ONE ANGEL,TWO SIMILAR MESSAGES, TWO OPPOSITE RESPONSES

P1080033The book of Luke opens with the angel Gabriel appearing to Zacharias, an elderly priest, and to a young girl, possibly in her early teens, named Mary. In both instances he tells of the coming of a baby, one unexpected, the other looked for through several centuries. Both recipients were astonished at the angel’s appearance. Both asked a question. But how different were the motives of these questions and how different the angel’s response.

Zacharias had been chosen by lot to offer incense in the temple. As he was doing this, Gabriel comes to him. He tells him that his wife, Elisabeth, is going to have a son in her old age. He gives details about this child. How does Zacharias respond? He is afraid.

His question: How will I know for certain? He did not believe. He was filled with doubt. He wanted proof. I suppose you could say he got his proof, but not in the way he expected. He became deaf and mute until John was born.

On the other hand, when the angel comes to Mary, she responds in faith. Her question: How will this be since I am a virgin? She only wanted instruction as to what to expect. She believed Gabriel. The angel answered her question and told her all the details of how this miracle would take place.

Gabriel makes a third appearance–to Joseph, engaged to Mary. His first response when he heard of Mary’s pregnancy was to secretly divorce her to save her the public shame. But after Gabriel comes to him in a dream, he follows the instructions given to him and takes Mary as his wife.

One would expect the elder to have more faith than the younger. A priest should not doubt God where youth may not have lived long enough to gain that strength of faith. But here we find just the opposite.

We have no idea how these three people felt about the messages divinely brought to them. I’m sure if an angel suddenly appeared before us we would be afraid. If the message was something impossible to happen in the natural, we might doubt. But if the message was as great as that to Mary about the birth of the Christ-child, I think we might feel very humble and wonder how we could possibly carry out such an undertaking. Joseph must have wondered about taking a pregnant woman supposedly carrying the coming Messiah and how he could possible have a part in the fulfillment of this prophecy.

How often does the Lord send His messengers to us at unexpected times? How do we respond? Do we doubt, or receive by faith? Do we want proof, or do we want instruction as to the how-to?

These people were ordinary people, not kings or noblemen or famous or particularly gifted. But they were chosen by God for a specific purpose. He supplied them with everything they needed to carry out His will. We need not fear even the greatest task given by the Lord because He knows what He is doing. He always equips where He calls. And He is with us always to help us along the way.

With another year ending and a new one just ahead, let’s choose to respond like Mary and believe, receive and carry out God’s will for us on a day-to-day basis so that when those big things come along unexpectedly we will be ready to say a resounding “Yes!” to the Lord. And we will hear His “Well done, good and faithful servant” when we have finished the final task.

I pray God’s blessing on you. May you have a prosperous and healthy 2019.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my post. I appreciate all of you. And please take a moment to leave a comment in the box below before leaving. If you are not already following my blog, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Follow” button at the top of this page to receive e-mail notifications of new posts. Have a wonderful day. And a very Happy New Year! God bless.

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A CHRISTMAS MESSAGE

P1100695I don’t know how many of my readers will take time to read this on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, but I did not want to let the day go by without wishing my readers a very blessed Christmas.

The Christmas story is familiar to Christians the world over, as well as to many who do not, perhaps never will call themselves Christians. I even have Moslem neighbors who “do” Christmas in some way. The children are talking about how close Christmas is. They speak little English so unfortunately I cannot communicate well with them about it. Christmas is one of the most meaningful times of the year for a great many people, young, old and all ages in between. Sadly many do not take into account the spiritual side of it. It has become so commercialized that the point of the giving of those first gifts to the baby Jesus has been lost. We are quickly losing our freedom to even celebrate the spiritual aspect of Jesus’ birth.

Let’s take time this Christmas to ponder just what it has meant to us personally P1100698that Jesus came to earth to be born as a baby, to live in a human body and to die an excruciating death on a cross so that we might be set free from sin and live for eternity with Him. Let us truly celebrate not only Christmas Day, but celebrate the Christ of Christmas who gave the ultimate gift–Himself–to us. I pray that we will never minimize the true meaning of Christmas in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, the tearing open of presents, the cooking and eating of a wonderful meal and the gathering of family and friends. If we take all of this into account on this wonderful day, we will truly be blessed.

I pray God’s presence will surround you with peace, joy and love, and His angels accompany you with a heavenly chorus. I pray for health and happiness for you and your families. I pray that the Lord will bless you “with all spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Jesus” (Ephesians 1:3).

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Merry Christmas to all. And “God bless us, every one.”

Thank you so much for stopping by, whether on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or sometime afterwards. I appreciate all of you. I do hope you will take time to leave a comment in the box below. Let me know how you plan to, or did, celebrate Christmas this year. Tell me about your Christmas traditions. And if you are not already following me, please take a couple of seconds to click on the “Follow” button above so you will receive e-mail notifications of new posts. Thank you again. Have a wonderful Christmas. God bless.

P.S. Here is a Christmas angel just for you.

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WHAT DOESN’T GO IN CAN’T COME OUT

P1070059The ability to love and the need to be loved is inherent in every human being from birth. Like the baby bird waiting in the nest with its mouth wide open for the next morsel of food from its mother, so from the time we are babies our souls are wide open, waiting for that love to be poured in.

But what happens to that little bird if the mother doesn’t return to the nest? Quite obviously it will die in the safety of its home in the tree. The safe place cannot help keep it alive. So with humans. If love is not poured in on a constant basis, the soul withers. Something dies within. It happens in that place called home where safety and protection is expected. When love is wanting, life is wanting. Where love is not experienced, love cannot be given. As an empty glass is not a supply for a thirsty person; an empty soul cannot give out what it does not have within.

Where children are dearly loved by parents, an inner confidence takes root, a sense of completeness, a feeling of worth develops. When we are loved, we are able to love in return. What comes in can also go out. To love others brings great joy. To be loved is to be blessed beyond measure.Eddie and Mikey 2008 011

Is there hope for the unloved? Absolutely. Just look at scripture. There is not one person on whom the Lord does not pour His love. Whether we realize it or not, even if we are completely alone in this world, we are loved. But we have to open our hearts to this love if we want to benefit from it, if we desire to ‘feel’ loved. We must open our whole being to the Lord Jesus Christ and allow Him to have the ownership of our lives. As His love pours into us, we can, in turn, pour out that same love to others.

Let love, the agape love of God, flow like a river into your spirit and out again. You will find fulfillment and satisfaction in healthy living by allowing His love to wash over you, fill you and flow out to envelop all with whom you come in contact.

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Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed my blog. Please leave a comment in the box below and let me know your thoughts on this subject. If you are not already following me, I hope you will take a moment and click on the “Follow” button at the top to receive e-mail notifications of future posts. I appreciate you taking your time to visit here. Please drop by again. Have a wonderful day. May you be blessed of the Lord.

MOANING AND MOURNING

Copy of P1070930You know the type. Woe is me! They moan and groan that nothing works for them, no one ever does anything for them, they’re so ill-used and nobody understands how they feel. I’m sure you’ve met them. Nothing is ever right. The world, in their opinion, owes them something and is not handing over what it owes. Complaints are the main course of dinner, and for dessert there’s criticism sometimes topped with a few expletives. These people do little and expect much in return.

After “dinner” comes the mourning. They mourn lost opportunities, past failures, unfulfilled dreams. These folk specialize in negative words, probably know more of them than the average person. Death spews out of their mouths like water out of a fountain. Selfishness and self-seeking and ownership issues are at the root of it. And often just pure laziness.

The wisest man that ever lived said, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (King Solomon – Proverbs 18:21). If only they knew it, these ‘downtrodden’ souls are killing themselves. Their words bring death every time they open their mouths. If only they could see things as they really are! From God’s viewpoint. Then they would say with David, “Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; to the end Copy of P1100028that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent.”

We need to be constantly on our guard where our mouths are concerned. If we recorded our conversations, I wonder how often we would catch a negative statement or even just a word. How many times would a negative attitude be evident? I cry with David, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3).

Instead of mourning what can never be or what has been done in the past that can’t be undone, let’s make a decision to live this moment with a positive attitude, think positive thoughts, speak positive words. Let’s mourn for our past negative attitudes, repent and put them behind us, then get to work making a permanent change. Let’s determine to bring life, not death, wherever we go–to ourselves and to others.

It’s never easy to overcome negativity. I know–I’ve had to do it myself in some areas of my life. For years I lived with an inferiority complex. I thought I would never feel any other way, but with the Lord in my life, it has been conquered. I think less and less in the negative, more and more in the positive. It’s freedom! It’s believing God who will never fail rather than myself with all my failures.

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With a positive attitude, we have the whole world in our hands.

Now I don’t look at those failures. They’re in the past. Gone. Done deals. Can’t be changed, so I’ll leave them there while I extract the lessons I have learned. Not to say I’ll never fail again, because I will, but I don’t focus on the possibility of failure. I have this new, fresh moment to live and I will live it for the Lord. My health and happiness depend on my positive attitude. I desire to live unselfishly, giving to others, giving to God without looking for anything in return. In this is blessing. And in this, in the long run, there will be great return. The ROI (return on investment) is out of this world. I’m looking forward to claiming it, but in the meantime I’m looking forward to each new moment the Lord gives to me. My mourning has been turned into dancing. No more moaning; no more mourning. Just dancing, singing and praise. (Actually, the dancing is just in my spirit. I have never been an actual dancer though I love to watch others dance.) We will have the world in our hands. Now that’s what I call a recipe for a healthy lifestyle!

I hope you have enjoyed your visit. You are most welcome to come back any time. And I would appreciate it if you would leave a comment in the box below and let me know what you think about the post. Do you have anything to add? Anything to share? I would love to hear from you. And if you are not already following my blog, I hope you will take a moment to click on the “Follow” button at the top to receive e-mail notifications of new posts. I have been busy getting my books published over the past month or so and have not written many new posts. They are now both on Amazon just in time for Christmas giving. I will try to be a little more consistent again. I wish you joy and peace and love every day, but especially during this Christmas season. May the Lord bless you abundantly in every way.

REACH FOR THE SKY

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Get a new perspective. Looking down is often not very inspiring.

Have you ever come to the realization that you are underachieving? Perhaps you don’t believe you can do better. Or maybe you do know, but you simply don’t try. Who knows why? It’s probably a different reason for everyone, but the result is the same. I believe most of us can do much more than we have done and perhaps more than we think possible. So let’s quit underachieving and start living to our full potential.

Maybe it’s time to get ignited again. Find a new interest to re-energize. Try new ways of doing things to renew interest. Make ourselves accountable to someone who will keep us motivated. We need new confidence, new reasons for doing and being. One good way to do this is to encourage others in their endeavors. As we build up those around us, we might just find ourselves being edified. As we give to others, we receive in return.

In the Book of Proverbs, King Solomon said that “death and life are in the power of the tongue”. What kind of language do we use on a daily basis? Are we speaking words that keep us from achieving our potential? Cultivate positive thoughts and you will speak positive words that will bring new life. If we develop the habit of daily affirming ourselves and others, we will aspire to better things.

Jesus said He came to give us life more abundant. Let’s take Him at His word. Let’s live fully now so we have no regrets when we stand before Him. No more underachieving.

Reach for the sky!

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I hope this has been an encouragement to you to take a step of faith and do what you think you cannot do. Give it a try. When you reach for the sky, you may not arrive in the upper heavens, but you will certainly reach a higher level than if your hands are hanging down in discouragement or complacency.

As 2019 approaches, let’s agree to reach higher in the new year than we have ever tried before. Let’s make this coming year the best we have ever had.

Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I hope you will leave a comment in the box below. I always enjoy my readers’ thoughts about the topic at hand. If you are not already following me, please take a moment to click on the “Follow” button at the top to receive e-mail notifications of each new post. I don’t usually write more that a couple per week, so you won’t be inundated with e-mail from me. I hope you have enjoyed your time here. Have a glorious week. And may the Lord richly bless you today and every day.

WORDS OR SWORDS?

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Take time making decisions.

Making decisions on the spur of the moment without taking time to reflect in silence can be a dangerous move, unless it is an emergency situation that needs an instant response. Otherwise, it signifies lack of planning. It’s a careless action that often reaps a disastrous reaction. And if we don’t take a little time to reflect in silence, we cannot judge wisely.

When something unexpected happens we often react to it in confusion, frustration, anger, rather than act with an intelligent response. When we react in anger we don’t use reason, and we take the chance of flinging out words that bring death rather than life. If you take “WORDS” and switch the “S” from the end to the beginning you have “SWORD”. Hasty words can kill the spirit just as easily as a sword can kill the body.

Don’t risk destroying life for the sake of saving time by making quick decisions.

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Death or life?

Take time to think over and plan around the circumstances you face. Spend some quiet moments in intelligent reflection before you act. And don’t be afraid to listen to godly advice from those you trust.  It may mean the difference between living your dream and having to bury it.

We are getting very close to the beginning of another new year, 2019. I have never been one to make New Year’s resolutions, but I think a good decision we could all make would be to take time to think before we take action. Make sure our decisions are sound. Make sure our words will not bring harm to the people in our lives. The Bible talks about turning swords into plowshares. I say let’s turn our sharp words (swords) into gentle words that bring life and joy and healing.

I thank you again for taking the time to stop by and read my thoughts. I would really appreciate it if you would leave me a comment in the box below. And if you are not yet following me, please consider clicking on the “Follow” button at the top to receive e-mail notifications of each new post. Have a wonderful day filled with God’s blessings.

BACK ARROW

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Looking back over your life

Do you ever wish there was a ‘back arrow’ for our lives like there is on the computer? How simple just to click on a button and go back to the previous page, delete the whole and start over, or fix mistakes we have made. But unfortunately (or should I say fortunately?) life doesn’t work that way. Once we make a mistake, a wrong choice, speak an unkind word, make a foolish decision, we can never turn the clock back. We are stuck with the consequences.

But is this necessarily a bad thing? Mistakes are never good things in and of themselves, but nevertheless good can come out of them. If we use them to improve the future by learning from them, then they can lead to improvement in our lives that we would not otherwise have the benefit of. Better still is to take care when making decisions, when opening our mouths, when making choices and to first sit down and count the cost. Wishing that we had made a different choice will not change things after the fact.

I think it’s a good thing to have a back arrow on the computer because it makes

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Wishing does not work

things much easier and quicker, but I’m glad we can’t do this in life. We would miss some rich learning experiences if we could just go back and opt out of the consequences of our actions. And I’m convinced that even if we could go back we would probably make the same choices all over again. Better to move forward into new things with what we have learned and use them as stepping stones to the future.

I hope we all have been able to learn from past mistakes so we can move forward with better choices in the future.

Thank you for taking time to read my post, especially as we are getting so close to Christmas with all the hustle and bustle that comes with it. I wish you a wonderful Christmas celebration and the best of New Years to follow.

Please leave a comment in the box below and I will respond. If you are not already following my blog, please consider clicking on the “Follow” button at the top to receive e-mail notifications of new posts. Have a wonderful week. God bless.