The City of Light

Hi, kingdom family!!! Father speaks to my heart today of how we as His saints are not of this world, but citizens of heaven!!! We are sojourners in this world, just passing through on the way to our forever home in our Father’s paradise kingdom called heaven!!!  While here, we certainly see glimpses of heaven!!!

God is such an incredible artist and creator that it is hard to imagine something finer than some of the breath-taking views that He has surrounded us with in our lives here on earth. However, in Revelation 21:1-4, He tells us there will be a “new heaven and a new earth” coming, for the first heaven and the first earth will pass away. There will be a Holy City, a new Jerusalem that will shine with the glory of God, and its brilliance will be like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. The city will be made of pure gold; the foundations of the city walls will be decorated with every kind of precious stone. The twelve gates that open into the city will be twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city will be of pure gold, like transparent glass and there the dwelling of God will be with men, women and children and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.

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He who is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End says to him who is thirsty He will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and God will be his/her God and he/she will be God’s son/daughter (Revelation 21:6-7). 

No more darkness in heaven!!! YAY!!! WOOOHOOO!!! There will be no temple in the heavenly city because the Lord Almighty and the Lamb will be its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. (Revelation 21:22-23) WOW!!! Imagine shining sooo bright there is no need for lamps to light the way!!! AWESOME!!! To that I say let us keep trusting in the Holy Spirit with us empowering us to bring that light to the darkness of this world as this song says here!!! Of heaven, it is said: . Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life (believers redeemed thru faith in the cross) (Revelation 21:27). Is your name written in the Lamb’s book of life??? If you are not sure of Father’s redeeming salvation, visit here to discover true freedom from the enemy of heaven.

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There will be a river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stands the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations (Rev. 22:1-2).

No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will serve Him. They will see His face and His name will be on their foreheads.”   There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever (Revelation 22:3-5). Oh forever blessed we are as kingdom family of faith!!!

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Jesus says, Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he/she who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book (the Bible) (Revelation 22:7). In Revelation 22:12, He says “Behold I am coming soon and my reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.” What a kind heart is our God!!!

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Until this day, “Let him/her who does right continue to do right; and let him/her who is holy continue to be holy” (Revelation 22:11). In other words, no matter the amount of sweat it takes, no matter how much pain we must endure or how many tears we will shed, keep on running!!! HOOORRRAAAHHH!!! The Book of Revelation is our motivation!!! It reveals the great eternal prize that our loving Father has planned for us when we cross the finish line!!! If we are His children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. We share in the sufferings of Christ in this present life, but then (in eternity), we will share in His glory (Romans 8:17). Paul said in Philippians 1:21-26 “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far, but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again, your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.” Until God is ready for us to cross the finish line, we must persevere for the sake of others, dear ones!!! Not because we have to for salvation, but because our Father wants to shine thru our vessels His promises and truth of the reality of the eternal victory plan of heaven into all the earth to all people!!! Those in the world need YOU and JESUS TEAM, DEAR ONES OF FAITH!!! OH LET US BE WILLING TO LET HIS LIGHT SHINE BRIGHT EVERYWHERE WE GO!!!

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Getting the Prize

Precious gift of life greetings to you, precious kingdom family!!! Yesterday I wrote about how interesting it is going to be when we cross over the finish line into our Father’s heavenly paradise kingdom and see our Father face to Face!!! Today, I would like to further the intrigue of your imagination of what our King holds in store for us as His:

As we all run across the finish line into the face to Face encounter with our “Coach,” I can think of no greater words that He could speak to us than “Well done, my good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21) What a bonus on top of the gift of eternal life in heaven promised to all believers that thought is! As we think back on the time we spent running our own piece of the “cross” road, perhaps we will recall that it certainly had its fun, enjoyable and joyous times, as well as those experiences that brought grief, pain, sweat and tears – those times when we thought “I just don’t know if I can keep going.” At this point, God’s Words found in Luke 6:21 should come to mind “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.” Hearing our “Coach’s” praise will suddenly make all that we endured well worth it and I can imagine that these memories of our long run will begin to fade to the past as we stand in awe of all that is around us on this, “the other side” of the finish line.   The words “Well done, my good and faithful servant” spoken by God will be a great reward to us by themselves, but just as a physical athlete finishing a marathon well receives a prize, so we as spiritual athletes will receive the prize that God has for each one of us individually according to what we have done well for Him!!! Only God knows what that prize or reward(s) will be, however, the Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 4:7-8 that there is in store for not only him, but also to all who have longed for the appearance of the Lord, the crown of righteousness!!! In 1 Corinthians 9:25, he refers to it as a crown that will last forever!!! God knows how to give good gifts and what He chooses to gift us with will be considered very special and sacred to us, but it will not come even close to the special gift of being with Him!!! What a great time of celebration this will be, but it won’t stop here.   He has something else planned:

 We Are His Royalty

Your “coach” who has instructed you, trained you, experienced all your emotions, trials and struggles, and helped you to run successfully to the end has had His eyes on you from the very beginning and He has had “abounding love” for you from that time on. (It was love at first sight!)

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Not only has He been teaching us how to run, but He has been working on building a love relationship with us guys and gals this whole time. He wants to spend forever with us! All along, He has had the intention of making us (the church) symbolic of His bride after we cross the finish line. It’s truth straight from His written Word, the Holy Bible!!! He wants to be our husband and He has been working all this time making preparations for a HUGE wedding celebration.

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There is no need to worry. He knows the heart of His bride to be and He knows our heart is for Him, too. He knows how to bless us and each one of the other guests in the details. Oh, and if you are wondering about the guest list, it will be all nations – believers throughout the whole world will be a part of the wedding. No need to worry about the food as He is taking care of that and He has a reputation for doing superb work, including picking out the finest of wine (John 2:1-11)!

Wedding Feast Of Lamb

He is an expert when it comes to putting together plans and if you are finding yourself once again asking “Whatever shall I wear?” He has that figured out too. Revelation 19:6-8 says “Hallelujah!” For our Lord God Almighty reigns!!! Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory!!! For when the wedding of the Lamb (Jesus) has come, His bride will have made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, will be given to her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) Not to panic here for this means that He will have you covered with His clothes of righteousness on your wedding day! Your righteous act will be that of faith in what He did for you on the cross!   He has made His bride pure by washing her and making her clean – as white as snow (Psalm 51:7).

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Revelation 19:9 goes on to say “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb! And the angel said to John who received this revelation “These are the true Words of God.”

Imagine the words that will be exchanged between you and your great perfect love. Perhaps your “coach” aka symbolic as a groom to His bride (us as the church) will choose the following words to say to us:

  • “You, my beloved, are who I have chosen to be mine forever.”
  • “You are who your Father has given to me out of the whole world.”
  • “You are the one I have been praying for!”
  • “Your love is what I have been jealous for all this time.”
  • “You are the one with whom I have wanted to share all my glory and riches.”
  • “It is for you whom I have prepared a place for in my Father’s kingdom, so that where I am you will be also.”
  • “It is to you that I have been faithful.”
  • “It is for you, that my love is everlasting.”
  • “It is for you that I have sacrificed for.”

Embraced in His love, I can imagine responding to Him:

  • “You are the One I have worshiped!”
  • “You are the One I have served all these days.”
  • “You are my great love – the One everlasting.”
  • “You are the One I have prayed to find and the One I have searched for with all my heart.”
  • “You are the One I have found – a gift from heaven.”
  • “You are the One who has been jealous for my love.”
  • “You are my shield and defender.”
  • “You are the One I have longed for.”
  • “You are the only One who can quench my thirst and satisfy my every need.”
  • “You complete me.”
  • “Your love is a perfect love.”
  • “You have searched my heart and You know me, understand me and love me as I am.”
  • “You are my Prince.”
  • “I am so thankful that You have chosen me.”

SIGH! As a woman, this symbolic picture of all the saints joining Christ for all eternity sounds so “divine” to me! However, I have often wondered how a man feels about being the bride to the bridegroom (Christ). A dear brother of mine who is a manly man helped to put that into perspective for me by sharing an experience that he had at a men’s Christian retreat. There was a man there who was a great mentor to him. At one point during the retreat, he hugged my brother. At first, my brother responded with a light brotherly hug back. But what happened next was unexpected – this mentor of his would not let go! He continued to hug my brother for so long that it began to anger my brother and still yet this man did not cease in his hugging. Finally, my brother realized that what he was experiencing was the love of Christ that was flowing through this man to him. In those moments, he caught a glimpse of the depth of God’s great love for him that pursues him and does not let him go. He felt so loved that he said he cried just like a baby. Now how sweet is that!!!

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When we encounter Christ’s perfect love face to Face, it will be a love that will cut beneath the superficial niceties directly into the core of our souls. How wonderful it will be to be with our great love for all eternity. It is hard waiting for that blessed day!!! I look forward to living in the presence of God, basking in His perfect love and acceptance and being free from the affects of a sinful nature and a sinful world. It will be heaven – the presence of Jesus is heaven in our lives, even now as this song says here.

The Love Encounter

Joyful day greetings royal kingdom family!!! As I open up my heart to share thoughts Father has given to me today, I want to begin by asking you a question:

What celebrity or famous person would you like to meet and sit and talk with for an hour? Have you ever thought about what it might be like to have the opportunity to see that person up close, to have that person shake YOUR hand, look into YOUR eyes, know YOUR name and speak words to YOU personally? What would it be like to see the sparkle in that person’s eyes and to be the recipient of his or her smile? Have you ever thought about what you would say to that person? Would you be able to speak to them, or would you be so awed or so excited that you would be speechless? Someday, this will be a reality for each one of us. It will be the day we meet “The Famous One,” “The King of Kings,” “The Lord of Lords,” “The Creator of the Universe,” “The Alpha and Omega” – “The Beginning and the End,” “The Greatest Artist” of all time who created us each personally and “The One” who loves us with perfect love –“The One” who has, and does and will love us like nobody else ever has or ever will.

Nobody except God knows when we will cross over the finish line that will take us from running the road of God’s purpose in this earthly life into His presence in eternity (Matthew 24:36-44). It could be when Christ returns or it could be the God-ordained end to the number of our own days (Psalm 139:5, 16). To us, the finish line remains unseen, so we continue on in our running, making it our aim, knowing that someday we may suddenly find ourselves upon it and crossing over it into “paradise.” SHAZAM!!!

Image of Jesus at Heaven's Gate

On their final day of earthly life, Jesus told the criminal on the cross next to him who had just placed his trust in Christ, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:39-43). What is it??? Paradise is defined as heaven, where God dwells. It is a place or state of bliss (complete happiness, joy and blessedness). Based on Hebrews 3-4 and Revelation 14:13, it will be a place of rest from our running. When this day arrives, we will have the special honor of meeting our “Coach” or “God” face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12, 1 John 3:2, Revelation 22:4). He has been with us all along the “cross” road in Spirit. It is His voice that has echoed through our mind, guiding us in our running, but when this special day arrives, we will actually know what it feels like to have His loving and all-knowing eyes look directly into our own. God is THE source of love!!! I LOVE LOVE!!! He IS love!!!

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He is perfect love and in 1 John 4:15-18 we read “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him (or her). In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the Day of Judgment, because in this world we are like Him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love (which God’s love is) drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.”  This is not a day to fear for believers, dear ones!!! John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Romans 8:1-2 says “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”

Imagine the most loving welcome or greeting you have ever had. The greatest love you have ever received in your life will pale in comparison to the love you will feel from your Maker at that moment when you run over the finish line into His arms. What will He say to you? What will you say to Him? Oh how interesting!!!

Girl With Jesus

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I think at that moment the most important thing that matters to us will be His love. Here is a song about His love. May you sense how strong His love is for you today, sweet saints!!! Oh He always just makes me smile!!!

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Going For the Finish Line

Exciting and fun new day adventures, precious kingdom family!!! Oh I am just loving life here with ya’s today and as I ponder Father’s message to my heart, our Father speaks to my heart that just as all life has a start, all life has an end as well. Our Father created us to be His kingdom family forever. Satan moved in and deceitfully separated the first people God created and placed in the Garden of Eden from God. He did so by introducing the people to sin by putting doubt in their minds as to the truth of what God said. Satan did this because of jealousy and his personal desire to be god to the people in God’s place. However, God to our rescue!!! He personally fought Satan by becoming man in Jesus, purposefully went to the cross to face the wages of sin that is death, taking the penalty for sin before a holy God upon Himself. He descended to Satan’s hell, retrieved back the keys to heaven so to speak and unlocked the doors of heaven for God’s people to enter into His King of Glory forever kingdom paradise to be His royal sons and daughters if they believe in His rescue for them. YAY!!!

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We Are His Royalty

Forever reconciled to our Father who loves us thru faith in His perfect performance on the cross for us, we of faith are!!! Not only that, but He has placed His Holy Spirit into our hearts to lead us, guide us and empower us to live out the duration of life here on earth until such time as He returns to take us to our paradise home of heaven!!! So for now, we are as spiritual athletes running the road of His purpose for us each in this world. Comparing a spiritual athlete running compared to a physical athlete running a marathon, I share these thoughts for us to ponder:

A physical athlete running a marathon has their mind set on the finish line. They want to finish what they started!!! It is at the finish line that their running is complete and the goal is accomplished. It would not be in keeping with their goal to decide to take a side road off course and take off sightseeing, though. Until they reach the finish line, they make it their aim, knowing it is there and they persevere in their running even though they cannot physically see it. The same is true of the spiritual athlete. Our finish line is eternity where our running will be complete – God’s earthly goals for us will be accomplished. Until we reach it, we need to make eternity our aim and persevere in our running even though we cannot physically see heaven. We will, though, when we get there!!! Now how exciting is that!!! 2 Corinthians 5:7 tells us we are to “live by faith, not by sight.” Paul says “I do not run like a man running aimlessly” (1 Corinthians 9:26). He had the finish line of eternity that he was aiming for in mind!!!

The world around us has many opportunities and things that are God’s gift to us (James 1:17, Psalm 85:12), but the world around us also has many things that can entice us away from God’s road of purpose for our lives (James 1:13-15). God warns us of this in Proverbs 4:26-27 when He tells us “Make level (properly balanced and upright) paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm (secure). Do not swerve to the right or left (from the road of God’s purpose for your life); keep your foot from evil.”   We do this by keeping our eyes and our thoughts fixed on Jesus and His eternal enticements (Hebrews 12:2, Hebrews 3:1). We are to “let our eyes look straight ahead and fix our gaze directly before us” (Proverbs 4:25). King David understood the importance of this. He tells us this was his practice in Psalm 141:8 “My eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign Lord.”   2 Corinthians 4:18 says “We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen (life on earth) is temporary, but what is unseen (heaven) is eternal (endless).” The end of the road is not in full view to us now, but it is there!!! With this viewpoint, all we do should be looked at through the question “Is what I am doing in keeping with the aim of eternity?”(2 Corinthians 4:18). Here are a few questions we can ponder:

  • In what ways, if any, are we off on a side road (being enticed by temptations of the world)?
  • If off, what action(s) can we take to get back onto the road of God’s purpose for us?
  • What about eternity (the finish line) entices us to keep running for it?

As we seek our Father thru prayer, His Word (the Bible) and how He may be speaking to us thru circumstances, He will guide us individually divinely. He always leads us in triumphant procession as His kingdom people. I’m a gal seeking to fix my eyes on Jesus with you as this song says here. Oh I know that as we do, our Father is going to give us beautiful vision for running our road of purpose well. It’s gonna be fun!!! It’s gonna be exciting!!! It’s gonna be divine!!! It’s gonna be victorious!!! Oh that all just makes me smile!!! Love getting our eyes fixed on Him!!! 🙂 That is His heart for us, sent with His love…

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Winning Always

Hi, sweet saints!!! Yesterday I wrote about the fact that as we step into life to carry out our Father’s purpose for us in life, one of the things that we will encounter is criticism from other people. Sometimes it is valid and sometimes not. It is good to always take it to our Father for His opinion about it and go with His heart for us!!! With our Father, there is no condemnation, only loving helpfulness!!! Criticism of other people is something that greatly hurt others, especially if it is spread about to other people as gossip or slander!!! YIKES!!! WATCH OUT FOR THAT DEAR ONES!!!

A friend of mine told me a story of a friend that called her struggling because she had a weakness of gossip and there was a situation with the daughter of a couple that had gotten into a lot of trouble. It was publicized in the newspaper twice. My friend advised her that even though it was publicized in the newspaper, she should not go about spreading gossip about her friend’s daughter. A few days later, my friend received a phone call from the gal who had shared her gossip struggle with her and she said I am so glad I didn’t give in to my sinful nature to spread the gossip because I just found out that the girl mentioned in the newspaper was not the same girl I know. They just both had the same name. Gossip could have greatly damaged an innocent girl’s reputation. God’s ways are so much better than ours!!! I am so thankful for His truths to guide us in love!!!

Beyond fear from ability, fear from opposition is often a reality we deal with when we are attempting to carry out God’s purpose for our lives. Where does it come from???   Sometimes the opposition comes thru sinful people. Paul faced opposition thru sinful men (1 Corinthians 16:9) and before he knew Christ personally, he himself persecuted Christians (Acts 8:3, Acts 9, and Acts 13:9). Jesus faced opposition from sinful men in His ministry as well. Jesus tells us in John 15:18-19 “If the world hates you, keep in mind it hated me first.” In John 16:33, Jesus said we will have trouble in this world, but take heart, I have overcome the world. Paul tells us in Hebrews 12:2-3 that we need to “keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and consider Him who endured opposition and endured the cross for the joy set before Him, so that we do not grow weary and lose heart.” The joy set before Jesus was our eternal redemption and His glorification at the Father’s “right hand.” Oh He sets such a great example to us as His people!!! I love what I do with my Father guiding me, but a good question to always ask in the face of opposition is “What would be the joyful outcome of persevering in the ministry God has called us to instead of giving in to opposition?”

Opposition can also come from Satan. Jesus referred to Satan as “a stumbling block” to Him (Matthew 16:23).   The Bible shows us some ways Satan causes people to stumble: Satan and his servants disguise themselves as angels of light to lead people from truth (2 Corinthians 11:14) and Satan works to take away the seed of God’s Word that is sown upon the hearts of people (Mark 4:15).   Matthew 4:1-11 contains the story of how Jesus was tempted by the devil. Satan tested Job and Peter’s faith and in Luke 22:31 we learn Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail when Satan wanted to sift him as wheat. Satan caused Adam and Eve to question God, testing their faith in what God had told them. Because they believed Satan, sin entered the world!!! Oh what havoc Satan did cause when God’s people chose to go along with his ways of thinking!!!

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Deuteronomy 8:1-5 talks about the Israelites when God led them into the desert to humble them because of their rebellion and to “test” them in order to know what was in their hearts – whether or not they would keep God’s commands. Satan works to put doubt into our minds (to take away the seed of God’s Word that has been sown upon our hearts). The “test” for us is will we follow doubt (Satan) or will we believe God and keep His commands (truth)?   Satan intends to do evil, to destroy our faith in God’s commands, but as Jesus showed us when He was tempted by Satan, the thing to do is to keep throwing God’s Word right back into the face of the devil, and to renew our minds with truth. In so doing, as we see in Matthew 4:11, the devil left Jesus. James 4:7 tells us “Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Peter warns us in 1 Peter 5:8-9 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” James 1:2-4 says we should consider it pure joy whenever we face trials of many kinds – why? It is because we know that the “testing” of our faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that we are mature and complete, not lacking anything.   Perseverance means “to persist in spite of difficulties, steadfastness and steadfast means firm or moral fixity, not subject to change, securely fixed in place.” Ruh, ruh, ruh!!! Let us persevere in faith for the victory in life, kingdom family of faith!!!

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:7 that he was tormented by a messenger of Satan and it was used to keep him from being conceited because of surpassingly great revelations. Satan intended to torment, but God used it to keep His servant humble. Satan used Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14-56).   Satan moved him to do evil, but God used it to carry out His purpose for Jesus’ arrest that later led to His intended crucifixion for our redemption from sin. Thank you, Father for bringing us forever victory!!! HOOORRRAAAAHHH!!!

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In another instance, Satan sought to sift Peter as wheat, but Jesus told Peter when he turned back, he would be able to strengthen his brothers (Luke 22:31). Job gained understanding and knowledge through his testing (Job 42:1-6). That is good!!! As Romans 8:28 tells us “And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Whatever evil is directed at us, God will use it for our good and to carry out His purpose. One example was in Joseph’s life!!!

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These are the words of Joseph (the one put in charge of the whole land of Egypt by the Pharaoh during a great famine) to his brothers who had sold him as a slave in Egypt many years prior because they were angry at him: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children. And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them” (Genesis 50:20). Satan could have easily put doubt into Joseph’s mind about God’s love for him in the midst of all these trials. But Joseph persisted in spite of difficulties. God gave him the “power for victory”. God never does evil, only good!!! What an example for us to follow is Joseph’s story of keeping faith in trials!!! WOW!!! Let us always hold to faith in Jesus!!! Jesus is our trustworthy ROCK as this song says here that we can always go to for victory in the midst of life challenges that will happen as we step out to make a divine difference for our Father’s kingdom!!! Father promises us this though:

“For we are more than conquerors in all these things thru Christ Jesus who loves us.”

Romans 8:37

Joy in Life Comes from Trusting God

YYYIIIPPPEEE!!! WE WIN, WIN, WIN ALWAYS WITH JESUS!!! 🙂

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Say What???

Mucho divine love to you all, precious saints!!! Today our Father has me pondering tough love. Oh Jesus was the most powerful man who ever walked the earth and yet He was also the most gentle and perfect love!!! Walking the Christian faith takes both and discernment from the Holy Spirit how to walk it out in life!!! This we can know as a promise from our Father:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” 

Romans 8:28

As I continue to talk about running our road of purpose in life, one of the issues we will always have to deal with is the issue of criticism. Say what???

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There are two types:

Constructive criticism is something to be thankful for because it helps us to improve and a wise person welcomes wisdom and takes the correct action to bring about the necessary change(s) (Proverbs 13:10). Hard truths may hurt to hear, but are needed to bring us to our divine senses and stop us from continuing in wrong and foolish ways. This kind of criticism from a friend is well meant and can be trusted (Proverbs 27:6). When our best interest is at their heart, their words are genuine expressions of friendship. If a person truly loves someone, he/she will not fail to tell their friend about a fault or correct them if needed. To not do so would be to hide their love from their friend.   However, when correcting someone, the Lord desires that we do so in love and not in hostility. It is never easy, but sometimes we all face times of doing hard things for those we love, whether we are speaking or on the hearing end!!!

Non-valid criticism calls for the extension of grace from us towards the one being critical. Sometimes people are in the wrong. Because of insecurities, we as people tend to always think other people are right and we are the ones wrong. Again, ask God to give you the proper perspective and if He shows you that you are not in the wrong, then rest in that and do as Jesus says “to love your enemies and do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28).

Anger in itself is not sin. God shows anger in several places throughout the Bible. Anger is an emotion that God has built into us that is an indicator that something is wrong that needs to be resolved. Ephesians 4:26 tells us “In your anger, do not sin.” It is important to learn how to handle the powerful emotion of anger correctly as it can be very destructive if it is handled incorrectly. An excellent resource to help with the issue of anger is “The Anger Workbook” by Les Carter, Ph.D and Frank Minirth, M.D. and published by Thomas Nelson. Often people say things out of their lack of understanding, their own inner struggles and as a result of battles with Satan and what they really need is someone to help them understand the truth in the situation, reassure them, sympathize with them, seek to understand them and love them. If we react in an out of control manner or with inappropriate anger back, it can result in an unfavorable outcome – maybe a destroyed relationship!!! YIKES!!!

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If we have ever taken criticism as a leader, we know how hard it is to deal with and how Satan can use it to discourage us in our running. Until we have stood in a leader’s shoes, we do not understand all that a leader deals with in stepping out for God. Because of this, let us be merciful to leaders. Let us think seriously about our criticism before we decide to take it to the leader. Leaders do not usually wake up and say “Today, I am going to hurt this or that person and when they do hurt someone, they wish they could undo it!” If we do decide our criticism is something that we need to discuss with the leader, let us take it to the leader and work to resolve it with them in love, rather than slander them to other people because God does not take that lightly. In Numbers 12, it tells us that Miriam, Moses sister, was made leprous and isolated outside the camp because of her criticism towards Moses, God’s chosen leader. Criticism is a serious matter to God. Let us not take it lightly. It is good to ask ourselves, are we perhaps a person who has a critical spirit – one who is continually criticizing and pointing out the failures of others? If so, we can ask God to change our critical heart into a heart of His grace, love and encouragement towards others.

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If we are a leader who has received criticism, let us deal with it correctly and not allow Satan to use it to discourage us and keep us from running the road of God’s purpose for us. We can ask God to encourage us and give us wisdom to handle the matter correctly.   Let us look for the “nugget” of good (the wisdom) and not a “loophole” for denial. Let us not put gasoline (our anger) on top of the fire (someone else’s anger) as this will only make matters worse. Proverbs 15:1 says “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”   Let us seek to work through the matter with understanding towards the other person to resolve the problem and provide a solution to keep it from happening again. This is important, dear ones, as there are lots of people who need Father’s people of faith to keep running and those who do appreciate all you do for them, including the Lord! Oh let us stay focused on this point!

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A friend of mine told me a story of a friend that called her struggling because she had a weakness of gossip and there was a situation with the daughter of a couple that had gotten into a lot of trouble. It was publicized in the newspaper twice. My friend advised her that even though it was publicized in the newspaper, she should not go about spreading gossip about her friend’s daughter. A few days later, my friend received a phone call from the gal who had shared her gossip struggle with her and she said I am so glad I didn’t give in to my sinful nature to spread the gossip because I just found out that the girl mentioned in the newspaper was not the same girl I know. They just both had the same name. Gossip could have greatly damaged an innocent girl’s reputation. God’s ways are so much better than ours!!! I am so thankful for His truths to guide us in love!!! The power of our Father’s love for us was strong enough to enable Him to face it, have victory over death on a cross and gentle and loving enough to extend us forgiveness of sins, a reconciled relationship with Him and forever eternal life thru our faith in His perfect performance on our behalf!!! This song here speaks of how powerful that is to our hearts!!! Let us hold that sacred and in heart as we seek to love people!!! Father’s blessings to you, kingdom family!!! I’m a gal smiling and happy!!! Sooo proud of ya’s for being strong in love for Jesus!!!

Images of Family

At Peace in Jesus

Beautiful sunshine and Sonshine today is flooding my office window today and just brings a smile to my heart as I am here with you today, dear family of faith!!!

Jesus outstretched hands

Mary's Eyes Looking Up

Yesterday I wrote about having victory and bottom line is this:

If we want to join God in His purpose for our lives, we have to be willing to step out and trust God to give us the power for victory. He who calls us is faithful. I have certainly had to learn to lean on Him over the years and there were certainly times when I like the Apostle Paul, stepped out for Jesus with fear and trembling!!! This I have learned to pray: I pray when I am struggling with fear, that fear will not be an issue that will paralyze me. The thoughts that seem to help me in these times are:

1) The words God speaks in Isaiah 41:9-10 to His servant: “You are my servant; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” What a comfort to know that my Daddy is going to hold my hand! I don’t have to go alone!

God's Hand Connects

2) There is a grander attitude beyond self-centeredness. My life needs to be seeking to bring glory to God, not to me and to be available to God so He can do His work of impacting the hearts of people for eternity. It is all about people needing God’s power and work carried out through my available cracked vessel. John the Baptist’s words spoken when Jesus came upon the scene in his life echo through my mind. He said “He (Jesus) must become greater and I (John the Baptist) must become less” (John 3:30). Jesus said in John 5:30, “I seek not to please myself, but Him who sent me.”

3) Seek to please God and not man. If we are concerned with how we will please man and allow “fear of man” to prevail and keep us from moving out, we will have placed man above God (1 Thessalonians 2:4, 6).

4) We all want to do things perfect for a couple of reasons: one is because we want to bring God glory in all we do (1 Corinthians 10:31) and secondly, because of pride and fear of rejection. The latter is not a good mindset. We are all human and we will all make mistakes, but we can be comforted knowing that God can use our imperfections to teach us and to help others. Romans 8:28 tells us “In all things, God works for the good of those who love Him; who have been called according to His purpose.”

Imperfections keep us humble which are good for servants of God and imperfections can also encourage others because when they see that we don’t have to be perfect in order for God to use us, they are more inclined to move out themselves. It helps to know we are not the only “not-perfects” in the world!!! Our Father in Heaven certainly sees us perfect thru our faith in Him and His work on the cross, though:

“But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation–“

Colossians 1:22

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The truth is that everyone makes mistakes. Many people have been kept from reaching their potential because of the fear of making mistakes, fear of rejection and fear of failure. Failure helps bring about victory!!! It took Thomas Edison many tries before he successfully developed the light bulb. Critics might say he had many failures, but did he? We have a light bulb today – now that sounds like a success story to me! WOOOHOOO!!! How awesome is that!!! Way to persevere, Thomas!!! With God’s help, people are successful because of persistence and desire. HOOORRRAAAHHH!!! LET’S KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON FOR JESUS!!! 🙂

I heard a story of a man who was learning to be a trapeze artist and his teacher told him “Throw your heart over the bar and your body will follow.” Say what??? The point is this: we must throw our heart into our work in order to know success. God’s Word in Colossians 3:23 says “Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart.” Oh let us keep trying even if we make mistakes, dear ones!!! The difference between failure and success is how we react if we fall. If we fall, God will catch us in the net of His love, forgiveness and acceptance. Failure is in letting the fall keep us down and allowing it to control our lives. Let us adopt the attitude “I’m never down. I’m either up or getting up.” Our ability is 95% “stick ability”.  Let us reject the torture of ourselves over mistakes and put an end to being overly critical of ourselves. Speaking of critics – there are always critics in the crowd!!! The old saying “you can’t please all the people all the time” is very true!!! YIKES!!! So dealing with criticism is an issue we will probably face at some point in ministry. I encourage us to take all criticism before God and ask Him for His opinion of whether the criticism we have received is valid or not. Also, let us talk to another Christian for Godly counsel to help us accurately discern if the criticism is valid. Seeking the right godly counsel is wise!!! Beware of the sin of gossip and its destructiveness.

I love this song here that is a good reminder for us to always remember who we are in God’s eyes of love and grace!!! Let us keep stepping into life with that as our Godfidence for letting our Father work thru us to bring heaven to earth as it sure makes like full of all that Jesus is – everything right, true and of love!!! Oh here I am smiling in heart again as I end this writing!!! 🙂 Jesus – what a delight He is in all of life!!!

Jesus smiling