Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Smile God Loves You

“This is the day that the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalms 118:24

“Rejoice always and again I say rejoice.” Philippians 4:4

If you have accepted Jesus' free gift of salvation, you have every reason to cheer. Although life in the physical realm can be difficult, we have already won the war. Victory was achieved when Jesus rose from the grave, to the glory of God! Hallelujah

Sometimes things are at the worst before the dawn of blessing comes. It is easy to become discouraged during those times when it seems that nothing is going right, but don't lose hope. Hope, I believe, is an image planted in us by God. He gives us those seeds of encouragement to keep us going until they come to pass. If we are going to walk in the blessings, we all need to renew our minds to the truth of God's Word, believe we have received and rejoice in the blessing we all have in Christ.

Just about every book in the New Testament states we as believers have it all. We have all the blessings, power, prestige, access and knowledge we will ever need to achieve all God planned for us. We are more than conquerors! We are the righteousness of God through Christ our Lord!!

So Smile and Believe!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Where's God? His Grace

In this search for the “narrow path”(Matthew 7:14) I've come across a very interesting aspect of God, everything He does is by grace. When God created, He created by grace. When God blesses, He blesses by grace. So what is grace?

Grace is more than just free and unmerited favor, it is the embodiment of God's goodness and love. It's His wisdom. All heaven rejoices in the goodness of God. The Bible records the angels singing whenever God expounds His grace, such as at Creation and the birth of Christ.

Through grace God has already provided everything we need from air, water, food and of course salvation. I have discovered that salvation does not only pertain to the forgiveness of sins, it's *deliverance from slavery or from some great distress by the intervention of God. (*NLT dictionary/concordance definition of salvation), and is another powerful witness to the truth of our loving Father.

When we received the new birth through faith in Jesus, we were restored to friendship with the Father. We were a brand new creation—not a dusted off version of Adam, as I was taught. In God's wisdom He made us something that had not existed before! (2 Corinthians 5:17). That is a tough concept to fully understand. Through the blood of Jesus we have much more authority and power than God gave Adam and Eve. They did not have God living on the inside of them, like we do. When they rebelled against God, it was the sinless and pure spirit that died.

I always seemed to confuse God's grace and mercy. Mercy is not getting what you deserve, while God's grace is totally independent of anything we do. That is amazing! We can't earn grace. Grace is something so beyond our comprehension, more than we could hope for or imagine. When the Father moves—grace is the wake, an overabundance exceeding in greatness.

I think of it this way, God didn't make one star He made countless billions. God didn't just make one flower variety, He made thousands upon thousands. He didn't just make one tree, He made thousands upon thousands that serve many purposes, like food, shade and medicine. God didn't make one variety of animal He made thousands upon thousands. This fact kinda blows evolution right out of the water, but some fools still want to believe a lie.

As I begin to understand God's grace, it dramatically changes the way I think and approached God. Grace is the Gospel of Jesus. Grace is the way the Kingdom of God works. We can only access and get a clear understanding of grace in our lives through faith. We must renew our mind to the truth of Jesus and believe the promises of God.

“But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so very much, that even while we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It's only by God's special favor [grace] that you have been saved!) For He raised us from the dead along with Christ, and we are seated with Him in the heavenly realms – all because we are one with Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-6

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Where's God? The Good News

The good news is that God has never left us. I've heard some false teaching that God walked away from mankind after the sin in the garden. Then I've heard people teach if we seek Him and if we are especially good that maybe, just maybe He will have mercy on us and let us live or better yet, let us into heaven. Those are all lies. There is not one person holy enough, good enough or righteous enough to earn God's favor.

You might be thinking – Well what about Jesus? The Bible says He was Holy, Righteous and True. This is fact, however Jesus was God appearing to us in the flesh. He was not created from the corrupted seed that all people have inherited through Adam.

So what is the good news? The good news is that God loves us unconditionally-that means without conditions, no strings! He is the one who chose us and is seeking us out. We might have heard that God loves us unconditionally, but how does that resonate in us? What do you truly believe?

The nutshell Gospel is: God loves the world and the people He created, that when people believed a lie and abused the power He gave them, it made them enemies. To restore all things to their intended purpose The Father gave up His own Son to make full payment for the lies people believed about the Father and to reveal the truth about the Father. Any person who has eyes to see and ears to hear and believes this message will enter into relationship with God the Father because of the full payment of His Son Jesus made on the cross. Those who believe receive full Sonship with all the rights and privileges as the children of the King, including full access to the Father. They have received the same holiness and right standing that the perfect Son Jesus has. They will also receive the same power that Jesus had on earth.

This is the full truth of the Gospel of Jesus –That is what the New Testament says. Why haven't we been clearly taught these truths. Why does the church keep people under the Law—which keeps us in bondage to sin and away from the freedom, power and grace of God. Why isn't the authority that God has given us to do things being more boldly emphasized?

I praise God that He doesn't leave us to figure things out on our own, but gently guides us back to the scriptures. He brings godly teaches in our lives whose understanding is a little more mature than we are, helping us untangle the web of deception and show us the truth.

You need to ask yourself a couple questions, just how much do you believe God loves you? Meditate on John 3:16. Then ask yourself do you really think Jesus paid for all the sins of the world – that's everybody who has ever lived or will live. Or do you think He died just for the nice people? Ponder these scriptures 2 Corinthians 5:19, Romans 4:8

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Where's God? The Gospel

For the last several weeks I've been on a journey of rediscovering the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It may sound like a strange thing to do, but when things are a miss I go back to the beginning to get a new prospective.

The gospel that most people hear is not all that good news. The Gospel of Jesus Christ that is presented is “Jesus the Son of God died on a cross for your sins and rose again. All your sins are forgiven. If you accept Jesus you are saved and not going to Hell” That's a synopsis of the preaching I've have heard – but then come the clincher “now you need to do this and that to keep from losing your salvation.”

The burden of salvation is put back on our shoulders. We are given the impression that we better not sin or God won't answer our prayers or do something awful to us to get us to tow the mark. Well that is NOT Good News, because we know we just can't stay sinless for the rest of our lives.

What I discovered is the Gospel of Jesus Christ has not changed an iota. My flawed thinking and wrong teaching led me down the path of Works Salvation. Salvation had become about what I did, how I prayed, how I served God, how I spent time in scriptures, how I gave my time and my money. But that is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The definition of Gospel means: News too good—it is almost unbelievable! Complete victory. That is amazing! So how are we misunderstanding this awesome news?

We live in a world that has turned away from our Creator. We have intuition of the existence of our Creator and His power. But because of our self-centered desires, we operate totally on our emotions. If things go according to our plans and schemes, then we feel happiness. If things go wrong then we turn against the Creator, we know who is all powerful and blame Him for our calamities.

So what does this have to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Everything!

Before we had a need, God provided a solution. Before this generation had even thought of doing wrong – God provided Jesus. Jesus forgave all the sins of the whole world for every generation that has existed or will exist. Try and get your mind around that. God is Good! God Loves Us!

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son – that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16

Jesus either paid it all – or he paid nothing! That is something we need to correct our thinking.

Many of us believe in Jesus and have accepted His payment for our sins, but feel so unworthy of Him. We can not understand how to fully receive the gift and try to do something to merit favor.

“It is by grace we are saved through faith. It is a gift from God that no man can boast” Ephesians 2:8-9

God didn't provide salvation because any of us were especially good or righteous. God provided salvation because He loves us. We can never, no matter how good we think we are, what religious tasks we do earn God's favor – His gift to us has always been His Love, a love so great it passes all comprehension.

Along this journey I have scratched the surface of many wonderful truths. I am pursuing God with a completely different prospective. I want the Life Jesus promised, overwhelming life – the Joy of being in the presence of God, and the Hope that strengthens my Faith. I want to know that all encompassing Peace the Bible talks about – don't you?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Where's God?

I began this journey sometime ago when I started having things go wrong in my life. The Lord never promised an easy ride or smooth sailing once we came into relationship with Him, but in fact we would have persecutions.

So I accepted the fact troubles and trials would come my way with the understanding that the Lord would defend me, because He “promised never to leave or forsake.” I also accepted the fact that somehow these problems and trials were good for me, after all our faith is “more precious than gold.”

I was faced with a dilemma because I was not receiving the fullness of joy and the blessings of God in my life. What went wrong? Where was God when my life was being stripped from underfoot? I kept standing in what I believed was faith. I kept praying and believing I was heard. But nothing was changing, it was going from bad to worse.

I woke up one morning after a night of tormenting dreams and felt so empty. Click Here if you want to read the full story. The Lord really had nothing to do with my situation – It was my Stinking Thinking.

Like so many Christians we filter the Word of God through the physical realm and what we are taught in church. Most of the sermons I've ever heard have two main themes:

(Before coming to Christ) You're a sinner and need salvation

(After coming to Christ) You're still a sinner and now you've got to straighten up or God wouldn't help you or answer your prayers.

Not exactly what Jesus had in mind when He died on the cross for us. He destroyed the death that haunted us and by His resurrection opened direct access to the Father. He gave us His power to live the life God planned for us. How did the message miss the mark? What is a Christian to do?

We've got to get back to the Gospel of Jesus and believe that. We've got to come out from under the Law and seek to understand God's grace. We need to seek out this power that we have been given through Jesus to live the Good News and stop hiding behind false teaching that robs us of our salvation.

This will be my topic for the next few weeks. I hope that you will follow along as I share locating the narrow road.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Around the Web

I've been a busy girl lately - this morning you can find me at Tor Constantino's place The Daily ReTort here's the link  Pop by and check out his award winning site.

I am preparing a new series that deal with Where's God when things go wrong?  I know you will enjoy - "How did I get here?"  It begins this journey!

Peace and Blessings

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Be-Attitudes Guest Post

Please welcome my very special guest Carol Peterson.  I am grateful that she  has gracefully accepted my invitation to post with me She is an exceptional blogger, author and friend. I know you will enjoy her take on the Be-Attitudes. You can read more of her thoughts From Carol's Quill. Links and bio are listed at the end.

Matthew 5:1-12

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount included the Beatitudes—the attitudes we are to have to become like Jesus; the attitudes we are “to be.” The Be-Attitudes.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Poverty is not a blessing; being poor in spirit is. If we are poor in spirit, we are empty and ready to be filled by God. We understand that we are unworthy of God’s mercy and can only enter His kingdom when we accept His grace.

Only when we empty ourselves of ourselves—and are poor in spirit—can we be filled and receive the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

God doesn’t want us to be sad. But He wants us to align our hearts to His. God wants us to mourn for our sins, for how we have hurt others, for the misery of others, for the unsaved. He wants our hearts to break over things that break His heart.

And then be comforted. The Holy Spirit is our counselor, helper, intercessor, strengthener and comforter.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

A meek person is overwhelmed by God’s greatness. When we see God in everything, we are humbled. It is not our place to seize what is of this world. Rather, we cherish the knowledge that—as part of our inheritance as children of God—we inherit the earth, as well as heaven.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

This Beatitude promises that hunger and thirst for righteousness is pleasing to God. Part of seeking righteousness is seeking to know God. He wants to be known and will bless our seeking by revealing His character to us.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

The merciful are tender hearted. They feel the suffering of others and then step out in faith to help and forgive. Mercy is about living a life that says, “Thank you Father for placing me on the giving end of mercy to others and the receiving end from you.”

Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God. 

The path to a pure heart begins by understanding that our hearts are evil and there is nothing we can do on our own to cleanse them.

The only way our hearts can be cleansed is by surrendering to Jesus and letting the Holy Spirit do the work for us. Then we begin to see God’s glory in everything around us.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God

This peace is the peace we receive from Jesus, the Prince of Peace through the Gospel. Believers in Jesus—peace receivers—thus become peace makers as they share Jesus’ good news with others.

Jesus is the avenue for peace between God and man. Because of Jesus, we can enter God’s presence and receive the peace that surrounds Him. And we can share that peace with others.

All people are God’s creations. But only those who follow Jesus, does God call His children. To be a child of God is to be blessed.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The persecution Jesus spoke of was about being punished for being righteous. A person who sins cannot win a fight with God; but he can attack those who try to follow Him. Jesus promised believers that we will be persecuted.

This Beatitude is not about being self-righteous because you follow Jesus. It is about trying to follow Jesus’ example of living with an eye to eternal life in the kingdom of heaven.

+ + +

The Beatitudes are about knowing we are insignificant in the grand scheme; but knowing God loves us anyway. They are about recognizing we can do nothing to save ourselves, but can only be saved by God Himself.

When we understand our place in the universe we come closer to knowing God. Knowing God is His greatest blessing and why we have the hope of heaven at all. We first need the right attitude—the “Be-Attitude.” 

Which of the Beatitudes speak loudest to you? Why?

Carol Peterson’s mission in writing is to educate, entertain, and inspire. Her published books provide busy teachers with creative ways to help assure compliance with curriculum standards. The goal of her blog From Carol’s Quill ( is to encourage faith in Jesus. She can also be found at

Monday, June 3, 2013

Around the Web

I've received an invitation to guest post with Jon Stople  on June 4th on his website Jon Stople Stretched. Please pop over to his site to read my post. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Baton of Hope - Guest Post

Please welcome my dear friend and guest blogger, Eileen Knowles to my site. I am grateful that she has gracefully accepted my invitation to post with me. She is a gifted writer and shares her experiences on her blog site The Scenic Route, links and bio are listed at the end.

The Baton of Hope

Sometimes I picture hope as the baton we carry through this race called life. We pass this baton from one generation to the next. It progresses on down the road an impacts and changes whoever grabs hold of it.I once heard it explained this way to me: Flip to Hebrews 11 in your Bible. It's the chapter sometimes referred to as the Hall of Faith, where we read about all the incredible men and women of faith who have come before us.

Now, look up Hebrews 11:41 in the Bible. You won't find this verse. Why? You won't find it because you are living this verse right now. I've always found great joy in knowing that my life, my faith walk, is part of the bigger picture. It's woven together with those who came before us. We are a team of racers and God's plan was always to incorporate our leg of the race into the picture already painted.

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. Hebrews 11: 39-40

I am grateful that this baton of hope was passed down to me from my mom. However, there was a season in my life when I didn't have a very firm grip on it and allowed it to slip from my hands. Today, I hold on tightly. I know what my life looks like when I loosen my grip and let go.

The other day I was reading through the account of Jesus asking Peter repeatedly if he loved Him. It was after the resurrection, after Peter was put to the test, and after he denied he even knew his Savior multiple times.I find this picture of Jesus confronting Peter one of the most beautiful exchanges in Scripture. It's almost as if Jesus is telling Peter. You dropped the baton, you took your eyes off the finish line and allowed fear to guide your steps. Now, pick up the baton and keeping running, my Child! Keep running!

Let us hold unswerving to the hope we profess, because He who promised is faithful. ~Hebrews 10:23

Eileen Knowles is a small town Arizona girl who studied English at The University of Arizona a long, long time ago. She now lives in small town North Carolina with her husband, Roger, their nine-year old son, and one quirky dog named Bisbee. When she is not working part-time as a Virtual Assistant for eaHelp, she thoroughly enjoys drinking coffee, running, playing Scrabble, and writing about how cool it is to journey through life with Jesus holding her hand.
Eileen is passionate about leaving a legacy for her son and encouraging others along the way who might need a dose of hope poured into their weary lives.
You can find her taking The Scenic Route

Friday, May 3, 2013

Hope – Changing Times

Spring is a not only the season of new life, but also a season of planting. I love getting outside and getting my hands dirty. Before any work begins, I make careful decisions to what plants I want to go where. Any gardener knows you just can't plant haphazardly. Every plant must be planted in just the right location for it to grow and survive. Too much sun or water can devastate the crop.

Preparing the ground is another task that must be complete before planting can begin. Weeds, debris, rocks and other materials must be removed. A time consuming task that is rewarded when cultivating and nurturing the young plants begins.

While writing this article, the Lord began speaking to my heart reminding me that He is the Chief Gardener. Before we were born, He planned and designed us. He knew our parents. He knew where and when we'd be born. It is not chance that we are here now, in this age. We were placed in just the right environment to grow and survive. Amazing, isn't it.

The Lord also reminded me how He prepares the ground of our hearts to receive Him. How times of trouble and certain circumstances cultivate us for greater use. He builds faith and endurance for the road ahead. He never allows too much trouble or too much circumstance that would cause us to falter in faith or trust. Of course, there are those of us who sometimes choose the wrong path and get caught up in our own trouble.

I am also reminded about the three rules of gardening: Seed – Time – Harvest. Oh, how we want the harvest before the seed is planted! I visualize my crop. How luscious and delicious they will be, before I've planted one seed. But there is much work to be done.

Inside each seed is the blueprint for each plant. The seed needs to be planted in the right soil for it to germinate and begin to sprout. Moisture and warmth are key to this process of germination. Once the seed has sprouted, it makes its journey up to the sunlight, where it continues to develop into the plant.

Time is the element of patience. The development of the plant is a daily process. It does not produce it's fruit the day it bursts through the soil. No, it is a continual process. Even though the harvest is a long way off, everyday grows closer.

The time of harvest, for me is a time of great pleasure. Enjoying the fruit of my time and effort is very rewarding. A sense of accomplishment and pride in a job well done, makes the long wait worth every minute.

This same principal used in planting has spiritual implications. When we pray and seek God for His will, His provision, His blessing, His guidance – Remember the seed, time and harvest. The Lord always answers. Like the seed, even though we may not see anything happening right away, believe something is taking place. It will take time before we start to see results, but know the harvest is coming!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hope – Promises of God

From Genesis 1:1 to the closing sentence of Revelation, we have the promises of God. The Holy Bible is an amazing journey through time. It moves us, inspires us, corrects us, causes us to pause and assess what is important to us. The Holy Bible inspires hope, because we know the promises are not empty words or wishful trappings of an ancient religion, but truth that continues to reveal it's self over and over in our daily lives.

If we took just one promise of God and held it tightly – the power of that one promise would change our life, but God has made hundreds of promises to us!

The hallmark promise of God is His promise of a Savior. Over and over the gospels record not only what Jesus said about being the promised Savior or Messiah, but verified it with the power to perform many miracles. Jesus announced several times to his disciples and Jewish leaders that he would die, but he would raise from the dead. If he were only human, that would be impossible, but since he was the Son of God, that changes everything.

So what about these promises? How do we receive them?

As I began to write this article, I was stumped. I know many promises of God off the top of my head, but what kept bugging me was the receiving the promises. God promised never to leave us or forsake us – but there are times when I feel very forgotten. God promised protection – but sometimes I feel uncertain. God promised prosperity – but I struggle to make ends meet. What is the problem here? Is it God withholding or is it my understanding?

To get the answers – I prayed and asked God, “What's the problem – why do I feel this way when your Word says I have already received the promises through belief in Jesus?” The Lord answered me by reminding me of King David. I know the story of King David, but why was this my answer?

I spent a couple days meditating and reading the story of David. One of the things I realized – Promises are not miracles. Miracles happen immediately—where promises take time to come to pass. In my mind I had them confused.

David was anointed king when he was young – maybe around fourteen or fifteen years old. God did not dispose the current King Saul, but allowed Saul to rule over Israel for another fifteen or so years until he was killed in battle. David did not receive the promise of being king right away, but spent most of those years running from King Saul who wanted him dead. David survived to rule for forty years.

Another story came to me, the story of Abraham. God promised him a son with his wife Sarah, who were both up in years, Abraham about 75 yrs and Sarah 65yrs old when the promise was made, but it took another twenty-five years for that promise to be fulfilled with the birth of Issac. Amazing!

I've since grown in my understanding that God is not in a hurry, but always fulfills His promises at just the right time according to His timetable not ours. So how do we live with what seems like delays? Faith – a confident assurance and patiently waiting. Believe in the goodness of God. He is true to His Word, knowing we are closer today to receiving our promises than we were yesterday.

“Then Abraham waited patiently and he received what God had promised” Hebrews 6:15

Friday, April 12, 2013

Hope – In the Resurrection

Death is the great equalizer, everyone dies. According to the Holy Scriptures “It is appointed once for mankind to die and then the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

One of the core beliefs of Christianity is that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after the crucifixion. Of all the religions of the world, many spiritual leaders were martyred, but only Christianity claims their leader rose from the dead. No other religion would be so bold as to make that claim.

Although people being raised from the dead is not all that uncommon in the Old and New Testaments. It was God's mercy toward people that he used his prophets Elijah and Elisha to raise sons of women. Even the bones of Elisha raised a dead man. (2 Kings 13:20-21). God in the person of Jesus, raised a widow's son, Lazarus, and Jairus' daughter too. Jesus shared his power with his disciples to raise people (Matthew 10:7-8). Later in the spread of the gospel, Jesus' life giving power lived in his people. Peter and Paul, both raised people from the dead.

Hope in the resurrection is what keeps many people going forward in faith, especially in light of the fact that Jesus not only was raised from the dead, but he continue to minister to people afterward. He appeared first to a couple of disciples and then to a larger group. He sat down and ate with them, proving that he was no ghost or apparition. They touched him and put their fingers in the wounds from the crucifixion. He stayed with them for another forty days before he went back to heaven. (Acts 1:3-4)

The hope in the resurrection – is the promise of new life now and eternal life in the future, because our lives have purpose and meaning. The first blessing of the resurrection in new life in Christ – we are born again when we believe in Him. Second blessing of the resurrection comes as we pass from this physical life, we have a few things to look forward to. First, we get to see Jesus! (John 14:3) Second, we will rule and reign with him (Revelation 20:4). Third, we will have a perfect bodies that will never age, become diseased or die ever again.(1 Corinthians 15:42, 2 Corinthians 5:1-6) Forth, we will live again on earth for a thousand years with Christ (Revelation 20:6) and then the promise of a new heaven and new earth forever living in peace.(Revelation 21:1-4).

Have you considered what the resurrection of Jesus really means? If Jesus did not raise from the dead then everything he said was a lie and we are still under judgment for our sins. Scary thought! But I praise God because I know it was not a hoax or a made up story. Jesus conquered death for all of us. His blood brought us mercy and forgiveness because we believe.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son. Whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life” John 3:16

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Please welcome my next guest blogger, Joseph Lalonde. He has joined me this month and has graciously written a post on the topic of Hope, I know you'll enjoy his take. You can find more information about Joseph by following the links at the bottom of the page.

Hope – Of Things To Come
By Joseph Lalonde
One of the greatest promises of the Bible is that of things to come. Eternity with our savior. No more pain. No more suffering. The hope of things to come is overwhelming at times.
Hope of things to come can motivate us to continue down the good path. To stay on the straight and narrow. Even when there is no end in sight.
And that is the great paradox of hope to me, at least. That we have to continue to hope until we reach the end. How about you? Do you ever feel that way?
When I begin to lose this hope of things to come, I begin to look at the fathers of our faith. Those that walked and talked with Jesus.
Knowing there were men and women who walked with Jesus. Seen him in the flesh. Knew him face to face.
They faced the same issues we faced with our doubts. They had a hard time believing that He had risen until they seen the wounds.
But many of them faced worse situations than we have. At least in the USA.
The disciples faced persecutions far greater than we do. They faced death and many met with crucifixion and other forms of cruel death.
Yet they had hope. They knew what was to come. Through all of the pain and suffering. They knew their reward was on the other side of eternity.
When I look at their troubles and the troubles in my life, I begin to get a new appreciation and hope for the life I have and the life to come.
The money woes, the relationship issues, the time constraints. They all pale in comparison to the trials and tribulations the great men of the Bible faced.
Why? Because of the hope given to them by Jesus Christ. Once they saw the risen Christ they KNEW what they had. They gave their lives to spread the message.
Let their hope become your hope. Let their faith seep into yours. Let their passion become your passion.
Then you will see their hope in your hope.
Question: How do you keep the hope of things to come clear in your mind? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

 Joseph Lalonde is a youth leader at Oak Crest Church of God, he also writes a blog where he shares leadership tools and encourages you to become a better leader. Connect with him on Twitter or at his blog.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Hope – In the Savior

From the first few chapters of Genesis, we learn of our need for a Savior. The first family, Adam and Eve were placed in the garden of God. In this perfect sinless environment, God walked with them and gave them the ground rules of freedom and relationship with Him. They were allowed anything but to taste the fruit from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Good was all that was known in the garden, but Eve discovered deception came through one that was trusted outside of God. We have to remember there was nothing harmful in the garden. There was no vicious animals, no death or disease, poisonous plants or animals. Nothing at that time could possibly harmed them except disobedience to God's instruction. It was a time of testing for Adam and Eve.

Sin entered humanity through not trusting God's instructions, believing that somehow God was not being forthcoming about this Evil thing. The simple truth is God is Good and He didn't not want His children to know evil because evil is not good.

So begins the legacy of death, separation, destruction and enmity between people and the rest of creation. Plants and animals became wild, vicious and poisonous. What began in perfection disintegrate into chaos. Separation is not what God wanted. He created us for relationship, so in handing down the chastening of Adam and Eve, He also promise a savior for humanity. That promise was fulfilled through Jesus Christ!

God Almighty intricately planned the arrival of the Savior. He strategically chose a specific family line and insured the fulfillment through covenants and specific promises. Those He chose to declare His Word and carry out His plan were very special people. Although they were not sinless, they were faithful and honored God with their life. Through countless generations the Lord waited for the day when Jesus would be born.

The Holy Bible is a tale of Holy God's love for humanity. How He suffered long for those He loves because He wanted to bless us and shower us with His goodness. A restoration of the garden is the plan and the Hope of the future.

“How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we belong to Christ. Long ago, even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by bring us to himself through Jesus Christ and this gave Him great pleasure” Ephesians 1:3-5

How awesome is that!!! How we praise God!!! Amen!!!! Hallelujah!!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Hope – The Word of God

As I continue this series, it is essential to understand that our strongest hope comes through the Living Word of God as written in the Holy Bible. “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our life. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God's way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Hope is defined as: Confident trust with the expectation of fulfillment. As I read the Holy Bible I am confident of several things; First I have personal experience to those things both good and bad described in the Bible. In the Bible I saw what was wrong in my life, but it gave me Hope that my life did not have to continue down a path of destruction. Second, as I read the Lord speaks to my heart and reminds me of the many times He was there in my life. How He provided and protected me. It gives me Hope through life's trials. Third, the Bible confirms those things the Lord speaks to my heart as His will for me. The Lord will never violate what He has said in His Word, both the blessings and consequences are true.

Reading the Holy Living Word of God inspires our Hope, encourages us to live in such a fashion that we will experience the goodness, grace and loving kindness which is the hallmark of our God. The Lord knows us and the plans He has for us are good. Jeremiah 29:11-13 speaks about this, but there is a condition, we have to seek Him with all our hearts.

Only those who have crossed from death to life in Christ can understand what the Holy Bible is all about. Those without the Holy Spirit of God can not understand the meaning of scripture. It is hidden in a riddle, because God confounds the wise, but speaks clearly to the humble. Proverbs 3:34

Our hope is found through the word of God, so be sure to “Carry out my instructions; don't forsake them. Guard them, for they will lead you to a fulfilled life” Proverbs 4:13

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hope - Breath of Life

With the arrival of Spring, I thought this would be a great opportunity to begin a new series about Hope. Spring, to me is the season of hope because it brings new life. It is my favorite time of year when everything is fresh and new.

Hope – Breath of Life

Without Hope we die. It's that unseen force deep within us which keeps us moving forward. Because of Hope we choose to continue breathing and dare to imagine the future. Hope is a gift from God.

Hope is the foundation of faith. According to Hebrews 11:1 “Faith is the confidence assurance of things Hoped for is going to happen”

Hope keeps our dreams alive, a vision of our soul and the desires of our heart. “Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” Psalms 37:4

The Lord speaks to our hearts in dreams and visions. He plants those desires in us that cause us to believe in something better. He reveals His plans and purposes for us in this way as well. Psalms 16:7

Hope is a part of that all encompassing love of God. “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always Hopeful and endures through every circumstance” 1 Corinthians 13:7.

Hope is fundamental to all aspects of our Christian life.

I feel lead to write about the many aspects of hope so, over the next few weeks I will be writing about Hope. It is a wonderful topic and I hope you will join me.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Please welcome my first guest blogger Chris Vonada to my site.

"Shedding A Flood Of Light On The World"

"The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day." Proverbs 4:18

Sometimes I think we take for granted the dawn of each new day. I know that I do. When this happens to me it's mainly because I'm caught up in the moment. Too busy to be thankful for a very basic need. If I pause and reflect I can gain perspective. Everything becomes clear like the midday sun. While there are other sources of light in our universe that we can see, the light from our sun is by far the brightest object in the sky. The sun's light that shines on our world is pretty amazing. We call the light "white" although it's actually colorless. And the cool thing about white light is that it's made up of every other color in the spectrum.

In Isaiah 45:7 the Lord says, "I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things."

I guess the symbolism of the light of Jesus and the light of the world is pretty obvious then. We need it. I mean both. Too busy to be thankful? Yep, there are times when I have to admit that I'm guilty of that one.

It seems like most folks know the story of the promise that God made to Noah, that after the flood He would never again cut off the world from life by a flood. God's reminder of this promise to Noah was the rainbow. The sign of the covenant... God's reminder to Himself... and His sign to the world...

Rainbows form when "white" light from the sun is refracted through water in the atmosphere. We observe a brilliant display of color in the sky, and through God's promise. I think it's cool how our Heavenly Father brought together the themes of life, light and faith in the glorious rainbow.

Oh that rainbow and it's promise...

What do we need to see the promise of the rainbow? Just 3 things:

Light. Light is made up of a whole spectrum of color. That's an example of Jesus' love being for everyone. What do we get when we mix all of the colors of the rainbow? White, or colorless light. That's what the Bible describes as the significance of Jesus. Jesus is called "the light of all mankind"

"The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it." John 1:4-5

Rain. Well, technically, just moisture in the atmosphere, but for the sake of this God post, I'm just calling it rain (hee hee). The rainwater is the 2nd component of the covenant that gives life. I guess that makes sense, we need water to live.

With the rain we receive another eternal promise, that of the living water...

"The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life." Revelation 22:17

The next time the rain comes, think of it as a blessing. This shower falls all over the land. Sure, the folks in Seattle may be less psyched to see a rain cloud than the people of Phoenix. As for the rainbow, I can't ever remember seeing this reminder in the sky and not being filled with joy.

Vision. Having the eyes to see. That's faith, right? The rainbow might be there but if our eyes are closed we aren't going to see it.

"Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them." Deuteronomy 4:9

Yep, a reminder, and encouragement to teach our children. Do you point out the rainbows to your children when you see them? I know I do, with my grandchildren now too. Maybe take the opportunity the next time you see a rainbow to talk to your kids about God, and explain to them the flood of light that shines on the world. Share with them about the light, rain and vision. When all of this comes together a new day is dawning.

When? It's happening everyday, somewhere. Just like the rainbow :-)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Open Spaces

Welcome to the newest addition of the Christian Writers Blog Chain. Each month a consensus determines the topic for the month. This month we chose an Open topic, not that unusual but an opportunity to express our individual thoughts. I usually don't chose the first day of the month, as a rule, but I felt brave to kick start this topic, set the tone, if you will.

As I pondered all the possibilities for this month, many ideas came to mind. Should I continue with the current series? Should I start another series? Should I share my thoughts on my current dilemma? Should I just skip the month?

If you have enjoyed our monthly posts, you've seen a decline in the participation. I know things happen in our lives. We get side tracked, become over burdened with current projects, become discouraged by events, or sometimes need a break from writing.

As Christians, we sometimes don't see the bigger picture of the spiritual warfare all around us. Every time we take our eyes off Jesus, we sink. Every time we make an excuse for not doing our job, (ie writing), we stumble. Every time we don't follow through with a commitment, we lose a bit of ground.

I want to express a heartfelt thanks to those who continue through all circumstances. I know several writers on this chain are very busy people who contribute to many sites, Lynn Mosher is one and so is Carol Peterson. Two ladies, excuse me, sisters I admire. I understand that things run their course, and perhaps this is one of those things, I hope we can keep going. The Bible teaches that we don't always know the outcome of our encounters, but we can trust that God will bless us as we step out in faith.

So What is the future of this ministry? I know I will continue to sign up each month and participate as much as I can. We are currently mobile and don't have access to the internet as often as I would like, but I don't let that stop me. I won't give the Evil One a moment's pleasure of trying to derail this child of God. The Lord does supply all my needs as I need them. I am not worried or afraid.

Beginning this month I have joined up with other writers to support them. We will host guest writers on each of our blogs to highlight their work. Topics and styles will vary, but I know you will enjoy their work. So please look for the new page link at the top of this page in just a few days—the road ahead is glorious!

" So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and courageous  Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless" 1 Corinthians 15:58

In the words of Pablo Cruise “Keep your heart open – 'cause love will find a way”

Peace and Blessings!!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Living with Purpose – Let God Love You

I recently heard a report of the stress people feel in our modern times. Seems the younger generation is feeling the greater amount of stress these days, while the older generation does not feel the pressure as much. The report went on the say what they discovered is the younger generation is feeling the pressure to perform in a limited job market, while being heavy laden with school loans. The “Baby-Boomers” as they are known, the retiring generation, still feels the pinch of the economy, but are not as burdened with future expectations.

While I was planning a wrap up to this series, this verse kept coming to mind. “Let not your heart be troubled” (John 14:27). Upon further meditation, I sensed the notion of letting God love me. Funny, I get so concerned with loving God and seeking him, that I have lost sight of the bigger meaning – God wants me to relax and let him care for me.

The scriptures state this over and over. These are just a few;

“Be still and know I am God”

“On the seventh day God rested and declared it Holy”

“Give all your cares to the Lord, because he cares for you”

“Do not be concerned with your day to day living needs of food and drink”

“One moment of worry can not change a thing”

When I meditate on the Sabbath Day, the purpose that God designed for that day becomes clearer. The book of Leviticus, gives the instructions for the Sabbath Day was more than a day of rest, it was a day to let God love you.

On the seventh day, creation of the world and everything in it was complete. God was not tired, He rejoiced. He declared it Holy because it was a day made for us to delight in his love. A day not to be concerned with anything else. No harvest, No work, No preparing - just enjoying his love.

What a beautiful concept. I praise God that he has deepened my understanding of his love. It's been my pleasure to share this simple understanding with all of you.

May His peace be with you all as you delight in His love!!!!

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” John 14:27

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Living with Purpose – Opportunity to Love

Welcome to the February edition of the Christian Writers Blog Chain. Our topic is "Opportunity" I hope you will check out the other members on the right side bar for for insights on the topic. Peace and Blessings!!

With each new day, we have the opportunity to give love. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not available to us, so right now, today, is the all that we have. All those fleeting moments of opportunity to share this most basic, God given and inspired emotion, Love.

Our English word Love does not fully express the phases of love. We use the word to express a variety of emotional reactions, such as we love our home, pet or car (materialistic love); We love chocolate, pizza or coffee (appetizing love); We love our family, friends (friendly love); We love our spouse and children (passionate love) but the expression of love that I want to share is the opportunity to love the (self sacrificing love) that reveals God in us.

Parents know of this self sacrificing love. It begins the moment they hear the sound of their child's first cry or take their first breath. Through the long sleepless nights of tending to their child's illness or teething, caring for ouwiees, chasing the boogie man out of the closet, and making their little world the safe haven for adventure. It's a sense of deep satisfaction to watch them grow and mature. God experiences the same type of satisfaction as our Heavenly Father.

God's love is with us all the time, it never fades or changes. He was there when we took our first breath, He gave our parents wisdom to care for our illnesses and He gave us courage to call out for help. With the assistance of our earthly parents, he made our worlds a safe haven for adventure so that we would come seeking and find him.

As Christians, we have the opportunity to share our adventure in seeking God with those around us. We are his vessel and he has chosen us to shine his love in the world. Jesus said that we are salt and light, (Matthew 5:13-16). We have a testimony (salt) and truth (light). Don't water down your salt and don't hide your light, let God flow through you.

Sharing Godly love is not an accident and it doesn't come naturally. It's the evidence of a changed life! Once we were only seeking our own desires and did things for the 'approval of people' but now through Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we can truly give love from a self sacrificing position.

“God blesses those who realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of God is given to them” (Matthew 5:3)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Living with Purpose – Share Your Treasure

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are entrusted with an immeasurable treasure, The Truth. We possess the knowledge that Jesus is who he said he is and we are the benefactors of his salvation. As with all God given gifts, this treasure is meant to be shared, but we may not know how.

Jesus commissioned all of his disciples by saying, “I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this that I am with you even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 18-20 NLT).

When the first disciples received their mission, they didn't know how they going to achieve such a huge assignment. What were they going to do? Where were they going to go? And what were they say?

Have you felt this way? I know I have. We struggle so much with the fear of rejection that we remain silent. We fear we will face ridicule, judgment, embarrassment and even ostracized for our faith in Jesus Christ.

So how can we overcome this fear and begin fulfilling our mission? Two things we must understand. First, we can not save anyone, that is the Holy Spirit’s job, we are only the messengers.

Next, embrace “Faith comes by hearing the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).Be ready to share the Good News with everyone the Lord lays on your heart. Share your story how the Lord answered prayers, helped in times of trouble, been a loyal friend. This what the first disciples did. Their testimony changed the world!

Finally, commit yourself to Christ. The triumph of the Church described in the book of Acts, came because the disciples moved out in the strength of the Holy Spirit. “They joined with the other believers and devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and fellowship, sharing in the Lord’s Supper and in prayer” (Acts 2:42 NLT). The result of their devotion “Each day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47 NLT).The same triumph continues today!

Be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22 KJV)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Living with Purpose – Our Mission

Understanding the call on our life is a great blessing. We should know the Lord did not just save us for life in heaven, but has a special plan for our lives here on earth. With this understanding, life takes on a whole new meaning. I believe we a know what we are to do but, fear and insecurity cloud our minds, we ignore our mission.

I know my mission is share what I have learned about the life of faith. For many years I side stepped this call, until I understood our gifts are to used for the Lord's glorious purposes, not to hide or ignore them. We have been honored by God and play an intricate part of His plan.

I now understand that not accepting my mission by faith is sin, plain and simple. Whatever we do, it must be in faith and love for one another (John 10:10). Insecurity, fear and ignoring the call on our life will not lead to the fullness of life that Jesus died to give us. We block our own blessing!

Many believe that receiving salvation is the end of the road and all we have to do is wait for heaven. The truth is our reward begins in acknowledging and pursuing our individual mission.

How will I know my Mission? These are some clues to what the Lord has chosen you to do:

1) Out of your comfort zone: The Lord’s call is never easy, and it will challenge every part of your reason and resolve.
2) Element of danger: You will have to put yourself out there on the front-line against the devil’s stronghold.
3) Element of risk: It will cost something.

The Holy Spirit's nudge keeps us moving in the right direction and we are fully equipped to complete the mission.

What is that one thing the Spirit keeps bringing to your mind? What makes your ears perk up? Listen carefully, then step out in faith leaving the consequences to the Lord's glorious purpose.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” Amen!!!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Living with Purpose – Protect Unity

Jesus taught its easy to know who belongs to him, its by the fruit of their lives. (Matthew 7: 15-16). The good fruit of someone’s life is produced by faith that reveals itself in love. This love is a godly love which places the needs of another before his or her own.

The primary destroyer of relationships is unforgiveness. When we become offended by someone's action towards us, we are commanded to forgive them. “How can we say we love God, but hate a Christian brother or sister” (1 John 4:20). Forgiveness is a supernatural ability. It actually proves that we have passed from death to life. The sinful heart wants revenge, but the redeemed heart wants unity.

Jesus taught, “Stop judging others and you will not be judged. For others will treat you, as you treat them. Whatever measure you use in judging others, will be used to measure how you are judged” (Matthew 7: 1-2 NLT).

Gossip and jealousy are the silent destroyers. These two sins go hand in hand, because jealousy spurs gossip. When someone uses their gifts, doing what God has called them to do and someone wants that gifting for themselves, that is called jealousy. When jealousy is in full bloom, gossip and backstabbing result. Instead of encouraging and praying for increased success for the fellow servant, they feel obligated to either verbally dismantle the success or take a non-supportive stance. Both jealousy and gossip are predatory sins which have no place in the fellowship of believers.

We are responsible to the Lord to support other believers by stopping gossip, avoid jealousy and exercise forgiveness. Paul said, “Dear brothers and sisters, if another Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.” (Galatians 6:1). We are not called to judge, but love others enough to guide them back by the love you show them.

We must “Share each others troubles and problems and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone in need, you are only fooling yourself. You are really nobody” (Ephesians 6: 2-3 NLT).

Living in a world where relationships are disposable, people seek only the good of themselves and show little respect for the Word of God, we need to be mindful of our actions and attitudes toward others. Honoring God begins with choosing to live rightly according to the love of Christ.