Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

Thank You

I want to thank everyone who has chosen to follow my blog or stopped by to see it and read a post. I want to thank everyone who has liked a post or made a comment on a post. It amazes me the number of people from all over the world who read my blog!

Several years ago God had laid it upon my heart to start this little blog. I stand amazed before God as to how much it has grown since then!

This past year has been the best year for stats so far. It had:
13,415 views
9,093 visitors
2,340 likes
253 comments
For the views and visitors, this was more than four times the previous year!

These stats are all because of you! Without you, there would be no reason to post anything.

There have been days it has been challenging to keep it going, but when I see the number of people viewing it, the likes and the comments, it is encouraging to keep going. I give thanks to God for all the lives it has touched.

I have also enjoyed reading many of your posts that you have written. Everyone who likes a post of mine or makes a comment, I will look at their post. God is using many of you to reach this world for Jesus.

Know that everyday I am praying for every person who reads this blog. I pray that it will encourage many to get into God’s word more. I pray that God will touch their lives and meet the needs of each one. I pray that God will reveal Himself to each person in new ways and draw each one closer to Him. I pray that God will make each person more like Jesus. I pray that each person will be walking in the will of God and working to enlarge His kingdom here on this earth. I pray that everyone will know the Lord Jesus Christ as his/her own personal Lord and Savior.

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Again, thank you for reading! May God bless you richly in all ways this new year!

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Happy New Year 2018!

Happy New Year 2018

As we ring in the new year, many people look back to the previous year and remember many things. Some of those things were really great, like my daughter getting married to an awesome man of God. Or the unexpected provision to meet the needs of repairs on my house this past summer.

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Other things that people remember are not so great to remember. Such as two trees falling on my house and my great vehicle finally dying off.

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You may have had greater good things happen or worse bad things to happen to you this past year. Regardless of what has happened, you survived. God brought you through it and is still with you.

God has not abandoned you, nor will He ever abandon you! God knows the plans He has for your life. He has great plans to make you more like His Son Jesus Christ, so that you will enjoy heaven even more and so that you may be able to do more of His work here on this earth.

Deuteronomy 31-6

 

As you begin this new year ask the Lord how you can change to be more like Jesus. Ask the Lord what work He has for you to do. Ask the Lord who you can be a witness to and show His love to, drawing others to Him.

As you do this, give thanks to God for what He brought you through last year and how He had blessed you last year. Then thank Him for what He is going to do through you this year.

It is going to be a great year in the Lord….regardless of what happens, because God is with you and loves you and will never leave you or forsake you!

Happy New Year!

Jeremiah 29:7 Praying For The Enemy

Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper. Jeremiah 29:7

Going into exile was a difficult thing for the Israelites of Judah to do. As they are going into exile, God now tells them to settle in and serve their enemy. Then on top of that God tells them to pray for their enemy to prosper. His reason for praying for the enemy to prosper is that if the enemy prospers, so do the Israelites.

Praying for the enemy is something many Christians have no problem doing. However, it is how they pray for the enemy that is different. It is common to hear a Christian pray for his enemy that God would strike them down, or remove them. The focus is to change that person, so that one can have a better life. The problem with this type of prayer is that it is totally self-focused.

Years later Jesus would tell all believers to pray for their enemy and bless them, not curse them. Praying for the prosperity of your enemy is a blessing upon them. Doing this shows the enemy the love of God, not the hatred of people.

Not blessing your enemy will fall back on you in the same way. If the economy of everyone around you is failing, your economy will also fail. If there is no peace with everyone around you, then you will not have any peace either. If there is poverty all around you, then you will also have poverty.

No person can have peace or prosperity completely alone. It takes a community to have either. There will always be some in your community that will be your enemy–those who do not follow Jesus. If they do not prosper, you cannot prosper.

Along with physical prosperity, every person needs to know the love of Jesus. If you are praying against them and for their downfall, where is there any love in that? How will they know the love of Jesus, when all they see is hatred?

You may not always agree with your enemy, but you can pray for God to bless them and draw them closer to Him by His love and care. It is His kindness that will draw them to Him.

I pray today that you will know God’s love for your enemies; that you will show God’s love to your enemies; that you will be able to pray God’s blessings on your enemies; and that many will come to know Jesus through the love you show them.

Isaiah 4:6 Shelter And Refuge

It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain. Isaiah 4:6

Despite the fact that God was in the process of destroying Judah and Jerusalem, He had plans already in store to build it up again. God was going build a shelter over Mount Zion–Jerusalem. In the manner of protection that God gave Moses and the Israelites in the desert, He would be a cloud by day and a flame of fire during the night.

At times, clouds can seem like a bad thing. They tend to indicate rain or storms, and they block the beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Yet, they can be a blessing in blocking out the heat of the sun. Knowing that rain is coming can be a blessing for the farmer.

In the same way, a flame of fire can appear sometimes as a bad thing. Seeing flames in a field or on a home is usually a bad thing to be occurring. Yet, flames will also provide warmth. In the night, the flame can keep the wild animals away while one is camping. Burning a field, can often remove the unwanted weeds, diseased plants and cut back the bugs, all of which can be a blessing.

God is over your life both day and night. He provides shelter and refuge for you to dwell in. When you are in His presence, nothing can do anything to you without His permission.

The world is going to try hard to get you to fall and give up on God. The world does not want you to succeed as you follow Jesus. Satan does not want you to be a good witness of who Jesus is.

Yet, God will put a hedge of protection around you that will shelter you in the heat of the day. When the world is putting pressure on you to commit a sin, you can run to God for shelter. When the world is threatening you in the dark to harm you, you can flee to God for refuge.

God will never leave you out in the cold to be destroyed. He is there for you, to take care of you and provide for all of your needs. Trust Him and do what He asks of you and see His great hand of love and mercy.

I pray today that you will know God’s protection in your life; that you will run to God for shelter; that you will know God’s peace in the storm; and that you will not give in to the ways of this world.

Proverbs 3:1 A Time For Everything

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: Proverbs 3:1

People hear this statement that there is a time for everything, but most do not want to believe or accept all of those times. Solomon continues on with listing many different things that there is a time for. Some of these are: to be born, to plant, to heal, to laugh, and to dance. People like these things and want more of them. These are the good times in a person’s life.

The other side of his statements, however, state that there is also a time: to die, to uproot, to tear down, to weep, to mourn, and to be silent. These are the ‘negative’ times in a person’s life. These are the times that very few people look forward too. Yet, God has ordered them in each person’s life.

It is easy to look at the good times of blessings from God and enjoy them. Everyone wants to be happy and have life go smoothly.

Yet, there are supposed to be times that are not so pleasant. Jesus said that unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies it will only be a single seed. Things have to happen to make things grow larger.

Take a look at the book of Acts. Until the persecution of all believers started to rise, the gospel message did not spread very far. It stayed among the Jews in a very small area. Once persecution set it, many people scattered and spread the message. The process was not fun, nor easy, but it brought about new life in the end.

When you live your life based on times of being happy, you will be disappointed and you will miss out on many other blessings in this life. It is in the difficult and painful times in life, that God can show up and do miraculous things. It is in those same times that God can move you to a new location in life to do great things through you and for you.

God is the one who is in control of everything. He has a time for every event that occurs in your life.

Are you trusting God in all the seasons of your life?

I pray today that you will know God’s plans for your life; that you will know God is in control; and that you will know God’s purpose for events in your life.

God’s Protection And Favor

IMG_1037.JPGWe live in a double-wide manufactured home in the country. We have oak trees all around the house, several within just a few feet of the house. This gives you a slight picture of what our place is like.

This last weekend we had a large storm that rolled through the area. On Sunday evening, at about 7:30pm, we heard a large crashing sound and the house rumbled some. A couple of my boys suddenly noticed that there was a tree laying down on our porch outside.

I went out in the rain and looked at it. Along with that tree on the porch, there was another tree leaning up against the corner of the house. I immediately went back inside to see if there was any internal damage.

At the corner of the house where the tree hit, is a bathroom. Above the bathtub in the corner, the ceiling was partially caved in. Water was coming through in a solid stream. The amazing part in the water coming through, was that it was running straight into the tub and down the drain. This was the first protection of God in this terrible situation, along with that fact that no one was hurt at all.

With it raining hard, I knew that we could do nothing about it that evening. I just praised God that it was draining into the tub.

About one hour later, the power shut down on us. We had no lights and our water supply is from a well with a pump, causing no water available.

As this was happening in the great storm, we lost cellphone reception and all internet connection. We could not look up what was happening or if the power company even knew about the power outage. There was no way of knowing how widespread the outage was or when to expect power back on.

Since it was extremely dark in the house and there was nothing we could do, everyone went to bed around 9-10 pm. I have a family of eight children. All were home at the time this was happening.

Around 1:30 am, I was awoken with a very loud bang that rumbled the entire house. I jumped out of bed and began to head through the house to find out what had happened.

As I was going through by flashlight, the power was still off, I met one of my boys coming towards me with a flashlight, also trying to find out what had happened. I looked outside and could not see anything other than a large tree covering our porch.

I went back in to the bathroom and saw a large surprise…part of the ceiling was completely missing and one wall had a huge hole in it. I could see the sky with no problem through the bathroom.

Going back outside, I went around the porch and the fallen tree to see what had happened. The second tree that had been leaning on the house had fallen the rest of the way. It took out the wall behind the bathtub from floor to ceiling, along with a section of the roof.

The next blessing at this point, that God had blessed us with, was that it had stopped raining.

Four of my children helped me then to start putting a tarp over the hole and roof of the house.

While we were doing that my wife stayed with my youngest children and worked to calm them down. Two of my boys were sleeping in a room right next to the bathroom and so they heard and felt the shake really bad.

It took about 3 hours to get the tarp on the roof and over the missing wall. I knew the plastic that I used was not great, but knew it would be better than nothing. It would at least keep some of the rain out of the house.

At about 4:30am I was able to go back to bed. Since I normally get up around 5am, I was wide awake by about 6:30 and unable to sleep.

I got up and started doing my devotions and normal morning things. At about 7am someone drove up to our house. I did not recognize the vehicle so I went out to find out who it was. It was a friend from our church that had heard of our situation and showed up with a chainsaw ready to work at removing the trees.

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Immediately we set to work at cutting the tree branches down and moving them off the porch. At about 8am two more friends showed up to help. Several more called and said that they would be there at some point in the day. One of the friends that came, had come with two of his friends, who we did not know, to help out. Several people had a chainsaw. Our neighbor allowed us to borrow his tractor to move the parts of the tree to a burn pile area on our property.

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One lady showed up with food and water for everyone to eat. It was enough food and water to feed an army. This provided more than enough food for everyone working. This was the next blessing from God.

By around 2pm, we had both trees completely cut up and moved over to burn piles, the house had two tarps covering the hole in the roof and the wall completely, and the hole inside the house was patched over.

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The amazing thing in all of this was that the weather forecast the entire week was to be rain every day. God gave us the entire day with absolutely no rain at all. It was very beautiful weather to work in, not too hot, not too cold. God was pouring out His blessings on us in the midst of an extremely hard and dangerous situation.

God also blessed us with the fact that during the time of the cleanup, no one was injured in any way.

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Right now we are waiting on the insurance company to get an inspector come out to see what the damage was and how much they will pay. We don’t know how God will get all of this fixed, but we know that He is in control.

Not all of the people who helped us were members of the church that we go to, but they were believers in their own churches. This was a great example of how the family of God takes care of its members, regardless of denominational differences.

Along with this, throughout the entire situation, God helped me to remain calm and not get angry, as I normally would have. I had a peace that was supernatural and a strength that was only from God. God provided help and strength above what I had expected. Without His help and the help of all the friends, it would have taken us several days to get the trees cleared.

I want to encourage you, that no matter what you are going through God is right there by your side. He can give you the strength that you need to make it through your situation. God loves you and I and promised that He will take care of all of your needs. Trust Him today and give Him praise, even in the storms of life.