Sleeping in Prison

People handle stress in different ways. I feel that I do not handle it well, while others can process it, and continue to sort through it all. I have been a Christian for many years, and I have cried out to the Lord many times for strength and often times, He will renew my strength even though it will not be the way I had prayed for it to happen. Sometimes I want Him to send a divine sign to me to give me assurance,but this does not happen, often it will be silent and then I will realize that He has calmed the storm.

In Acts chapter 12, James the brother of John had been killed with the sword. When Herod saw that it pleased the Jews he decided to take Peter as well. They took him, and were going to kill him after Easter, BUT, there were people praying. Verse 5, “Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.”  The prayer of these people, I believe,was kinda like when Aaron and Hur held up the arms of Moses while he was praying for the battle that Israel was fighting, their prayers gave Peter peace and sustained him, because in verse 6, it said that he was sleeping between two guards. The guards were losing sleep, and were ordered to keep an eye on him, but Peter was resting and sleeping. He was not afraid,and he was not worried. Verse 7,”And behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up,saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.”

So here we have Peter, in prison, bound, between two guards, and yet he was sleeping. The angel had to wake him up. He was sleeping good! Peter trusted God, and he knew that no matter what,  he was in God’s hands. This reminds me of another passage, when Jesus was asleep in the boat, and the storm was raging, and His disciples could not understand how He could be asleep, and they didn’t understand that He seemed not to care that they were going to die. Peter had come a long way, hadn’t he. He had come from a fearful doubting person, to an obedient, humble, faithful servant of Christ.

God knows what you’re going through, He understands that we are like Peter and the other disciples, when we ask, Master carest Thou not that we die? He understands, but He wants us to pray without ceasing, to increase our faith in Him, and then He wants us to rest, knowing that He has everything in control, He has the final say. He cares about your problems and He has not left you, just hold on and soon the chains that hold you will drop beside you. Rest in Him, believe in Him, and allow Him to show you His marvelous wonders.

Purpose of Heart ❤️

In the early stages of a relationship, it’s easy to feel admiration towards that person. It’s your desire to spend all of your time with that person. But after you have been together for a while, life starts to happen, and things come between you and your loved one. This is normal and happens all of the time. You have kids, you’re rushing this one here, taking the other one there, and often times we forget the one that we fell in love with. When this happens it is time to do a soul search. You must determine whether or not you choose to love your spouse. That’s right, I said choose. You must choose whether or not your spouse is worth it, and hopefully you say yes. Once you purposely choose to love your spouse, there will be a different type of love that develops, it’s more from God, I would say. Because you are choosing to love them, and say, you know what, the little things that seemed so big are not bigger than the love I have for you. In choosing to love them, you are giving them true love, and aren’t they worth that. After so long together they’ve been with you through the ugly times, and you’ve been with them through theirs. You bear your heart with all its warts to them, and likewise, and you both choose to love each other.

Our walk with God, is no different. We choose to love God or not. We choose to give Him our all or withhold some secret part from Him.

In Acts chapter 11, verses 22 Barnabas was sent to go as far as Antioch. Verse 23,”Who, when he came, and had seen the the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, THAT WITH PURPOSE OF HEART THEY WOULD CLEAVE UNTO THE LORD.” That verse says it all in a nutshell, let us with purpose of heart ❤️ cleave unto to the Lord.

When you first get saved, often things seem to be going just right. You know your going to heaven, you walk a little more straighter, you stand a little more taller. But over time you will go through growth pains. You will have times in your life when you will wonder if it’s all worth it or not. Is He worth your admiration? This is the time when just like in our earthly relationships, we must choose. Hopefully you will choose, yes, He is worth it, and I choose to give Him my all, I choose with a purposeful heart to cleave unto Him.

I want to dedicate this post to my husband, who chooses to love me, and I choose to love him. Love you, J. 

Provision for the Vision

The Bible is the truest book that you will ever read, and because of this, we can read the experiences of others, their flaws and mistakes, and learn from them.

As loved as David was, all his warts were revealed in the Bible. Even though Samson was anointed, we are able to read of his weaknesses and learn from his mistakes.

Peter was a man that I think, is the epitome of most people. I mean how many of us could say that we would not have denied Christ just as Peter? How many have ever acted out in rage as Peter did? How many have doubted like Peter did? But through all of his “mistakes” he was a mighty man for God, because he learned little by little to trust God

In Acts chapter 10, he was given a vision of all sorts of meat and he was to take and eat. Now he saw heaven opened, and all manner of beast, and even though he knew it was from God, Peter said, “Not so, Lord;I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.” This happened three times.

We can sit back and judge Peter because of his reaction to this vision, but how many times have we been instructed by God to to something and we look over our shoulder, and point to someone else. Peter doubted because he didn’t understand, but when you are serving God, you don’t have to understand, just understand that He knows what He’s doing, and that’s all that matters. In time He will reveal His plan to you.

Verse 20,”Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.” Peter did just what was told of him to do. He may have been like us in the fact the he wanted to know what God was going to do, but here’s where his faith kicks in. Even though he didn’t understand the vision, he had faith to obey, and the meaning of the vision would be revealed, and it was.

It’s scary sometimes to not know what God is going to do in your life, but yet He has asked that you trust Him. He will never do anything to bring you harm. My father has a saying, Where God gives vision, He gives provision. When He calls you to step out in faith, believe what He has asked, trust that He knows what He’s doing, believe He will give the provision you need to fulfill the vision He gives.

Bottom of the Barrel

In life we face uncertainty and difficulties. This is true for all people. Sometimes these difficulties seem to be magnified at certain times, which will lead to doubt, confusion, and stress from worry.

Most of the time, God will never intervene when the going gets tough, He will wait, and then when there seems to be absolutely no other solution, He will change the situation. Sometimes one must get to the bottom of the barrel in their strength, for God to step in and completely renew it.

In first Kings there was a famine from God and in a place called Zarephath, there was a lady who had literally reached the bottom of her barrel. Her strength was gone and she had no hope.

Verse 11:” And as she was going to fetch it,(water), he (Elijah), called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a little morsel of bread in thine hand.

12″And she said, As the Lord Thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse:and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.

13″And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: BUT make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and thy son.”

14,”For thus saith  the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth.”

In verse 13, Elijah said, Go and do as thou hast said, BUT,  make mine first. Remember in the Word of God, when  we see the word BUT, something is about to happen. The lady could have told him no, she didn’t have to do what he said. BUT, she did, and when she chose to trust him, her situation changes immediately. She was hopeless BUT God took her hopeless situation and used it to show her His strength, His power, and He used it to show her that He cares for her and her son. Out of all the people that were suffering from the drought, He wanted her to know that He saw, He cared, and that He was going to provide for her and her son.

What are you facing today? Do you have doubts and fears, concerns about your tomorrow, uncertainty in your life? Have you reached the bottom of your barrel? Is God trying to tell you something but you are too frightened to step out in faith. Like Elijah said in verse 13, Fear not, and go and do as thou hast said. How can we do this when our situation is so bleak? You can “go and do” because God says, Yes, your situation is bad, BUT I see, I know and I care, and He says, Fear not, do as I have told you and you will not be wasted. He’s got your back, if you will let Him have it. In verse 16 of this same chapter it says, “And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which He spake by Elijah.”

God can certainly hold up His end of the deal. If He is compelling you to step out in faith, trust in Him, He will not fail you. Your situation seems hopeless, BUT God is saying, fear not, He knows how to renew your “barrel,” He can give you strength, hope, peace, encouragement, and He can meet your need! Trust in Him, do as He asks, and fear nothing.

BUT, They Are Alive

When people die, all that is left for us are the memories. We go to visit these mourning people to try and bring comfort. However, the pain inside is so deep, that earthly materials don’t touch it, but one does take comfort in the support. Often people will talk about the things that person said, or how they touched their lives in some way. Telling stories is a part of healing to us. We share our common experiences and somehow the pain is not quite as sharp.

God doesn’t see death in the way that we see it. To us it is final, to Him, it is a continuation. It is not the end although it seems this way to us. So we cling to the memories, keeping our loved ones alive in our hearts.

In Acts chapter 9, a woman by the name of Tabitha (which by interpretation is called Dorcas)had died. The Bible says that she was full of good works. She was a devout Christian. After she had died, they called for Peter. Verse 39,”Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.” These little ladies were heartbroken. They were doing exactly what we do when we lose a loved one. They were keeping her memory alive. They proudly were showing the wonderful garments that she had made. Peter was very calm, he saw something that they didn’t see. He saw life and not death. He knew that God was not constrained by the physical aspects of death. Verse 40,”BUT,” I just have to add right here, that whenever you see the word, but,  in the Bible, God is fixing to move. This God-fearing lady was dead, BUT, God has put death under His feet! Back to the verse, “BUT Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up.”

When our Christian loved one dies, God sees them and says, Arise. They are no longer bound in the carnal body of clay, they rise and go to meet our Lord and Savior. In Tabitha’s case, it was a physical transformation, she was brought back to physical life, but when a Christian dies, we experience a Spiritual transformation, and we arise and live with Christ.

Peter took her hand and presented her alive. One day, one glorious day break, to those who stay true to God, to those who are call His, one day God will present our loved ones to us, alive.

Stay in Christ, stay true to Him, never waiver in your faith and belief in Him, because one day, we will be with Him and our saved loved ones, and they will be with us.

God Says, You Are Chosen

People judge others all of the time, and when I say judge, I don’t mean calling the wrong, wrong, I mean judging whether or not that person deserves to be saved. Sometimes, if people know the past of the person, they will struggle with that persons salvation because they don’t see them as worthy.

In these cases, do not let their unbelief cause you to doubt your salvation, or the fact that you are worthy to be save. Despite what you have done, you are worthy. The reason is not because of who you are, but because of who He is, and what He did on the cross, that is what makes you worthy.

Saul was a very bad man. He hunted down Christians with such vengeance, he had one thing in mind and one thing only, making those who called Jesus the Christ, pay. In his heart, he knew he was doing wrong, but was fighting the conviction, and this caused him to be more bitter, and he acted out with more rage. To us this man would not be worthy to be saved. I mean how could God use him, or better yet, why would He want to use him. Aren’t you glad that God sees in us what others don’t see? He doesn’t need the approval of others, on whether one deserves His salvation. God answers to no man, and He repents not, because, He does all things well.

In Acts chapter 9, God had struck Saul with blindness and told him to go to Damascus, being led by the hand, he went. And there was a certain disciple named Ananias, and the Lord said to him in a vision,(10) “Ananias. And he said,Behold, I am here, Lord. (11) And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus: for, behold he prayeth,” Ananias recognized this Saul, and he was skeptical. So he felt like he needed to warn God about him. So in verse 13 he says this, ” Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil hath he done to thy saints at Jerusalem:(14)And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on Thy name.” I love what Jesus tells him in verse 15, “BUT, the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a CHOSEN VESSEL UNTO ME, to bear MY NAME before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.” God saw something in Saul that nobody else could see! He had a plan for Saul, and He has a plan for you. The world may say, you are not worthy, but God says, YOU ARE A CHOSEN VESSEL UNTO ME. Don’t throw His love away, accept it, and allow Him to work through you, and be a willing vessel, a vessel of honor.

Just Hold On

We all go through troubling times. Sometimes, they seem unbearable, and you may question, where God is. I heard a preacher on a cd say this, we may question God about what is going on in our lives, but through these questions, it is opening up the line of communication between you and God. You will have questions, but seek God for the answers.

In Psalms chapter 42:1 we see a desperate person calling to God. “As the hart  panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God.” The author is in desperate need of the refreshing Spirit of God. Have you ever felt this way? You feel alone, your joy is gone, and you are depressed, BUT if you can just hold on, you will receive the sweet water of God, and your joy will be filled and your Spirit renewed. You must not quit or give up, because your joy is just around the corner. In verse 11 of the same chapter, he says this, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? HOPE THOU IN GOD: for I shall YET PRAISE HIM, who is the health of my countenance, AND MY GOD.” Despite the depression the author is in, he knows that it is God that can heal his countenance. His hope, his only hope, is in Christ. In chapter 43, he asks God to judge him, in chapter 44, he reminds himself of all that God has done, in chapter 45, he is lifting God up and in chapter 46, he has found his refuge!!! “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.(2) Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;” This faith, this complete trust in God, did not come all of a sudden, it came through the trials that he was going through!! In chapter 47, He is rejoicing!!

You are going to face trials, perhaps deep sadness, confusion and wondering where God is, BUT if you will continue on through the chapters of your life, YOU WILL FIND REFUGE, AND YOUR FAITH WILL BE INCREASED AND YOU WILL BE ABLE TO REJOICE!!!

Amen and Amen!

Two Different Hearts

I was reading in Acts chapter 8 this morning and I read about two men who both received Christ, but they had different outcomes.

Philip was in Samaria preaching and people were getting saved left and right, they were being healed, and devils were being cast out. There was a certain man by the name of Simon who beforetime used sorcery on the people. In verse 13, it says, ” Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.” I think what gets Simon into trouble is that, his faith was based on works and not the One who made the works possible.

When Peter and John came, people were then being filled with the Holy Spirit.  Simon saw this and in verse 19, he says this, “Saying, Give me also this power, that whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.” He was seeing prestige, and financial gains here, but this is what Peter said in verse 23, “For I perceive that thou art in gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.” Thank God for those who are not afraid to speak the truth. It’s so important to listen to the Holy Spirit.

Philip was told by an angel to go toward the south, unto Gaza. Being obedient, he did just that, and he came upon an Ethiopian eunuch sitting in a chariot, he had come to Jerusalem to worship, he was hungry for Truth. Philip obeyed the Spirit of the Lord when he was told to run to the chariot, and as “luck” would have it, this man was reading this scripture, verse 32,” The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and like a lamb dumb before His shearer, so opened He not His mouth:” He read on and then he asked Philip in such a tender way, “Of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or some other man?” His mind was full of questions, not of doubt, but of the desire to learn more.

While riding in the chariot, Philip was preaching to him, and they came upon some water. Verse 36,”See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?” (37)”And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” The eunuch wanted all that God would give him. He was humble, and wholeheartedly believed on Christ. His humbleness is conveyed through the scripture. His eagerness to learn was transparent. We can see a total difference between his heart and Simon’s heart. The eunuch  believed miracle unseen whereas Simon saw and then believed. Simon’s desire to have the ability to pray for people so that they would receive the Holy Spirit, was a selfish desire, he wanted to have prestige and honor. I’ve known people like that, you’ve known people like that, one should never forget that it is God that does the work, we are His instruments to be used. Let us be as the eunuch and have a heart bent toward God and not men. The eunuch was baptized out in the middle of nowhere, nobody saw, other than those who were with him. He gave his heart to God because he wanted God to use it for His glory, not the other way around. Keep a humble heart, keep the precious words of the scriptures close, and you will have a heart that is true and seeks to glorify God.

Not Time Yet

We get in a hurry sometimes, don’t we? We get impatient, especially when we feel we cannot take much more. In our desperation, we become antsy, we become frustrated, but we must be careful through these times because the devil certainly will come creeping in to cause you to further doubt, and to cause you more fear. In Acts, Stephen, before his death was telling of how their forefathers began their walk with God. He started with Abraham and ended with Moses. He said something that really stood out to me in verses 23,24 and 25 of the 7th chapter. “And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. (24) And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian: For he SUPPOSED his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: BUT THEY UBDERSTOOD NOT.”  Moses thought he was doing the right thing, he thought it was time for God to deliver these people, and he thought by showing that he was on their side, that they would have been encouraged in their faith and be excited for what was coming. But it was not time yet. We get into trouble when we try to rush the hand of God because He has lessons for us to learn to get us ready for what He will do. Moses had lessons to learn. He went to the wilderness and lived 40 more years, before he had any direction from God. He had gotten married and had two children while waiting for God. But while waiting, God was working on his end, and on the children of Israel’s end. He was preparing both hearts. We don’t know what God has in store for us. We must only trust Him, and believe that over time, we will continue to grow from faith to faith, and then we will be ready. God doesn’t get in a hurry, but we do, because we know our time is limited, but His time is infinite, and He wants us to trust Him, and believe that when the time is right,His time, He will move. So don’t be discouraged, or frustrated, don’t let Satan steal your joy in the Lord, because of what you’re facing, trust in God because in a His time, all will be revealed.

No Heart ❤️ Too Hard

Stephen in the Bible was truly a good man. I have always been stricken with great sadness reading about what happened to him. With great injustice, he was accused of terrible acts. Not only was he accused, but he was stoned to death.  During his death, he saw Jesus standing on the right hand of God. The fact that Jesus rose from His thrown proves that Christ is deeply concerned for our wellbeing. It almost seems that Jesus was getting ready to intervene, but He withheld and Stephen died a horrific death. The man that approved this horrible act, was Saul. There was great persecution of the church in Jerusalem at this time, and the Christians were being scattered throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except for the apostles. Those who were scattered were then able to spread the Word further and perhaps in places that they would have never gone had they not been pushed. This is a perfect example of how God can work through any terrible situation. While they were being scattered, the body of Stephen was being buried and Saul, well Saul was on a tirade. Acts, 8:3,”As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.” Saul was unstoppable, or so it seemed. Why, why did it seem he was determined more now than ever to stop the Word of God? Well, I believe the guilt he had for Stephen’s death drove him to rebel even more against Christ. People, when they know they  are in the wrong, will often act out. It often seems those who we are praying for will rebel all the more against the Word of God. This can be very frustrating and discouraging for those doing the praying, it can even cause doubt to enter into our own Spiritual walk. Despite the rebellion of Saul, God’s Truth was still marching on. Despite the rebellion that your loved one may be presenting, God’s truth will still march on! You do not have to control the person’s heart or try to make them repent, but you can continue to pray. I believe that despite how Saul was acting, the apostles were fighting him in the only way that they could, through prayer. It may have seemed that their prayers were not being heard, but we know what happened to Saul on the road to Damascus, he was converted and became a force to be reckoned with for Christ. If you are praying for a lost loved one, don’t give up hope, don’t quit just because the prayers seem to be going unanswered. There is no heart too hard, that God cannot soften and turn to Him.