With the advent of the religion of Humanism mankind has set himself up as a god by taking credit for the good things that happen in his life.The Bible specifically states that all good things come from above as stated in James 1:17. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above…………. Our skills and our talents are given to us by our Creator. They are His gifts to us to mold us into the person that He wants us to be.
The view that one gets as they gaze the panoramic scene from the top of a mountain is somewhat breathtaking to say the least. Miles and miles of a picturesque images filter into the mind as one takes in the vast scope of sightings available through the tapestry of reality that lays before them. Not withstanding, this scenario cannot compare to the visual one gets after coming up out of an horrible pit.
We all have had those mountaintop experiences when the Lord has blessed us, sometimes beyond measure, after we have gone through a time of testing. How wonderful it is when our spiritual eyes gaze upon the reality of new lessons learned. For many this is a time of spiritual growth, drawing us closer to the Lord. Sightings of new opened doors of opportunity to serve, witness and minister bring joy and anticipation into our heart. It is indeed a welcome relief from the valley of despair from whence we just came. Unfortunately this is a time when we are often most vulnerable to attacks from the Devil. With a humble heart it is good for us to take a quick look down into the valley from whence we came to remind us of God’s hand in delivering us from our hour of testing.
Although is it not good to dwell on past sins, testing, and disappointments, we need to keep in mind that those very things were the instruments by which we were chiseled into becoming more Christ-like. Once the abrasiveness of sin is tempered with the soothing lotion of forgiveness, our fellowship with the Heavenly Father is restored and it becomes easier for us to see that all testing comes from above and is meant for our good. Those disappointments were roadblocks preventing us from turning away from the will of God our life. Perhaps the most humbling site that pricks our soul is the evidence of God’s working in our life while floundering in the valley.
As we look closer into the pit we can see dredged into the sinking sand are drag marks from the time when the Lord had to literally drag us away from temptation and sin. Further down the path can be seen only one set of footprints when we were being carried by our Savior. There at the cool spring waters, Christ refreshed us, providing us with the strength to keep going. As our eyes look upon the side of the mountain we can see Jesus climbing upward carrying someone upon his back……………. Oh, how he loves us.
About a year ago, the Lord opened the door for a new ministry in my life. Actually, it began as a hobby of sorts but has since evolved into a full time ministry. Writing has always been a love of mine and when I began blogging I needed a competent editor so I turned to the Lord. The Holy Spirit has been most gracious is laying upon my heart not only the subject matter of my article, but also the words to pen, (type) It was and is my desire that what is posted from my site will not only be Christ-honoring but also be encouraging and edifying to my readers. Little did I know that God was about to open the floodgates, so to speak!
Within the past month I was contacted by a sister-in-the-Lord, who managed another blog that essentially had the same ministry as mine. She had visited my blog, read my articles and was pleased with the content. She then asked me to prayerfully consider becoming a contributor to her blog. I visited the site, Christian Blessings, and was overwhelmed by the number of other contributors to her site from all over the world. Her outreach extended into over 120 countries. At this time there are 324 bloggers that follow her postings with an average of over 500 visits a day. Yesterday, the total was over 1000 visits. Whoa, was I ever impressed!
The Lord made it clear that He did indeed open this door and that he would carry me through. This week my second posting will be published on this site. Since my first posting last week, I have gained 9 new followers to my own site. My prayer continues to plead with God that folks will not only be drawn closer to the Lord in their Christian walk but also those who may not know my Savior would have their eyes opened to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
With a commitment to writing for two blogs, my plate seemed full. Not so, saith my Lord, I have another door for us to walk through. Last night at church, my Assistant Pastor approached me about assuming the responsibility of managing the web site for Christians for Constitutional Awareness. The purpose of this site is to monitor activity at the State and National government level in the light of God’s Word and the Constitution. I am absolutely thrilled at this new ministry. My prayer is that once again, the Lord will use me in furthering his Word and his righteousness among the readers.
How appropriate is my life’s verse: It is God that worketh in me both to will and to do of his own good pleasure. I covet your prayers as I continue in the ministries that the Lord has given me and that he will bless my efforts as I assume the new ministry with CCA.
Thank you, Diann
Oftentimes in our Christian journey, we are pleasantly surprised of how the Lord opens doors of opportunity to serve which were not within our wildest dreams. The Word does tell us that if we seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, all of these things will be added unto us. Not being specific allowed God the freedom to choose ministries for us that were sort of ‘user friendly’ in that He had given us the talents to pursue. For me, He showed me at an early age that I had a penchant for writing.
In high school our English teacher gave us an assignment to write a book report. For whatever reason, I did not get the book read and therefore was pressed to come up with a report that would at least give me a passing grade. In scanning through the book and reading the back cover I hastily put together my composition. Later in the week our reports were handed back; everyone received their report except me. I was really becoming paranoid……..surely she had realized that I did not read the entire book and I had receive a failing mark. Instead, she told the class that she wanted to read a report that depicted true writing talent. It was my report. needless to say, I was astonished. Whew!
Not being a Christian as a teenager, I was not aware of God given talents and even throughout my life, like many pf us, the Lord continues to open my eyes to the talents that He has bestowed upon me. This happened with my ability of being a good nurse, Mother, Grandmother, Sunday School teacher and the list goes on.
As God’s children. we should never succumb to the philosophy that we do not have the skill or talent to pursue a particular ministry. Many are the stores of folk who have at sometime in their life told the Lord, “I just cannot do this” Remember Moses?……………”But Lord, I am not eloquent in speech…” God became a little testy with the man.
In the past several years I have witnessed God calling Senior Saints to the mission field, stuttering men to the pulpit, and those with hearing loss as Sunday School teachers. In my youth there was this saying. ‘can’t died in the poor house” It most assuredly must have come from the precept “That with God all things are possible.”
May we continue in the things that we have learned that God may be glorified; for it is God that worketh in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
Having a close personal friend has been a desire of mine for years. During my youth and young adult life I often envied those ladies that had a special person in their life who spent quality time together and shared their joys and sorrows. Their friendship was not superficial but instead it had developed into a bond that found its origin streaming forth from the heart. There was an unspoken philio love that could be sensed when they were in the presence of each other. I often longed for a friend such as this and glory be to God, I was blessed with one this year.
Her name is Nancy. Both of us being widows, we have so much in common and yet are opposite is so many ways that seem to compliment each other. I am a wee bit on the fluffy side and she is a petite slim wisp of a woman. Her love for the Lord is a rebuke to me and God has used her to inspire me to seek more ways in which I can serve him. I enjoy fellowshipping with her. On a trip to Washington DC, we shared a room together and wow, what a wonderful time we had. We still laugh about some of the antics we enjoyed. Being a faithful friend, Nancy will call or text to check on me if I am not in church. And, O, you should see her precious granddaughter, Norah……..just an adorable doll baby! I am so grateful that she shares her with me. In the coming year I trust that the Lord will give us many opportunities to serve Him together.
This year the Lord brought another friend back into my life. Almost 40 years ago he was my Pastor. Now a single man in his very late 60’s, he serves the Lord in the church which his brother pastors. It has been fun catching up on all the memories. Jim is a fun fella to be around and manages to bring a smile to my face. His knowledge of the Bible and his love for the Lord are an inspiration to me. Once we reconnected, which is a story in itself, he made a four-hour trip just to see me. I sure felt special! Anyway, Jim has an intense love for Jerusalem and his desire is to be able to make a visit to the City of David. The Lord has used Jim twice in my life. It was his knowledge of Biblical separation that led me out of a worldly church into a church that came out from among them and remained separated. In my early years as a Christian he helped me understand the assurance of my salvation from the Word of God. This time, the Lord used Jim to inspire and encourage me to start my blog. In recent weeks I have neglected my writing because of attending a Bible Institute. I will never be as knowledgeable as Jim, but at least I will better understand what he is talking about in reference to scripture. In addition, Jim sweetly rebuked me regarding some matters on seeking forgiveness. This is one of the qualities of a good friend.
Surprisingly, there has been another ‘friend’ evolve in my life and that is my eldest daughter. She and her husband Pete take that ‘widow’ thing in scripture very seriously. Now, granted, I am not feeble and fragile but it is indeed comforting to know that I have Biblical caretakers who fulfill their scriptural responsibility toward me. We have shared tearful emotional times with each other have instilled within us a very special bond. Many people have mistaken us for sisters, which is sorta of comical in a way. We have become each others confidants and counsellors. My life has been blessed by her friendship.
I would not end this article without sharing my love for my dearest and closest friend, the Lord Jesus. This past year I have learned that I cannot in any way shape or form, out give God. I need to start a journal to log all of the multitude of blessings that have been mine by the grace of God. I want for nothing and the blessings of this past year have been beyond anyones expectation. The Lord provided expense paid vacations to Washington DC and Hilton Head, Virginia and was able to attend the graduation of my firstborn grandson from the Marine Corps Boot. Through a brother in the Lord, he provided money to repair my air-conditioning in my van. Most importantly, the Lord has patiently drawn me closer to himself. He has stilled my heart, calmed my spirit and strengthened my faith. He works within me both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
Indeed, this has been a very good year for friendship!
As I sit here and look around my living room I scan a smattering of ‘junk’ here and there that has accumulated on the floor in my determined effort to declutter my home. Getting rid of larger no-longer-needed items was a cinch, but sifting through drawers of papers, supplies and who knows what is not only wearisome, but also time-consuming. Yet it is this ‘little’ stuff which makes my life much more complicated because I never remember where I placed what! My daughter has offered to help me, but her method of trash bagging my treasures (she calls it junk) is not conducive to an amiable Mother/daughter relationship. With this challenge before me I am determined to accomplish this task prior to January 1, 2013. There is much to be said about getting ones house in order, however, it has been a recent conviction that I also need to declutter my mind and my heart.
The world has become so infested with immorality that it has become a challenge in preventing ungodly images, thoughts and sounds from permeating ones mind. Even the godliest of Christians can be listening intently to an inspired message by the Pastor and then all of a sudden, out of the blue comes a thought from Satan that makes the poor soul cringe and immediately seek forgiveness. The only weapon that we have at our disposal is the Living Word of God which is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of our hearts! Men, being creatures aroused by sight, have an extremely difficult time keeping their minds pure. Sadly, it is just not the worlds women that tempt the men of today, even those who name the name of Jesus come to church in low cut garments and other apparel which accentuates the bosom. Care must be taken in protecting what goes into our brain by keeping oneself from environs that promote ungodly activity whether is be visual, vocal or voluptuous in nature. Memorizing scripture and the old time hymns of the faith is the healthy diet which promotes Christ honoring thoughts and actions. So, in determining to unclutter what has been ingrained in my aging gray matter I set forth on a course of preventative treatment from the Great Physician.
Now decluttering the heart is a more delicate matter. It is God that worketh in me both to will and to do of His own good pleasure. I cannot declutter my heart on my own. It has to be a work of the Holy Spirit and my willingness to not only be sensitive to His leading but also submissive to His conviction in order to further the process of my sanctification. We have often heard that from out of our mouth comes what is in our heart. Remember what the lass said to Peter? (Thy speech betrayeth thee)? Not only our speech but also our behavior proves to the world what is in our heart. Having a meek and quiet spirit allows us the opportunity to listen to the still small voice of God. Unfortunatley we often put our mouth in gear before listening and our mind controls what we say or do rather than the Lord. The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked unless under the influence of the Spirit of God. When our brain controls our heart we are no less than carnal in our spiritual life. It takes daily feeding upon the Living Word of God to give us the nutrition we need for a heaven healthy heart. Nutritionist will attest to the fact that once a body is subjected to healthy foods it begins to reject those foods which are not conducive to healthy functioning. This was realized in my own life several years ago in my effort to quit smoking. I was addicted to nicotine and a friend encouraged me to begin taking bee pollen. My lungs became more healthy and in the process rejected the nicotine and I was freed from my addiction. So, as mentioned aforehand, I set forth on a goal of purging my heart from the garbage of this world from my heart by fervently feeding upon the Living Word of God
Many blood bought born again Christians can relate a tragic story about a brother or sister in the Lord who have left their first love and fallen into sin. Sadly, for male Christians the primary temptation that leads to their backslidden condition is related to the lust of the flesh. As for women, there seems to be a plethora of excuses for turning their back on the God who gloriously and wondrously saved them.
Well, you exclaim, these must have never been saved in the first place. Oh? Well how do we explain Moses, King David, Solomon or Peter? Yes, you stammer, but what about those backslidden Christians who spend many wasted years in sin, away from God. The Bible states that he (God) that hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. The Lord is not slack concerning his promises; He is long-suffering, patient and loving. All the while the tarnished child of God is floundering around in their sin infested state, God is working diligently to bring that one back to the fold. Let me insert a concept that most assuredly needs to be considered. A Christian not living in deep immorality, yet living a cold indifferent life is no different in the eyes of a Holy God than a sin drenched brother. For God says that luke warm Christians are distasteful to him and that he will spew them out of his mouth. Revelation 3:15,16 “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold not hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. God equates a lukewarm Christian as being carnal in nature. Romans 8: 6-8 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God. …… So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
In I John 1:9 God says when his people do sin, he has provided a way for them to make things right with him. If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. As far as the east is from the west so far has God removed our transgressions from us, and he remembers them no more.
Several years ago, a former sister-in-law felt it was her Christian duty to remind me of my past ugliest sins. I listened as she finished her analogy of my wicked life and then I very softly shared with her that she was absolutely correct, but that God had forgiven me of those vile sins and He remembered them no more. There was a dead silence on the other end of the phone.
The Master Potter has each of us as a piece of clay upon the wheel of this world, refining us into the usable vessel he wants us to become. Sometimes the Lord needs to take our fractured vessels and slam it against the wheel of life to get out attention and then pour more water (Holy Spirit conviction) to reshape us into the masterpiece that he is creating. Many times this process needs to be repeated until out heart of dry clay becomes pliable in his hands, free from defects of sin.
Take the analogy of the silver vessel. My grandmother’s silver at times needs to have the dross removed before it can be used. As a silver vessel out of God’s protective covering of his will, we are exposed to the air of this world and become tarnished, sometimes almost to the point of being black. The Lord needs to apply several applications of the tarnish remover of conviction and chastisement to being back the beauty of the vessel. Then he takes the soft plush cloth of his love and brings us to a brilliant shine for his use. Have you ever noticed a Christian who shines and sparkles for the Lord? Isn’t it just awesome how that the darkest tarnished Christian, once restored to fellowship with the Lord, appears to shine more brightly for God?
Even though there are consequences for our sins, we should be determined never to let past sins keep us from living a victorious life in Christ. The illustration of David and Bathsheba is a shining example of how by confessing our sin against the Holy God and turning from our wicked ways, God can do wondrous works through us. I love to read Psalm 51, David’s confession of his sin toward his Holy God. It gives me hope and assurance of the pardoning grace of my Lord and God. The Lord is able to bless us and use us for his service, when we turn from our wicked ways. David was referred to as a man after God’s own heart. Bathsheba became the mother of Solomon, the wiseth man who ever lived. She is also mentioned in the lineage of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Satan loves to bring to our minds the sins of our past in order to attempt to discourage us from being useful shining vessels for Christ. To give in to these dust balls that clutter our minds is to doubt God’s mercy and rob ourselves of spiritual power and progress, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniguity…If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the masters use and prepared unto every good work. 2 Timothy 2. No single sin, however dark, should ruin an entire life. I appreciate the message of Psalm 40:2,3 “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.”
So my precious Christian brother or sister, look not from whence you came, instead look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. Remember, no man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. We are in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, may we shine as his light in this world. May we be encouraged to press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus………………..more as the Lord leads.