Saturday, March 25, 2017

Encouragement to Those in the Midst of Temptation - 1

Are you discouraged because Satan won't leave you alone and is always hounding you to do something that you know is wrong?  I have been there and I am still being tempted to spend time on keeping up on the news, which is horrible these days and I could be spending time with Jesus in His word. Time is all we have in this world and it is important that we use it wisely.  What is your temptation?  I have had many temptations in life and because I am up in years and pray for God to send His Holy Spirit to help me, He has delivered me and protected me from Satan's temptations that I could never overcome on my own.  It is impossible for us to fight evil powers on our own. We don't have the power to resist or the strength.  Because of this, I want to study some texts of encouragement for us as we battle this spiritual evil power.  I need this and I'm sure others do too.

1 Corinthians 10:13  "There hath no temptation taken you but such  as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." ( I think of this verse ever so often, because Satan is so subtle that he will stoop to any length to get us in a trap of his and we need this encouragement and power to escape and we can escape if we are willing to let God control the situation. He will make a way of escape.)

Hebrews 2:18  "For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted."  (Succour means, someone who gives help, relief, aid)

James 1:2,3  "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations.  Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience." ( Divers meaning, diverse, different)

James 1:12  " Blessed is the man that endures temptation; for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to than that love Him,"

2 Peter 2:9  "The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished."

Revelation 3:10  "Because thou has kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth."

Life is so short and the reward that is waiting for those that resist temptation through the power of God is so great, eternal life with God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit and all the host of Angels that have been with us and guarded us through our life.  Temptation doesn't amount to much here compared to eternity with our Savior and Friend.  "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you."  This is the solution, to resist the devil and he will flee.  Draw nigh to God, and He will draw night to you.  If you can only think of these three words that Peter used when he was sinking in the waves, 'Jesus save me', at the name of Jesus Satan will flee, I know, I've had to do that and it works wonders.  Jesus is always there.  Never doubt His presence.  Grandma Joan

Friday, March 24, 2017

Glorifying God - 1

The next few blogs I would like to discuss the attributes and characters of God, of Christ, of the Holy Spirit and the Angels.  It sounds so awesome, and I am not worthy to speak their names but I am hungry to know more about them, so lets start out with God, this has to be a very rewarding study, I'm sure.  I am also sure that the benefit I receive from this study will be AWESOME.  Let's get started.

By Praise

Psalm 22:23  "Ye that fear the Lord, praise Him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify Him and fear Him, all ye the seed of Israel."

By Good Works

Matthew 5:16  "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

By Fruit Bearing

John 15:8  "Herein is my Father glorified that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples.'

By Spiritual Unity

Romans15:6  "That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."

By Entire Consecration

1 Corinthians 6:20  "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's"

After reading these verses, I realize that I need to let God do some work in my life that I may glorify Him more and more.  I need to praise Him more and let His light shine through me.  I certainly need to bear fruit to His glory and I should try to be an example of unity with my brothers and sisters, so that we could be of one mind and one mouth.  I also need to glorify Him more with better health.  Wow!  I have lots to surrender to Him for improvement, don't I.  Did it help you?  I surely hope so.  This was a good study and I think more is coming just like it.  Grandma Joan

Abiding In Him

I would like to focus in on John 15 today.  This is one chapter that I love to ponder over and over again.  I would like to ponder it with you this time.  It has such a wonderful message and such an important one too.

First of all, Jesus refers to Himself as the Vine and we are the branches, and every branch that doesn't bear fruit He removes it and those that bear fruit He prunes it so it will bear more fruit.  Pruning is sending trials to perfect our character so that we can bear much more fruit to His glory.

In verse 3, Jesus says that we are clean through His word that He has spoken to us, by studying His word, our characters change to be like Him and we are clean and in verse 4, He tells us, 'Abide in Me and, I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the Vine, no more can you except you abide in Me.'  We are not able to bring forth any fruit without Him.

Verse 5 tells us that He is the vine and we are the branches.  If we abide in Him and He in us, we will bring forth much fruit, for without Him we can do nothing.  And in verse 6, it tells us if the branch doesn't bring forth fruit and is withering up, it is cut off and thrown into the fire and burned.

Verse 7  "If you abide in me, an my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you.  Verse 8 says, 'this is how my Father is glorified that we bring forth much fruit; and you will be one of His disciples.'

Verse 9 "As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you: continue ye, in My love.  Verse 10, If ye keep my commandments; you shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love."

Do you want joy in your life?  Here is how you may have the fullness of joy!

Verse 11 "These things have I spoken unto you that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full."

Do you have joy in your heart?  You can, all it takes is trust in Christ that He will take care of you and you will also have an abundance of peace.

Maybe I have increased your desire to continue reading the rest of the chapter, but hopefully you know the importance of 'abiding in Christ'.  Without Him we can do nothing and with Him we can do all things.  Philippians 4:13.  It is so encouraging to read this chapter, especially the first eleven verses.  The rest is important too, but in my heart, I feel the need of a closer walk with Jesus and this always encourages me in that direction and I thought it might do the same for you.  May God bless you from the reading of His word today.  If God were first in our lives, we would be the happiest people in the world. I want to be the happiest that I can be, don't you?  Grandma Joan

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Prayer Is a Privilege and a Key

SC 93  "Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend.  Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him.  Prayer does not bring God own to us, but brings us up to Him."

It is a divine privilege to be able to come to God in prayer.  When we pray, we are first not to focus on self and on our needs.  Our focus should be on God and how great and mighty His is.We are to come to God with Thanksgiving and Praise.  Thank Him for our daily blessings which He gives us every day of our lives, even if it is little blessings, He is still where they come from and it's important to thank Him for them.

Next it is important to confess our sins and to be forgiven.  We need to be sorry for what we have done to hurt God and turn from our wicked ways, whatever they are.  Because God says in Isaiah 59:1,2  "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, neither His ear heavy that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear."

We also need to confess our faith in Jesus knowing all our blessings come through Him from the Father.  Jesus is our intercessor before the Father, pleading for our Salvation in His name, because He died for our sins.

Now it is time to petition Him for our needs and the needs of others that are on our prayer list.  But, we must ask in the name of Jesus, because He is our intercessor and He brings all our requests before the Father.  "Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive that your joy may be full."

I always pray in the name of Jesus because that's who's name our prayers go through to the Father.
And also we are admonished to ask in His name.  He is our intercessor and it only makes sense to me to pray in His name.

There are conditions to answered prayer but there is one prayer that is always heard and answered if we are sincere about it and that is the prayer of Peter walking on the water when he started to sink,
"Lord, save me."  God always hears this kind of prayer and Satan flees at the sound of Jesus name.
"Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you, cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded."  James 4:7,8.

Prayer is also a Key.

SC 94  "Why should the sons and daughters of God be reluctant to pray when prayer is the key in the hand of faith to unlock heaven's storehouse, where are treasured the boundless resources of Omnipotence?

I do hope this has helped you in your prayer life.  It has helped me tremendously and I will try to follow the outline for a more focused prayer life and a better walk with my Lord.  Grandma Joan

PS. SC = The little book "Steps to Christ".

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

What To Do With Guilt?

Many people believe that guilt comes from the Devil.  Why would the Devil make you feel guilty? He doesn't want you do anything about your guilt.  It isn't true, is it?  If you are guilty, you should feel guilty, right?

The Holy Spirit is the One who convicts us of sin and makes us feel guilty, so we will repent and turn around.  If we have sinned against God, we should feel remorse for our sin or sins.

James 4:10  "Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up."

Don't be too proud to say, 'I'm sorry'.  It is a humbling experience to some, to say, 'I'm sorry'.  But it is necessary, we must even admit we are wrong if we offend our children, that may be hard for some to do but it is necessary to be right with God.

2 Corinthians 7:10  "For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation."

Romans 2:4  "Despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and long-suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leads thee to repentance?"  Where do you see the goodness of God?  At the cross, right?  Of course, when He gave His Son to die for us, that is the goodness of God.  And that goodness will lead us to repentance.

Repentance is a U-turn on the road of life, we turn from our sins and go the other way.  Godly sorrow for our sins is a turning away from them.

Christ died for the whole world, but He also died for your sins, your sins and my sins nailed Him to the cross.  Otherwise we would have to die the second death of which there is no return.  Christ died that death for us so we wouldn't have to.  That's where you see the goodness of God, giving His Son for a sinful world.  His love for us was that great. Are you willing to invite Him into your heart just now so that He can save you from your sins.  I am.   There is no better way.  Repentance is a life and death issue.  We do not dare to presume upon the goodness of God by procrastinating.  It is important when we feel guilty, to know that the Holy Spirit is working in our life to get us to repent and turn from our wicked ways.

James 4:7,8  "Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you."  I love these verses because they promise a complete turn around in our lives.  Let us draw nigh continually and we will be victorious over sin in our lives.

Have you ever hurt someone and needed to repent.  It's hard isn't it, especially if you have pride in your heart.  It is a very humbling experience.  I know because I have been there, lots of time.  The after feeling is so good and such a relief and usually ends up being friends with the one you confessed to.  There are always those who are not willing to forgive.  I have encountered that too and it's hard to know that someone is not willing to forgive you.  And sometimes they are the one that did the wrong in the first place.  I read a story one time of two men that had a fractured relationship over something and they went on as enemies for some time.  Then one day the one decided it had gone on long enough and he decided he would take the blame, even though he believed the other man was in the wrong.  When he confessed that he was wrong, the other man broke down and confessed that he was the one that was wrong and they wept together and became friends again.  I would like to say that this is the way it should be even though it is hard to do.

I know I am not perfect but there is one thing I do know for sure and that is that I am not like I use to be, and if you are a Christian, you are probably not like you use to be either. Praise God for His unfailing love and forgiveness.  Grandma Joan

Monday, March 20, 2017

Friendship Among Believers

The last post, I told my experience of making friends and today I want to impress upon your hearts that you can even make an enemy be at peace with you and how God looks upon our friendships.

When We Please the Lord

Proverbs 16:7  "When a man's ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him."  An example of this:  I was insulted, (which I shouldn't have been) by a lady at church one week and the distance between us was pretty cold.  Then I was impressed to make her a scarf and so I did.  When I gave it to her, it happened to be her birthday, can you believe that?  Anyway she got up out of her seat and came around to where I was sitting and thanked me and I found out what her favorite color was and made her another one.  We are good friends now.  It pays to obey God when He nudges us to do something.  I don't like to have coldness between me and someone else, it doesn't feel good.

How to Choose Friendships

Psalm 119:63  " I am a companion of all them that fear Thee, and of them that keep Thy precepts."
I'm sure most of you know that wrong friendships can pull you down, so choose wisely.

Malachi 3:16  "Then they that feared the Lord spoke often one to another:  and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and thought upon His name."( Fear here means Reverence)

Steadfast Friendship

Acts 2:42  "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."  This reminds me of a friend that had an operation and I told her I was praying for her and she never forgot that and told my daughter that I was praying for her and how she was healing.  It never dawned on me that my prayers meant so much to someone.

Thankfulness for Friendships

Philippians 1:3 & 5  "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.  For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now."  I am so thankful for my Christian friends and try to pray for them every day and others too, of course.

How to Have Christian Friends

 John 1:7  "But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin."  It's good to walk in God's way and then our friends will be God's children, but don't forget to love all God's children, even the unloveable.  It's possible to love those that hate you.  I have done it and it is a wonderful thing to be friends with an enemy.  Try it, you can have friends in abundance.  Grandma Joan

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Value of Friendship

Do you have friends?  When I first came to the church that I am attending now, I had two friends. One day I was outside watering a flower garden at home, and a lady from the church came by and I don't remember the incident, but I do remember being prompted to make her a frilly scarf.  So I did.
She just loved it and wore it every week to church, and I decided to make her another one and it ended up I believe to be six or eight, not sure.  Anyway, different ladies, one at a time asked me if I was the one that made those beautiful scarves, and I asked each one what their favorite color was and today many of the ladies in the church wear the lacy scarves and they are all my friends.  One lady in particular sat down beside me in the hall and asked me how I was doing?  She was so sweet, I asked her her favorite color and it was purple.  I made her a scarf and she wore it to church and she was out in the foyer showing it to everyone who came by and telling them who made it and gave it to her. Today she is one of the sweetest friends that I have ever had.  Two years later, I cannot count my friends and I love every one of them.  It reminds me of the verse in the Bible:

The Desire for Many Friends

Proverbs 18:24  "A man that hath friends must show himself friendly:"  I have never in my whole life of almost 86 years had so many loving friends, they are not just friends, they are loving friends, I tell my friends that I love them and they know that I do.

True Friends are Unchangeable

Proverbs 17:17  "A friend loves at all times."  My sweet friend lost her husband very recently and I was able to put my arms about her and love her and sympathize with her whole heartedly because I had experienced the same thing.

Old Friends to be Cherished

Proverbs 27:10  "Thine own friend, and thy father's friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother's house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbor that is near than a brother far of."

Stimulating Friendship

Proverbs 27:17  "Iron sharpens iron: so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."  Each week when I walk into church my friends hug me and I know I have friends because as soon as they see me their countenance lights up into a great big smile.  I love them so much.

Profitable Friendship

Ecclesiastes 4:9,10  "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.  For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone when he falls; for he has  not another to help him up." Would you say that I have been rewarded for my labor?  I would say, over and over again.  A couple of weeks ago, I saw a friend in the hall that I hadn't see for a while and I called her by name and said, 'I have missed you and we hugged and I told her I loved her and she said, 'I know you do'.  What a response!

Everyone can make friends if you show yourself friendly.  I had no idea what one little frilly scarf
would do!  No idea.  I am still doing it.  I just gave one to the first lady that I ever made one for, it was one that she could wear with anything.  I got a friendship hug from her.  I have two or three made for other ladies but they are busy in children ministries and are not at church very often, so haven't been able to give them to them.

My scarves are also a witnessing tool.  I live close to the World Mark time share and the other night I was sort of downcast somewhat and went for a little walk over to the entrance lounge and sat there for a while and this lady that works there came over and conversed with me and brought me an herb tea and sat and visited with me for a while.  I took her a scarf and she had tears in her eyes when I gave it to her for her kindness.  I got her favorite color and made her another one and haven't given it to her yet but maybe I'll get it to her today as she is on duty today.  I have learned a great lesson in giving and this is just a sample of what giving does.  I want all my lady friends  to know that I love them.  I only have one regret, I wish I had learned this many, many years ago.  But I am so thankful that I learned this great lesson now.  It doesn't have to be scarves, it could be any small thing that you like to make or do.  Just show yourself friendly, that's all you have to do, the Bible says so.  Grandma Joan