Frankly Speaking- “Idea from a Prayer”


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And they said to one another,
“Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road,
and while He opened the Scriptures to us?”
Luke 24:32

I must admit that I get ideas from the most unusual places. These thoughts today came from another man’s prayer! At a men’s prayer time for our church, one of the men, Dr. Byron “Dad” Tippey, a retired college professor, made reference to the two men on the road to Emmaus. During his prayer he mentioned what they did and did not have as they were returning to Emmaus. When I got home, I tried to put down some of what he said. It goes something like this:

What did they have?
1. Doubts—was He the promised Messiah or not?
2. Disappointments—He died! How could this have happened?
3. Despair—they were leaving for another place. The Kingdom of
Heaven didn’t come!
4. Discouragement—they had worked so hard for and with Him.
They had failed.
5. Dejection (i.e.—downcast)— What’s the use of going on?
6. Depression—they were running away. Their ‘old’ life was
better!

Then Jesus shows up and starts walking with them. Believe it or not, they almost missed Him! Here’s what they almost missed:
1. His Presence—He was there but they didn’t see Him!
2. His Promises—His Word holds truth and life and light!
Regardless of the circumstances!
3. His Purpose—to be the salvation for ALL men as it was written
in the Scriptures.
4. His Power—the scars in His hands revealed He indeed had
come back!
5. His Prayer—we don’t know what He prayed but it opened their
eyes!

“Dad” Tippey that day finished his prayer by saying, “they almost missed the BLESSING of Him being there!” WOW! Powerful thoughts, huh?

I don’t know what you are going through at the moment, but let me encourage you to think through the 6 D’s above and add your own situation.

Then lay hold of and don’t ever let go of the 5 P’s! HE IS ALIVE! And He is still here! (Via His Holy Spirit!)

Oh, there’s one more thing. When those two disciples from Emmaus realized it was Jesus who was with them, they returned to Jerusalem to tell the others. There’s a principle here for you: when you see Jesus in your situation and how He has helped you and prayed for you, then return, meaning—tell others, what He has done for you!

Blessings!

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Peace, Peace, Wonderful Peace


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I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4:8

What picture does the word Peace paint in your mind?

For some it is a beautiful ocean scene with emerald blue water and rolling waves that softly glide onto white sandy beaches. Yet, for others it means a rustic log cabin set back in the piney woods with a creek gently flowing out front. Maybe for you it is a grand mountain range with deep, vast canyons and majestic mountains that seem to reach the sky.

No matter what picture comes to mind when you think of peace, it can never compare to that moment when God’s peace sweeps over your weary soul. The most beautiful landscape you could imagine could not compare to the peace that passes all understanding, the peace that only Jesus can bring.

Have you experienced that peace? I surely have many times.

Oftentimes when we think of peace, our minds tend to also picture a worry-free setting. We are quick to assume that peace means a lack of trouble. However, as I was reading in Acts 12 this morning, I came across a verse that caught my attention. In my mind it painted a rather unusual picture of peace. Acts 12:16 tells us, “And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.”  

In order to fully grasp this picture of peace, let us go back just a moment and examine what is going on in this passage. Prior to Peter being imprisoned, he has had to endure seeing his fellow disciple, James, put to death at the hand of Herod. Now Peter finds himself imprisoned,no doubt facing the same fate that he has just watched James meet.

Now, we can continue our discussion on peace. Does the word peace come to mind when you read this story? Understandably not. So, how is it possible that we find Peter sleeping in this passage? Peace, Friend. It is because of that peace that passes all understanding that Peter can find himself chained between two guards, seemingly facing death, yet he sleeps.

I dare not say that I would handle such a situation the same way. Recently I have been going through some trials much less than imprisonment and death, and still I find myself worrying. Complaining. Fretting over things of which I have no control. I forgot to choose peace. I chose to place my focus on my problems rather than giving them to God and resting in His Peace.

Friend, I am reminded this morning that peace is a choice. Peace should not rely on our circumstances. Peace can not and should not be measured by our surroundings. We, like Peter, should choose peace in the middle of even the most dire situations. Peace can only be found in Jesus. You see, when we take our focus off of our problems and put it on Jesus, then and only then can He give us the Peace that we see in Peter. We can rest, right in the middle of our trial, knowing that God is working for us.

Will you choose peace today? Will you choose to stop looking at all that is wrong around you and focus on the One who holds you in His hand? It is a choice. Today, I choose peace. I choose the peace that passes all understanding. I choose to rest in Jesus today. I pray you will do the same.

 

 

Frankly Speaking—“Light”


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You are the light of the world.
A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Matthew 5:14

In our home I have a library. I must say that I’m rather proud of it! I have books, books, books! I love them. I have read most of them and the rest I hope to read sometime in the future.

The other morning, as I was entering my library to have my devotions, it was dark outside the library window and it was dark in the library. Before I turned on the light, this thought struck me—these books are useless unless there is light to read them by! Hmm.

These books contain words of history, psychology, humor, biographies, theology, and many more subjects, but if there is no light to read them by, then they are useless.

My books also contain words of hope, encouragement, admonishment, teaching, etc., but if I can’t read them because I can’t see the words, then those books are useless to me. I must have light in order for those words to help me.

This has me thinking about what Jesus once said—“I am the Light of the world.” Hmm. Why is He the Light? How is that Light to be used? What did He mean—Light of the world? Why does the world need light since we have the sun, moon, and stars? And electricity?

I think He means He gives Light to the darkness of men’s hearts. Why is this so important? It is important because all of us are born into darkness when we entered this world. We lost the Light of our life when Adam and Eve gave it away in the Garden by believing Satan’s lie! They ‘lost’ the ‘Light’ of the Garden which was God Himself. Therefore, Jesus came to show men and women and boys and girls how to see God once again by His life/Light! In so doing, that Light reveals how they can have a relationship with Him. Does this make sense?

Here’s another observation—if man’s heart remain dark then it breeds all kinds of evil, wickedness, harm, war, unrest, and death. And the only way to stop this awfulness is the cleansing Light of Jesus!

But Jesus goes on by saying that once we have met Him, we can be a light for Him as well. He wants to use us as ‘lights’ to take the Light of His Gospel to the whole dark world. Our light is the talents and gifts He has given us to witness to those around us. Because His Light is in us, it draws people to us, which allows us to share about Him! Oh friends, just as assuredly as an outside house light draws bugs to it in the night, the warmth and glow of Jesus in us will draw people who are in their dark like nothing else can!

So is the Light of the world shining in you today? Is the Light of the world shining through you today? If not, let Him ‘trim’ your wick or ‘clean’ your reflecting mirror and lenses so you are able to do so! Then shine, Friends! Shine! Let His LIGHT reach those around you with hope, love, and peace.

The Joy of the Lord is my Strength


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The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17

Dear Friend,

Our family was in a battle last week. I am not talking about a physical battle, of course, but a battle nonetheless. The enemy tried every trick in his book to defeat us. His tactics ranged all the way from sick pets to problems with our water well. We even encountered a problem with our internet on Monday that could not be fixed until Friday. All of this combined with a few other mishaps had me feeling very much under attack! We knew immediately where these fiery darts were coming from and through faith we were not going to be defeated. At times that is easier said then done.

I chuckled a few times through our ordeal and thought to myself, “This must be how Job felt.” I do fully understand, however, that our experience was nothing compared to Job’s suffering. I must admit that it was quite enough for me.

I am sure as you are reading these words you too are remembering times when you encountered the same kind of attack. Maybe you are in your own battle right now. Maybe you or a loved one are facing what seems to be an impossible situation.

I want to encourage your heart today by reminding you that God is not deaf to your pain. He has not turned His back on you in your time of need. Too many times we are quick to think that God has forgotten about us when we fall into these various trials.

Do you remember the story of Job? God allowed Job to be tested as a witness to His faithfulness. Satan was looking for someone whom he could test. God said, “Have you considered my servant Job?” Wow! God knew that Job was up for the task. Although Job did have a moment of whining where God had to put him in his place, he never turned his back on God. Even after having his own wife question his sanity, Job remained faithful to his Lord and Savior. Job said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”(Job 13:15) 

Will you choose to have that type of faith today? Maybe God is wanting to use you as an example just as He did Job. Maybe God is wanting to grow your faith. Even though we often do not understand God’s ways, we can still trust that He has our best in mind. We are His children, His creation. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. Rest in that promise today, Friend.

Last week, as we faced our various trials, what kept us going was remembering the promises of God and the times He had already carried us through. We faced one hurdle at a time, together.

I would love to tell you that I confidently jumped every hurdle we crossed. However, I must be honest. I stumbled and fell a time or two. The weight of the battle became more than I could bear. Although tired, I did not admit defeat. I went to Jesus physically and emotionally worn out. Do you know what I found? I found peace, and comfort. I did not find chastisement or ridicule. I found the strength I needed to pick my sword back up and head back into battle. You see, Friend, I knew that I had God on my side and that He was fighting for me.

Whatever you are going through today remember that God is fighting for you. He loves you. He is rooting for you. Trust in Him. Rest in Him. Let him carry you through that trial with which the enemy is testing you. Take some time today to remember all the times that God has carried you so far. He has not failed you before and He will not fail you now.

Be encouraged, Friend. God is fighting for you.

Love,
~Valarie~

Frankly Speaking—“The Hobbit”


old book.jpg

For the word of God is alive and active.
Sharper than any double-edged sword,
it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit,
joints and marrow;
it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

Are you a ‘visual’ person? Or are you a ‘reader’? I guess I’m a little of both. I like to read but I also like people ‘showing’ me how to do something. And if I can get ‘hands on’ experience! Voila! I’m a happy camper!

Currently, I’m re-reading “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien. Yes, ‘re-reading’! Why? You see, though I’ve seen the movies a couple of times and love them, I’ve never ‘read’ the books until one of my nieces ‘encouraged’ me to do so! Oh, friends, I’m so glad I did!!!! The movies can’t put in everything and didn’t! There’s lots of ‘really good stuff’ in the books!

So why am I going down this road today? First, let me ask you this—have you ‘read’ the Bible clear through at least one time? If not, can I encourage you to do so this New Year? Why? You see, church is really the “Visual” form of the Bible. Church can’t possibly ‘put in’ everything in just the ‘hour’ the pastor has on Sunday morning. Therefore, it is critical, yes, critical to ‘read’ the Book, God’s Word, to get the information we need to live like God wants us to!

Our pastors try hard, with the Holy Spirit’s leading, to give you really ‘good stuff’ for your soul. But my friends, it’s up to you to ‘dig’ into the Book, God’s Word, daily to get the ‘good stuff’ you need to serve Him that day. That’s something the pastor can’t do! You have to ‘feed’ yourself. You need to do this to get ‘the rest of the story’ as radio commentator, Paul Harvey, used to say.

One more thing. Keep reading the Bible. It’s the only book I know that will ‘grow’ with you. It says one thing to you when you are a child, something else when in your teen years, and still more into your adult years. For sure, the words haven’t changed, you have! Your life’s experiences continue to ‘grow’ you. Thus you need God’s Word, regularly, to help temper those experiences so you can discern what truth is. So keep reading my friends! Keep reading.

And if you have a mind to, dive into “The Hobbit” as well!