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The Tribulation

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On the evening of February 12th I am honored to speak at Alma Temple. My message is titled “The Tribulation”. This is an interesting and controversial subject. The service begins at 6:00 pm. Beginning at 6:30 pm the message will be on live radio broadcast on KPOF, AM910 and audio streaming via the internet. You are cordially invited to join us. Alma Temple is located at 1340 Sherman Street, half a block from the state capitol building, Denver, Colorado.

Fragrant Prayers

The Frozen Fortress of Helsinki, Finland

The Frozen Fortress of Helsinki, Finland

“I call to you, Lord, come quickly to me; hear me when I call to you. May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice” (Psalm 141:1-2 NIV).

Sometimes I raise my hands to praise the Lord. This happens often through the day. Because I know He is in me and with me and all around me, I can talk to Him like I talk to anyone. The difference is that He is my Creator. And so I talk to Him a bit differently than I would a friend or acquaintance. I am in awe of His love for me. He has given me confidence through His Word that He will hear me when I call out to Him. Whether it is a praise or a request, I know He is listening.

Because of my love for Him, not all of my prayers are requests for my own needs or the needs of others. Many of my prayers are simply prayers of praise and thanksgiving.

My husband, David, and I visited The Holy Land Experience in Orlando, Florida. One of the exhibits is experiencing worship in the setting of the tabernacle in the desert, long before the Temple was built in Jerusalem. Our guide showed us the Holy of Holies and demonstrated the yearly sacrifice of atonement. In Biblical times the priest burned incense before he made the blood sacrifice of the slain animal. The smoke from the incense mixed with the burning flesh of the sacrifice symbolized the prayers of the Israelites going up to God. Today our prayers are like incense and lifting our hands in praise is like the evening sacrifice.

The actual aroma of the tabernacle and the smoke stunk. There is no question about it. So what made it an aroma pleasing to the Lord? God did. He recognized that the burning flesh proved obedience to His provision of the way to have the Israelites’ sins forgiven.

Our prayers stink, too. We are selfish and our prayers are often selfish. Yet, even knowing this will be the case, God has told us to pray. Only He can turn them into an aroma pleasing to Him.

When we go to Him in prayer whether it’s an urgent cry for help or a praise of thanksgiving, our attitude of awe and reverence will shine like the morning sun. He loves us even though we know very well that we have done nothing to deserve His favor. Remember, it is only because of His love for us that He made a plan for our redemption. And so, we humbly receive His gifts and presence in our daily lives. God also loves an attitude of gratefulness. We have so much to be thankful for. Whatever your situation today, look around, can you see anybody worse off than you? Of course you can. The world is filled with lost people who are blind to God’s love. Thank God for your blessings and pray for the salvation of others.

The theme of Psalm 141 is a prayer from King David when facing temptation. The important verse that follows is King David crying out, “Set a guard over my mouth, O, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips” (v 3). Our lips can be used for praising or cursing. Let’s be watchful and keep them focused on the Lord, to praise and lift Him up. It is time to make an aroma pleasing to the Lord.

Father in Heaven, You are the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. I am honored to worship You, my God and King.. Thank You for Your daily blessings and Your tenderheartedness toward mankind. Please help those who are suffering all around us. I thank You for being in the midst of every situation. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

Click here to check out my website!

Calm the Storm

Hawaiian Sunrise

Hawaiian Sunrise

“Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’ He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and rebuked the wind and the waves and it was completely calm” (Matthew 8:24-26 NIV).

His disciples stood amazed. First of all, I believe that they were amazed that He could sleep through all of the chaos around them. Then, at the very last moment, knowing they were going down, they awoke Him. Jesus rebuked the storm and immediately it became calm. The disciples’ attitudes turned from paralyzing fear to astonishment!

They moved from astonishment to wonder. “Who is this man?” They knew that Jesus was a great teacher and a wise man who spoke with authority. They were dumbfounded when his very words were obeyed by nature. They kept asking each other, “How did He do that?” Sadly, they weren’t aware that Jesus is God, and the God of the universe calmed the storm for them. Isn’t it interesting that they didn’t turn to Him until the very last minute? Just as they thought the boat was about to capsize, in desperation, they reached out to Him. As soon as He spoke to the winds, they became calm.

In our daily lives we struggle with storms. Many times we see them on the horizon. We may even feel the earth tremble beneath our feet as the storm approaches. We don’t have to wait until the storm is about to crash all around us. We can have the trusting attitude that He can handle the storm before it gets to us. In fact, when we bathe a stormy situation in prayer, God can say, “Peace, be still.” It is not only nature that must obey Him, but human nature as well. He can open hearts and minds. He can heal the broken hearted. Beyond that, he controls everything in the universe and there is no situation beyond Him.

He does not always calm every storm. Scott Krippayne explains this in his wonderful song, Sometimes He Calms the Storm:

Verse 1
All who sail the sea of faith
Find out before too long
How quickly blue skies can grow dark
And gentle winds grow strong.
Suddenly fear is like white water
Pounding on the soul
Still we sail on knowing
That our God is in control.

Chorus:
Sometimes He calms the storm
With a whispered peace be still
He can settle any sea
But it doesn’t mean He will
Sometimes He holds us close
And lets the wind and waves go wild
Sometimes He calms the storm
And other times He calms His child.

And so we can truly trust Jesus and count ourselves blessed when He chooses to hold us close and let the wind and waves go wild. There is no better place to be ― storm or no storm ― than in the loving arms of Jesus.

You may find yourself in a stormy situation right now. You may think it’s more than you can take. And if you think that you can’t take one more disappointment or one more betrayal, or one more piece of bad news, it is never too late to call on the Lord. He is waiting for you to call on Him to calm the storm. Ask now!

There is a peace greater than any storm when we have the attitude of trusting God. Nothing is impossible with God!

Father God, I now put all my concerns and fears at Your feet right now. I know You are my God and King and You have a plan to resolve every storm. I am thankful to be in the family of God forever. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

Click here to check out my website!

Wars and Refugees

sunrise11

“But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them; that those who love your name may rejoice in you” (Psalm 5:11 NIV).

Our world is filled with conflict. Every time I turn on the TV, I hear of ‘wars and rumors of wars.’ It’s no surprise to me, but it is unsettling. God knew that we would face the fear of war, no matter what age we live in. I’m comforted that He warned me ahead of time in His word. Matthew 24:6 reassures us with these words: “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.” And yet ISIS alarms all of us.

The Lord often repeats information to be sure that we understand its importance. In this case He repeats it in Mark 13:7, almost word for word, “When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.”

Our generation sees so much misery and carnage happening everywhere through the eyes of brave reporters throughout the world. I cringe as I watch homeless refugees fleeing their homes, leaving all of their belongings and some of their families. They walk with hundreds of others, seeking a place of refuge. Some have packs on their backs and children in carriers slung across their parents’ chests. This breaks my heart.

As I write this devotion, pictures run through my head of starving children in Africa, riots in Europe, battles being fought in Asia, homeless people on the streets of America, and babies being aborted. My heart aches for each one of these suffering people. I remind myself that this misery happens in our world all because of sin. The evil one wants to kill and destroy. One of my greatest fears is that we who observe such carnage over TV and other media will grow insensitive to it. Oh, Lord, have mercy on this depraved world!

I can work myself into a state of fear when I meditate on such gruesome circumstances. I feel helpless because there is nothing I can do to change the catastrophes in this world. My fears increase until I run to the Lord for refuge. Only then can I truly sing for joy. He is in the midst of everything that is happening. Even Job’s trials were filtered through God’s loving fingers and had a redeeming purpose. Evil does not have free reign in this world. God has a plan for each of us and He loves us and promises to take care of those who believe in Him. He also promises to answer my prayers, as I pray for all of those suffering in this sinful world.

Jesus never intended for us to live with an attitude of fear so He tells us to take refuge in Him and change our attitude to rejoicing knowing God is in control.

Father, You are my strength and my refuge. You are my Strong Tower and I run to You for protection. I love Your name and I rejoice in You. You have a plan for the world; to save it and renew it. I am grateful for Your wisdom and Your loving kindness. Give me strength to be a witness to the generations. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

Click here to check out my website!

Understanding Sin

sunrise3

“Nehemiah said, ‘Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord.. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength’ ” (Nehemiah 8:10 NIV).

Ezra the prophet went to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. At the same time Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem. When all the work was done, Ezra read the Book of the Law of Moses to the people. We call it the Book of Deuteronomy in our Bible today. It’s the book that contains the Ten Commandments. Ezra read aloud from this book from daybreak until noon. He stood on a high platform so everyone could see him and when he opened the Book, all the people stood up.

The people praised God for His Word. And when Ezra read from the Book, God made it clear and gave it meaning, so the people understood what they were hearing. The people wept as they listened. Why do you think the people wept?
When the Word was made clear to them, they were so overcome by their own sin that they could not hold back the tears. When they understood how holy their God is, and how far they were from His holiness; they grieved.

Nehemiah told them not to grieve, but to rejoice that God had revealed their weaknesses. For if one is not aware of their faults, how can they change? So the people changed their attitude to rejoicing and committed to living a life of obedience. They extended the invitation to celebrate with those that had nothing prepared, and shared what they had with them. Sharing is something we teach our children when they are little, but as adults in an adult world, we often forget to share with fellow believers who have less.

This is an excellent example of how one can decide to change their attitude. Remember this when you are grieved by your own sin or the sin of the nation. Confess the sin to God. Repent. Trust Him and rejoice in the hope of holiness. Now you can focus on helping others.

Part of Nehemiah’s celebration involved generosity. Generosity is not limited to material things such as food and bread for a joyful celebration. Something inside us happens when we generously share. The Israelites’ sorrow at falling short and disappointing God turned into a day filled with joy as they celebrated finding His Word and discovering His desires for them. They had been given a second chance to please Him.

We can do the same thing. Rejoice when God gives you another chance. It could be your second chance, or your tenth, or even your twentieth — rejoice! He is for you. Remember ― rejoicing alone is not true rejoicing. Your gift of another chance must be shared with fellow believers like your Bible study group, your prayer partner, or your small group from church.

Let me rejoice in You, Lord. Through Your written Word, You have given me the proper path to follow. I repent of my past sins and humbly accept Your forgiveness. Now I walk a new path, one of obedience. Your joy is my strength. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

Click here to check out my website!

The Best of Times

sunrise9a

“How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light” (Psalm 36:7-9 NIV).

So many times we turn to God when in despair. When those most trying times of our lives occur, we cry out for God’s protection and deliverance. When we see our loved ones suffering or when we ourselves are sick or in pain, we want God to fix it. We run to Him because we know He is in control and that nothing is impossible with God.

Unfortunately, we often forget to thank Him when He does come to our aid. He solves our problem and life goes on. The incident is forgotten, along with the answered prayer. Things get better and soon you are flourishing. Do you stop to thank Him in your success? When the waters of life are calm, do you remember the One who calmed the sea? In your prosperity, do you continually thank the God who provides all things in your life?

God sustains us through our tough times. He also walks with us through our most successful days. More than that, He gives over and above what we need. He is constantly pouring blessings down on us that exceed our expectations, sometimes even our rich imaginations. He is mighty and He is loving beyond what our finite minds can comprehend.
He remains faithful throughout the generations. That is priceless.

Another priceless gift is how He knows our hearts in every situation. When we thirst for peace and refreshment, He provides living water from His river of delights. What an awesome God we serve! He knows our needs before we do, and often answers prayers before they are out of our mouths.

Psalm 91:1 offers another promise from our God. It says, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

He’s right there beside you. Why not take a moment and say “Thank You”?
The Lord deserves an attitude of gratitude at all times.

Most Gracious Father in Heaven, I am overwhelmed by Your generosity in every area of my life. Thank You for Your provision in all things. Most of all, I thank You for constantly and faithfully being with me every day, every hour, every moment, every second, of my life. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

Click here to check out my website!

Arm Yourself

Sunrise in Key West

Sunrise in Key West

“Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin” (1 Peter 4:1 NIV).

This verse teaches about our attitude when we suffer for doing good. People who suffer for Christ do not live their lives for their own evil desires, but rather for the will of God. The Word goes on to say that you’ve spent enough time in the past doing what the pagans do — living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing, and detestable idolatry.

When you commit to Christ, your friends will ask why you don’t join them in doing the things you used to do — living a loose and wild life. They will mock, make fun and accuse you of thinking you are a better person than they. Do you? Check your heart. If you think Christians are better than pagans then you suffer from pride and have earned their scorn and suspicion. Even after correcting your attitude of superiority your friends may continue to abuse you. They don’t understand that one day all of us will have to give an account to God.

Hebrews 12:2 states, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” This verse always perplexed me when I thought about Jesus considering ‘the joy set before him’ as He suffered. His joy could have only been for the reconciliation of man with God. And what a debt we owe Him.

Most Americans don’t understand much about the attitude of suffering in our physical bodies beyond verbal and emotional abuse. Not that this isn’t painful, it can be very much so. But, still, our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world are being physically persecuted every day in increasing numbers. These believers can teach us how to handle such abuse.

This verse explains it. We arm ourselves with the attitude that this must happen for God to be glorified. As our attitude shifts from protecting the body to accepting the situation and using it to glorify God, something wonderful occurs. We are done with sin. Imagine that ― done with sin. “Whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.”
Arm yourself with the same attitude as Christ. If suffering comes, accept it. If opportunities to serve others come, embrace them. Be sober minded so you can pray. Love others deeply. Serve others with the gifts God has bestowed upon you.

“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever” (1 Peter 4:11).

Christian martyrs throughout the ages have gone through torture and horrible deaths with attitudes that echoed the very words of Christ on the cross ― “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Surely we can duplicate that same attitude when our trials are, to a great extent, less than theirs. Let us arm ourselves with Christ’s attitude and be done with sin.

Father in Heaven, I am weak, but You are strong. My desire is to be in Your will at all times. Help me to keep my eyes on Jesus in times of persecution. I need Your strength and peace to persevere. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

Click here to check out my website!

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