Saturday, September 9, 2017

Finding Salvation

"Seek the Lord while you can find Him.  Call on Him now while He is near.  Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong.  Let them turn to the Lord that He may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for He will forgive generously." Isaiah 55:6-7 NLT

If you don't know how much you are loved, or how valuable you are in God's eyes, it is never too late to find out as long as you are still breathing.  His love for you is so broad, so grand, so rich, that your heart almost can't take it all in. 
If you have been living a life of wickedness, and believing in a false god to bring you to heaven, you should seek the one true God--El Shaddai--now while He is here calling you.  Don't put it off any longer, as none know the time of His coming, not even Jesus Himself.  It will be too late to ask for mercy when the end has already come. 

It isn't a difficult thing to come to the Living God.  You must change your ways (Paul did, Moses did, David did) and do your best to follow His commands and not sin. And He will help you with that--He will always give you a way out of temptation.  If you come to the Lord, to Jesus, He will have mercy on you.  He will forgive you of all your past sins. We've all made mistakes, we have all sinned, and yet He still loves us and wants desperately for all of humanity to know Him.

Please, don't be afraid that your past is too awful to be forgiven.  So many in the Bible have committed terrible sins, and yet our all-forgiving God redeemed them, and He will redeem you too.  King David committed adultery and then had the husband of the woman murdered.  Yet God called David, "a man after My own heart."  Not because of David's sins, but because of what he then did, which was to ask God's forgiveness and repent of his evil ways. 

Moses killed an Egyptian, yet God chose him to lead the people of Israel to the Promised Land.  God loved Moses so much that He buried him Himself! 

Saul (later to be named Paul by God) ruthlessly went out looking for Christians--men, women, and children--to persecute and stone to death.  He was a very intelligent man and a Pharisee.  He watched the Apostle Stephen be stoned with no remorse. Then Jesus, in all His glory appeared to Saul while he was on the road to Damascus to gather more people of "The Way" to persecute.  Saul was changed once he was in the presence of Jesus. He eventually wrote 2/3 of the New Testament, and did amazing things for the Kingdom of God and converted thousands to what is now called Christianity.

The Bible is filled with stories of God's love and forgiveness.  So there is nothing you may have done that He won't forgive, even if you have a difficult time forgiving yourself.

Wouldn't you like to share in the most wonderful experience known to man, being able to return to the one true God, the one Who created you and wants to welcome you back into His open arms?  Did you know that He will even sing and dance at your choice to make Jesus your Lord (Zephaniah 3:17)?  When you come to Him asking for His forgiveness and have a sincere heart to repent, He WILL forgive you and He'll cast all your sins into the Sea of Forgetfulness and never hold them against you or even remember them ever again!

If you died today, would you go to Heaven?  Do you know the awesome love of Jesus?  If you have a desire in your heart to know Jesus, and to know true life, and life everlasting; or if you have fallen away from Him and wish to renew your relationship, please pray the following prayer of salvation. 

"Heavenly Father,
I come to You admitting that I am a sinner.  Right now, I choose to turn away from sin, and ask You to cleanse me of all unrighteousness.  I believe that Your Son, Jesus, died on the cross to take away my sins.  I also believe that He rose again from the dead so that I may be justified and made righteous through faith in Him.  I call upon the name of Jesus Christ to be the Savior and Lord of my life.  Jesus, I choose to follow You, and I ask that You fill me with the power of the Holy Spirit.  I declare right now that I am a born-again child of God.  I am free from sin, and full of the righteousness of God.  I am saved in Jesus' name, Amen."

Welcome (back) to the family of God!

(If you have just received Jesus into your heart for the first time or have just returned to Him, please comment below so that we may all celebrate the newest member of our family! Thank you, and God bless you!)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Mountains Sing and Trees Clap

"For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."  Isaiah 55:12 NKJV

This verse always, and I mean always, brings a smile to my face and fills my soul.  Just picture in your heart and mind the absolute wonder of such incredible joy--the mountains and hills sing and the trees clap their hands!! (Yes, it is worthy of two exclamation points.)

When man sinned, not only was the human race changed, but all of creation suffered the consequences.  The earth itself, and all of the universe became subject to deteriorating.  None of God's creation was meant to die, but sin changed that.  Everything began to age, and with age comes weakness and finally death. 

Remember, God made us in His image.  He placed man above all the rest of creation, and gave him authority over all things on the earth, in the sky, and in the sea.  But when man fell, he lost that authority.  He tried to hide from God and found blame in others for his disobedience. 

But God gave us hope when He gave us Jesus.  When our final redemption arrives, all of creation will be set free from the curse of death and decay and will share our glory.  All created things!

Imagine, when He returns for us, a symphony of worship from Everest and Kilimanjaro, and even the smallest hill accompanied by the rhythmic melody of claps from the tallest redwoods and sequoias to a new sapling, will fill the earth with a sound so beautiful, and so stunning to see, that our souls will beam with such euphoria as we, all of creation, in unison, give worship to the King of the Universe! Is this verse strictly symbolic?  I can't answer that, for the day has not yet arrived.  But as for me, I will take this verse literally because it fills me with such emotion. What a day it will be!  And we shall all bow to the name of Jesus, our Savior.  Hallelujah, I can hardly wait!!  Go with God and know His peace.  May constant and contagious joy be in your heart today!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

For His Children in the Flooded Areas of Texas and Louisiana:

“Remember who created you? Who shaped you? See, you have nothing to fear. I, who made you, will take you back. I have chosen you, named you as My own. When you face stormy seas I will be there with you with endurance and calm; you will not be engulfed in raging rivers. If it seems like you’re walking through fire with flames licking at your limbs, keep going; you won’t be burned. Because I, the Eternal One, am your God. I am the Holy One of Israel, and I will save you.” Isaiah 43:1-3 The Voice
 
When it all seems terribly lost, hold on to the One that is above the flood and above the storm. Nothing is more powerful than Him and His love.  He hasn't failed you.  He has a plan for you. Don't despair, for He is with you.  He won't leave you now, believe me!!  When all you have left is your voice, use it to say thank You for your life. God bless you.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

He Will Cleanse Your Heart If You Ask!

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.   Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." Psalm 139:23-24 NLT (Part 5 of 5 in a series on Psalm 139)

It's not easy to expose our hearts in search of things we do that are offensive.  It's not even easy when we ask and give permission to God to search us.  Oftentimes it's even harder to swallow when He exposes the dirt in our hearts.  We didn't know we had so many dark places in there. 

If we truly want to live the life Jesus died to give us, we must ask and be willing for Him to cleanse us.  He will take whatever may be hindering us and place it in the fire of purification until all the dross (impurities) float to the top.  Then He will scoop all that junk off and we will shine like gold!  But nothing worthwhile comes easily. 

In this verse, we ask God to test us.  We all know that testing us isn't necessarily something we want.  It means hard times and suffering, and probably knowing that it will continue until we understand and learn that after suffering is joy and peace.  Who, after all, isn't happy when the sun comes out after a major storm? But while that storm is raging, we are clinging to the hope that God will get us through it, and we pray,  'Let the tornado go away!'  '"Stop the hurricane!'  'Please God, make the snow stop!'

Have you ever been caught in a rainstorm so heavy that your windshield wipers weren't fast enough, and you couldn't even see the end of your car's hood?  And then a semi truck passes you splashing you with more water, shaking your car, and leaving a trail of white mist so thick you don't know if you're even on the road?  At that time aren't you asking God to 'Please get me out of this, help me find a safe spot so I can pull over!  Please, God!'

During those times you plead your case to God, you are acknowledging that only He can bring you safely through the turmoil.  And He does, doesn't He?  So when you understand that His love for you is to help you through any situation and to do things for your good and His glory, go ahead and have that same faith that the purifying is going to make you stronger and help you on your path to living a godly life.

It really comes down to how badly you want to be more like Jesus.  Jesus had a pure heart, that's why He was able to forgive the unforgivable and love the unlovable.  And that's how we're commanded to be as well.  So, just say, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.   Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.  I trust You!"  You won't regret it!

Have a beautiful day, filled with the love of God!    

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Goodbye (An Annual Post)

This is an annual post of mine.

It's that time of year when many of my friends are saying good-bye to their children who are leaving for college, or getting married, or to children who are enlisting in the military.  There is such an ache that comes with good-byes.  For days or even weeks ahead of time (and occasionally months, like me) we feel a stabbing in our heart.  It is real.  I have felt it myself when my own child got married.  I couldn't bear the thought of not kissing her in the morning or when she came home from school or work, or our goodnight kiss.  If you are blessed with affection between your family members you know what I mean.  But even if there weren't always kisses and hugs, if there was the respect from the child you raised, it hurts to see them leave.

So you leave the room and hide in the bathroom for a little while or run to the store real quick so nobody sees your tears and makes light of them.  Because this isn't funny, this is real!  Your baby is leaving home for the first time.  Your little baby, the one that made you forget all the hours of labor when you held them when they were first born.  You think of how you were a little afraid of bathing them the first time.  What if they slipped from your hands? You kissed their precious little feet (now a size 10) and put their hands on your mouth as you smiled and cooed and told them you loved them.  You could hardly wait until she was old enough to have longer hair that you could put a bow in; or until he was old enough to fit his hand into a baseball glove.  You went to all the school plays and sent everyone their school picture every year.  You made sure they bathed and brushed their teeth, and ate all their dinner before they went to bed.  You helped them for endless hours with homework.

You fought and you forgave.  You rewarded their good behavior, and disciplined their disrespect for you or your spouse, or their teacher or coaches, brothers and sisters, and even strangers.  You tried to instill in them a sense of worth.  And now the time has come to say good-bye for a while.  Yes, you can call and email, FaceTime or Skype, but you can't see them in your kitchen.  So what do you do?


If you know God, and have raised them to know God, you take comfort knowing that He is still in charge of this loved one's life.  You prayed over them as a child, and you pray over them today.  In your heart you know that everything will be alright.  If you know God, but haven't had a very close relationship with Him, or if you don't know God at all, don't worry!  He knows you!  And He knows your child.  He created that loved one just for you.  He will be taking care of them, and you.  He always has.  All those fights that eventually wound up in hugs, all those tears that were replaced with smiles, all those worries when they got hurt or were late coming home that ended up alright, that was God taking care of you all.

If you know nothing else about God, know this.  He is love.  He cannot not love!  That's all there is to it!  He knows your heart and your pain, and your sorrows.  And He wants to help you get through it.  He won't make you feel bad about not knowing Him; He's ready to show you just how much He loves you.  All you have to do is ask.


So it's alright to cry those tears at good-byes, the Bible says in Psalm 56:8 of the Contemporary English Version (CEV), "You have stored my tears in Your bottle and counted each of them." Put your hope in Him, He will protect your babies.

If you're the one leaving for the first time, there is that great sense of adventure!  "Finally, on my own!"  Sometimes that excitement comes with a sense of anxiety as well.  You're all grown up, but you'll miss your mommy.  Don't be ashamed, I guarantee her heart will melt if you called her that today.  You may wonder if you did enough for your parents while you were at home, or now feel a little regret that you had an attitude.  They always bailed you out of your messes, and always forgave you.  You may wonder," now that I am gone, will they still love me as much?"  Of course.  Now they have something else to be proud of you for.  You're going to college!  You're enlisting in the Military!  You're getting married!  You took a job far away from home!  They will have new concerns, but they believe you're up to the challenge.

Grow!  Learn!  Plan your future.  Ask God to help you every morning.  Ask Him for strength.  Ask Him to protect you and your family.  Love Him.

So as you say good-bye and start this new chapter in your lives, let's also say hello to God's blessings for our future.  His word says in Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (NIV)

Smile, life is good!  God is in charge! ©Deirdre Tolhurst, 21 August 2011 (First Blog) goo.gl/TFGwth