Abundance of Mercy

 

“But as for me, I will come into Thy house in the multitude of Thy mercies.” (KJV).

Another translation of this verse says, “I, through the abundance of Your steadfast love, will enter Your house.” (NRV).

I was just reading along in Psalms this morning, and when I came to this verse, I was struck by the power of it. I felt the impact of how great the mercy of God is for each of us — and how we don’t need to be afraid or even hesitant to enter into His presence freely.

That truth is the result of Jesus, and His sacrifice on our behalf, of course. Because He took all of our sin and uncleanness, and washed it all away with His blood, the Father God looks at us through Jesus  and welcomes us gladly. All we need to plead is Jesus’ blood, and abundant mercy engulfs us.

What a relief. And what a joy to know that when we are in need or in trouble of any kind, we have a standing invitation to run to our God, and we can know that when we get to the door that leads into His presence, an abundance of mercy will be filling that doorway and lighting our path to God, ushering us into His waiting arms.

Of course, hopefully, we won’t wait until we’re in trouble to seek His presence. It thrills His heart for us to go to Him just for the sake of being with Him and enjoying His company. But when we are in need, we don’t have to be hesitant about going to Him. It doesn’t matter how much we’ve messed things up, or how deeply we’ve embedded ourselves in the muck and mire of our own sin and foolishness. There is ABUNDANT mercy and ABOUNDING love waiting to carry us to our Father, who waits expectantly to welcome us and give Himself to working out our problems and making us whole again.


Color My Original Sketches

Hooray, the FIRST ADULT COLORING BOOK FEATURING MY ORIGINAL ARTWORK is now available from Sancon Journals.

 

Eighteen original sketches, plus duplicates of four of the pictures so that colorists can stretch their creativity by doing some of the pictures a second time with different color palettes or mediums.

If you enjoy coloring to relax or destress, these pictures are therapeutic. The book is lightweight, 6 x 9, easy to carry anywhere.

Find your copy at the link below and get ready to go to your ‘happy place.’
COLOR ME HAPPY

 

Worry — cinquain

 

Worry
Is such a drag.
It’s weight upon my soul
Drags down my body and my mind;
Wastes time.

Jesus
Had much to say
‘Bout giving it no place:
“Do not let your heart be troubled;
Trust Me.”

His words
Are quite profound.
They mean I have a choice.
So I’m replacing worry with
His love.

 


In The Mood For an Inspirational Love Story?

Are you lookin’ for a love story that will stick with you long after the words ‘The End’???

Well, here it is:

 

(Click on the link below the trailer.)

Get Your Copy Here: Paperback or Digital


Encouraging Bruised Reeds & Smoking Flax

(I originally wrote this article over a year ago, but at a time in our society when there is so much that divides us, incenses us, and hurts us, I felt an urging by the Holy Spirit to share it again now.)

 

“A bruised reed shall He not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench.”  (Matthew 12:20, KJV).

These words, inspired by the Holy Spirit, described Jesus Christ, both in the Old Testament prophecy forecasting His coming, and in the New Testament as He carried out His earthly ministry. The words referred to the fact that Jesus was careful not to put down or belittle people who came to Him, even when they were weak in faith, or because they were lacking in some area of consecration or obedience.

Now, to be sure, He did on occasion ask His own disciples, “Why are you fearful, or why did you doubt?” But those words were not intended as reprimands, but as questions to cause them to think and learn. They were in training, after all, and were supposed to be learning from Him and growing in faith and the demonstration of it. They were in a different position from the average person who came to Jesus for ministry.

Throughout His earthly walk, Jesus was kind and compassionate to everyone who had need of Him. If the people He dealt with had even a smoldering bit of faith, or just a heart-felt desire to connect with Him, He welcomed them and spoke and acted in such a way as to encourage them. To the sick man at the Pool of Bethesda, who evidently had some lack of initiative if he’d been supposedly “trying to get to the pool” for 38 years,  Jesus simply asked, “Do you want to be made well?”  And then, even though the man’s only response was to complain about not having any other people to help him, Jesus proceeded to heal him completely. (John 5:1-15).

And look at His treatment of Zacchaeus, who was a first-rank sinner (self-confessed) and who had no obvious faith or obedience going for him. Just the fact that Zacchaeus wanted to know more about Jesus — enough to climb into a tree so that he could see Jesus better as He went through town — was enough for Jesus to call him over and invite Himself to Zacchaeus’ house — showing him both honor and compassion at the same time. (Luke 19:1-10).

Even when Jesus knew He had to deliver a strong word to a person who sought something from Him, His focus was on loving that person and responding in the most compassionate way possible. In Mark’s gospel (chapter 10) Jesus is approached by a rich young ruler who asks for instructions for inheriting eternal life. This young man had sought to follow the rules of the law in conduct, but he obviously had a heart problem that would keep him from being in unity with God.

Jesus knew the man would need to let go of the pride he had in following the rules and experience a heart change that would cause him to truly give of himself to help others. Jesus knew HIs instructions would come as a blow to this young man, and the first thing we learn about Jesus in this situation is that He “loved” the young man. He spoke to him words that were necessary, but they were not spoken in rebuke, but in love and compassion.

Another time, when Jesus’ disciples told Him of other ministers who were delivering people in Jesus’ name but were not following Him, Jesus said to leave them alone because if they were not “against” Him, then they were “for” Him. He didn’t rebuke those other ministers or even correct them. (Luke 9:49-50)

Wherever He went, Jesus was looking for ways to lift people up, encourage them, and help them grow in their relationship with their Creator.

Several years ago I read words by another minister that said, in effect, that we should be careful not to destroy someone’s imperfect faith because, at the time we’re interacting with that individual, it’s the only faith that person has. But it’s likely that, given time and encouragement, that imperfect faith will grow into something stronger and purer.

I’ve learned over the years that there’s a good deal of wisdom in those words, and I’ve seen people’s faith grow exceedingly. In fact, my own faith has grown, changed, grown some more, and changed some more over some sixty years of life as a Christian. So I know the potential is there.

I’ve been thinking a great deal about this particular subject matter lately, and I believe the reason is that the Lord is showing me it’s really important to encourage people in these areas. I think I’ve always been an encourager in general, but I know, at times, I also tend to hold back when I see that a person has areas of his life or faith that are most definitely unscriptural. I sometimes tend to concentrate more on trying to “help” them get “fixed” in those areas rather than encouraging the little bit of positive in them — that smoking flax of faith or that character trait that is slightly bruised.

But I believe the Lord is saying that I need to refocus and concentrate on encouraging for a while rather than fixing. It may be that enough encouragement of the positive — even if it’s just smoldering or somewhat bruised or damaged — will strengthen those people enough to help them go on and eventually get the other stuff fixed.

And, after all, God is the real “fixer” — not me. And I’m also aware that there are a number of areas in my own life that need “fixing” as well. Certainly, I need to pray for the people in my life where the negative areas are concerned, so that the Lord has an open channel to work in their lives. But I need to let Him take care of the fixing and use my energy and influence to encourage those individuals. Encouragement in the right places can sometimes put us in a stronger position so that we can better receive the help God has for us.

So, as I move forward in my life, one of my primary spiritual goals is going to be to encourage every positive thing I see in every person I’m with, and to do so in the name of Jesus Christ — who never broke a bruised reed (damaged person) or quenched any smoking flax (smoldering faith.)  I believe if I’ll be faithful to do my part, He will be able to do all the rest of the work necessary to bring them to wholeness and overcoming faith.



photo courtesy of Ria Algra @ pixabay.com

The Christian Focus

 

Every single thing on this earth is going to pass away into nothingness at some point — everything, that is, except the people living on this planet. Every one of those people will live forever — for all eternity — either in the joyous presence of the Lord Himself, or in a place of sorrow and torment because they refused to choose the one way that leads to life with God.

Since everything else that we acquire, build, play with, and regard as valuable is heading for dissolution, shouldn’t we be focused intently on the people who pass through our lives? They all have one chance — one lifetime — to accept God’s offer of eternity with Him. That offer requires accepting Jesus Christ His Son as their Lord. He’s the only one who paid the price for their sin and who offers them His own righteousness to make them worthy to live with the Creator forever. But most of them don’t recognize Him at all.

As believers in Jesus Christ, then, our highest calling and our greatest undertaking is to be Jesus to every person we connect with — whether in the marketplace, the street, the factory, the business office, or the halls of government. Wherever and whenever we have the opportunity, let us be diligent to place the highest value on people and their need to know and comprehend Jesus the Christ.


(Matthew 24:35, Isaiah 40:8)


Living With Abandon

 

Life is challenging even in the best of times. But sometimes we need to stop everything and take stock of just what we are giving ourselves to as we travel through that life. Many people don’t realize that we all tend to give place to – or even collect – some objects, people, and experiences that do us more harm than good. Periodically, we need to take a good long look at those collections and do some house cleaning.

In fact, we need to throw out some things and walk away from them forever. Abandonment isn’t always a negative term. And if you’ve been feeling a little bound up, a little negative, a little pressed, stressed, and overwhelmed lately, I’d say it’s time to abandon some stuff.

Abandon your fears. Abandon your insecurities. Abandon your doubts. Abandon your past failures. Abandon the negative words others have spoken concerning your abilities or your future. Abandon the so-called ‘friends’ who do not draw from you your best and highest.

Life is too short to live it in fear, doubt, and the faulty judgments of other people. If you’re going to get anything out of this life, you’re going to have to put a lot into it. And you can’t do that if you’re constantly afraid or second-guessing because of past failures or someone else’s opinions.

Stand up and lay hold of this day in faith. God made you, so He loves you. And because He made you, He obviously has a plan for your whole life. Maybe you’ve never spent enough time with Him to find out about the plan. Or perhaps you’ve started living for Him, but you’ve gotten side-tracked or knocked down, and you’ve shifted your focus to the negatives in your life.

Well, today is the best time to turn your focus back to Him. Take His hand and let Him lead you where He wants to take you. Let Him show you His delightful plan for your life. Then get started – or re-started – carrying it out.

Abandon what is negative, dark, and destructive. Seize what is positive, light, and life-giving. Then go out there and LIVE!



It’s Pouring Rain!

 

It is absolutely pouring rain at my house. I mean sheets and sheets of hard rain, descending with purpose. But I’m not feeling the least bit sad about it. You see, my windows are open, and I can hear the rhythmic beat as the torrents hit the ground with resolution. It’s like a satisfying loud symphony, with all nature providing the orchestra. I can breathe in the unique fragrance that is a fusion of just mown grass and freshly washed air.

The flowering pear tree across the road is vying with the rain to be the center of attention. It’s pure white blossoms are startling as they stand out through the smoky gray curtain that’s obviously intent on maintaining center stage for now.

The force of the downpour at the very beginning stirred my soul and wakened me from what was about to become a mid-afternoon stupor. And now — ten minutes into the storm — the downpour has settled to a sure, steady pattern that sooths and relaxes me.

Two-thirds of the sky is heavy and gray, but to the southeast, I see a small patch of bright turquoise, just waiting for it’s chance to take over after the storm wears itself out. And wear out it will. No elements can keep up such an energetic production for a long period of time. Like all good things, it’s limited to a fragment of time. But its enough. In fact, its just exactly enough to allow us to enjoy it properly.

Deep breath — satisfying sigh — I’m happy in the moment. 🙂

 


What I’m Doing for NaPoWriMo

 

Just a little note to let my followers here know that for this year’s National Poetry Writing Month 30-day challenge, I’m writing and posting all my poems on my regular poetry site: AHYOKA.  So if you’re interested in following the 30 days of new poems, just hop over there. In past years, I’ve posted the NaPoWriMo poems on this site, but I’m trying to get myself more organized, and I don’t always have time to post them here and on the poetry site both. So it’s only right to let the AHYOKA site do the job.

Hope to see all you poetry lovers over there.  🙂


Maundy Thursday – What It Means for Christians Today


Today is Maundy Thursday, the day in the Easter season when we celebrate Jesus instituting what we generally refer to as “The Lord’s Supper” or “Holy Communion.” But many Christians have no in-depth understanding of all that meal involves or how it can affect our lives in this natural world when we take it as the Lord originally intended. I’m sharing here an excerpt from my book “HEALING IS FOR YOU!” in an effort to bring greater light and revelation concerning the power in the Lord’s Supper for everyone who will believe.

THE LORD’S SUPPER / HOLY COMMUNION

When we partake of the Lord’s Supper, or Holy Communion, we need to realize that we are coming into vital contact with Jesus Himself and should expect that something definite will happen to us for our good. The beauty of God’s plan in instituting this meal of faith far surpasses what most churches allow for it. The meal itself is really only a part of the original Passover meal instituted the night before God led the Israelites out of Egypt. Therefore, in order to understand its power for us, we need to go back and look at the Passover carefully.

In Exodus, chapter 12, we have the story. The Lord instructed the Israelites to take an unblemished lamb, one per household, and slaughter it at twilight. They were warned not to break any bones in the lamb’s body and to roast it that evening and eat it at once. Nor were they to leave any of it overnight; but must burn any leftovers. This action prohibited anyone not in relationship with God from partaking of the benefit of this sacrifice, which, of course, looked forward to Jesus. They were then to take hyssop and dip it into the blood of the lamb and apply it to the doorposts and lintels of their houses.

All Israelites were to stay inside their houses, under the blood, if they would be spared. The Lord told them that the destroyer would come through the land of Egypt and kill every firstborn in Egypt – not just Egyptian firstborn – but every firstborn, both of man and livestock. The only escape from this plague was the one instituted by God Himself – the blood of the unspotted lamb on the door-posts. Anyone within the house covered by the applied blood was kept safe. Notice that God did not give them a choice of avenues of escape that depended on their personal preferences; nor does He give us choices, beloved. If we want God’s protection and help, we must follow His plan for receiving it or lose out.

All who followed the Lord’s instructions were delivered from the plague of death that night, but that was not all of the Passover meal’s benefit. Psalm 105:37 tells us that when He brought them out (the very next day) there was not one in the estimated two and a half to three million people who were sick or unable to travel. Let’s read it right from God’s Word: “He brought them out with silver and gold; and among His tribes there was not one who stumbled.” That word stumbled in the Hebrew language means literally “to be feeble, weak, cast down, or decayed”. Praise God!

You know, beloved, that in the natural, a group of that size would have its share of people who were suffering from disease and degeneration of body, who would not be in any shape to make an exhausting trip like the one that lay before them. So there must have been something miraculous that took place from the time they partook of the lamb the previous evening to the time of departure. The blood broke the power of the plague and death, and the body of the lamb, blessed by God and eaten according to His exact instructions, imparted physical health and strength to these obedient people.

1 Corinthians 5:7 says, “… For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.” Jesus Christ is considered the final Passover Lamb – the final sacrifice to break the power of the curse and death. The Lord told Israel that they were to celebrate the Passover meal as an everlasting celebration throughout all generations. When Jesus celebrated it with His disciples He explained that the elements of that meal, indeed the meal itself, was looking forward to His coming and completing the plan of God for man’s total deliverance; not just from Egypt, but from sin and all the curse that resulted from it.

If you take time to study the Passover meal, you find that certain elements, particularly a portion of bread and a glass of wine, were always set aside in recognition of the coming Messiah. However, Jesus took these very elements and handed them to His disciples saying, as in Matthew 26:26-28: “… Take, eat; this is My body,” and “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.”

He’s telling them that from now on, they won’t partake of the Passover celebration to remember the great deliverance from Egypt, but to remember the finished work accomplished by Him for our ultimate deliverance from sin and all its evil consequences. Moreover, they are to believe that as they partake of the elements of the meal, they also partake, in a special way, of the powerful effects of His blood (which breaks the power of sin and its curse) and His body (which took our infirmities and carried away our diseases). That Body and Blood have overcome, and bring to each of us that same victory.

That is why the Lord moved on St. Paul to write in 1 Corinthians 11:27-30:
“Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep (die).”

Many Christians mistakenly think that when the Word refers here to judging or discerning the body rightly, that it means discerning the body of believers – the church – as the body of Christ. However, that is not the case. In the following chapter of 1 Corinthians, reference is made to the body of believers being recognized. But in these verses, the Lord is referring to the actual physical body of Christ that was sacrificed for us.

Note verse 27 again. If we fail to acknowledge that in this meal we are coming into vital contact with that body and blood and its accomplished work, we are guilty of both the body and blood of the Lord Himself. And then verse 30 extends the instruction by saying that many are sick and dying early because they have failed this acknowledgment.

It is an understatement to say that this is not an experience to trifle with. It carries within it the power of life and death. The Word speaks of examining or judging ourselves before we partake. That does not mean, dear believer, that we are to see all of our shortcomings and sins and say we are just too unworthy to partake. No, not at all. We are to see our sins, but we are to see the glorious power in the body and blood offered for us to wipe out those sins and their power over us.

We can’t make ourselves worthy to receive the Lord’s Supper. But acknowledging that we need it so desperately and that it embodies the elements that worked our deliverance from sin, the world, and our flesh, is what makes us ready to partake of it and all its merits. When we come to the Lord’s table, we must be sure that we believe that He is there and that these elements bring the real power of His death and resurrection to us – spirit, soul, and body. Some of the people of Corinth were sick and dying because they were eating this meal just like they would any other. They were ignoring the presence of the very God Himself, Who worked their salvation.

The other side of this coin is that when we truly believe and receive in this meal the Lord Jesus Himself and the full effect of His sacrificed, resurrected body and blood, we can receive into ourselves all that was purchased for us by Him – not the least of which is healing. There have been times in my experience, when I believed God for physical healing and felt led to partake of the Lord’s Supper in sweet communion with the Lord alone. I took my unleavened bread and wine and went apart by myself with the Lord. I meditated on what the Word says His body and blood have accomplished for me, and I prayed that He would meet me at that very moment with a special releasing of those blessings. I have never failed to experience results in those cases. I have done the same at times when I needed healing in my soul also, with equal benefit.

I know believers who have been led to partake of the Lord’s Supper every day, or several times a day, for a period of time, while seeking healing from the Lord, only to have the full benefits of His body and blood manifested in their flesh as a result. Many have been the testimonies, also, of believers who had been holding onto the Lord for some time for the miracle they needed, and during communion service at church, as they truly perceived the presence of the Lord, they received their healing need met.

This is not some formula, beloved. But this is one of the many avenues God has provided for us to be able to release our faith and receive from Him. As we have said before, everything of God has healing and life in it. You must draw close to the Lord and let His Spirit lead you into which avenue or combination of avenues will bring the manifestation of your miracle