Monday, October 20, 2014
Imagine if you please a glorious banquet that lasts for six months provided by a King that rules the land! All military leaders, all princes, and nobles of all nations are at this party, abiding in the midst of opulent wealth, and enjoying the abundance of this King. After six months in attendance of this grand event, all the people from the least to the greatest were then extended another banquet that lasted for seven days. This time the banquet was held in the private, enclosed garden of the King's palace. White and blue linen hung all around, fastened with cords of white and purple material. Silver rings held the drapes that stretched down marble pillars. Ornate couches of gold sitting atop a mosaic pavement of marble, mother-of-pearl and other costly stones. The royal wine is served by stewards in goblets of gold and each guest was allowed to drink all the wine they desired. With that picture fixed in your mind, now imagine that this King sends you an invitation to attend this event. He sends his servants out with a special invitation to you, with a request that you wear a royal crown, the sign that you are His. You are told that the purpose of this special invitation, the command of the King, was so that the King may display your beauty, your loveliness to all the people and the nobles. You were too busy at the time you received this invitation and you refused the King. Your choice to remain with your girl friends rather than accomodate the King's desire for you was admitedly a stubborn selfish act of defiance. Priority is hard! The book of Esther has many RICH lessons. CONSIDER the drama, the intrigue, power and romance of the TRUE story of an ORPHAN who God chose to become the Queen who would then save His people! REMEMBER: "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." As you read the book of Esther, listen for the trumpet call! Imagine how God might call on you to save someone, or perhaps even to deliver a city under seige. Because Queen Vashti said no to the King, God used this thing to work for the good of the insecure, mortified orphan Haddassah! Her uncle named MORDACAI, a single Jew suddenly became a dad! Perhaps without the experience of being a dad or a husband, Mordacai brought up his niece Hadassah like he was raised --- with a flushing of God's word! Without a thought for her gender...Perhaps Uncle Mordie taught Hadassah/Esther scriptures! Do you think Uncle Mordie and his niece spent time in God's word? Hmmmm....she was obedient to his teachings even as the Queen of Susa. Esther was taught to respect her parents. Some bible scholars believe that the FACT that Hadassah AKA Esther had two names, that this IS significant! Consider the TWO NAMES, the two truths, of Saul and Paul? The two sides to each of us. Our born again, spirit filled soul, and our evil twin with bad habits. The two sons of Abraham. Ishmel born out of disobedient impatience. Then Isaac, God's promised seed, born unto Abraham and Sarah at the age of 100! Consider the human nature of each babe born into this world, into the traditions, the heritage, the expectations of Jewish; German; Irish; Italian; African; Japanese cultures that are under the influence of current world views. THEN consider the TRUTH of when we were BORN AGAIN! "And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations." Ezekiel 36:26 ~ When we receive a new life, a new heart filled by His Holy Spirit, we are adopted into His kingdom, and the kingdom of God is within! We are infused with His power, and the all the gifts of His Spirit. At that moment we became His royal subject and given the royal privilege of approaching the King without being summoned! The Creator of our bones dwells as Holy in the hidden, unseen place of our heart. Concealed in the interior of our bone, in our very marrow, according to His will, in His design, according to His purpose we hold incorruptible BEAUTY and TRUTH in our souls ---the Holy Spirit. Many like Hadassah/Esther have lived as orphans - with absentee parents, or parents who did not know Jesus, or exactly like Esther, an orphan without parents. Hadassah/Esther was lost, and God appointed a single Jewish man who had once lived with prominence, then became a slave ~ to raise this sad little girl. Uncle Mordie taught Hadassah/Esther that they must trust that God has a plan for them, regardless of their current circumstance of poverty. Hadassh/Esther grew in God's favor and her beauty was attractive to the king. She was taken from Uncle Mordie into the palace and prepared as one of hundreds to be presented to the king. Uncle Mordie warned her to not reveal that she was a jew and to change her name to Esther. She was crowned as a royal Queen, she lived in the palace with incorruptible beauty dwelling inside her --- she was lovely --- but with the inner conflict, the memory of who she was, as her constant source of humility --- which God used FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS - Now in 2012 those who have been chosen, who have been inhabited by the Holy Spirit have the same Royal heritage! The root meaning of the name Esther is --- to conceal, hidden. Our royal heritage is a fact, and we all must remember who we were when we were called. God uses our weakness, our sin as He builds our character --- for His purpose, that we might have compassion for others with the same sinful nature...FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS! The Holy Spirit speaks to our spirit and says "YOU CAN DO THIS". In the book of Esther we are first introduced to King Xerxes and Queen Vashti. In chapter two we are introduced to a new character, Mordecai the Jew, a captive of Israel, not in his homeland. God commanded that the Jews not worship other Gods, but they did, and they got "carried away". In the KJV of Esther Chap 2:6 God repeats His point of this Jew named Mordecai "who had been "carried away" from Jerusalem, which had been "carried away" with the King of Judah, who the King of Babylon had "carried away". We are getting to know God, through His eyes, through the testimony of Mordecai, that Jew --- as God tells it. APPLICATION in 2012? WOMEN OF THE WORD We cannot get to know one another unless there is truth, a window of transparency between us ~ about who our parents were, where we were born, and those things that we get "carried away" with. Like chocolate, men, appearance, pride, and what caused us to take that second helping! If my story was documented as a testimony for teaching, in the records, on the roll call of God, it may read like this: Barbara, daughter of Earl from Arkansas, and mother Maria, from Germany, who was "carried away" from her family to the USA. Maria gave birth to Barbara in the village of Modesto, who had been "carried away" from Modesto to Stockton. Barbara weds Robert and gives birth to one son named Jason, who is "carried away" away by the ways of the world. Barbara had been "carried away" looking for love in all the wrong places. My captivity, my prison, my bondage was to the enemy of my soul! Guilt, shame, worry, concern of how the world perceived me, not thinking of how God loved me. Has anybody else ever been carried off into the bondage of self-condemnation? Barbara finally accepted that she was forgiven, that she has been purchased, adopted, and redeemed ~ filled with the Holy Spirit, today, she trusts that she is as a princess in the eyes of God. There is nothing to say to convince anyone of my truth, or of the reality of the story of Esther. OKAY back to INSIGHTS on the TIME of Mordecai and Hadassah, otherwise known as Esther, the Jew. The upper class exile Jews in 597 BC were taken into captivity by the King of Babylon Nebuchadnezzar as trophy's. (Ezra 2:2)lists Mordecai as an exile who was set free to return to Jerusalem. Much happens in the letter of Ezra, then in (Ezra 7:13) A decree from King Artaxerxes says that anyone who wishes to go home can. (Ezra 8) Lists the family heads that returned with Ezra and that list does not include Mordecai. So Mordecai was an educated, upper class Jew who had possessions, then became a slave who had nothing. By getting to know Mordecai in the book of Esther, we learn that this Jew had a position inside the palace of King Xerxes in Susa. Mordecai could have gone to his homeland, but he did not, therefore he was a part of the 6 month party inside the Kings palace. The COMPLEXITY of Mordecai's inner soul is known by God, the same as God knows our hearts and how losing a mate, money, or our position in life tends to wind our clocks pretty tight! Mordecai might have needed time to battle it out with God, to humble himself, lose his pride, and confess his bitterness, his sense of entitlement, his unforgiving spirit. We must ask ourselves why God chose to introduce us to this man who lost everything? Did we, like Esther have a terrible loss, with great victory to follow? Consider the characters throughout the bible that God chooses to raise up and place in positions of influence? Moses stuttered, Jeremiah resisted, the widow Ruth, the prostitute, a fisherman, Mordecai and an orphan named Esther. Were they given positions of influence for their will or God's will? As we root around in His word, we find more HOPE in what God does with our weakness. The trials of Mordecai produced a humble character that God could use. We are all chosen by God, beloved by God, disciplined by God, forgiven by the GOOD SHEPHERD and then used by God, to encourage, to energize, to inspire others! Now I am getting "carried away" again! TIME TO REWIND our FAMILY HISTORY: How about that pain, the grief, the loss that lingers? How about that cousin, that aunt, uncle or parent who struggles quietly with their past? Praise God for the emotions He gave us, for the compassion we are called to employ. "Love ourselves as we are loved, and love one another as we are loved" As God tugs on our soul, when stuff comes up, we write it down, and take it to the King of Kings on bended knee at His throne. As we consider our past, our unfaithful dad, the grandpa who had a house, money in the bank, a retirement fund, and lost it all in the depression. Or maybe we lost our job, mate, money or position? Now, praise be to God, we can now look through the eyes of Mordecai and Esther and feel connected to their weakness. Let us gladly surrender and choose to confess to God our need for deliverance and restoration. Are ye listening to what the Spirit is saying? Let us ask the Holy Spirit to increase our love for ourselves, our JOY, and our peace that comes with understanding. Uncle Mordie held onto God in his grief and difficult circumstance ~ WHY? Because the prince of lies fights to steal our joy and convince us that we will never be good enough. The deceiver is the one who defeats us with depression and excessive mourning over a loss that God uses to build our character. All emotions are a gift from God, and they are complex --- just like an intricate embroidery with many colors all woven together to make a beautiful tapestry. Mordecai was entangled in the weave of God's love and his immediate needs. In the midst of it all, he suddenly inherits his orphaned cousin, a Jewish girl named Hadassah (which means fragrant) to care and provide for. "Whom he had brought up because she had neither father or mother" So the past tense of God's word tells us that this girl had come from the trauma of losing her mother and dad at an early age. Esther had a devastating loss as a child, and her sadness was to be somehow comforted by her uncle Mordecai --- but who was to teach her how to be a lady, a queen? She was described as an orphan and lovely in form. With Esther's character firmly established we can follow God's purpose in His word for us. (Esther 2:8) "When the king's order and edict had been proclaimed, many girls were brought to the citadel of Susa and put under the care of Hegai." Now consider her past and what courage it took "in" Esther to be "carried away" from uncle Mordecai, the only father she knew --- and trust the Lord that all things are used by God for good! The words are not in the text to describe the condition of Esther's heart as she was swept away, but if it were me, I would be inconsolably hysterical! God knew the heart of this Jewish girl and God chose her for His will to be done in this exciting drama. COMING UP NEXT, KEEP READING: A true story of amazing redemption with a twist of God's wonderful humor! What a Father we have, that gives us a detailed look at our family album, the Holy Bible! Can you just give Jesus a sincere, heartfelt praise right now! What depth has He lifted you out of? Every soul has a deep sorry spot from which a seed of faith grew. Thank God for it, and lets read on about the DESTINY of Esther, Israel, and the DESTINY God has planned for those who believe in Him! By the power of His presence, right here and right now, may the Holy Spirit cause a internal combustion in your soul as a result of what is possible for those who trust and believe in our Sovereign Lord! GOD knew us before we were born, and He pre-destined us to fulfill an important role in His divine plan. A big lesson in the book of Esther is that we must NOT attempt to amputate our past, or minimize it's importance in the development of our character. Our past is a vital part of who we are, it adds depth and compassion to who we become for God, for His purpose. AMEN. Without gratitude for our history, we cannot appreciate the opulent opportunities before us. Truth is, for most of my life I would have quickly traded my history for most anybody with a square root family! But as I get to know God, and appreciate what He has done in me, and through me, in spite of my poor choices, or my genetic heritage, I would not switch with anybody! God has given me lots of grace, lots of time to reflect, and to enjoy many makeovers! I have been a Blondie, a redhead, and a size 6! But in the story of Esther we read that God provided Esther with a year off to reflect, to be pampered in beauty treatments, and consider her chance to rise above the circumstance as queen. HEAR YE, RIGHT NOW HERE YE! We are the KING OF KINGS, adopted daughters, that makes each of us a ROYAL PRINCESS. Esther's greater beauty was her childlike heart, her ability to open up and embrace what was before her. Her time alone allowed her to remember her father and mother. Every day Mordecai walked near the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was doing. WATCH as the purpose and destiny of GOD enfolds in Esther's life, and while reading this consider who has been a praying encouraging Mordecai in your life? (Esther 2:19) "But Esther had kept secret her family background and nationality just as Mordecai had told her to do, for she continued to follow Mordecai's instructions as she had done when he was bringing her up." How has the evil one decieved you? What voice are you listening to? Lord reveal to us what conspiracy has attempted to destroy your plan for us. Give us discernment Lord that we ASK for prayer to silence the voice that is not from Thee. Uncle Mordie over heard a plot to kill the king and tells Esther. As a result Mordecai the Jew was recorded in the book of the King. (Esther 3) Haman, the Agagite was elevated to a seat of honor, higher than all the nobles. All officials of the Kings gate knelt before Haman, but Mordecai refused to kneel to any man, only to His Sovereign Lord. This outraged Haman and he convinced the king to issue a decree to kill all the Jews. (Esther 4:12) After immense remorse, wailing and several nights crying out to God, Mordecai writes to the Queen "Do not think that because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have COME to royal position for such a time as this" Mordecai did not forget how God provided for him after his captivity, that God is great, God is capable, and God will not forget His promise of deliverance and redemption. WE must also not forget how God delivered us from our slavery, from our bondage, AND that is why we are not to amputate our past, but let our past fuel our JOY in what the Lord has made of it! Let us TAKE the COURAGE and pray in the Spirit. "But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit" JUDE 20 NKJV ~ Let our tongues loose all that is within and pray to God in a language of the Spirit, that He may build us up in our FAITH in His plan to use us for His greater purpose. The word courage comes from the Latin root word COR which means heart. We are to TAKE COURAGE and TRUST in GOD completely, without the doubt that fills any IF. Any human prayer with the preface of "IF it is in God's will" is a prayer spoke in doubt and fear, without trust. We cannot TRUST GOD completely when we have not allowed God to take hold of our tongue and speak beyond the flesh of our human understanding. IF God answsers my prayer, THEN ~ I will trust Him, this does not work! IF God will let me hang onto ...? IF God will heal ...? IF God will provide? We are called to TRUST GOD completely without any IF's! Esther fasted for three days - and with courage, knowing in her heart that God loved her, that He will walk with her, that His plan for her was greater than life itself, Esther then said "If I perish, I perish"! She chose to TAKE the COURAGE that God offers all of us! Esther relied on the power within her, she TRUSTED who God is and that all that she will ever have comes from the Lover of her soul. She saw her future as God promised and there was no fear of death in her! Esther approached the king without being summoned. She was a noble woman, as courageous as any soldier, she was prepared to lay down her life for God! Pride comes before a fall, and in the story of Esther, Haman was certain that when Esther approached the King without being summoned she would lose her life! READ chapter 7 and discover that Haman fell as a result of his pride! He lost his high position in the Kings court and his life. Haman hung on the very gallows he had constructed to hang Mordecai and Queen Esther was given the estate of Haman. NOW IS THE TIME TO PRAY in faith and boldly "And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness." ACTS 4:31 NKJV ~ It is TIME to seperate the liar from the truth and rejoice in our victory and hang the liar, the voice of doubt and fear! "For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor". Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart and reveal His lesson in the book of Esther. Delight in your God ordained DESTINY in 2012. Perhaps your triumph and victory to overcome trials has brought you to your knees in gratitude to our King! Perhaps you have come to the royal position in the court of Jesus for such a time as 2012 to deliver His people from bondage with a revival like Azusa street! GET UNDERSTANDING: "For if I pray in tongues, my spirit is praying, but I don’t understand what I am saying. Well then, what shall I do? I will pray in the spirit, and I will also pray in words I understand. I will sing in the spirit, and I will also sing in words I understand. For if you praise God only in the spirit, how can those who don’t understand you praise God along with you? How can they join you in giving thanks when they don’t understand what you are saying?" 1 Corinthians 14:14-16 NLT
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Without a hitch we met up with Steve, Marla, Paula and Kater Bugs for lunch and laughter at the Palomar in downtown Santa Cruz. Mike was aptly inspired to purchase a pair of flip flops at a surf shop. We then we strolled hand in hand down the boardwalk and flew across the water with a God's eye view. We stuck our toes in the sand at Seascape beach and then topped off the day under a stand of mighty Eucalyptus trees at Le Selva beach. The time had come to share the vision of dancing with God as we listened to a rhapsody of music while traveling along Pacheco Pass. He dwells within our PRAISES and His radiant power renews, restores and saturates our mind with words, ideas, and memories. God gave us such a magnificent gift in that we GET TO CHOOSE to remind ourselves of what God showed us, where He led us, and in that MEMORY we are blessed with increased HOPE for all the good that is yet to come on earth, as it is in heaven! Refreshed in my spirit, the panorama of our mind is unlimited ~ Bathing my mind with living, lush thoughts ~ another moment with God comes to mind, a time alone dancing in the foam of crashing waves in Chacala ~ A Valentine trip with Jesus Feb 14, 2008. "PEACE, do not be afraid" Only receive the Person of Peace, the Holy Spirit as He takes up residence in thee. My indwelt Peace does not tolerate the spirit of religion and He pokes me with conviction whenever thoughts that I am any less a sinner than the person next to me. Inhabited by the Presence of God, I am His chosen host. Without striving, by my sweet surrender, in sync with the will of God, victory comes effortlessly as I release Peace into the atmosphere of wherever I travel. Our choice of focus can bless us or mess us up if we listen to the liar, and expect that foul things are about to ponce and dash our dreams. Once upon a time, it was a unconscious choice to think that I was unworthy to linger in JOY. Keeping an intensely hectic work schedule, and trying too hard on my own, kept me from experiencing the Peace of God within. Today this KEPT WOMAN has learned that a better more beneficial choice is to practice yielding to God, and simply let God lead, and gleefully walk "this way" in His ever present power. After all, the truth is that God commanded His angels to look after me ~ and I believe what God says is true! In 2008 I pranced along the shores of Chacala with a dream of living JESUS among a simple people that knew Him not ~ On Christmas day 2009, He led me to Chapala! Following Him, required that I trust Him completely along a bumpy path that eventually delivered me to a village of fishermen and expats from around the globe! As a keeper of His Word, and His promises, He delights as I enjoy long walks and talks with Mike. Together we meander on trails along the Delta and in July we allowed waves to wash away our past at Seascape beach. Each moment is a treasure and a reason to praise God for His will and ways to bring people together for His purpose. As He paints magnificent murals to decorate the walls of my mind ~ I rejoice to share the intimacy with the Holy One who coos in my ear. His words, His promises, His instructions, His mercy, His grace, His generosity, and His love erupts within me! My Spirit is quickened with a joyful BITE of His truth ~ that my faith, hope and love of God increases as I love who I am to Him and in Him. Feeling blessed and privileged to be called His own, and to be His 'KEPT' woman, ahhhh I surrender! To be the woman that my Lord treasures as His bride, as a woman of noble character. To believe that I am worth far more than rubies! That my Beloved endowed me with His Holy Spirit, to ensure that I have full confidence and lack nothing of value! That He trusts that my gifts, my service, my work, my love shall bring Him honor and glory all the days of my life. That I will select the most basic labors and work with eager hands. My Lord sees the larger map of my soul, that I am His vessel that brings sustenance, His sustaining food, from a Source that is far distant from this world. He wakes me up while it is still dark, to provide nourishment for the family of souls that He surrounds me with. As He overflows me with an abundance, I am able to give a portion to those that serve me. He made it possible for me to consider a field in Mexico, and purchase it; out of my earnings and from my inheritance, I am able to plant a vineyard for a future harvest. Because of His generosity, I've been enabled by the Holy Spirit to set about my work vigorously, with strength in my arms for the tasks. Sharpened in His wisdom, my trading of hours for dollars is profitable, and there is ever adequate Oil for the Lamp within my soul. He has placed in my hands the ability to grasp opportunity with my fingers and open my arms to the poor in Spirit. My desire is to extend hope to the desperate who know not that they need God. When the tides change, there is no fear in me for lack, for I am able to cover my lot with the blood of Jesus. He blankets me with protection as I rest in Him. My Lord has clothed me in His fine royal robe of righteousness. My Master's will is respected "IN" and at the gate of my mind and soul, where He sits on His throne among the elder saints of this world. Telling the stories of the saints of old, I paint word pictures for this generation in His order that the Word is visible, and God's vision journeys on to touch future generations. Even in 1969, in this High School photo, unbeknownst to me, I was clothed with His love, His strength, grace and dignity Today in 2012 I am released to laugh at the days to come, no matter what condition the world is in, or the economy of Stockton. The Holy Spirit enables me to speak with wisdom, and delight in the faithful instruction that is on my tongue. My Lord has taught me to watch carefully over the inside condition of my tent, and reminds me to not eat the bread of idleness. His children shall awaken, and call me blessed; as will my Husband also, as He praises me now, saying "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate." Proverbs 31 embraced by His chosen bride, Barbara Alley. KEEPING a photo journal is my visual reminder that my EXTERIOR appearance matters NOT to God. The condition of my INTERIOR soul, where the Holy Spirit resides, is where I clean regularly by confession to keep it comfy for my holy Spirit. God has used my brokeness, my pain, my denial, to show me the TRUTH that only the gift of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, can enable me to experience the power of a changed life in Christ. The comments below this post REVEAL that I have always been His beloved KEPT WOMAN. The truth behind each image is that I was lost, empty and afraid. I was babtized and given the gift of the Holy Spirit on June 19, 1985. But without my complete surrender, as I held on to parts of myself, I continued to struggle as I grieved the Holy Spirit. It is my hope that today I reflect God. No matter what my exterior fashion is. As a chosen daughter, a princess of the most high King, I am who I am, and I am constantly AMAZED by His grace as I look back on how distant, how neglectful I have been to the Lover of my SOUL. "But you will receive power WHEN the Holy Spirit comes to you. THEN you will be My witnesses to testify about me in Jerusalem (Stockton), throughout Judea (Mexico) and Samaria (all nations), and to the ends of the earth." I am blessed and full of praise for Who created me, for Who faithfully has loved me unconditionally, Who has never left my side, for Who dwells in the midst of me, without judgement, but full of mercy and a burning desire for my call on His wisdom. The confident knowledge of this world is vast. But, the idea of the ideal is also of the world. Whatever science reveals to be truth ~ has the thumbprint of man ~ who was created by God! What I choose TODAY to believe is different than many. It also may cause argument and outgage, as it always has. Being rejected by intellectuals puts me in the company of God. The mind of man is a trap for that which pours in through the eyes, the ears, and the dark influences. I believe the only true wisdom is from God, the author of my soul. A KEPT woman who is enraptured by the love of God, listens for His voice and trusts what the Spirit is saying. People come along with ideas about God, some science, and a theory that as long as we are kind, good people, God will allow us to be close to Him, that He will respond to our prayers. Some people of FAITH tempt us to "come along, don't be so serious, party with us ~ drink wine, be happy!" The LIAR comes along side to entice us with a promies of riches, of fame and all that money can buy while gaining recognition and high regard by our peers. The dark one hovers with clouds of doubt...and whispers, "you are nothing, you will never be anything, go ahead kill your miserable self, forget God, he never loved you, you have nothing to live for....just shoot yourself and get the pain over with!" All the innocent woman wanted was the PEACE that surpasses all understanding, her Everything. That sense of purpose, of being truly loved and cherished. She fights to return to God, His Peace, the Holy Spirit, her Counselor, Helper, Comforter, while the ways of the world lay grip on her soul --to keep her from LOVE itself. BUT our SIN is like WATER that is poured over the FIRE of the HOLY SPIRIT. Our sin grieves the HOLY SPIRIT and until we confess, and AGREE with God that we have sinned, and turn away from our "old" ways, we cannot abide in His full power. Jesus is the Light, the Truth, and the Way to the everlasting presence of the Holy Spirit...now and forever. Through continual repentance, by constantly agreeing that I am nothing without God, that I am easily tempted and taken off His path by pleasure, by beauty, by the promises of the culture, the TV, the news, by the fleeting ways of the world. To give God my soul, my body, my mind as a living sacrifice, is craziness to the world! A very funny but true comment I heard in a sermon stuck in my spirit: "Living sacrifices tend to crawl off the alter!" YUP ~ we all sin, we all fall short, and we all need grace every day! God's purpose for ALL of us is found in scripture - "And so dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice - the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him" Romans 12:1 -- To DENY myself, my wants, my needs, my desires and surrender completely? To obey God's Word, His leading and serve others, unselfishly ~ this command is entirely IMPOSSIBLE without the HOLY HELPER! Why do I love God? How can I love God so much? What power do I possess outside of the Holy Spirit? What chance do I have without God on my side? What possibility do I have to radiate peace, joy and beam happiness without God? Because, He first loved me, I have been given His love, to love others with! In order to continuously be filled with the Holy Spirit, we must continually AGREE that we fall short, that we mess up, that we sin against a holy God. The Holy Spirit cannot abide where sin exists. We grieve the Holy Spirit when we lie, gossip, covet, speak ill of others, exhibit anger, treat others disrespectfully ~ or say that we do not sin. The apostle Peter reminds me that we are all quick to deny God to protect ourselves from not being respected by man. The Holy Spirit resides within us, He is holy, so we must remain holy to remain filled and useful. No matter how shiny we keep our exterior, or how wide we smile and recite scripture, the power of the Holy Spirit will NOT work through us, or speak through us when we proclaim the truth of the bible. Our job is to simply tell our story, to speak the truth outloud to others. The Holy Spirit then enters the hearts of those we speak to and does the work - the conversion. Trusting NOT in our ability, but in the power that is given as a GOOD GIFT, the Holy Spirit, the Helper, our Comforter, the mighty filling of the Counselor..."So that whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything to the glory of God." Acts 4:31. On my own, I cannot do anything worthy of God's glory WITHOUT the help of the Holy Spirit. ALL human research or example HAS defects of character, including mine. Human love is always conditional, but when the love of God, and the fear (respect) of God, and Who HE is...engulfs a soul, the unconditional reality of God's love is then available to offer another. Our FAITH in He who resides within overpowers all that comes against us, that battles within us, to accomplish our Fathers will. AMEN The self-torture to believe my doubts, and doubt my beliefs had me clinging to any new teaching that came along. The passing praise of people looses its power to inflame us with pride ~ while all along, God the Father, Jesus the Son, the Holy Spirit, all in One, is Who pursues, it is He that captures our heart, it is He who draws us unto Himself. When we come to realize that our way is inferior, He delights in our surrender, and our request for His HELP! We go home to the Father to be comforted and wiped clean, renewed, and forgiven. We who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior have always been the host of the Holy Ghost! He has waited for us to claim His power and allow Him to shed light and transform our thoughts to His. What man does with the intent of doing harm --- SURPRISE! Our sweet merciful Lord, as in the story of Joesph ---uses the intended harm in a way that brings honor and glory to the Creator of all people! Ask to be shown what to confess, Ask for more faith, Ask to be used, Ask for a miracle, Ask to be changed, Ask, Ask, Ask and it is be given, full measure, pressed down, according to your faith,He overwhelms us with greater than our wildest expectations. God uses all things for good! For His glory...always, every day! He used a shoe salesman that could not write, spell or understand the bible to reach millions---DL MOODY. God wants to take pleasure in watching us use the gifts He has given us. Hmmm, How can I increase my Father's joy today? I am a 'KEPT' Woman! You see, there were a few times when I thought I would lose my mind, But GOD kept me sane. There are also times that I think I cannot get out of bed, But the LORD keeps me moving. At rare times, if I feel like lashing out at those whom I suspect in my flesh are devising wicked schemes against others, or me ~ I ask God to HELP ~ and He is faithful to give me patience, and to keep my lips sealed so that I do not interrupt the lessons for others or stir up dissension. God gave us unique personalities, talents and a strong will ~ for us to exercise, that we may accomplish all that we desire. The very desires of our hearts is a vision, a gift, an opportunity to vigorously utilize the immense power we have been given to realize what we imagine! What we VALUE above all tells the world about our faith in God. What if we VALUE our mate, our children, our home, our work most of all ~ and what if we loose them to My passion for more of God is what keeps me climbing UP and UP and UP! When I thought I would fall, HE lifted me up, when I am weak, HE keeps me strong! Increase my faith oh Lord, that You shall satisfy my desire to connect with a man who seeks You, who VALUES GOD above all things or people. Active, walking in faith, and being transformed by the renewing of my mind, God makes me GLAD with His often humorous, and surprising provision! Tuned into the 700 CLUB, Pastor Marc Maffucci, Pastor Mark Seagraves, and Pastor Bill in Redding ~ God answers even the silent prayers of the heart that He loves! In His time, for His purpose and for His pleasure. Yes Lord, thank You for this amazing life, and for introducing me to my personal angel! ACTS 12 - "But in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we've compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we're in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ." Romans 3:21 THE MESSAGE ~ The peace of Peter allowed him to sleep so soundly that the Angel of God had to rattle him awake!" "Peter is at the door!" The praying believers responded "You're out of your mind, it must be Peter's angel." Peter persisted in his knocking, they opened the door and they were ASTONISHED that their prayers for his release were answered! Let us NOT be astonished when God answers our prayers! We are His greatest pleasure! REJOICE!