Silence by andrea

It’s enough to make a man crazy, enough to break a man’s faith…. Remembering what broke him apart… Jesus knew what it was to be alone, He knew the silence of God. All these lines are from one of Andrew Peterson’s song, The Silence of God. It’s worth listening to, simply because I think we all feel that way at times.

I listen to this song often because even though I have my own struggles, it has been many years since I’ve felt really alone or known God’s silence. It’s not wise to be so removed from the pain of others that we forget, Christ feels their pain in Himself. For me to grasp the heart of God means I must relate to His pain and yours. Jesus knows your pain and I don’t believe He is ever silent although we can often be either unwilling or unable to hear Him.


It is so simple to say, the scriptures say, “my sheep hear my voice”, yet I have cried so hard my own sobs were the only thing I could hear. Or at times I have hardened my heart to the point that even while God spoke I was unwilling to listen. Angry, alone, grief stricken, even suicidal. How does one hear God in those moments? I can only say, remember.

I remember the scriptures, the many stories of those first disciples and all they gave to share the good news of Jesus Christ.They must have felt alone and forsaken. Yet they were focused on one thing, “Jesus”. They knew He was worth everything they suffered. When I was lost, Jesus not only found me, He revived me, breathed new life into me and gave me a love I had never known. Living in gratitude for His mercy, knowing I had done nothing worthy of this great love, keeps me remembering. Is God silent? I am breathing, the world is spinning at over 1000 mph. There is peace in my home, in my family there is healing and deep deep love. No God is not silent.

I can also look across history, seeing the centuries impacted by the gospel. Entire countries transformed into civilized nations. Charities, education, compassion, children became people, not just their parents chattel, orphanages were built and God parents were there to help grow and care for children. Forgiveness became a virtue, where once strength meant how much you owned and how many people you could kill or maim, Christianity taught forgiveness, generosity, kindness – even toward your enemies. Though imperfect, its impact has so transformed the world, there is no place left that has not been touched by the love, grace and mercy of Christ. No God is not silent. He does not work on our time tables, does not value all the things we value but when we value what God values, when we value love and truth, our hearts will open to hear His voice and we will walk in His ways and then eventually when death stands at our door, we will not fear because in death we have the final victory. For then we will hear Him say, “well done, enter into the joy of the Lord”.

God bless, andrea

Relevance by Peggy

Everyone has a story to tell; some nugget of truth, wisdom and experience to pass on that will enhance the situations of those that follow them.  It is what we do—we teach, train, and edify by our personal experiences and gained knowledge.  But so often, as life goes on and circumstances change, I see that often the wealth of knowledge that one possesses is not respected or wanted by those that need it most.  It is considered irrelevant and useless information because it is presented in a judgmental and critical “you-have-to-do-it-this-way” manner.

I think the same thing happens in many industries and in all walks of life, including the church. The relevance of one’s experience is lost in the presentation.  No matter how valuable it is, it becomes moot in the wake of inflexibility.

Because of the nature of our ministry, we are involved with many ministers and visit many churches.  It seems that there are a lot of churches who have a dwindling if not non-existent population of young people, congregations are dwindling, and doors are closing.  Others are filled to capacity.  Why?

If you speak to any of the people who are un-churched, yet committed Christians, you will hear things like: “I’m tired of playing the church game.  I just want to get some good teaching and worship God”.  Or “I’m so bored in Church; there’s nothing there for me to do; the list of rules is stifling and unrealistic, my kids are ostracized if they wear their jeans to service,” etc.… The local church has become irrelevant to the community it seeks to serve.

Not long ago I downloaded a Bible app on my little phone.  I love it!  I can get around quickly, look up multiple translations, take notes, highlight text—it’s wonderful! It’s always with me, and I can easily read it during a break at work.  I am thrilled not to have to carry what seems like a ten-pound book around with me, with papers and notes falling out all over the place.  Imagine how I felt when I was in a service recently to hear the pastor say that he has a problem with people looking at the Bible and following along with the sermon on their electronic devices.  He wanted all e-devices stowed during his service. There are very few young people in that congregation whose work just hasn’t quite caught up to this e-society in which we live.

Yet, recently I was in another church, with probably over 1000 attendees on a regular basis, and it seemed to me that almost every single person there followed along on their phones or tablets with a pastor who had nothing more than his I-pad. Every week visitors come to that church, listen to the unchanging, uncompromised word of God, and answer the altar call.

Relevance.  The message of Christ is the same in both churches, but one has learned how to reach and build relationship with a community who are accustomed to the world- wide web way of life.

The church that hears from heaven on how to reach people, how to spread the good news of Christ, and how to effect change in their community is the church that has been able to break down barriers and is not threatened by change.  It is the one who first acknowledges the validity of progress in the life of its people, embraces it, and keeps moving on.  Instead of having a problem with it, they learn how to use it to reach and touch people in their community, and ultimately to the salvation of many, all to the glory of God.

The church was never meant to be a stagnant entity.  It is an organic declaration of the relevant truth of the redeeming gospel of Christ.  Somehow, in our witness, we must­­­ eclipse changes that become the cultural norms of society in our sphere of influence without compromising the integrity of the Scripture and the truth of the Cross.  People will never even listen to the Word if we don’t work on relationships and build bridges instead of walls.

I’ve heard of the cowboy church, the biker’s church, and churches for those being exploited and trapped in the sex industry. Christian works that seem to be able to reach a segment of society that no one else can, all while delivering the message of the Cross.  You or I may not understand them, and may not be called to work in those vineyards, but we are called to be unified in the Spirit as followers of Christ.  That doesn’t mean we are all to be clones and be the same, but we are to follow the direction of Holy Spirit in our ministries while respecting the work of others.  It is not our job to throw stones at those who do things differently than we do.

We must know, believe and exhibit the Scripture. The only way that I know to do that is first to know God, renewing our minds with the study of the Word, and in prayer.  Learning to hear from God and let the Holy Spirit be our guide, even if it seems unconventional, is key.  We do it not for any self-gain, but to the glory and honor of He who has given us eternal life through Jesus.  The simple truth of God’s message does not change and always remains relevant.  We must be willing to be changeable and malleable under the potter’s Hand, with a purpose and passion for His work, even if it leads us into uncharted territory in what is required of us.

The relevant church will change without compromising the integrity of the Scripture, the redemptive work of Jesus and the cross, the power of the Holy Spirit and the unconditional love of the Father.  She will respect the work of others who may do things differently, while preserving the unity of the Holy Spirit.

Eph 4: 1-3 (NASB):   “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”.

Reflect by Barbara

Reflecting is not necessarily an unhealthy thing but if we’re living there, we can find ourselves at a standstill.  Bruce Springsteen’s song, “Glory Days” relates it well.  He sings about a baseball player who was great in his day.  When Bruce meets up with him one night all this man can talk about is his wonderful past.  In the next verse he meets another friend who was a beautiful woman in her day.  Now her marriage is over and all she wants to talk about is the days of old.  Next Springsteen sings that he does not want to live like that but he fears that he probably will. He realizes it is not a good place to be as all it brings is misery and boring stories.  If your past is anything like mine it was anything but glory days.  As a teenager, I was a pimpled faced girl that was so skinny you could hardly tell my back from my front.  I had no self-esteem whatsoever.  This made me a target for bullying.  I now can look at these trying times and laugh about it but I know people when talking about their past will relive it like it was yesterday though 40 or more years have passed.   It doesn’t have to be this way.  What does the Bible say about it.  Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 (NKJV) So every day we get a new day, to let go and move on.  The word also states, In Isaiah 43:19 (NKJV) Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert. The Lord has something new for us every day. Ask Him to open your eyes so you can see it.  If you find yourself reflecting on past mistakes, do not listen to your natural mind as it can be your enemy.  Reflect on who you are in Christ, His beloved child who He has a hope and a future. Let us put the past behind us and reflect on the glory days the Lord has for us and take Paul’s advice in Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.  9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”

I touched on one of the definitions of reflect such as: to ponder, meditate, think upon.  Now let’s look at another meaning of the word reflect which means a mirror image. I like the translation in The Living Bible. “But we Christians have no veil over our faces; we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 (TLB)  Truth is, we can’t be like Him if we don’t know Him. How do we get there? We read His Word. Just don’t read the Bible for head knowledge. Read it so you know what God is like and how He wants us to live.  You will find that He is a God of love, compassionate and forgiving. If you are new to the Bible start with the new testament especially the 4 gospels. John is my favorite since it is about God’s love. Go on YouTube and search for visual Bibles. They really make the Bible come to life.  I said many times before how important it is to spend time with Him. In our busy world it can be difficult to find quiet time.  The best times I have with the Lord are in my car.  For whatever reason that is when He speaks to me the most.  Turn off the radio and talk to Him and listen.  He will give you answers, guidance and direction. It is God’s desire for us to know Him.

God bless you as you reflect and get to know Him more!

Revelation by Ronda

The day before Peg gave us our topic, I was in Dollar Tree shopping for a few items, when I came noticed a small cross knick-knack. Well this particular one caught my eye because it had a scripture reference on it that wasn’t typical.  It wasn’t about love or faith or grace-it was about “things revealed”.  It was only a dollar so I brought it, not knowing that the Spirit was at work. I was simply shopping at the Dollar Tree.   Now, I have this cute lil cross with the words of Mark 4:22 sitting on my desk.  Needless to say, after I read the email from Peg, I knew that this wasn’t just about my quest for dollar deals.  It was the Spirit bringing something to my attention for a purpose and Peg had confirmed it!  So since then I have been meditating on this portion of scripture and the word “revelation”.

The scripture reads:

Mark 4:22 “For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light.”

And Matthew writes it this way:

Matt 10:26,27 “Therefore do not fear them.  For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Whatever I tell you in the dark speak in the light and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.”

From these scriptures we understand that hidden things are to be revealed.  By definition, a revelation is an unveiling of something.  So hidden things, things behind veils are to be disclosed, they are not to stay hidden.  Secret things are to be made known. So in the Kingdom of God one principle at work is revelation- an unveiling.  There is revelation, not revelations, because unveiled events in the Kingdom are connected to the supreme purpose and manifold wisdom of God.  So it is the Father’s revelation being unveiled first through His Torah and now through the Living Word, Christ Jesus.

In Hebrews 1:1-2 the Word says, “God who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets has in these days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds.”

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came and preached the Kingdom. He taught about what the Kingdom was like. He demonstrated the power of the Kingdom.  Many times He said the Kingdom of God is at hand.  He revealed to the disciples everything he was instructed to by the Spirit. In the Message Bible, Mark 4: 22-23 reads this way:

“We’re not keeping secrets, we’re telling them; we’re not hiding things, we’re bringing them out into the open.  Are you listening to this? Really listening?

While He was here, Jesus commissioned his disciples to Kingdom service. He sent them out, twelve and then seventy, to preach and manifest the gospel of the Kingdom of God through healing the sick and casting out devils.  This mandate continues.

The Kingdom of God is a revelation being unveiled on a daily basis through Christ’s disciples. It continues to be preached and manifested through us as believers.  It is the manifold wisdom and mysteries of God that are being unveiled in the process.  Believers used to be more focused on escaping the corruption of the world, but now more of us are calling heaven to earth.  Jesus decreed in his prayer lesson that God’s Kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  This is an example of revelation-an unveiling, a disclosure of what has been hidden.  It is like the curtain being pulled back so that the main event can be seen.

In the book of Revelation, there is a another clue in verse one.

Rev. 1:1 “The Revelation of Jesus Christ which GOD gave Him to show His servants.”

The “unveiling or disclosure” was given to Jesus so that it could be revealed to His servants. At that time, Jesus was sharing the revelation with John.  It is the revelation that God unveiled to Jesus.  The Son of God came to the earth and preached that the Kingdom of God is at hand. He started the unveiling and his disciples continue it.  The Kingdom is manifested in the earth through the power of the Holy Spirit in the Body of Christ. So the unveiling continues because nothing is hidden except to be revealed. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit aren’t keeping any secrets.  We can all get in on it.  We can all do our part of unveiling the Kingdom.

So every act of obedience and every act of faith is part of the unveiling-the revelation of the Father’s Kingdom manifested in the earth.  Heaven touches earth through Christ’s Spirit-filled Body.  So the mission is the unveiling of the eternal Kingdom whose maker is God.  Our goal is not mere existence until we die or get raptured. We are here to preach the Kingdom, to reveal its existence and to share in the revelation. The wisdom of God is beyond our finite understanding and we only see through a glass dimly. However, we have the Spirit of Truth at work in and with us.  In first Corinthians chapter 2 we learn something about this wisdom.

I Corinthians 2:10

“But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes the deep things of God.”

I Corinthians 2:10-13 in the Message Bible:

“The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God and brings out what God planned all along. Who ever knows what you’re thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God-except that he not only knows what he’s thinking, but He lets us in on it. God offers a full report on the gifts of life and salvation that he is giving us. We don’t have to rely on the world’s guesses and opinions. We didn’t learn this by reading books or going to school; we learned it from God, who taught us person to person through Jesus, and we’re passing it on to you in the same firsthand, personal way.”

We are part of the greatest story ever told.  We are citizens of an unshakeable eternal Kingdom that is being unveiled to us and through us.  This is all part of our Father’s master plan.  Beloved, be encouraged because the revelation, the unveiling continues and we each have a starring role!

Revolution! by andrea

The revolution of Jesus Christ the son of the Living God was fought and won 2000 years ago on a cross at Calvary. Death was defeated, evil was confronted and the world was made whole and new again. At the resurrection eternal life was brought into the world by God Himself for all those who choose to follow His ways… the way of death.

Certainly our ways are not God’s ways, we don’t fight like God, think like God or love like God but He has given us an opportunity to choose to be as He is and where He is. On the day of Pentecost after the victory at Calvary, after Jesus had returned from the dead, He sent the Holy Spirit to the world to baptize all those who choose to come to Him with His Spirit. His kingdom is not of this world although it is in this world it is not of this world. He is not finished with this world, there is work yet to do but the truth is… the war is won, the fighting is done and it is up to us to choose who we will follow. His followers, like Christ die to themselves and choose to live in Christ. When we do, we receive the Holy Spirit and He being Christ in us shows us the way of life. Like Christ it is only in dying to ourselves and living for Christ, we then find life, life eternal.

God loves His creation so much, He willingly sacrificed Himself for her and He willingly and lovingly brings you into His kingdom if you are willing to follow Him.

Paul puts it this way… we were once under the law of sin and death but that changed with Christ’s death and resurrection.

When I tried to obey the law’s standards, those laws killed me. As a result, I live in a relationship with God. I have been crucified with Christ. I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.…(Gal 2:19,20)

Therefore, my brothers, you also died to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. (Rom 7:14)

So yes, there is a revolution going on and in its path we have seen nations changed, billions of souls set free from sin and the way of love shown forth through the multiple millions of followers who share the gospel of Christ daily. We share the good news of death and resurrection to all who are willing to listen and follow, to have faith to follow the very righteousness of God, Jesus Christ. He freely gave Himself up on a cross and He freely gives you His love and life, joy and comfort, this day if you will only say yes to His gift.

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. (Mat 7:7)

I promise you, no one regrets knowing Christ. There are no perfect churches organized for your convenience under different theological perspectives, but there is only One Head of the Church, that is Jesus Christ and He is willing to love you as you are, where you are today. He only asks that you ask and receive. The promise is yours, the gift is yours, take it. Forget every negative thing you’ve ever heard about the church and join the revolution of faith in Christ alone.

May you come to know the reality of life in Christ, a life made full of the wonders of God, the love of your Creator and His mercy and grace for you.  Don’t think you are not good enough… you are not. Who is good enough to receive God into themselves? Not one of us has been made righteous through our own works. The work was done on the cross. A sacrifice made for you and me, that we may be reconciled to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Simply because He loves you as you are. The love of God “precedes your repentance”, He loves you before you knew Him. Join the revolution of love for humanity, become a soldier in an army that feeds the poor, clothes the naked and loves the unlovable.

God bless, and may the joy of the Lord fill your hearts today and always,  andrea

If you need to know how much the Lord loves you as you are this video is a good start. It can be found on You-tube

The Relentless Tenderness Of Jesus  by Brennan Manning



We all know the word “hopeless” and probably use it all of the time.  I always say I am a hopeless insomniac (which I am), others say someone is a hopeless romantic.  Of course, there are also times when we..I.. may become just a tad frustrated with someone and declare “You are hopeless!”,  a phrase usually uttered with a clenched jaw, throwing my arms in the air.  Can you relate?

Unfortunately, for me, the word and it’s true meaning has really hit home again in a profound way.

Several weeks ago we got word that a young man we knew had died by his own hand.  He was truly a nice young guy, early thirties, promoted to manager of a very prominent restaurant in his area, with a serious girlfriend; the whole world at his fingertips, a life just begun.

Friends said that although he suffered from depression a few years ago when he was diagnosed with a deadly heart condition, he underwent open heart surgery and had the promise of a long and healthy life, and really seemed to have his act together.  I was truly horrified and heartbroken at the news of his death.

Unfortunately, it is not the first time I experienced such shock.  The sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, the deep, deep sympathy that rose up in me for the parents, family and friends, and the huge question mark that overtook my thoughts, echoing “WHY?” in the very depths of my soul, were all too familiar.

No, this is not the first time we got such news.  It was the third.  And since then we’ve become acquainted with parents of another young lady who did the same.  All four were young adults, with families and friends and a lifetime of adventure in front of them.

Hopelessness is the belief that there is no future; absolutely being convinced that everyone you know would be better off without you, and you just want to be anywhere but here in this life.  I imagine that thoughts and feelings so dark come to one who feels this hopeless; thoughts that can’t be expressed or spoken; thoughts that haunt, terrify and eventually justify the extreme action of ending it all.  Thoughts that are totally hidden from view of those who love you.  Hopeless.

How can anyone ever find hope and meaning for life when that kind of darkness shrouds the consciousness of their being?  I am not a psychiatrist, psychologist or a mental health professional.  I can only say what I either learned myself or heard others say.  This is a blog, so I’m going to keep it pretty short.  I could tell of many times in my life when I have dealt with someone in a state of depression, but not in this blog.  I can only share some quick thoughts of what I have learned along the way.

­­­­ What can the rest of us do to help when we see someone falling into an abyss of despair?  Speak life, not judgement.  Speak truth if asked for an opinion or thought, but don’t use it as a platform to bully someone into “getting normal again”.  If you can’t speak that truth without judgment, then decline to speak it at all. That person is not your project; they may be your family member, friend or acquaintance, but God didn’t put you in their life to fix them.  He put you there to serve Him, by being a carrier of His presence and grace.  Offer practical help.  Don’t tell people to “snap out of it”—if they could, they would.  Offer support to the family and friends.  And pray.  And then pray some more.

If you are someone who is sinking in despair for any reason, I’m saying to you:  Yes, there is hope!

You are loved, you are worthy, and the world will not be better off without you!  The people that know you: your family, friends, co-workers, would be utterly devastated if you were gone, this I know!  I also know that God loves you and has a plan for you and your future.  There is no depth so deep or low that He isn’t there to lift you out!  Get help.  Talk to someone—don’t keep anything bottled up.  If the first person you try to talk to doesn’t listen or seem to get it, then move on to someone else.  Call a mental health hotline.  Reach out to a pastor or someone you know that has a relationship with God.  Google God’s promises and read them.  Take a step—God will put someone there to catch you.

Here is what God says for you today:  “     For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.   Jer. 29:11 NIV

Write that verse down, put it on your mirror, and have faith to KNOW that you are loved!!!


There are some places in our lives we should never revisit… this was mine. So young I didn’t grasp who I was or why I was on this planet. My deepest prayer to an unknown god was “please god, make it so I had never been born. I recall pleading this …. “please please please”….. if You can do anything… turn back the clock and unborn me. I had heard about God, I had heard He made all things and that if He didn’t like you, He would send you to hell where you would burn in agony forever. I would say I felt hopelessness but what I really felt was fearfully hopeless. I had little hope of any good in this life and only certain terror in the next. 

     Parents if you think that someone five or six years old can’t be suicidal, think again. These are the memories I have as far back as I can remember.

     When I questioned my parents about God, my mother would say there was no god, as an “agnostic” and she didn’t want to talk about it. I did not approach my father until years later when he cried and said there was no forgiveness for people like him.

     Somewhere within me was a thread … a strand of faith, there was hope in this life. 

     I already knew that the world was a terrible place with unspeakable horrors and my life even with its hopelessness was far better then most. As a young child, I had opened a book about WWII. There were hundreds of pictures of people with striped suits on so thin they could barely walk, piles of bodies. Pictures of babies being murdered in front of their parents…. the one seared into my mind was a group of strong men, holding a screaming women, while they whirled an infant around and the picture was taken just a split second before its head hit a telephone pole. Ovens with shelves. Bodies of young men strewn across fields. Others kneeling in front of pits with thousands of bodies in them, while men stood behind them with rifles. I thought why didn’t they run but somewhere within me I knew. They had no desire to run. You could see it on their faces. Later this book disappeared off of our book shelf but the pictures never left my mind. The thoughts and questions they raised about the state of humanity have never left my mind. No matter how bad life was…. I was still better off then that woman or that baby; or was I? Maybe death was the ultimate silence, the peace my mind so desperately sought. 

     Today when I see pictures of children with distended bellies or bodies lining hospital doorways from ebola outbreaks. Children taught to behead people who aren’t like them. Prepubescent children taught to use machine guns and commit mass murder. I see a generation of people without hope. How many of those children pray, please, please, please if there is a god, make it so I’ve never been born? Hopelessness run rampant.

     There is the stark reality, whether it is by brutal men swinging babies into poles, by doctors cutting unborn babies from their mother’s wombs, soldiers on a battlefield or the person dying peacefully in their beds surrounded by the most loving of families. The mortality rate is always 100%. 

     There is only one reason for hope and that is in the next life. This life will pass as a wisp in time and eternity will be upon every being ever conceived. Christ came and died, not just to forgive us for our sins but to begin the process of resurrection and new life within each one of us, today. We have a living hope within us. This mortal body has put on immortality. Death with its dark fears has no dominion over me.

     No matter what your scars, your disease, your trauma or fears. Jesus knows what you’re feeling. He knows what you’ve suffered. He took it ALL on Himself on a cross 2000 years ago so that you may be set free from the worry and anxiety of tomorrow. Eternal life is a gift given to those who choose Jesus. That hope and healing begins today in the heart of every one who chooses faith.

Choose Christ, God bless, andrea


     I was told this piece was too graphic, too harsh and that unbelievers may miss the point of becoming followers of Christ. I gave much thought to this …. The reality is that life is harsh and there is absolutely no more hope for us then for the multitude of bodies heaped up by men who did not know God. The bombs that dropped on Hiroshima, left few bodies but the death toll was exactly the same for all those people as it was going to be if no bombs were dropped. The end for all of us is the same. From dust we came to dust we go. 

   If you choose to follow the hopelessness of happiness in this world, it will be a fleeting moment in time. BUT if you choose to follow the cross of Christ, there is an eternity that awaits you of joy unspeakable, full of glory. A city whose only light will be from a Holy and loving God.

    We come into this world crying, screaming and fighting for breath, in the middle there are tears, body parts to clean and suffering. We laugh, wonder and try to make our mark on this world but the only mark of any value is the one made on Calvary. I find great beauty and much joy in this world. Although, I weep for those who suffer, cry for those who die, all the while knowing my fate is the same and it is yours. My hope is in Christ and because of Him, I have great joy and I smile when I tell my husband of over 40 years. We are old, joking that the best part about old age is that it doesn’t last long. One day one of us will have to go on alone. I ask him, are you ready? He smiles and nods. I am crying now. Because I know the suffering will be unbearable but it will be full of hope. My hope is in Christ because He rose, I also will rise and so will you. Christ promises to answer all who call out to Him, so call out “Jesus I need hope”. He’ll answer.

God bless, andrea

Col 1: (Paul is writing)

24I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. 25God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you. 26This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. 27For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.

From Virtue to Valor by Ronda

From Virtue to Valor

This month’s blog is author’s choice, so I decided to share about what I have been contemplating after reading an excellent blog article about the biblical role of women. While reading the article, I was intrigued by the fact that the word “virtuous” in Pro. 31:10 is not a full and accurate expression of the meaning in the text. According to my app virtuous is defined as: moral excellence, goodness, righteousness and conformity of one’s life and conduct and ethical principles and lastly manly excellence. When I started on this blog journey, I thought that the “virtuous” woman was a woman who discovers herself in the light of the Word of God. I think that is still true, however, with new light comes a new perspective.

The Hebrew word in the Proverbs 31:10 translated as “virtuous” in our bibles is Strong’s H2428 chayil. The word chayil is defined by Strong’s as strength, might, efficiency, wealth and army. In the Hebrew Masoretic Text, Proverbs 31: 10 is Eishet chayil mi yimtza? A woman of valor who can find her? So there we have it. Our KJV virtuous woman is a Hebrew woman of valor. In the original text the word is more closely translated as valor. According to valor is defined as boldness or determination in facing great danger, especially in battle, heroic courage and bravery.

So which is it, virtue or valor? More importantly, how does this contrast in translation affect our spiritual perspective as Christian women? In my brief time studying scripture from the original Hebrew text, I have found a picture of women that are more highly esteemed, especially in regards to their spiritual insight and leadership. I believe more and more Christian women are discovering a new, true identity in scripture that is not defined by the “traditions of men” that make the power of God of no effect. (Mark 7:13) I think this identity is more closely associated with being a woman of valor as opposed to a woman of virtue. It is definitely a work of God’s Spirit in us and upon us to empower us to fulfill His plan for our lives.

Virtue is no cakewalk. Honestly, except for the cleansing blood of Jesus, I don’t even make the top three definitions for virtue. And frankly, I am not that clear on what “manly excellence” is. That being said, the definition of woman of valor is personally more appealing. As a Christian woman, I want to be bold and determined. I want to walk in the character of Christ, that is His virtue not my own. I choose to be identified as a woman of valor, as opposed some poorly translated version of human virtue or manly excellence.

How does the saying go? When you know better, you do better. Since, I now have insight into the more accurate translation of the text, I want to encourage us all to embrace our God-given identity. We can all choose to see ourselves in the light of the Word as it is accurately translated. We can move from virtue to valor. We are women of valor because that is who Our Creator destined us to be. Many of us may not yet identify with that woman, but if we give the LORD enough “time”, He helps us to discover her. We are women who are strong and determined. We are women who are discovering our gifts and using them to glorify our Father. We are women who are partakers of the divine nature of Christ: His character at work in us by the Spirit. We are wives, mothers, sisters and daughters. We are servants and leaders. We are pastors and teachers; prophets and apostles.

We are women of the Kingdom who are part of the army of God.

Finally, as the author of that excellent article so aptly put it …as “eishet chayil”…we are a “force”. Those Hebrew words are Holy Spirit inspired words. It is what it is. Time for us to own it! As we move into 2016, as God ordained women, I pray that we each take our place in His Kingdom. Be encouraged Pro 31 women you are women of valor.

Grace and peace, Ronda.

Restoration by Barbara

Most of us know the story of Adam and Eve and the fall. Before the fall, God gave them dominion (authority) over ALL the earth. When they were deceived by satan, they lost their authority and gave it to him. When Jesus was crucified on the cross, He reinstated our authority over the earth. He didn’t just die so we could get to heaven, (though that in itself would be enough), He died so we would be restored to our rightful place, He died that we would bring heaven here on earth, He died to redeem our value.

The Word tells us who Jesus is:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. John 1:1-4 (KJV)

This proves that Jesus was God.

I would like to reflect on what Jesus went through to redeem us. The humility of it all blows me away. Jesus, the maker of heaven and earth, leaves heaven and His glorious spirit body to be born in a human body with all its frailties. The man that was God, pooped, peed, sweat, became tired and got hungry like us. The way He ate and drank, I can’t help but wonder if He also had gas. This I’m not too sure about as I question if gas is part of the curse before Jesus redeemed us.

Jesus was also tempted as we are. In Matthew 4, you can read the account of Jesus being tempted three times by satan. The first and second temptation, satan sought to get Jesus to question His identity by saying, “IF you are the son of God…” The third was wealth and glory. satan had the right to offer it to Jesus as Adam handed it to him when he (Adam) sinned. Hebrews 4:15 tells us that Jesus was tempted in every way, therefore when we are tempted, Jesus gets it, however, He never sinned.

He was beaten beyond recognition. Anyone else would have died but Jesus not only lived, He walked to Calvary, carried His cross and was crucified. So why didn’t he die from the gruesome beatings? Remember what He said in John 10:18 (TLB), ” No one can kill me without my consent—I lay down my life voluntarily. For I have the right and power to lay it down when I want to and

also the right and power to take it again. For the Father has given me this right.” He died when our debt of sin was paid and declared “It is finished.” In three days he rose from the dead and restored to us what satan had stolen.

The most awesome thing that Jesus restored to us is the relationship with the Father. No longer do we need someone to go to the Father on our behalf or offer animal sacrifices. Because of what Jesus did, we can come boldly before the throne, plus we can have intimacy with the Father.

We are made in the image of Christ, So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Genesis 1:27 (KJV). We are created to represent Him. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. Luke 4:18-19 (KJV) If we are made in the image of Christ then He has given us the authority to accomplish everything that Luke 4:18-19 says.

Of all that Jesus restored, I believe health is the most controversial. There are many of the belief that the Lord uses infirmity to teach us a lesson or suffer for His sake. If this is the case, why do the same people go to the doctor or take medication? Why not just suck it up and suffer? Please understand, I am not being condescending. Just trying to make a point and keep it real. Isn’t it written? But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 (KJV) The key word here is “are.” We are healed, Christ paid for it, receive it!

I could go on and on about this topic but before I close, I just want to mention a few other things Jesus has restored and achieved for us. He restored us from death and given us everlasting life, He restores the years the locust have eaten, He restores our joy, He is the restorer of life and nourisher of old age, He makes our crooked paths straight, He gives us a hope and a future, He gives us abundant life, and so much more.

When reading the gospels keep in mind when Jesus is talking to the disciples, He is talking to us too. We can walk in the same authority they did. I pray in the year 2016, we all come into a deeper relationship with the Lord and walk in the

authority He died so violently to give us. Let us bring heaven to earth!

Happy New Year! Be Blessed!

The Way of Life by Peggy

If you are like me, as the year comes to a close, I become contemplative about life.

I’m not thinking about the meaning of life, as some might imagine I would. Instead, I think about the way of life: how I move and transition as I pass through what seems to be the shambolic disaster of this chaotic world.

I have worked for several years as an IT specialist in behavioral health organizations. While I don’t deliver services to clients, I do interact with many as well as therapists, program directors, and administrative staff.

I have seen many people who are just plain overwhelmed by life’s circumstances, and seem to lack the coping mechanisms to get through it and move on. Their lives seem to be blocked, as they can’t seem to get out of the pit they have fallen into. It is heartbreaking and frustrating all at the same time to watch. All of these folks have been diagnosed with some kind of disorder, and they need the help of professionals and support of society to keep moving.

But for the rest of us, how do we keep moving? How do we get through the tragedies of sudden death, sickness, financial burdens, or watching a loved one spiral out of control? How do we handle the blessings? Do we take them for granted, or abuse them in some way, or do we appreciate them and walk in humility? So many things come at us, vying for our attention, that it is overwhelming. Did you ever feel that there is a time that you just can’t breathe from the weight of it all? I know I have.

Someone asked me once how I just continue on in every circumstance. She called me a “steady Eddy”, one who stays consistent in every situation, good or bad. My answer: I don’t ask “why?” anymore when I see tragedies or come upon difficult circumstances, or even when I am blessed beyond anything I deserve. I have found that asking “why” seems to be an exercise in futility. Instead, I have learned to ask “what did I learn from this?”

Once I start digging into the “what” of it instead of the “why”, I seem to find some answers. I have come to realize that everyone who crosses our path in our journey of life, crosses it for a reason. We may never know the reasons, but I believe everyone we meet is a divine appointment—ordained by God.

Every circumstance, whether a blessing or a tragedy, is a learning experience. Many lessons learned are difficult to swallow, but life- growing nonetheless. When I look back on life in general, there is one thing, one truth, that I have learned to be consistent no matter what: that God is who He says He is. It really is as simple as that, yet so profound!

He is the light of the world—the beginning and the end. He is purity and righteousness and holy. He is with us in every circumstance, good or bad. His word is enlightens us with revelation: “Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps 119:105, 130; 43:3; 56:13).

Our place in all of this? Simple: we are called to walk in His light, to be His image bearers and couriers of His presence. We are to bring comfort to those who mourn, feed the hungry, clothe and shelter the poor, pray without ceasing for those that are or seem to be lost or are drowning in confusion and heartache, as He does all of these things for us.

As we move forward into a new year, I challenge you to do the same: Look back on this past year and ask yourself what you have learned in every circumstance. Whether you have had a great year, or 2015 may have been mediocre, with ups and downs, or if you may have been thrown into an unimaginable situation. Ask yourself how you have seen God this past year. Maybe it was in silent meditation, or seeing Him evidenced in another person. However He has revealed Himself to you, make note of it, and learn what you are to do with it.

My prayer for you for 2016 is that the revelation of God in your life is shown in new ways, that you come to a deeper understanding of Him, and that you are blessed with health, happiness and prosperity!

Happy New Year, one and all, and thank you for reading our blog—we all appreciate you!