Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Layer upon Layer of Mascara


 If your eyelashes are anything like mine, after you put your first layer of mascara on, you then apply another layer.  Then after that, you put the brush back in the tube, pump it a few times, maybe twirl it around to get more mascara on the brush to apply yet another layer! This reminds me of something spiritual...because doesn’t everyone think of spiritual things while applying mascara?? ha !
This was my spiritual thought - just as I layer mascara on, the Lord layers His love on me.  He does not stop at just one layer of love... He tells me that He lavishes love on me.  So, as I put layer upon layer of mascara on my eyes, the Lord puts layer upon layer of His love on me.  
And the best part is - His love NEVER washes off!!  No matter what!

Just as He lavishes His love on us, layer upon layer, let us pray that we can lavish Jesus' love to others each and every "layer" of our day! 

1 John 3:1 "How Great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!"

For more scripture reading: I John 3:1-6

Rise Above with Jesus!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Peace



Only through Jesus do we have true strength and peace - but, as my pastor reminded us this past week: Peace needs to be pursued.

In this life we will have many troubles, but take heart!  With Jesus we will have life more abundantly and peace beyond imagination- because Jesus overcame the world.

Having peace in this world starts with having peace with our Lord.  That means we need to understand that God first needs to cleanse our hearts from sin.  If we confess our sin, He will forgive us and cleanse us from all sin.  Then we can walk and talk with Him freely, knowing we are forgiven and will spend eternity with Him as well.  This is true peace.

When we are forgiven by God, we have true peace.  His Word, the Bible, gives instruction on how to live at peace with others (as much as it depends on us personally).  Which often means we need to forgive those who have hurt us too.

Ask the Lord for true peace today.  If it is forgiveness that you are withholding from someone, then ask the Lord to move in your heart to forgive that person...even if the person who offended you is not living anymore.  You can be holding on to resentment and bitterness that needs to be given over to the Lord...let it go into His hands.
Or perhaps, it is the opposite, that you need to seek forgiveness from someone that you offended.

If there is no sin causing the unrest in your heart, then perhaps you need to ask Jesus to give you by Grace his peace that comes from sitting in His presence. Talk to Him, ask Him for the grace to give you that peace by resting in Him.  Listen to Him saying to you, "Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

We are not perfect, only God is.  We will offend and be offended by others.  Rise Above your circumstances by offering forgiveness as Jesus first did for us.

And simply rest in His presence. These are incredible ways to pursue peace!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

White Hair should Not be a Scare!

A few years ago, I saw a couple of older women with salt and pepper hair that looked so pretty.  Awhile later I saw another woman at a homeschooling event (I used to homeschool my children) and I said that her gray hair looked so pretty, and I should stop coloring mine.  Another homeschooling mom said, “Rachel, you said that before!” So, why can’t I take the plunge? What am I afraid of?

My first strand of white hair was at the crown of my head when I was 24 years old.  I started coloring my hair at that time, but just around my ears - as the white would show through.  Yes, I was an “early” gray hair girl. It didn't seem like it took long, and after coloring, the white hair would peak through every 2 - 3 weeks.  And, of course, the white hair grew more widespread. So, when I saw these women a few years back, I thought to myself, “let it go and let it grow”. I needed to let my natural hair color grow out.  

I prayed about it off and on for a couple of years and kept asking God why I was fearful to let it grow out.  I realized it was the association of what white hair was associated with...growing old! What is wrong with growing old?  We have been doing it since conception, right? Inside our mother’s womb? And continuing on until we see Jesus face to face -up in glory?  So, why was I still struggling?

Then, my husband started telling me (when I would complain I had to color my roots) - that he really loved the natural color of my hair.  He wanted me to stop coloring it! Of course, the decision was mine, but he wanted me to know what he liked... Hmmm, that made me think even more seriously about it.  After all, who do I try to look nice for anyway? My husband first and foremost, then...my Mother! hahaha - But seriously, isn't it our mother who will say, " Oh, you look so nice” or ,”You look tired"or "Rachel, put some color on your lips..." lol.
Of course, my husband enjoys some color on my lips and nails once in awhile too, but he is really great at encouraging and tells me often I don't need it.(even if you and I think I do ;)  

So if I respect my husband, was I ready to take the plunge and put his words to the test?  Could I actually let my hair color grow out naturally? What was wrong with looking older? That is where my heart stayed.  Until I received my answer from the Lord.
My heart stayed pensive over this issue as I thought about it.  When I see someone older, what comes to my mind? Typically it is someone I admire and want to spend time with, someone I glean wisdom from.  Generally speaking, older people are wiser about ways of the world. And most of the people I look up to and admire have been walking with the Lord longer than I have.  I seek them out to glean wisdom about this world and living in it.
Then I heard it!  The answer I was waiting to hear from the Lord.  He said to me, "Absolutely NOTHING is wrong with looking older. Do not fear. Let it grow.  And trust Me.”
So, I took the plunge. And I will be the first to admit... This has not been an easy transition for me.  The Word specifically says, "Do not lose heart, though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day." 2 Corinthians 4:16
My solution? I needed to make sure my focus stayed inwardly “day by day”.   If I have the Holy Spirit living in me, then there should be a longing inside me for that renewal!  I need to feed my mind with truth from the Bible, so that I am being renewed daily. This is where I received my strength.  Because, I was still concerned with what other people thought.

Yet, God's words to me through these verses were received with new insight.  
When we are aging Daughters of the King, (DOK) we should always walk with our heads held high knowing that our "gray hair is a crown of splendor" (Proverbs 16:31). He always goes before us, telling us not to worry about what other people think (Deuteronomy 31:6) and always teaches us the way to go (Isaiah 30:21).  


I'm so thankful to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.  For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death and to the other, the fragrance of life. (no matter what the hair color) 2 Corinthians 2:14-16

We are all aging since conception.  Let us age gracefully knowing, whether white hair or not, if we are a DOK, we leave behind the fragrance of life or death to those around us.

Walk confidently, trusting God that He created you fearfully and wonderfully and will continue to age us fearfully and wonderfully if you rise above this world’s lies. Do not fear what others think - Take the plunge and let your crown be of splendor!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Praise in Calamity

I'm always encouraged when I read in scripture how one person is rejoicing in the Lord and praising God when it is obvious that calamity is in their life.  It prompts me to praise as well. Look at what Habakkuk says at a pivitol time in his walk with the Lord.  Can you replace Habakkuk's name with yours?
"Habakkuk (replace with your name
               Rejoices in the Lord:
17 Though the fig tree should not blossom,
    nor fruit be on the vines,  (though the walls are caving in all around me)
the produce of the olive fail (I am short on supplies, I feel alone)
    and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
    and there be no herd in the stalls, (I don't see any help around me)
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
    I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 God, the Lord, is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the deer's;
    he makes me tread on my high places.



When hardship is upon me, I first look at whether or not is there sin in my life that I think the hardship is a result.  Or I ask the Lord if I am walking in obedience to Christ.  Is there something I am doing, even though it is a "good" thing, that is not walking in Obedience to Christ.
Read what Jesus says in Matthew:

Matthew 11:28-30
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Is your hardship in your life right now because of disobedience in your life?  Is it a responsibility on your plate that you won't relinquish - no matter how "good" it is?  If your hardship is Not from disobedience, 
when we walk in obedience to God, we live at peace with our responsibilities because we know it is the Lord who is giving us that command to do this "responsibility".  Or do we need to relinquish it?
Confess it?  Seek accountability over it?  Or are you holding on with your own strength?

Lay your burden down at Jesus' feet.  Lay your disobedience down.  Lay your schedule down.
Lay your life in His arms and let Him hold you  and LEAD you.  Don't 
hold on with your fists.  Open your hands, lift up your palms to the heavens.
Praise as Habakkuk praised, in the midst of calamity, and feel the Lord's presence overwhelm you.  Wait for His leading.  


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Mom, look at your hands!

My son recently looked at my hands and exclaimed, "Wow, mom! Why are the veins on the back of your hands so big?"
I thought for a second and then responded, "My mom's hands look this way also.  Her hands have thick veins just like mine.  It is hereditary.  My mom works very hard."
  I continued to think about how my mother raised 5 kids well, cooking and cleaning for us, caring for us when we were well and sick.  She now is working outside her home, even after retirement.  I'd like to think that my mom's life of hard work is hereditary in my life as well.

Thinking about my son's question regarding my hands, I was reminded of Jesus.  His hands were trained when he was young as a carpenter.  His hands were strong and skilled. When Jesus started His ministry, His hands performed many miracles.  Later, Jesus' hands were "pierced for our iniquity" and "by those wounds we were healed". (Isaiah 53:5)

The Bible says that Jesus came to this earth to serve us.  Jesus worked tiredly to serve us, teach us, love us, and free us.  Because of Jesus' hands we are saved from sin and death.  Because of Jesus' hands we are free.

While my hands can never save or free someone from death, I pray that my hands -and yours- will work diligently, serving to show others the path to Jesus, the giver of freedom and life...Life Everlasting!   Only through Jesus do we have true strength and peace to survive in this world where it is required to use our hands for hardwork.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

From Him, and to Him and through Him are all things...He has control over the bad days.

How many times have you thought, "This was not a good day", or "Where was God today when things came crashing down?" "God wouldn't love me this way."
There are some key points that the Bible teaches about those thoughts, and I pray that this reflection encourages you.

First, if you are not sure about your life as a believer - whether you believe that Jesus is Lord or not - if this concept is new to you, let me briefly explain.

The Bible is a compilation of letters and documents written to teach about God in history and to teach us about how God influences our lives today. The Bible says that Jesus is God and that all of these writings are God's words written to help us. The Bible says, "All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
So, if this is the case, let's look in the Bible to answer those pressing questions.

    Because this is a blog where I write short reflections, I will focus on the most general and the most direct answer. Our bad day or crisis occurred because because God allowed it. The Bible says that he is Sovereign. This means that God has the supreme and ultimate power over all things.  Nothing occurs without His permission.  His ways are higher than our ways. And although we are all imperfect human beings, who make mistakes everyday, God tells us in the Bible  that He is even over our human mistakes.

  Here are a few verses that speak of God's Sovereign power.
             "From Him, and to Him and through Him are all things"(Romans 11:36)
             "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as              the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than                 your thoughts." and (Isaiah 55: 8-9)
          "The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all." It continues to                      explain that even his angels and all heavenly hosts obey His commands(Psalm 103:19-22).
           "In all things God works for the good of those who LOVE Him, who have been called according to                His purpose....If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:28-31)

Nothing happens that the Lord doesn't allow.

Keep in mind this important fact: God's Sovereign power is poured out in the form of love to ONLY those who know Him, who are His children, who believe on His name.  Psalm 103:17 says, "From everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children's children- with those who keep His covenant and remember to obey His precepts."

So, if you are a child of God and if you believe that Jesus is Lord of your life, and you ask, "Why didn't my day go as I planned? Why does it seem like everything that can go wrong, is going wrong?"
Be reassured, "In all things God works for the good of those who LOVE Him, who have been called according to His purpose....If God is for us, who can be against us?"
So, although you may not have an exact reason as to why your day turned out the way it did, you can be sure that God ordered your day, He is in control, and everything that happened was God showing love to you.
Friend, we may not see His love in the tragedy, but our confidence is this: all things will turn out for our good because we are His children.



Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Heavenly Beings

     I always am amazed when I turn my thoughts to the fact that God still sends angels here on earth.  As Hebrews 13:2 reminds us, "Do not neglect to entertain strangers, for by doing this some have entertained angels without knowing it."
     When I see a homeless person holding a sign on a street corner, or someone asking for work, I know I need to be cautious for safety reasons. Whether they are holding a sign because they are in bondage to drugs and or alcohol is NOT the point.  The point is that they are in need.  My first thought is, "What do I have with me I can give?" Sometimes it is a banana, fruit bar, even an oatmeal snack. I am disappointed if I have nothing physically to give. But, remember Believer, you always have the gift of prayer to give as you pass by! In Matthew 25, Jesus says, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,you did it to me.’
     The amazement comes when I bring to mind that the Bible says we may show hospitality to angels- without knowing it.  Wow- to think I may have had contact with a heavenly being! A being that dwells in the same place as Jesus, the Creator of all things, and I didn't even know it.
     Pretty amazing, right? Well, consider with me this - that when we bow our hearts in prayer, when we open the Word of God, when we sing praises- we commune with another heavenly being - The King of Kings, Lord of lords, the Creator of the Angels, JESUS! And this is NO secret.
Go dwell in His presence, bask in the amazement of His Glory, in the fact that you are with The ultimate Heavenly Being.

Matthew 25:35-40 (ESV) 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,you did it to me.’

Monday, June 15, 2015

Go into my room alone to Pray??

                                              Go into my room alone to pray???

                                          "But when you pray, go into your room,
                    close the door and pray to your Father who is in secret..." Matthew 6:6

First of all, I would like to say, “Who has time to go into their room alone to pray?” Yes, our lives are busy, but trust me, there are some important points to grasp here. 
     The verses before and after this verse discuss details of how not to pray - loudly like someone who wants to be seen perhaps for "doing good", or like people who think they need to add so much fluff to their prayers in order to be heard by the Lord. The thought behind verse 6 is for you to understand that your Father in heaven wants to hear from you personally. He wants you to pray to Him so you have an intimate, one-on-one connection that is secret between you and Him. The idea of going into your room alone to pray is to emphasize that you are not praying for any outside alternative reason or person to see you. It is for the Lord alone. 
    So, some of you are thinking, "Ok, how can I ever get alone to do anything? I can barely use the bathroom alone before a little one cries or starts yelling for me."  However, "closing the door to pray in secret" can happen when you are folding clothes, or filling the dishwasher, giving your little one a bath...The Lord wants you to talk to Him and Him alone. 
      Don't be hard on yourself by wondering how you will ever "close the door and pray". The main point is to open up your mouth and talk to Jesus. He will hear you. And He will answer you. He longs for you to tell Him the secrets of your heart, whether in your room all by yourself or not.








Friday, January 16, 2015

I Was Born Selfish



     I am selfish. I was born selfish.  Yet, when the Creator breathed life into our beings, this selfishness was to ultimately bring glory to His Name.
      When we were infants, crying was a natural cue to alert others we had a need. As we grow older, we can express we have a need in other ways...which still may include crying.

     This past month, sadly, my father had an illness that was not made known right away.  The natural ques that would alert my father that he had a problem in his foot, failed. His flesh, the body that was given him, does not alert him of pain in his toes. This resulted in a small cut weeks ago requiring a serious surgery this morning. His body is starting to fail...a natural progression at this stage with some diabetics. But his need for survival depends first upon him knowing he has this need.

      Although my family is aware now of the illness, my father is asking us to ignore this need.  He has asked us to not medicate his diabetes.
"Why?", I question with frustration. Sometimes my father does not make sense to me.
     My father's response, "To see Jesus sooner."
You see, my father loves Jesus.  His idea is that the sooner his flesh gives way, the sooner he will be with Jesus in Glory.
   My heart yells, "Dad, quit being so selfish!!"  But, why? Because he wants to see Jesus?

     I am not saying this is the responsible choice God wants my father to take (that is a subject for another day). I am saying that his selfishness shows his heart's longing for Jesus.

      As I look toward scripture, the Lord brings these passages to mind:
     Psalm 130:6
"My soul longs for the Lord, more than watchman for the morning, more than watchman for the morning. "
     Psalm 42:2
"My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?"
         The Psalmists have written numerous verses similar to these. They express their souls longings, just as my father is expressing his.

      However, this section of scripture also comes to thought:
      Lamentations 3:22-23  
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never end;
they are New every morning; Great is thy faithfulness."
     Mercy...mercy...His mercies never end. First, the Lord has mercy on my father; I must have mercy with my father.  Although sometimes my father's ideas can be very frustrating and nonsensical to me.  Yet, my father is clearly longing for the Lord.
    Second, through God's mercy, He put His Spirit in my dad's heart! Great is the Lord's faithfulness on my father; great is the Lord's faithfulness on me.  You see, if I am critical of someone, I need to compare how my own sinfulness carries the same weight. The Lord has had - and continues to have - mercy on me, as well.
   
    Just as Paul, the Apostle, reminds us here:
     I Timothy 1:15-17
"Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners- of whom I am the worst.  But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners,   Christ Jesus might display His immense patience as an example for those who would believe in Him and receive eternal life."
    We all are selfish, yet the Lord has mercy and patience on us. Thank you, Jesus.


      With my dad's request to disregard his medications, is my dad being selfish?  Of course he is; he was born that way.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

"Sustain My Mom's Health"

       As my mother proceeded into the surgery room, my prayers did not cease.
"Lord, this is suppose to be a fairly risk free procedure. Then why is my spirit in turmoil?"
      My mother's heart had an abnormal rhythm. Her heart doctor was to find the problematic AV node and perform an ablation.
      The problematic AV Node is not always detected from the doctors. This was our prayer. And, if they couldn't find it, that the doctors would be wise with their complete course of action.
       I am not a little girl anymore, and I  have little ones of my own, but this morning, I prayed as a little girl. I crawled right up into my daddy's arms and cried for my mother's health, her life.  Through tears, I asked that this procedure be the beginning of a strong road of healing for my mother, who is one of my dearest friends.  I spoke to The Sustainer of Life, the Lover of my soul, The Hand of Providence, My Sovereign Lord,    Jesus.

     God's answers to me I found in the Bible verses below:
God was in control! 
     Romans 11:33,36
"Oh, the depths of the riches of wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out.
From him and through him and for him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever."

Jesus holds ALL things together:
  "And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together."
Colossians 1:17

The Lord is our Creator; I can trust His ways:
Hebrews 1:1-3
 1 "Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
  3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.    After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high."

     This morning, my heart was in turmoil over my mother's health. Instead of staying in the despair of my mind, I cried out to Him.  I felt His presence, I felt His peace. I opened up His Words to me in the Bible.  I was reminded:  God is my sustainer, my mother's sustainer.  I need only to rest in His arms...His ways.
Is the Lord the sustainer of your life?