Together

My heart grieves over the anger we are seeing and how divided we are as a nation, and even the people of the Church of the living God. The enemy has done his job well to cause chaos.  As I was reading the book of Nehemiah in my quiet time, I was reminded of what can happen when people from different backgrounds, skills, and opinions, set their minds and hearts to the task God has given them.

In chapter 1-3 we find that the leader Nehemiah, “was sent by God” to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem that had been broken down. He had volunteers to help. I was struck by the way the volunteers were about the work. Together the task was underway.

Eliashib and his brethren built the Sheep gate, next to him the men of Jericho built, next to them Zaccur built, next to him Hassenaah built, next to him Meremoth built, next to him Meshullam built, and so on and so on listing names and brethren throughout the entire 3nd chapter of Nehemiah.  I was struck by all the people of different skills and opinions worked side by side together to rebuild what had been broken down. We must keep in mind that the enemy using Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem all the while was working to get them distracted, discouraged, and divided. They had one goal, to do the task that the Lord had set before them.  The wall was rebuilt in record time.

Can we see any correlation to our chaos and confusion today?

There is strength together.  Working side by side.

I traveled with about 25 ladies in a Women’s Retreat ministry for nearly 15 years.  At the, retirement gathering of that ministry, we were sharing some of the amazing things that we witnessed during our time together. I will forever be touched that during all those 15 years, I never heard a critical or unkind word from any woman on the team.  How could that be?????

We had one purpose:  Honor the Lord, each other, and serve the people, TOGETHER!

Joy,

Phyllis

Taking the Mask off!

2 Cor 3:18 “And all of us as with unveiled faces, continue to behold as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are continually being changed into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another from the Lord, the Spirit. (Amplified Bible)

As we have been wearing the masks everywhere during the Covid 19 pandemic that has swept our world, I could not help but think how uncomfortable it has become. My glasses fog up where I can’t see as well, my breathing is impaired, I can’t smile and be friendly with others like I love to do, and certainly having conversations and  being understood is much more difficult.

I am afraid that many times, we as Christians, wear our spiritual masks trying to hide the real condition of our walk with the Lord or the lack there of. Moses face shown with the glory of the Lord after he encountered God on the mountain, however as the days went by, the glory began to fade,  so he wore the face covering so that others might not see it fading).  Exodus 34:25-39 Could that be us?  Are we one way at home and another around other folks. Is the glory fading? What are some of the things that the spiritual mask covers?  Secret sins, ungodly TV or movies, critical spirit, gossiping, self-protection, and others that I am sure the Holy Spirit can bring to our mind.

It is time to repent and take off the spiritual masks!!!

What are we gaining by removing our spiritual masks?  We can see much more clearly the truths in the Bible, we can once again have that personal intimacy, and once again have those amazing conversations with our heavenly Father, and certainly now, we can freely breath in the breath and power of the Holy Spirit.

 And with an “open face,” we are being constantly changed from glory to glory into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Joy

Phyllis

 

My Determined Purpose

Many years ago, I read a little book by Bro. Laurence called, “The Practice of the Presence of God.”  Bro. Laurence had devoted himself to God as a monk and lived his life praying and doing what we might call menial tasks for his fellow brothers. He states that He made a commitment to doing little things for the Lord each day and to never deliberately stray from Him.  Oh, how the Lord gripped my heart of the necessity in my life for a much deeper and more intimate fellowship with my heavenly Father! I had found my self so busy serving the Lord that I had neglected the most important, worshipping and being in His presence daily.

What does it really mean to live and dwell in His presence? In Websters 828 dictionary it states: in close view, within, a spiritual Spirit to be present.  Psalms 27:4, “One thing I ask of Thee, oh Lord, that I will seek, inquire for, and insistently require that I may dwell in Your presence all the days of my life.”

“MY PRAYER”

That I may know Jesus—

That I may__

 progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him.

That I may __

perceive and recognize and understand the wonders of His person more strongly and more clearly.

That I may —

In that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection.

That I may __

 share in His suffering as to be continually being transformed in His Spirit into His likeness even to His death.

Taken from __Philippians 3:10

Joy ,

Phyllis

 

Christmas Joy!

The Christmas season is here once again.  I love the music of the season. I am one that starts listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving.  So I get to hear the song, ”Joy to the World” a lot.  What exactly does this word joy mean? According to Webster dictionary:  Joy: to rejoice, an emotion evoked by well- being, to have a feeling of great pleasure and delight. That is a human emotion that comes and goes with the sunshine or clouds in our lives.  Is that how we are supposed to live as Christians? Can we have a different and settled joy in our hearts and lives no matter the dark the clouds that surround us?

What is the answer? YES! If God’s Word says that we can, then we can!

Psalms 87:7 “All my springs, my source of LIFE and Joy are found in You , oh Lord.”

John 10:10 “The thief came to steal, kill, and destroy, but I came that you might have Life, and have it more abundantly.” (Agape Life, God’s Life)

In 2nd Peter the Bible states that the Lord has given us everything pertaining to Life. The question that we must ask ourselves is, “Am I experiencing the Life that has been provided to me as God’s child? Am I letting the enemy, people, circumstances, moodiness, etc. rob me of experiencing real joy, God’s Joy ?”

What to do if you are not living in that kind of joy?

  1. Be saved! John 3:16, 2. Be filled with the Spirit, 3. Feed your soul on God’s Word, 4. Decide! How do you want to live, 5. Transfer the eternal truths of God into experiential reality in our life by faith, trusting Him to keep His promises.

We now as children of God have a choice.

Joy to the world, the Lord has come!  

Another Story of When God Comes in Revival!

In the early years of the 1700 – 1900’s the revival fires burned.  God sent powerful awakenings to: Wales, Scotland, Ireland, India, Korea, the United States and many other parts of the world.  God used many people such as John and Charles Wesley, George Whitfield, and John Hyde (known as praying Hyde). Hyde, a missionary to India, prayed for 12 years before he saw an answer to his prayers.

A revival began in Southern India where Amy Carmichael along with many others had been praying that a new visitation of the Holy Spirit would come all over India as it had in many other places.  Amy was a Protestant Christian missionary in India who opened an orphanage and founded a mission in Dohnavus.  She served in India for 55 years without furlough and wrote many books. On October 22, 1906 Jesus came in the close of the morning service.  It was startling.  Soon the whole upper half of the church was on its face on the floor all crying out to God, each boy, girl, man, and woman alike.  The sound was like a sound of waves or a strong wind in the trees.  I had never heard such a thing, Amy confessed.  Many outside rushed to the church.  Months later, most all of the children had been saved and most adult backsliders were restored.  Many in the village were converted and many were quickened to walk in newness of life.

Oh God, may we be found faithful to be fervent in praying, repenting of our sin, and seeking You above all else, so that You might pour out revival in our nation and world.  Oh Father, grace us again with Your Holy presence.

Burdened,

Phyllis

Parts of this were taken from “Revival Fires,” by Wesley Duewel.

Another Story of God’s Mighty Power

Job 42:5-6, “My ears have heard of You, but now my eyes have seen You.  Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”  Until we truly see our need, we have no hope to see the glory of God.  It is God’s nature to bless.  He wants to bless His children in a Spiritual cleansing and refreshing. Are we willing to prepare the way of the Lord, by prayer, fasting, and repentance?

Another story of God moving in revival in American history.

Charles Finney was greatly used of God to spread the revival fires in central New York in 1825.  On a Thursday night the Lord brought much brokenness to the leaders in the church where he was preaching.  God gave Finney a burden of prayer, and on Sunday, God suddenly came down in power. The people had begun to weep and sigh uncontrollably.  God gripped the people with such Holy Spirit conviction that Finney led in prayer in a low unemotional voice to restrain the people. Their sighing and weeping continued as they went home.  Everyone that came into that town felt a sense of God’s presence. The town was full of praying.

One story is told of Finney when he was invited to tour a large cotton mill.  He entered one large room where the girls were at the looms laughing.  As he walked toward the work area, one of the girls looked into Finney’s eyes and the loom stopped and the girl started to tremble. One after another all the girls began to weep.  Finney had not said a word. Oh, what glory when God’s presence changes not only the atmosphere, but all the people in it.

Burdened,

Phyllis

Some parts taken from ”Revival Fires,”  by Wesley Duewel

 

HUNGERING AFTER THE HEART OF GOD!

Many years ago I was given a book titled, “Intimacy with the Almighty” by Charles Swindoll.  God used that little short book to change my Spiritual walk.  At the time I was very BUSY in a women’s retreat ministry as well as BUSY working. It seemed that I was so BUSY doing all those “good” things for the Lord that I neglected the most important, spending more quality time in worshiping my heavenly Father.  Oh, I was having my rather routine “quiet time.” Notice that I used the word BUSY several time in the last couple of sentences. BUSYNESS was robbing me of an intimacy with my Lord. Here are several Bible verses as well as quotes from his book that made an impact on my journey into intimacy with the Almighty.

Hosea 10:12b, “It is time to seek the Lord, until He comes to rain on you.” Notice the word “until” He rains on you. No more skipping through the halls of heaven.

Romans 11:33 “Oh the depths of the riches, both wisdom and knowledge of God, how unsearchable are His judgements and unfathomable His ways.”

Psalms 42:1-2 “As the deer pants for the water brook: so my soul pants for You, oh God.”

Truly we are panting, hungering and thirsting for something, but can we honestly say it is for the heart of God? Richard Foster states: “Superficiality is the curse of our age. Instant satisfaction is a primary curse of our age.” Isaiah 29:8, 13 gives us a warning as the Lord warned Jerusalem. “Behold you are eating, but your hunger is not satisfied. You are drinking, but your thirst is not quenched. WHY? Because this people draw near with their words, and honor Me with lip service, but their hearts are far from Me.”

What are we to do?  Holy appetite suppressants: 1. Sinful activities. 2. A pleasure driven life. 3. Pride..     4. A success driven life. 5. A people pleasing life. 6. Cares of this world. 7. Make more- spend more- just want more. 8.  So many activities, sometimes, even good activities, but takes so much time that we neglect intimacy with the Lord.

Hunger satisfied:  Simplify: reorder our life…..Solitude: Cease striving, “Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.”…Silence: Cut out all the noise so we can hear His still, small voice ….Surrender: Surrender is the key that unlocks the vault of the Father’s best and deepest treasures.

Joy,

Phyllis

Don’t Click On That!

Yesterday our computer tech was here working on our computers.  As she was working, I mentioned that I saw something in my document list that I didn’t recognize. As I started to click on it, she stated with excitement in her voice, “Don’t click on that!” She explained that when we open anything on the computer that we are not sure who sent it, or how it got in the computer, we open it up to all kinds of hacking and major damage.

As I was praying and thinking about what went on yesterday with my computer, I was thinking how that parallels the Bible as it states: “Be well balanced, sober of mind, be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of ours, the devil, roams around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to seize upon and devour.”  When we open our minds to sinful thoughts, dishonesty, un-forgiveness, fear, worry, gossip, slander, or a hateful attitude, we give the devil an entrance into our hearts with all kinds of strongholds. Strongholds are habitual patterns of thinking that are deeply ingrained in a person. What starts out as a simple sinful act can open us up to all kinds of spiritual harm.

Romans 12:1-2 “ I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  Be not conformed to this world; but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Every day we make a series of choices. Some are trivial, but some are not. Some determine our success or failure in our unhindered walk with our Lord.  Scripture clearly reveals that who we are, and where we are spiritually, is because of various choices we have made. We make choices and then choices make us.

Joy,

Phyllis

Be steadfast!

Have you ever felt tired, weary and put upon? Of course you have if you are a living, breathing human on this earth.

This morning I was reading 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Even though Paul was writing those words, I could not help but think, how many times our Lord was tired, weary, and was put upon, yet His goal was to fulfill His purpose from His Father in heaven.  I have to remind myself that in this world we will have trouble (John 16:33), but our Lord overcame.  We also can overcome through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Our Master, the Lord Jesus Christ is calling us to be steadfast in a world that seems to be upside down, and going in the wrong direction.  Even when we are tired, not getting the appreciation for what we are doing. Even when we feel that we are being put upon, we must keep our eyes on our Lord, remembering the special purpose He has for us as His children. It is a life that is humble, gracious, forgiving, and kind even when things don’t go our way, keep on… keeping on……

It reminds me of the time many years ago when Jon and I were jogging at a local park.  The park was beautiful and full of gorgeous trees that gave lots of shade around the jogging trail.  At that time Jon and I would run in different directions so that he could make sure I was ok each time we went around the track.  After about 2 rounds, “A BIRD MESSED IN MY FACE!” WOW what a shock!!! Oh my, it was so hard to continue the jog after that, especially when Jon passed by and hollered, “Honey, did a bird just mess in your face, are you ok?” Well, No……………ok readers, go ahead and laugh, we did.

You know sometimes that is just how we feel in this life. ”A bird just messed in my face.” However, just as our Lord was steadfast to the cross, we must continue to be steadfast in the race that our Heavenly Father has for us. God promises our amazing reward in 2 Timothy 4:8. “Now there is in store for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award me on that day, and not only for me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” Amen and amen!!!

Joy,

Phyllis

Read the Back of the Book

One of the many things that I love about the Christmas season is getting to watch Hallmark Christmas movies on TV.  Every one of the movies is cheerful and full of adventure. As the movie begins, we get to enjoy the breathtaking scene of the falling snow and the beautiful village full of joyful Christmas decorations. Of course, the movie starts with the introduction of the leading characters and then moves into the plot of the story.  Then, just when you think all is well they start building up the problems and disappointments with which the character must deal.  We know that there will be something that will cause stress and confusion in the journey for the characters. However, I never get all worried and fearful, WHY YOU MAY ASK? Because I have seen so many of the movies that I know how they will end.  Boy gets girl, they kiss and live happily ever after.

As we contemplate on all the problems and anxious events that are happening in our world today and in our personal lives, I think that we should remind ourselves that God’s got this!  You see if you have received Jesus as your personal Savior then you can count on what the Bible says in the end. It turns out OK!  Best said in an old song, “I read the back of the Book and we win.”

“I’ve been readin’ in the Bible bout the ending of the age, and one thing’s for certain it grows closer every day.  But I’m not concerned about the way it will end.

  ‘Cause I’ve read the back of the book and we win.

I’ve read the back of the book and we win, no more livin’ in darkness, we’ll be living at home again.  You see there ain’t no need to worry about it if you’re born again.  I’ve read the back of the book and we win.

No, there’s ain’t no need to worry about it if you’re born again

I’ve read the back of the book, and we WIN!”

I am so thankful that our Heavenly Father let us read the end in the Bible so that we don’t have to be worried through all the middle stuff that happens in life.

Joy and Merry Christmas,

Phyllis