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GO FOR THE GOLD

medal-390549_640I watched each Olympic gymnast run down the floor mat and jump onto the spring board. They catapulted onto the vaulting table with calculated precision in preparation for a perfect dismount. They knew every twist, turn and flip of their body could cost them a medal.

Countless hours of training had placed these athletics in a position to compete for the gold. They were disciplined, dedicated and driven to succeed in this competition but even that didn’t guarantee victory.

Slips of the foot on the balance beam, out of bound dismounts, body alignments and falls were critically judged. It required total perfection to win and every mistake or miscalculated move would be deducted from their final score. Pardon or favor by the judges was not an option.

I am not an Olympic gymnast nor do I participate in competitive events. However, I do train, practice and take part in Christian living. It is an affirmation of faith that requires a lifestyle based on Biblical principles.

Like Olympic gymnasts, there are times I make mistakes, lose my footing and fall. In those nebulous moments, I question the futility of my Christian commitment and wonder how many more times I can fail before being eliminated? The answer is NEVER.

In Christian Olympics there is only one judge that determines who receives the gold and His name is God; Elohim, (Creator and Judge of the universe). With divine knowledge God judges the actions, spoken words and hidden secrets of our hearts. All mankind is a participant and the only way to win is an admission of our unrighteousness and an invitation to make Jesus our Savior and Olympic coach.

To accept Jesus into your heart means imperfections are forgiven; they are no longer counted against you. The blood He shed at the cross covers the curse of sin. Like the Apostle Paul, the finish line is the Olympic goal of every Christian.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness is laid up for me, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but to all who crave His appearing. 2 Timothy 4: 7-8

Feeling defeated today? Are you ready to give up because you’ve lost your footing on life’s balance beam? Maybe you’re faced with life changing events that have caused you to lose your grip or have fallen from grace and overcome with brokenness.

Whatever your story and wherever you are in your faith, the Righteous Judge is near. He longs to show loving compassion, forgiveness and pardon from all your ineffectual attempts to participate in life without His help. He stands ready to coach you to the finish line and award you the crown of life.

“He knows the way I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10

The trials that test our faith are more precious than gold. So, go for the GOLD!

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COLORFUL PRAYERS

IMG_3640There is so much going on in the world and with all the fast and furious news coverage, it can all be draining to the spirit. When the demonic savagery of this Godless world seeks to destroy my hope, I create something and I tend to hum quite obsessively in the process.

My soul is soothed as my hands and mind work in unison to create and re-purpose objects abandoned and deemed unworthy by others. As I work and hum, the light of my Savior’s hope and promises overpower the shadows of darkness this world casts upon me.

Today, as I paint and refurbish a piece of outcast furniture into a beautiful princess chair for my granddaughter, I will replace my obsessive humming with colorful prayers. The princess chair has six different colors and I will lift a prayer before the Throne of God for every color used.

Colorful Pryaers

  • Bright Pink:
    The Haiti Mission trip sponsored by The Rock Church in Fenton
  • White:
    There are plenty of white areas which allow ample prayer time for friends, family and community.
  • Turquoise:
    Our President, congress and senate
  • Apple Green:
    Our US troops and law enforcement officers
  • Light Pink:
    Friends and family of friends battling cancer
  • Silver:
    Praise and thanks for the mercies of God and the salvation gifted to the world through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

If you think you don’t have time to pray, think again. There are so many idle moments that fill our day; opportunities to speak our heart before God even if it’s just an inaudible or whispered prayer. Heartfelt colorful prayers are God’s specialty.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

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DUCT TAPE, GLUE AND BOX CUTTER

IMG_3530Three rolls of duct tape later my grandson, Fischer’s, Minecraft costume was complete. The duct tape seams were hidden by Minecraft paper I had Modge Podged onto cardboard boxes. My little buddy was going to be delighted with his homemade Halloween costume. I even lined the costume head and neck area with felt for added comfort.

The outside appearance of the costume would surely bring many oohs and aahs from my grandson’s classmates; the interior of costume was a whole other story. When the costume was removed, the inside was a mishmash of colored duct tape, glue and jagged-edge incisions of a box cutter.

Fischer didn’t care about the inside appearance of his costume; as long as the outside looked impressive to others. What he didn’t realize is that once the costume was removed there was no way to hide the patchwork of ugliness found on the inside.

I wager each of us has worn an impressive costume in life in an effort to hide the hurts, scars and sins we don’t want revealed. I will be the first to step forward and say, “I have.” In fact, my life closet includes several different costumes for various occasions. IMG_3532

There are more duct-tape, glued and box cutter incisions in my life than I care to count or talk about with anyone other than God. His grace and mercy covers the scars, hurts, losses and sins I hide from others. Day by day He renews me from the inside out and strips away the many impressive layers of my multiple costumes.

What costumes do you wear to hide what’s beneath the exterior surface you present to others?

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Perhaps your life is duct-taped because of alcoholism or drug addiction; or held together with glue from the scars and pain of a divorce, or the loss of someone you love. Duct tape comes in my colors to fit every life moment that we try to patch up or hold together on our own.

I encourage you to talk with God. He doesn’t just patch us up; He restores, recreates and renews us into His likeness. And just for the record, God doesn’t wear costumes.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:17&18

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WT* IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE

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We are horrified and shocked by the beheading, crucifixions, executions and torture in the Middle East. It’s time we sit at the feet of our crucified Lord and intercede for the future of mankind.

Here is a recent post by Chicks on the Right about the beheading of James Foley to which I would like to reply. It’s a rather long post but I had much to say. You may not agree with my point of view and that’s OK. It’s my point of view and isn’t up for debate. If your point of view is in opposition to mine, write about it on your own blog.

WT* IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE! (Yes, it’s a strong language title, but worthy to this post.)

We have taken God out of everything and in doing so given an open invitation for the Prince of Darkness to become a ruling power on Earth. If there was ever a time to believe in Jesus, the Son of God, the Redeemer of this world, it is now.

“How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” Luke 21:23-24
“And you will be objects of universal hatred because you are called by my name; but he who holds out to the End–he will be saved.” Matthew 10:22

I think we can all agree that the United States is faced with universal hatred and people are falling by the sword all around us. Wake up America, the Prince of Darkness is waging a battle for your soul; for our nation. Even if you don’t believe in God’s prophetic Word, Satan does. He knows the return of Jesus is very near and he roams the earth like a wild lion to claim souls for eternal destruction.

Whose side are you on? As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!

The beheading of James Foley was a sickening and gruesome display of the pure evil of satanic forces that can inhabit the souls of mankind. In the simplest terms, I liken it to the good guy/bad guy war games played by my grandkids. There are the only two options. You either stand with God or with the enemy; there is no middle ground in spiritual warfare. The dividing line is made clear by scripture; you either believe Jesus died on the cross to redeem you from sin and accept His salvation, or you don’t. But Christians aren’t beheading, mutilating and killing people that do not believe in Jesus, the Son of God.

Muslin extremists don’t care if you are a Christian, atheist, Buddhist, Scientologist or any other known religion of the world. They have only one mission and that is for mankind to worship and submit to the laws of Allah. The words spoken by the executioner in the video of James Foley clearly stated that this execution was done on behalf of ALL Muslims, not just extremists.

The ISIS conversion fear campaign has become more widespread and now includes grotesque killings, mutilations, rape, crucifixions and living burials in the name of Allah. There are peace-loving Muslims living in my community, but as ISIS more aggressively infiltrates the Western World, and they will, that could change how we perceive Muslims within our communities.

If an extremist confronts my muslin neighbor with a sword and is told to kill a Christian or die, I’m fairly certain it would be my head on the chopping block. Think it will never come to that? Think again. Look no further than the mayhem in Ferguson to understand how quick a mob can increase in numbers when they believe they have a justified cause.

The catalytic reaction to exterminate Christians has been set in place; the only thing missing is the base and I believe muslin extremists are the base. Through fear tactics they will begin to fuel the acceptance of a ‘New World Order under Allah’; all in the name of worldwide peace, of course.

So to those who say the GOP should salute Obama’s handling of Iraq, I say this:
Obama is subject to God’s prophetic Word and it is Jehovah who will ultimately determine the outcome of the current situation in Iraq. I rest in the assurance that God is in control and the President and all other government officials are pawns on God’s playing board.

It is time for Christians in the Western world to cry out to in prayer on behalf of our country and also those Christians being persecuted for their faith. No one understands persecution, torture and death more than Jesus. If you are not sure how to prayer for our nation and the world situation, I offer this prayer:


And God said:
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Almighty and Eternal Father, we thank you for the inspiration and courage you gave to the founding fathers of our nation to establish a land where your principles and laws would guide us. You have provided for this nation mightily with every good thing but we have squandered your gifts and turned away from your laws and principles. Forgive us Lord. We acknowledge we have sinned against you and one another in every conceivable way.  We deserve your just punishment but plead for your mercy. (Nehemiah1: 4-11)

Grant us, the people of our nation, the grace to turn from our sins and return to you that we might be healed.  We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, your Son and our Savior.
Amen

God is faithful to His Word and shall accomplish that which He has spoken.
(Isaiah 55:11)

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THE DANCING DONUT BOX

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“Holy Shenickies, what the heck is going on”, I shouted as I walked into the kitchen. Everyone ran to see what the commotion was all about. They all stopped dead in their tracks as they watched the do-nut box dance across the counter and fall to the floor.

The box of partially eaten donuts had been left on the counter the night before with intentions of discarding the contents the following morning. We watched in disbelief as hundreds of black carpenter ants scurried across the kitchen floor. I have never seen anything like it to this day and pray I never experience an encore.

That chilling episode exposed a hidden enemy hibernating in the foundation of my home. The do-nut box with all its sweetness only served to draw out the army of ants silently destroying the wooden shell that supported the structure of my home. The dancing do-nut box had exposed the truth that would have eventually brought destruction.

We all face dancing do-nut boxes in our lifetime. They are filled with sugar-coated sweetness that attracts all kinds of predators who seek to destroy us. It may all appear good on the surface, but when we open the box, we discover the enemy that lies in wait; an enemy who seeks to devour our soul.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 (NIV)

Like the ants in the do-nut box, our enemy, Satan, scatters in every direction when we open the cover of God’s Word. In truth it exposes the deception inside the dancing do-nut box moments of our life.

When was the last time you opened the cover to your Bible?

 

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DEATH: LIFE’S ONLY GUARANTEE

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As I unwind from a whirlwind weekend, I pause to consider what a fortunate life I live. Sure, there have been heartaches, losses and times I have lost my way; yet, there are also many blessings to be counted.

I have an income, a husband who loves me and grandkids that embrace their faith in Christ. My daughter and son-in-law have a solid marriage, my mom is still living, there is food on my table; and, so far, my health remains intact. Life is good, but that scenario can change at any given moment; like when my sister-in-law was instantly killed in a car accident or my dad was diagnosed with stage IV cancer.

Life offers but one guarantee and that is death will one day follow. God promises He will be with us in every circumstance of life right up to our last breath and I find great comfort in knowing I am not alone in my earthly journey. When faced with difficulties, even death, my Redeemer has promised to walk next to me; He has never failed me yet.

Whatever obstacle, heartache, addiction or sin you face at this moment, know there is hope in Jesus. Nothing can separate us from His love.

“…neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:37-39

I leave you with this poem I penned.

The Journey
The road I see before me is filled with shadows black as night.
I lift my voice toward heaven and shout, “Oh, God where is the light.”
My soul is overwhelmed with fear because no one walks with me.
The deafening sound of loneliness is not something others see.

With outstretched arms before me, I try to find my way.
I grope along in darkness; all I can do is pray.
“Jesus if you hear me let your angels set up camp.
Along the path I travel may your mercy be my lamp.

Then Jesus grasps His hands in mine, my fear it is released;
Stillness like I’ve never known envelops me with peace.
No present things or things to come can keep His love from us.
Each day we journey through this life, God’s mercies are enough.

So when darkness casts its shadow, run to the cross and hide.
Call out the name of Jesus; He’ll walk right by your side.
Our journeys may be different, as are the things we face,
But one thing never changes; it is God’s amazing grace.

Author – Denise Marks

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HONEST ENGINE

IMG_8695Honest engine is like the triple dog dare of telling the truth. So when my granddaughter, Olivia, brought me the broken candle and used the term honest engine, she expected me to believe her.

“Honest engine, NeeNee. Fischer and I were jumping on your bed way over there and this just fell and broke.
“Really, Olivia?”
“Yes, NeeNee. It really did. I can’t imagine how it happened.”

I might have believed her if the bed wasn’t a good 15-foot away for the overturned candlestick. But, to Olivia, her made-up story seemed believable. She even convinced her brother, Fischer, to tell the same story. Does any of this remind you of two other people who also conspired to lie about something they did?

“Honest engine, God. Adam and I were just standing next to this tree when an apple fell to the ground.”
“Really, Eve?”
“Yes, God. It really did. I can’t imagine how it happened; but I didn’t want it to be wasted, so Adam and I had a taste.”

When I hear “I can’t imagine how it happened” anywhere in a sentence, I tend to assume that someone is trying to hide the truth.

There is an old English proverb that states, ‘the eyes are the window to the soul.’ This saying stems from a passage in the Bible, Matthew 6:22-23. When I was a kid, my mom told me she knew when I was lying by my eyes. My mom was one smart lady. She saw my face as a picture of my mind and my eyes as its interpreter.

When Adam and Eve conspired to lie to God, they were both exiled from the Garden of Eden. When Olivia and Fischer conspired to lie to NeeNee, they were both exiled from jumping on my bed.

“…be sure your sins will find you out.” Numbers 32:33

It is foolish to play the dog-dare honest engine card with God.

“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” Proverbs 28:13