an ongoing relathipship. Relationships require work and lots of it. This journey with Jesus is not for the faint of heart.

SO as you keep on running the race of this Christian life, keep your faith strong and stay true to the One who has already gone before you into 2019 and knows what will happen in your life this year. You will need Him and so now is a good time to commit your life to Him all over again. Stay true. He is worth it and He is worthy.

When Suffering is in the Season

In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas, but sometimes the reality of our lives don’t lend themselves to such a light-hearted, nostalgic feeling. This blog is for those who may be enduring something this holiday season. photo-1540013982188-ffdddd0cb974

We know when the holiday season is coming every year, but we don’t always know when a crisis is going to invade our lives. I’m not speaking to the self-inflicted crisis where a victim mentality springs forth. I’m speaking to those walking in Christ and living for Him, but trouble comes.  Jesus Himself said to His followers in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Recently, some trouble entered my life. It was a reminder of my need to stay dependent on my Savior and to trust in Him at all times. Seeking comfort, I decided to sit down and find some verses to support me and give me spiritual sanity. I hope they will assist you if you travel in uncertainty and angst today.

  • Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance…Romans 5:3
  • Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3
  • …so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father…
    Colossians 1:10-11
  • Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12
  • I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
  • May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

All these verses reminded me that my suffering has a purpose.

Suffering produces perseverance.

Suffering produces peace and strength.

Suffering invites God’s inexhaustible power.

Totally contrary to my flesh and what the devil would desire, I can joyfully give thanks to God for the trial.

This is all supernatural. But it does not guarantee all angst to be gone. Enduring and persevering have elements of difficulty within them.

We can’t schedule our trials. If one is in your life this Christmas, keep your focus on Jesus and cling to Him.

9ff6d01a-d4e0-4601-b770-28466ff73bc1

My Favorite Christmas Carol

IMG_80801There are many beautiful and touching carols, but none has captured my heart more than Hark the Herald Angels Sing. The theology in the song is crystal clear and my heart rejoices hearing and singing it. You may pick out some other Christian themes in it, but these are the ones that stand out to me. Mind you, this is one song, and it is filled with truth and glory. I’ve listed all the theology simply stated in this song. The lyrics are below the list.

  • God sent Jesus into this world to save us.
  • All the nations rejoiced at His coming.
  • The angels proclaimed His birth.
  • Jesus is the highest and all supreme God, born of a virgin.
  • He deserves our devotion and allegiance.
  • The Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit were all present at His conception and birth.
  • HE IS WITH US.
  • He is the epitome of hope because He brings life to all who accept Him.
  • Death is just a passage to the best life.
  • He is PEACE, He is RIGHTEOUS, He is LIGHT and LIFE.
  •  He put His glory aside to come to earth as a humble babe.
  • Those who know Him, one day will be raised up to reign with Him.
  • And lastly…
  • All glory, any amount, should be directed and freely given to Him.

HARK THE HERALD ANGELS SING

Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled
Joyful, all ye nations, rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With angelic host proclaim
Christ is born in Bethlehem
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King

Christ, by highest heaven adored
Christ, the everlasting Lord
Late in time behold him come
Offspring of the Virgin’s womb
Hail the Flesh, the God Head
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel!
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King

Hail the Heaven-born Prince of Peace
Hail the Son of Righteousness
Light and life to all He brings
Risen with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His Glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

dan-kiefer-467645-unsplash (1)

5 Reasons to Send Christmas Cards

The last week of November is here. I look at it as bonus time to get a few things finished or to get a head start before December arrives.

The tradition of sending Christmas cards is one that I love. Receiving this  personal mail reminds me of  faithful relationships and provides a connection to others beyond technology.

Whether a card comes with glitter, 3 dimensional art, gold and silver letters, vellum lining, shiny graphics, embossed or just a plain card with a simple image, its eye candy for sure! There’s no doubt about it…this is happy mail! What other time of year does mail come so creatively portrayed on a piece of paper with thoughtful words inside declaring GOOD NEWS? Not just good news but THE Good News.

Although I’ve not finished sending mine, completion is very near. You might be thinking of not sending Christmas cards for the first time this year. I think even those of us who love the tradition have certainly been tempted in this way. Maybe you have so many people to send them to and it seems overwhelming. Or perhaps you think you are the only one that actually sends them anymore?

I want to encourage you not to give in to these ideas. Here’s 5 reasons to send Christmas cards:

  • Real mail – People love to get it and it’s not a bill or junk mail and will be received well.
  • Remembering in prayer –  I know a family that keeps every card they receive. In the coming year they pull a card and pray for that person or family.
  • Recycled but Real – Some people keep the cards using the imagery to make other crafts. And, it’s a way to keep the REAL meaning of Christmas alive when you choose cards about Jesus!
  • Reminiscent – Each card represents a friendship and is a personal act of love. I’ve been known to keep them from year to year.
  • Reflective – Sending cards through the mail seems like it’s from another era. Keeping this tradition alive gives people a few moments in their day to reflect on the family or friend who sent them a card.

When someone makes the effort to purchase the cards, fill out the cards, and mail the cards, that is a thoughtful act! Whether you enclose a photo or a gospel tract or just your signature, receiving them is a blessing. 

There’s no other way to look at it. It takes time, money, effort, and intention to send Christmas cards. Let’s keep this tradition alive and keep sending Christmas cards!

rawpixel-445786-unsplash


Sending Christmas cards is a good way to let your friends and family know that you think they’re worth the price of a stamp. Melanie White