Thursday, December 31, 2015

ANTICIPATION

18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

 We are at the beginning of a new year.  As a child, I remember celebrating New Years Eve with my family in New Jersey.  Everyone dressed in their finest clothes for this event.  No expense was spared.  Food was delicious and the festivities went on into the wee hours of the morning.  I remember my mom ushering all us kids into the main "party" room just before midnight so that the whole family could ring in the new year together. I remember the countdown... looking at the countdown clock with anticipation...what would the new year bring?  5-4-3-2-1...
 HAPPY NEW YEAR!  We would hug each other, cry... twirl the noise makers and throw confetti.  It was a joyous time!  It was a tradition I carried on for sometime.

Today, things are much different for me,  The "party" is gone... along with the noise makers and confetti.   But there is still a celebration... a joyous anticipation of what will the new year bring.  It is exciting to think of starting things new... of being given a chance to begin again.  Many of us make resolutions at this time... to diet, to exercise more, to pray more, to serve more...  The list is endless.  We can always think of something we need to do more of... or less of...

Is there something on your "resolution" list for this new year?  How will you accomplish these resolves?  It is said that the resolutions that are made are broken within a month.  So how can you accomplish the things you have on your heart?  Scripture tells us that we are to rely on the Lord for guidance and help.   Ask the Lord to show you how He would have you do those things   In a world filled with temptation, ask the Lord for strength to resist.  Or maybe it's a new thing you are anticipating the Lord doing in your life this year.   Make it a point to seek His will in this work... that it would not be a work of your flesh, but that it would be a true work of His Spirit.  Seek His face at every crossroads... Listen, not for the storm or the fire, but for His still small voice.  He will not fail you.


A closing thought...As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, our greatest anticipation is the promise of His return.  Will this be the year that He Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God?  Will this be the year that we will all be caught up together in the clouds with our loved ones gone before us and meet the Lord in the air... and forever be with Him?  The Bible says it can happen at anytime... Are we ready?

Maranatha!  Come Quickly Lord Jesus!




Saturday, December 19, 2015

GLORY IN THE HIGHEST


"The heavenly host proclaim Your birth, Glory to God and peace to all the earth. Your name is near... Emmanuel... God with us here... God pleased with us to dwell..."
Chris Tomlin is notably one of the greatest Christian artist in the world today.  His songs of praise to the Lord have brought a cup a cool water to many a weary soul.  His songs are simple and to the point, humble and incredulous... "Yes Jesus loves me", "How Great is Our God", "Love Ran Red" are just a couple that have personally touched me in some of my darkest hours.


Yet, there is one song that brings me to tears each time I hear it.  It stops me in my tracks and causes me to focus only on what is being sung and to whom they are being sung too.  I find that I often close my eyes and lift my hands, (which can be a little dangerous if I'm driving...) in reverance to the Lord. I can't help myself either... worship flows from my heart.  It's been on my playlist alot this month as it's on the Christmas cd I've been listening to over and over.
It's called "Glory in the Highest."

It's songs like this that bring to realization the greatest truths of all.  God has no equal. No rivals. No shortages. No needs. He is before all things and at the end of the day He will be the last one standing. The world is filled with “little g” gods, but our God made the heavens and the earth. No one compares to Him. No one even comes close.  There is nothing to difficult for Him to handle, nothing He will not handle Himself. I know I write about this over and over.  I guess it's something I need to be constantly conscious of.  Something that I forget when things get out of hand and overwhelming.  This thought brings comfort and peace to a heart often discouraged and overwhelmed.

So as you wait on Him today, give Him praise. Maybe your circumstances appear to be upside down, but His throne is decidedly right-side up! Praise Him in the waiting. Exalt Him in the wondering. So don’t ask for much today, just keep lifting up the Name above every name. Let that Name ground your heart and still your soul. Let your praise drown out all others who contend for your allegiance and affection. When you do, your very song will lift your thoughts to the very highest place.
(there is a link for your enjoyment below)

Glory in the Highest

You are the first. You go before. You are the last.  Lord, You’re the encore.  Your name’s in lights for all to see.  The starry host declare Your glory.
Glory in the highest.  Glory in the highest.  Glory in the highest

Apart from You there is no god. Light of the world, The Bright and Morning Star
Your name will shine for all to see.  You are the One.  You are my glory.

And no one else could ever compare to You, Lord.  All the earth together declares . . .
Glory in the highest . . . to You, Lord

All the earth will sing Your praise, the moon and stars, the sun and rain
Every nation will proclaim, that You are God and You will reign
Glory, glory hallelujah  Glory, glory to You, Lord
Glory, glory hallelujah  Hallelujah

Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Jesse Reeves, Daniel Carson, Ed Cash



Father, what shall I say to You? You have no equal or rival. My words and my thoughts are so small when compared to You. I have seen the starry night and it cannot hold a candle to Your glory. Expand my faith and give me words as I seek to join the anthem of Your praise.  All praise is Yours, now and forever. I will walk in that truth today. I will believe it. And act like it. And pray like it. And give like it. And praise like there is none like You. Amen!

Glory in the Highest- Enjoy the song!

Till next time

Saturday, December 12, 2015

But When The Right Time Came...

Waiting... It has become a normal part of our everyday lives.  If you think about it, we wait for things to happen all day long.  We wait in traffic, we wait in lines at the supermarket and my personal favorites... waiting for my computer to boot up or that website to load. 

If we are honest, we all hate to wait. In fact, we often say something like, “I can’t believe this is taking so long; it’s costing me time I don’t have!”   That’s probably because most of us consider waiting to be a big waste of time.

But it’s not so with our God.  God works while we wait. 

Think about how long God's people waited for the coming of  Jesus.  Many had given up hope that God would ever fulfill His promise.  After all, God had been silent for a very long time.  Yet He was working things out... His plan was always in motion... 
But when the right time came, the time God decided on, he sent his Son, born of a woman, born as a Jew," Gal 4:4 TLB
He revealed Himself to a humble maid and her betrothed.   Then to some lowly shepherds, He heralded the birth of His one and only Son.  Even after that, they waited for 30 more years for Jesus to start His ministry that would ultimately lead Him to the cross.  Now we as a church are waiting for His return... Maranatha!

I love the implication of the verse above...  The Lord says... When the right time came, the time decided upon by God Himself...  Wow!  You see, even when you can’t see what He is doing, God is always orchestrating the events of heaven and earth to accomplish His purposes for your life. 

What ever you are waiting for ... Trust in His unfailing love—love that moved Him to send a Savior from heaven to restore and rescue you. God’s plans for your life will not be thwarted.  You can be sure they are good.  Wait patiently, knowing that waiting is never wasted when you are waiting on God.

Father, I am here waiting for You. My heart and hands are open to Your purposes and plans for my life. Give me the patience I so desperately need and lead me in my waiting. Though my feelings may not be there just yet, I believe You are moving on my behalf right this minute, protecting, defending, preparing, providing. Give me grace to keep trusting in You in the face of the gale force winds of doubt that are blowing all around me. Anchor my heart in You. Amen.


Till next time,

x

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Must Read....

Sometimes I con across something that really touches my heart.  So today I'd like to share a small devotion that my husband put on FaceBook this morning.  I loved the simplicity of it.  He took the picture of this butterfly on a Sunday after church.  He has a great eye for photos and he is a very skilled writer... there is definitely an anointing upon his life.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.  If you care to read other things he has written, his blog site is Walking the Berean Road.  Here is a link to his site:  http://walkingthebereanroad.com/

Enjoy!

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, He is a new creation; old things are passed away; behold all things are become new."
2 Corinthians 5 : 17
When I snapped this photo, it led me to thinking why this butterfly was just sitting on this branch almost not moving for what seemed the longest time. ...sometimes just a slight movement of its delicate wings. ..
I looked it up and found out that butterflies can't fly if their temperature is less than 86 degrees. .they can't produce enough heat on their own and rely on the sun for heating up their wings in order that they may fly. They have strong muscles but they can't fly without the sun warming their bodies.
I started thinking...hey that's how we are as Christians.....I can't do things on my own. . . I need the SON to WARM me.....give me strength.....
I don't know about you but I don't move around very well in my own strength. .. I need to remember that I must rely on the Lord's strength before I can accomplish anything. ...
Facing an impossible scenario that you find your strength flailing? Come to Jesus! "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak " Isaiah 40 : 29

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Readiness

 There will be disturbances around the world—from great earthquakes to famines to epidemics... Luke 21:11


On January 17, 1994, before dawn, Southern California was hit with a 6.7 magnitude earthquake.  It was a violent up and down movement that caused freeways to collapse, buildings to crumble, fires to break out and loss of life.  

I remember jumping out of bed rushing to see if my kids were okay, thinking that in a split second we could all be dead.  It is a frightening experience to have the violently shake underneath you.  Did I have an earthquake plan?  Did I have all the items that the preparedness teams told us to have in case of such an emergency?  

Growing up in California, we have always been taught to know how to turn off the gas, keep a flash light with fresh batteries handy, first aid kits, bottled water, canned goods for 7 days in case the "Big One" hits.  We must be ready.

Over the years, we have seen many such disasters increasing all over the world, so much devastation, loss of life and destruction of property.   Could they have been better prepared for this?  The answer is... not really.  No one knows when a earthquake will really hit. 

Jesus Himself tells us in the scripture above that these things will occur in the last days before His return.  So, we must be ready... not only physically but spiritually.  We need to prepare ourselves and help others around us be ready too.  

Jesus says in John 11:25-26,  “I am the resurrection and the life.[e] Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die..."

He ends this statement with a question..."Do you believe this, Martha?”  

I believe that is the very same question He is asking all of us today.  It is so simple, isn't it... believe and live... yet many choose... reject and die.  It grieves my heart when I think of one member of my own family, my dad, who is choosing reject and die.  Yet God is merciful and wishes no one to perish, so the prayers continue to go up on his behalf.  If you are reading this, may I ask that you say a prayer for him too.  His name is Hugo.  Who knows... I may be writing to let you know your prayers availed on his behalf.  Thank You.

We all need to be ready... live our lives reflecting the purity of the Lord.  I remember something my pastor used to say...  "you don't want to be doing something you shouldn't and have the trumpet sound....  That would be a bad day." 

Our conduct must be above reproach and our words "seasoned with grace."  I love how this translation says it: Col 4:6 Phillips
Be wise in your behaviour towards non-Christians, and make the best possible use of your time. Speak pleasantly to them, but never sentimentally, and learn to give a proper answer to every questioner.

Stand in love for truth, giving those around us the reason to choose life.  Ask the Holy Spirit for the boldness to share this life giving truth with others.  Ask Him to help you not fear what others will say when you do.  I know that is my prayer.  

Remember, the Lord will come when we least expect Him...with the suddenness of an earthquake.  We don't know the day or the time of His coming, but it is promised to us who believe.  Let us encourage each other with these words and bring as many people as we can with us!



Until next time,

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Beautiful Treasure...

 But this beautiful treasure is contained in us—cracked pots made of earth and clay—so that the transcendent character of this power will be clearly seen as coming from God and not from us.  2Cor 4:7 the Voice

I was reading my Bible, and as has become my habit in the mornings, my eyes skim easily over the familiar words.  I look at the clock, 15 minutes, 20 minutes- Oh times up, gotta get ready for work-  I close the book, and say a quick word of thanks to the Lord for His word and go on with may day. 

But today without the restraint of time, I found  the wonderful words that are stated above jumped out at me so that I actually stopped reading further and took some time to ponder this amazing statement.

"Cracked pots made of earth and clay".  This is how this passage describes us.  I can go to any nursery around here and pick up a clay pot and it is not very expensive.  In fact, it is the most inexpensive item sold and a "cracked pot?"  is worthless.  A treasure is defined as wealth, riches or something of great value.   So how is it, that the scripture says that a treasure is contained in this worthless piece of pottery?

The incredible thing about this is that the treasure the scripture is talking about is Jesus Himself.  Having received Jesus as Lord, His Power, His Spirit resides in us.  I am dumbfounded by this fact.  God trusts His treasure to a common clay pot.

The rest of that scripture gives us the remarkable reason the Lord does this...  "so that the transcendent character of this power will clearly be seen as coming from God and not from us."

Beautiful words right?  What does that mean in my every day life?  Enduring through life's difficulties with the assurance of God's faithfulness to see me through.  I don't know if many know this but I suffer with rheumatoid arthritis, an auto immune disease that causes your joints to swell to painful degrees.  There have been many times over the years that I have had to endure severe pain. Most recently this disease has raised it's ugly head to try to destroy my faith.  But GOD... has put His beautiful treasure in me... this cracked pot... so that the surpassing greatness of His power may be seen in me.   Hopefully, those around me during these difficult times witness this... Patty is weak and broken, but HIS greatness is seen in me.  This is the ONLY thing that has kept me going.

I have seen this type of "surpassing power" in many of my friends too.  My friend Ami, who just went through a very difficult surgery to repair/remove a really bad hernia.  Her faith while shaken still remains strong... because of her little clay pot contains the amazing treasure that shines through the cracks.  I can think of many others... to many to list that endured similar situations.  

It is a mind boggling, humbling thought when you really stop to think about the reality of this truth in our lives as believers.

 The world is into the "power of positive thinking" or that a person is strong because of they reach down within themselves and do it from sheer determination and will.   We all need to show others that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us.  Philippians 4:13 states, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."  Can you trust God today to believe that you, a clay pot with a great treasure inside, can do all things because Jesus Christ give you the strength and power to do it?  If we, as Christians, could only believe this promise and make it part of our lives, He can work miracles through us within our families and our communities.

Will you yield your broken pot to Him today and allow His treasure to be seen in you?

Until next time,

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Stillness

... and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life... 1Thes 4:11

We cannot go through life strong and fresh on constant express trains with ten minutes for lunch: we must have quiet hours, secret places of the Most High, times of waiting upon the Lord, when we renew our strength and learn to mount up on wings as eagles, and then come back to run and not be weary, and to walk and not faint. 


The best thing about this stillness is, that it gives God a chance to work. “He that is entered into His rest hath ceased from his own works, even as God did from His”; and when we cease from our thoughts, God’s thoughts come into us; when we get still from our restless activity, “God worketh in us, both to will and to do of His good pleasure,” and we have but to work it out.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Here Today... Gone Tomorrow... A Tribute


"But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.  He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper." Ps 1:2-3 nkjv

One year ago today, we were hit with the news that our dear Pastor Chuck went home to be with Jesus.  I was crushed when I heard the news.  

But yesterday something even more devastating to my heart...  the news that my own pastor… My dear Pastor Steve Mays went home to be with Jesus due to complications from back surgery.  I was stunned when I received the phone call that delivered that sad and awful news.  My pastor… No it can't be... it seemed too unreal.  The last time I saw him was 3 ½ month ago.  He had given Marty, my husband, and I his blessing as we moved up north to start a new work for the Lord.  His last words to me were,    “I love you kiddo… keep your eyes on Jesus”.   My heart is broken… it can’t be true… My spiritual father… gone… now in glory with his pastor Chuck, and both beholding the face of Jesus.  

I was a part of the congregation at Calvary Chapel South Bay for 26 years.  I had become a Christian about 2 years before I stepped into the doors of CCSB.  I was still lost… I knew Jesus yes, but I didn’t know how to read the Word and take it in for myself.  My sister and I had been church hopping for 6 months before the Lord led us to South Bay.  From the moment I stepped in those doors, I knew I was home.  

Teaching the Word with authority
Pastor Steve taught the Word in an open and understandable way… week after week as I attended the service the scriptures opened up to me.  I gained understanding and a hunger for the Word of God I never had before.  Many times, as I sat in the congregation, I thought he could see right through me… Like he knew my situation and was dealing with it right there… It was the Lord of course, but I had never experienced that in my life.  I stayed there, I was home… got fed by a faithful shepherd who loved Jesus… my children were raised there… we all grew in Jesus there.


The years passed, and I was challenged by the Lord to become involved in ministry there… Children’s ministry, Womens, and Worship ministry.  I love my church, loved my pastor and his wife!  I couldn’t wait for Tuesday nights Thursday nights and Sundays to be with all my new found family at CCSB.  

Pastor Steve and Mama... 

But, it wasn’t until 1999 that I really got to know Pastor Steve as more than just a pastor.  He became my friend.  I was going through a divorce after 20 years of marriage and both he and Mama Gail- his wife, my spiritual mother- helped me through it, calling me at home to be sure I was okay, offering love and godly counsel at every turn.  That he would care for me, a nobody, was amazing to me.  He was never condemning, never judgmental.  He was always kind and caring.  

He loved Sunday Night Prayer Service

It was 5 years ago that I felt the Lord calling me into ministry, so I when a position became available to work on staff there at my church I knew it was for me.   There I had the privilege of being part of his ministry, getting to hear his heart during staff devotions, getting to pray with him and for him, sharing the stage with him as part of the worship team every Sunday and Thursday night.  

It was there I became painfully aware of the suffering my pastor was in every day.  Yet in all that, he did not stop coming by my desk,  encouraging me in my new role, to ask how I was, to offer a smile and fatherly hug.  He was an example to all of us of how to keep pressing on no matter what… This scripture describes him so well… He lived it.  
"7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.12 So then death is working in us, but life in you." 2 Cor4:7-12

I posted this link on FB, it so exemplifies the humble heart of my pastor.   Enjoy and please pray for Mama Gail, his mother Helen, his children Nathan & Heather, all the grandkids and extended family.  Please pray also for all of my friends on staff at CCSB who are all reeling from this sudden loss.  

Who am I?


I will miss you Pastor, your smile, your generous and tender heart.  I will miss your insightful words, your silly stories, your care and concern for me.  Above all, I’ll miss your fiery teaching and love for the Lord and His word.  I love you… can’t wait to see you again… Enjoy beholding HIS face. 





Until next time,



Friday, August 1, 2014

Had to Share...Be Encouraged!


Morning
Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn. – Ruth 2:2
Downcast and troubled Christian, come and glean today in the broad field of promise. Here are an abundance of precious promises, which exactly meet your needs. Take this one,
“He will not break the bruised reed—nor quench the smoldering wick.” Does not that suit your case? A reed—helpless, insignificant, and weak; a bruised reed, out of which no music can come; weaker than weakness itself. A reed, and that reed bruised—yet, He will not break you; but on the contrary, will restore and strengthen you. You are like the smoldering wick—no light, no warmth, can come from you; but He will not quench you; He will blow with His sweet breath of mercy, until He fans you to a flame.
Would you glean another ear? “Come unto Me all who labor and are heavy laden—and I will give you rest.” What soft words! Your heart is tender, and the Master knows it, and therefore He speaks so gently to you. Will you not obey Him, and come to Him even now?
Take another ear of corn, “Fear not, O worm Jacob—I will help you, says the Lord and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” How can you fear with such a wonderful assurance as this?
You may gather ten thousand such golden ears as these! “I have blotted out your sins like a cloud, and like a thick cloud your transgressions.” Or this, “Though your sins be as scarlet—they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson—they shall be as wool.” Or this, “The Spirit and the Bride say, Come, and let him who is athirst come, and whoever will—let him take the water of life freely.”
Our Master’s field is very rich; behold the handfuls. See, there they lie before you, poor timid believer! Gather them up, make them your own, for Jesus bids you take them. Do not be afraid, only believe! Grasp these sweet promises, thresh them out by meditation and feed on them with joy!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Stand By Your Man.

YouTube- It's amazing all the stuff that you can see on there.  You can learn how to make a dress, how to use your new tablet or cell phone, how to play the guitar in 3 easy lessons.  You can watch music videos, see historic interviews... pretty much anything now is available on YouTube... the good, the bad and the ugly.

The other day I was randomly "surfing " through some old songs and came across a old video of Tammy Wynette singing her hit Stand By Your Man.  Everyone over the age of 40 knows that classic chorus... "Stand by your man... give him two arms to cling too... "  So at first I had to chuckle at the video clip I was watching.  There she was decked out in a red sequined dress, her blonde hair in a bouffant hairstyle, standing on the porch of a quaint little house.. singing a song with the most serious look on her face. Oh my... it had classic 1960's all over it...Here are the words to the song:

Sometimes it's hard to be a woman, Giving all your love to just one man, You'll have bad times, And he'll have good times, Doin things that you don't understand  But if you love him, You'll forgive him  Even though he's hard to understand  And if you love him, Oh, be proud of him Cause after all he's just a man
Stand by your man, Give him two arms to cling to And something warm to come to when nights are cold and lonely
Stand by your man And show the world you love him Keep giving all the love you can Stand by your man
Stand by your man And show the world you love him Keep giving all the love you can


But... as I listened to the actual song, I realized I never heard to the whole thing... These words actually stopped me for a moment...  "cause after all, he's just a man."  I sat there and it was like a ton of bricks hit me.  "If you love him, Oh be proud of him cause after all he's just a man."

I love my husband, "my man" with all my heart and soul.  There is nothing that I would not give to him, nothing that I would withhold from him.  He is the man the Lord chose for me, he is the second chance I have always dreamed of.  He is the one who will provide for me, who will be there for me when I need a shoulder to cry on.  I had so many expectations as a new wife.  But what happens when he falls short of meeting my expectations?  Do I begin get bitter and bicker with him, making his life miserable?
 
Do I become that contentious wife who can only spew out angry unsatisfied words?  Scripture tells me that it's better to live in the wilderness all by yourself than under the same roof with a contentious woman, YIKES!




My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. Ps 62:8

The scriptures also tell me that my expectations should only be in the Lord.  He is the only one that can satisfy all my needs.  How quickly I can get my focus off the Lord and onto my husband and what he is or is not doing.  The Lord tells me to have faith in HIM, to come to HIM and HE will take care of all that concerns me.  HE tells me, Patty, pray!  Trust that I have everything you need and will fulfill all the desires of your heart!  

The Lord reminded me today through the simple words of this song that, my husband, as wonderful as he is, will never be able to meet all my expectations.   He is just a man, doing the best he can to deal with all the situations in his life.  He is not a perfect human being, instead just as frail and full of faults as I am.  So if I keep my heart and mind focused on the Lord, I will never be disappointed when things don't go the way I think they should.

Til Next Time...