Archive for the ‘Spiritual Hunger’ Category

Barking enraged shepherd dog outdoors

Our outdoor dog raised quite a ruckus at about two o’clock this morning. Clearly, someone (or something), was in the yard because she was loudly sounding her full-out intruder alert; ready to attack. As three of us hurried outside to confront this unseen foe, I couldn’t help but think how foolish a person would have to be to jump a fence and prowl around a yard that housed a German Shepherd –and yes, there are guard dog signs up to warn any would-be intruders.

Oddly, our girl kept running in and out of the pool yard in full-attack mode, but she didn’t tear into anyone. Clearly she wasn’t after a coon or a possum because she has a distinctly different bark for those. Her bark is also different when alerting us to people on the road just outside our property. No, this was different —more vicious— but it didn’t seem that anyone was in the yard after all.

At first I was puzzled. Then I saw it, MOVEMENT! And to be honest, I chuckled. Had our dog been as tall as me, she might have figured out what the movement was; but she is only half my height, so the top of the (above ground) pool is way above her head. From the porch she could see the pool float moving about in the current, but she could only see the pillow portion, and that on the dark side of the pool.

Normally we don’t leave floats or toys in the pool so the sight, more specifically the movement, would certainly have been alarming for our ever-vigilant watch dog. Had I taken the float out, as per our custom, I might have spared our household, and probably three others, from being disturbed in the middle of the night, but I’ll just chalk it off as a lesson learned and hope the neighbors didn’t mind the urgent barking too much —better safe than sorry, after all.

After loving on our girl for awhile, I patted her on the head and told her what a good job she was doing then came inside to wind down before going back to bed. As I sat in my chair, this scripture came to mind:

Abstain from all appearance of evil. I Thessalonians 5:22

Our dog doesn’t really avoid every appearance of “evil,” She attacks it head-on. To her way of thinking, any creature, two-legged or four, that enters her yard, is an enemy to be slain.

If only God’s children would have kept that attitude in regards to compromise, I thought, this country might still be a Christian nation. But sadly, we have let too many evils creep in —into our churches, our society, our culture—because we didn’t recognize those evils for what they truly were. We also made too many compromises with many of the more subtle evils in our attempt to reach the unchurched with the Gospel. Sure, we meant well, but rather than succeeding in pulling people up, we slowly, but surely, allowed our own standards of holiness to be lowered, both in our churches and in our nation.

I have, over the course of time, asked several pastors the following question: Does the end (higher church attendance) ever justify the means (seeker-friendly gimmicks) if the means violates God’s instruction? I have seldom heard a pastor answer no. “Yes,” they say. “So long as we are getting people into the church, God will understand.” I DISAGREE! Why? Our god told us to abstain from the very appearance of evil. He tells us from cover-to-cover in our Bibles that we are absolutely forbidden from mixing the holy with the profane. If our church services look more like worldly concerts or pep rallies, we must ask ourselves if we are being obedient to God’s word. There are other examples I could use as well, but you get the point.

Where do we draw the line? You may ask. Well, if we don’t know the answer to that question, perhaps it is time for us to pray until we do. Meanwhile, it would be in our best interest to be on full-out intruder alert when it comes to even the appearance of evil. True, we may sometimes bark at something that isn’t truly a danger, but again, it is better to be safe than sorry. If we, God’s people, don’t stand up for what is right, who will? Friends, when it comes to sin and evil, let us learn a lesson from our canine protectors and attack them head-on!

As I always say, the people who care the most are they who care enough to speak the truth; in love, of course.

pencil lady

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coffe mug

Today I plan to start a new “to do” list. First order of business, find and compile all the other “to do” lists I have lying around, so that I can marvel at how many things I never seem to complete, and hopefully tackle some of them. Of course, the really important things get done, but I have a ton of worthwhile projects that, for one reason or another, got lost in the shuffle, never to be picked up again.

Aren’t you glad that God is not like that? I know I am. Can you just imagine Him starting something wonderful in your life, but stopping somewhere in the middle because He needed to go intervene in some crisis? Worse yet, imagine Him never completing the work?

That won’t happen, of course. Scripture says that He [the Holy Spirit] which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6). God is working in the lives of every person on this planet, whether they acknowledge Him or not; and He will never stop until His glorious return.

I guess you could say that we are all on God’s “to do” list since He is never finished with any of us. We should ask ourselves, then, is God at the top of our list? Last night I was challenged by a preacher who admonished his listeners to develop a personal spiritual growth program and pursue it vigorously. He wasn’t insinuating that his audience was neglecting the things of God, only that we should all strive to give even more of our time and effort to the Lord and His word. If we would do that, he encouraged, we would certainly grow spiritually.

I don’t know about you, dear reader, but that sounds like an excellent idea. If God loves me enough to keep me on His daily “to do” list, I think it only right that He is at the very top of mine! On second thought, forget all the old lists, if those projects haven’t been finished by now, they probably aren’t that important after all. Yes, I still plan to start a new list, but the very first item on the list will be: Start a spiritual growth program, beginning with …

In fact, I’m going to go do that now so I’ll catch you all later.
God bless.


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nothing to eat

Anyone who has ever raised a teenager is more than familiar with the complaint, “I’m hungry!” I guess I shouldn’t complain, though; my teenagers (and my husband) only eat once a day– they start early in the morning and finish about bedtime.

Not that long ago, as my daughter sang the never-ending “There’s nothing to eat,” chorus, I opened the cabinets and showed her all the edibles there. I opened both the refrigerator and freezer and did the same. And what do you call all of this? I asked, handing her the fruit bowl. And this, and….

Unbeknownst to her, I had just done the weekly shopping. I could share with you a list of the food items in my kitchen that day, but that would be too time-consuming. Suffice it to say, that having just spent the equivalent of the national deficit at the grocery store, there really was quite a variety of healthy food available. And I emphasize healthy because, as any parent knows, when a teenager says there is nothing to eat, what they really mean is that there is no junk food handy.

You know how to cook, I reminded her. There must be at least a dozen things you could whip-up in no time.

Long story short, she walked away hungry. Can anyone relate?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticizing my daughter. There have been times that I have done the same thing. Sometimes I too want to eat something that is readily available without having to put any effort into it whatsoever. In fact, I find that the older I get, the more often I want to skip the work and get straight to the eating. Ten years from now, I may never cook again.

When it comes to Bible study, though, I find the opposite to be true. Years ago, when I was a baby Christian, I read my Bible a lot, but I relied on the wisdom of preachers and teachers when it came to those difficult subjects that I didn’t quite understand. After all, they were the “experts.” Of course, as a new believer, I was wearing my spiritual diapers and drinking milk; being bottle-fed wasn’t such a bad thing. The apostle Peter said as much: “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby…” (I Peter 2:2). Over the course of time, however, I matured and craved the meat!

Thus, I have diligently searched the Scriptures for many years. These days, I voraciously devour every word of my Bible. I could opt to simply listen to a sermon or teaching during my study time, but I don’t want to rely on someone else to “feed” me, nor should I. That would be the equivalent of eating fast food instead of taking the time to prepare a healthy meal. Don’t get me wrong, the sermon might be really inspired, and there certainly are times to benefit from another’s teaching, but we are all admonished in Scripture to: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15).

We are not made pious, dear reader, because we daily study our Bibles, but to do so is certainly our obligation as a follower of Christ. Moreover, it is a great and rewarding pleasure! I pray that every time we, as God’s children, feel the pangs of spiritual hunger that we will open our Bibles and enjoy a feast. May we never become so complacent that we walk away hungry because we don’t feel like putting any effort into study.

“There’s nothing to eat.” On the contrary, the Lord’s kitchen is fully stocked and the food is exceedingly healthy!

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I hear the heavenly dinner bell ringing. Till next time, blessings upon you and your household.


Disclaimer: My apologies for the following advertisement. I would like this site to be an advertisement-free site, but I have to pay a fee for this. I plan to do so in future, but for now, please know that I have nothing to do with advertisements &/or advertisement selection.

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Granted, my life is dancing around the edges of its autumn season, but I haven’t quite reached the flash point yet –hot flashes, that is. Although, just the other night, I did get a taste of how awful that must be.

Surely, you have also experienced this kind of night at some point; a night spent riding the fever-and-chill rollercoaster. If so, you can sympathize with my frustration. Sleep was sporadic. About the time the mercury in my thermometer was about to pop, I would throw my blankets off, in agony. I was so hot, in fact, that my only relief was the overhead fan, which whirred quietly overhead despite the wintery chill of evening. But then, as quickly as my overly-fatigued body gave way to sleep, it awoke abruptly, shaking at the sudden coldness. And so it went, hour after hour, long into the early morning hours.

At one point, I lay there, clothes damp with sweat, thinking that the hot flashing part was surely similar to what my menopausal friends experienced all the time. I thought about the cartoon I had seen earlier that week. It featured three snow women, the first was sharing with her friend that, “Mildred,” who had melted into a puddle, had “just had a hot flash.” After which, I grumbled to my sleeping husband that I am NOT ready to start hot flashing. He didn’t hear me, of course, but I just thought he should know that I have firmly decided to skip the whole hot flashing thing altogether!

About that time, my thoughts took an entirely different turn; they somehow jumped to the third chapter of Revelation, where the Lord speaks, through John, to the church in Laodicea: I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth (verses 15, 16).

I Guess I’m safe then, I lightheartedly reminded the Lord, because I am definitely hot –then cold –then hot –then cold ……….

Feverish humor aside, spiritual comfort is the very thing that the Lord warned His church to avoid. But I always wondered why He would prefer cold to lukewarm. I think Matthew Henry sums it up pretty well in his Whole Bible Commentary:

Lukewarmness or indifference in religion is the worst temper in the world. If religion is a real thing, it is the most excellent thing, and therefore we should be in good earnest in it; if it is not a real thing, it is the vilest imposture, and we should be earnest against it. If religion is worth any thing, it is worth every thing; an indifference here is inexcusable: Why halt you between two opinions? If God be God, follow him; if Baal (be God), follow him. Here is no room for neutrality. An open enemy shall have a fairer quarter than a perfidious neuter; and there is more hope of a heathen than of such. Christ expects that men should declare themselves in earnest either for him or against him.

Frankly, I would love to tell you that I am never lukewarm in my faith, but that just wouldn’t be honest. I don’t ever consider my faith to be ‘cold,’ but there are certainly times in my life when I feel as though my spiritual fervency comes in waves like menopausal hot flashes; and it is during those weak moments that I have to remind myself that I am NOT willing to tolerate hot flashing.

I’m sure that there are others who have felt the same way on occasion. In fact, one of King David’s prayers was, Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me (Psalm 51:10). David, who was a “man after God’s own heart,” was not ashamed to acknowledge his weaknesses and ask the Lord to rekindle his flame.

Dear reader, I pray that we are quick to do the same, so that our flame continues to burn brightly enough and consistently enough, that we are able to help those who walk in darkness to find their way!

God’s Flame

The candle’s flame extinguishes
in a pool of molten wax.
Likewise does my spirit dim
when time with God is lax.

Too often, while life is tugging,
God’s time is pushed aside,
till trials deal such crushing blows
that my faith is severely tried.

I can barely face another day
in difficult times like these,
until my strength is again restored
by time spent on my knees.

It is then my Father reaches out
with gentle outstretched hand.
“Though you’ve waned,” he says,
“I’ll give you strength to stand.

All you have to do my child
is praise Me with all your might.
Then I will reignite your flame
and thus restore your light.

Then I will take that light
and place it high upon a stand
so that hurting folks can see it
throughout this darkened land.

And they will know that it is I
who makes the darkness flee
from all who yield their heavy hearts
and put their trust in me.”

                                                                         God’s Flame © Susan Shimkovitz

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Twinkle, twinkle little star –or was that a distant plane, or satellite? It’s hard to tell these days. Is it just me, or does it seem that this country’s skyscape has become as frenzied as a New York freeway?

Besides the thousands of commercial aircraft that rip through the visible sky daily, there are also a number of private planes, military craft and the occasional bundle of escaped party balloons, kites and more. It’s a wonder the birds don’t just hang out at the beach and avoid all the sky rush traffic.

Outer space is pretty cluttered these days as well. There are thousands of satellites currently in orbit, some functional and others long-since broken apart. Multiple collisions have left some of them orbiting as nothing more than innumerable fragments. Additionally, there is an unbelievable amount of “space junk” orbiting our Earth, which came from the various spacecraft that have been launched over the years. Of the many types of debris -some as small as a paint chip- NASA reports more than 21,000 large pieces, 500,000 smaller pieces, and more than 100 million miniscule pieces.¹

So far, this has not yet become a threat to public safety, but it is potentially dangerous. In fact, in September 2011, the Washington Post (KidsPost online) reported that an out of control satellite, the size of a school bus, was headed towards Earth. It broke into much smaller pieces as it entered the Earth’s atmosphere, and no one was injured, but I must admit, anything falling from the sky at more than 17,000 miles per hour is enough to unsettle one’s nerves, to say the least.

Space travel is pretty much the flip side of the coin; and it certainly is vulnerable to complication. Although humanity continues to pursue their lofty goals of space exploration, “Earth is now surrounded by so much space junk that a leading expert on the issue has declared that we are at a “tipping point” — it may soon become too dangerous to venture into low-Earth orbit (LEO) through fear of having a manned spaceship punctured or a communications satellite trashed.”²

I don’t know about you dear reader, but I have more than enough things to tend to on this planet to even contemplate space travel. As far as satellite communication goes, I think technology is great, but I already find it difficult in our hustle and bustle world to pray as much as I would like, and no communication is more important than that.

There are days when I wish I was more like one of those escaped party balloons (no hot air jokes please), my thoughts and desires drifting heavenward, my soul lighter than air because of a noticeable lack of anything to weigh me down, until I reached the throne of Glory. Of course, that wondrous experience is always available to me, but sadly I just don’t make the time as often as I should because I let other stuff get in my way.

You see, life has a way of bombarding my time with all those things that I consider important. True, many of them are vitally important, but honestly, some of those things are nothing more than space junk to my Creator. And in His great wisdom, He knows that many of those things which clutters my life will eventually, like satellites and space junk, collide to create even more “stuff” to deal with; more stuff to come between Him and me.

Alas, this world is just too busy! I am too busy.

Therefore, LORD, “Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word” (Psalm 119:37 NIV).

¹NASA Orbital Debris Program Office. FAQ 2012. Question #3: How many orbital debris are currently in Earth orbit? http://orbitaldebris.jsc.nasa.gov/faqs.html#3
²O’Niell, Ian. Discovery News. Space Junk Problem Reaches Tipping Point. September 2, 2011. http://news.discovery.com/space/could-space-junk-leave-us-stranded-on-earth-110902.html

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My raven-haired beauty was only four years old when she glued her library book to the bed.
I’m still not sure how she found the bottle of wood glue in the first place, but I do admire her creativity in solving what she considered to be a big problem. Of course, I didn’t approve of her method, but I had to smile at her reasoning. She explained, “Liz-a-biff kept trying to take my book. I had to stop her!”

Reading has always been an important part of my children’s lives. They were each given their own library card from the time they were old enough to toddle into the library. There, we spent many happy hours searching for just the right story to fuel their imaginations, and the perfect books to expand their knowledge about science and history, and all the other fascinating wonders of life. You see, their father and I wanted to instill the love of reading, and learning, into our children from a very young age, in the hopes that their love of such would be life-long.

Most importantly, we wanted our children to love God’s Word. They each had their own picture Bible before they could even talk. By the time they worked their way up to the good ole King James, all of our children knew more about the Bible than many adults do. In fact, this same raven-haired beauty once climbed a tree and began preaching to the people on the streets when she was only seven.

How I wish I would have been raised knowing God’s Word like that! Sadly, I didn’t learn any of it until I was an adult. But, it’s never too late to start. I have now been a student of the Word for over twenty years, and enjoyed every minute of it. I am so thankful that we live in a country that allows us the freedom to read our Bibles without persecution. Tragically, this may not always be the case. It is quite probable that Americans will soon join the ranks of countless others who have been persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ.

If this ever happens, I can assure you that gluing our Bibles to the bed won’t prevent them from being taken away. However, there is something that we can do -starting now. The psalmist said, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (119:11). I pray, dear reader, we would all do likewise. After all, once God’s holy Word is hidden in our hearts, no one can ever take it away from us!

I admit that memorizing Scripture, especially long portions of it, can be hard work–especially for us older folks. Even so, there are few pursuits in life that are more rewarding and beneficial. How then do we start, if we haven’t already? Simple, we can learn from the children on this one.

Have you ever watched a young child recite the words of her favorite story book to an audience of stuffed animals without having to look at the book? She is able to do this because she has read it (or had it read to her) so many times that it became a part of her. And because she loves the story so much, she can’t help but enthusiastically share it.

That’s how we should be with God’s Word. Because the Bible is so much more than just words on a page –it is God’s personal instruction to mankind- we should absolutely love to read it over and over until it becomes a part of us. And, we should care enough about our Holy book that we would rather glue it to the bed than let anyone take it from us.

Dear reader, it would be really silly of me to tell you “Don’t glue your book to the bed.” I would like to encourage you, however, to keep the Holy Bible “glued to your face.” If you’re not familiar with that expression, just ask my raven-haired beauty what it means; she still has a book glued to her face most of the time. That’s my girl!

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A week or so before my wedding, my mother called to tell me she was planning on missing the big event because she and her husband wanted to watch a local mud truck pull. Granted, my mother has never been a typical loving parent, but a mud truck pull –seriously?

Still, I wasn’t really all that upset. I had grown quite accustomed to her disregard for my life –which was always her choice not mine. My youngest sister, on the other hand, was upset. She had always longed to see our family become “normal” even though we all knew deep down that would never happen. Somehow, she convinced my mother that weddings trumped mud pulls; and missing my wedding might be something she would eventually regret.

At the last minute, my mother made the decision to pop into the church just long enough to view the ceremony and swap a few hellos. She did leave as quickly as possible to pick-up her husband and head to the mud, but I’m glad she came anyway. There is just something special about having your mother at your wedding, even if you aren’t close.

Now, after twenty-plus years, I still feel occasional bouts of sadness at never having experienced a real relationship with my mother. I had wanted that all my life. And though she would disagree, I tried over and over to draw her heart to mine. It just never happened.

This makes me think of the parable in the 22nd chapter of Matthew:

Jesus answered and spoke again in parables to them, saying, The Kingdom of Heaven is like a certain king, who made a marriage feast for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast, but they would not come. Again he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “Behold, I have made ready my dinner. My oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the marriage feast!”‘ But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise [another to his mud pull]…..

The king’s Son is an obvious reference to our Lord Jesus Christ. He longs to have relationship with all of humanity and draw their hearts to His, as His bride, but so many people disregard the invitation because they are more interested in doing their own thing. Others think that just popping into church once in a while will suffice, even though they are not really in relationship with the LORD. However, making an appearance in the natural, is not enough! Salvation is an issue of the heart. The parable explains that those who rejected the invitation to the *marriage feast  will be utterly rejected themselves. However, it further elaborates that those who wish to attend must be wearing a proper wedding garment.

And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (vss. 11-15).

What is the wedding garment? The garment is the salvation found in Jesus Christ by acceptance of His atoning death on the cross for your sin, and subsequent obedience to His Word. Only the true bride of Christ wears this garment. They alone will be able to attend the marriage supper.

I’m not trying to sling any mud here, but there are lots of folks out there who will never attend the marriage supper because they are more interested in pursuing their own pleasures and activities. I truly hope, dear reader, you are not among them. Time is short, but it’s not too late. Why risk a last-minute decision? If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your LORD and Savior, there will never be a better time to do so than now. And there is no greater source of joy than knowing with certainty that you will be ready for that glorious day when we will be united with our bridegroom, Jesus.

*Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God….” Worship God! (Revelation 19:7-10)

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Okay I admit it; a few days ago, I almost mixed dried mustard into my pumpkin pie filling instead of ginger.  It’s a good thing I keep a pair of reading glasses in the kitchen and have the good sense to use them.  Otherwise, our dessert would have tasted awful.  At least I can blame my aging eyes for this near-blunder. 

Speaking of nasty-tasting desserts, I will also confess to you that I still hold first place in the “worst cake ever made” category for novice bakers.  Granted, I was quite young when I made that horrible thing, but that error was one of ignorance rather than limited vision. Allow me to explain:

Because this was the first cake I had ever baked from scratch, I was careful to follow the recipe to the letter.   From its beautiful, golden-brown appearance, the cake looked perfect when it came out of the oven. It tasted awful, though.  Words cannot adequately describe how nasty this cake tasted, or how confused I was by the outcome.  What had I done wrong?

Determined that I would not accept such a failure, I decided to toss the cake and start over.  Again, I assembled all the ingredients and followed the recipe meticulously. The flour was carefully sifted, the butter properly softened, the vanilla carefully measured and every ingredient added in order.  Surely, I reasoned, this cake would be better.

Definitely not!

The second cake was every bit as disgusting as the first; I was practically in tears.  With great disappointment, I informed my parents that we were not having cake that night because I was the worst baker on the planet and both cakes were in the trash, where they belonged.

“What did you put in the batter?” they asked.

I explained that I had followed the cookbook recipe and used only the ingredients listed.  I wasn’t sure why my parents started laughing, but they led me into the kitchen and, pulling a bottle from the cabinet, asked if that was the vanilla I used.

“Yes,” I answered, somewhat confused.

More laughs.  “That’s not vanilla,” they explained. “You used liquid smoke in the cake.”  (Unbeknownst to me, we had run out of vanilla.)

To be fair, the label had come off the bottle some time before.  But even if it hadn’t, I didn’t have a clue what liquid smoke was. Apparently, it’s a dark, liquid seasoning that is used to add a smoky flavor to foods. Trust me; you do not want to eat cake which tastes like it just came out of the smokehouse!

I was thinking about this recently after I listened to a young pastor present some rather “contemporary” suggestions for bringing the unsaved into his church. For the most part, his ideas were pretty good. And if the preacher’s vision to reach the lost had been more firmly grounded in Scripture, the outcome would have been very sweet and desirable.   However (without elaborating on the details), I noted that a few of his suggested “ingredients” for successful evangelism were, in reality, a violation of God’s Word. His vision was admirable, but he simply did not have proper understanding in regards to the propriety of his ideas.

We must remember, when putting together any kind of church outreach, that the proper “ingredients” are absolutely vital!

Although our hearts may be sincere and our motives pure, we must always be careful not to unintentionally substitute the sweet “vanilla” of God’s instruction for the (liquid) “smoke” of “cultural relevance.”  True, our well-meaning efforts might produce something that looks really good, but if we have made substitutions in God’s “recipe” for Christian conduct, (even unknowingly), the results will most likely be distasteful to the Lord.

Of course, we do need to earnestly minister to the unsaved, but it is only the LORD who can effectively bring them into the fold.  He Himself said: No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him (John 6:44).   Programs are nice, and preaching is important, but our primary focus should be to fulfill our divine calling to be a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that  [we] may declare the praises of him who called [us] out of darkness into his wonderful light (I Peter 2:9).

Dear reader, let us   firmly resolve to once again raise the church to the standards of holiness she once walked in, that God may be pleased to dwell in His sanctuary as He did in days of old.  Upon doing so, we will most assuredly have the right ingredients to properly minister to those whom the LORD will send.

And that, my friend, is sweet and desirable to the LORD!

 “Once we realize that imperfect understanding is the human condition there is no shame in being wrong, only in failing to correct our mistakes.”                   ~George Soros

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Let’s be honest; too many personal questions can sometimes be annoying. My friend, Barbara, often answers them with one simple word –nunya. (Yep, that really is in the (urban) dictionary –I looked it up).

She and I are good friends, so she has never responded to any of my questions like that. In fact, the first time I heard her use that term; it caught me off guard because I had never heard it before. She explained, “When I feel that someone is asking me a question which is out of line, I lightheartedly reply, “Nunya” for short. She further clarified, “By that, I mean ‘It’s nunya business.”

That’s probably not a word I would ever use much, because my life is pretty much an open book. Having said that, let me tell you that yesterday was one of those days that I just wanted to put life on hold and spend the whole day communing with my Heavenly Father; so I did. Yes, I prayed for the needs of others, but mostly I just worshipped  the Lord, spending precious time in His presence off-and-on throughout the day. I can say with certainty that He was right there, surrounding me with His awesome presence, every single time I called upon His name. For that I am truly thankful.

One of the things that gripped me most yesterday was the gratitude  I felt  knowing that our Heavenly Father is ALWAYS available for us. It doesn’t matter if we just want to ‘sit on His lap’ and enjoy His presence, or if we have a dire need; He is always as close as the mention of His name.

Perhaps you, dear reader, have never really known that kind of relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. I want to encourage you that you can simply talk to Him as though He was standing right there beside you, and He will answer! I promise you, when you cry out, “Lord, where are you? I need you!” He will never reply “Nunya!” Instead, He will gently speak to your heart and say, “Here I am, my child!”

Even so, it is sometimes difficult to feel His presence. In His Word, Jesus assures us that He is always present, even though our own emotions hinder us from accepting that. During those times, it often feels that the Lord God is so far away that we must diligently search for Him. Even then, He promised: Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13).

In this Scripture, the Lord God was speaking to the nation of Israel. They had turned their backs on Him, so He punished them by allowing them to be taken into captivity  in a foreign land. Yet, He was still in their midst all along, just waiting for them to call upon Him, so that they might be restored.

I thought about this over the weekend as I listened to a very sweet man share his testimony of how he first encountered Jesus Christ. This man had been told about Jesus, but he was reluctant to accept Him into his life because of his self-imposed belief that Jesus was surely angry at all the bad things he had done in his life, and was still doing (at that time).

Then one day, as this man sat in a bar, drunk, the Lord Jesus literally appeared to him in a vision. As the man recalled the face of Jesus, his own  face lit up with joy. “Jesus was not angry with me!” he said with a rapturous expression. “He was smiling! He loved me and I knew it.” “He was smiling at me,” he repeated.

What the man said next might be hard to believe for some of you, but it’s the truth. In that vision, Jesus told this man to stop drinking and never do it again. With that, the vision stopped and the man was completely sober– instantly! The friend seated next to him, also drunk, noticed this immediate change and asked what just happened. “I  saw Jesus!” he answered. Of course, his friend scoffed –-  until the very same thing happened to him, that is.

 I have no idea what  became of the second man, but the first man obeyed Jesus  and stopped drinking right then. And he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. This man now lives his life knowing with full certainty that his Heavenly Father is always with him, lovingly helping him through every day of his life.

Please understand; the Lord Jesus loves all of humanity and longs to be a vital part of every person’s life. When we know our relationship with God is not right, it is only natural to feel a sense of alienation. Never forget, however, that The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18 NIV). He longs to restore those whose relationship with Him is broken; and in His great, lovingkindness, He will be quick to answer those who call upon His name.

Finally, let me warn you that the adversary of humanity does not want you to be in communion with God. What of that? My advice to you is simply this: boldly tell that old devil –NUNYA!

Postscript: Thank you G.C. for sharing such a touching and remarkable testimony with us. May God continue to bless you and amaze you in ways you never dreamed possible!!!

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My tummy is dancing to the aroma of baking bread wafting through my house. I bake bread quite often because it is one of the little pleasures of life that just adds an air of warmth and comfort to the home. When my family prays “give us this day our daily bread” I want that bread to be straight out of the oven. Honestly, I believe the daily bread of the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ is, in context, speaking of God’s Word, but I desire my family to have fresh bread, both physical and spiritual.

A few thousand years ago, a baby was born in the little town of Bethlehem in Judea who would change the world forever. Bethlehem is a Hebrew word which literally means ‘House of Bread.’ The baby’s name was Yeshua (Jesus, to the English-speaking world). How very appropriate that He would be born in the ‘House of Bread’ because He would later refer to Himself as the Bread of Life:

And Jesus (Yeshua) said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger… (John 6:35)

The name Yeshua literally means salvation. Therefore, when the Angel of the Lord appeared to Yosef (Joseph) in a dream, He was saying about Miriam (Mary) that she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name SALVATION: for he shall save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21),

Like all mothers-to-be, Mary had anxiously awaited the arrival of her ‘Salvation’ for a long time. Can you just imagine Miriam looking into the face of this beautiful newborn baby with joyful tears saying “Alas, Salvation has finally come?”

Much of the world has chosen this time of year to reflect on the birth of Yeshua. However, I would like us to take a few moments to reflect on Him as the Bread of Life; which isn’t hard to for me to do as I sit here engulfed in the delectable aroma of baking bread.

In the first chapter of the book of John we read:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….… [John 1:1-4] Jumping to verse 14 we read: And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

So we see that the God caused a part of Himself, His word, to be made manifest in a tangible body, the body of the babe Yeshua. I know this is all pretty difficult for our finite, human minds to fully comprehend. Even so, Yeshua is the Son of God and designates Himself as the Bread of Life (amongst other descriptions).

John goes on to say:

Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)

Unquestionably Yeshua, living as a man in a physical body, needed food for sustenance. Nevertheless, he understood that physical bread only satisfies our temporal bodies for a short time. He therefore emphasized the urgency of nourishing oneself with spiritual food; that which quenches the soul’s hunger always:

And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. (Luke 4:1-4)

In other words, because our bodies soon perish but our souls are immortal, feeding ourselves spiritually must be our priority. But how do we partake of the bread of life? By every word of God! In the beginning was the Word… and the word became flesh. To read God’s Word is to partake of the Bread of Life.

How can the bread satisfy, though, unless it is fresh? Unlike oven-baked bread which becomes stale very quickly, spiritual bread stays fresh forever and its nutrients never diminish. Nevertheless, we should never be satisfied to live on yesterday’s bread.

Remember, Yeshua taught us to pray:

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread

I pray that in the same way the enticing aroma of fresh-baked bread stimulates our appetite and creates anxiousness to partake of this fresh, warm comfort food, that thoughts of our precious Lord will fill our hearts and minds in the same way. May we all become desirous to start each day with a fresh, ‘warm slice’ of the Bread of Life.

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