ABC’s of Thanksgiving – Letter D

Ephesians 5:20 and 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tell me to always give thanks to God in all circumstances in Christ Jesus/Messiah Yeshua. Always being thankful no matter what my situation? No way! But that’s God’s command to believers. So, just what does this mean?

It was during a tour of a cave that, with warning, the guide turned off the lights. We were engulfed in total blackness. Immediately my mind explored how we would get out if the lights didn’t come on again.

Maybe feel for the electrical cord and hand-over-hand follow it. But that wasn’t a guarantee that it would lead us outside and into daylight. Besides, what if we couldn’t find the cord? The only safe place was exactly where we were standing. A move in any direction could cause us bodily harm, or even our lives.

Same is true for some serious life situations I encounter. I might just as well be standing in the black cave, because I can see no way out. Maybe that’s why God said, “Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10). When I didn’t know which way to turn to end an abusive relationship, I stood still and waited for God to shine His light, showing me the path to take.

I can’t see in the darkness, but God can. Day and night are the same to Him (Psalm 139:12). I am most thankful for that knowledge and reliance. God’s name is Absence of Darkness ((1 John 1:5 implied).

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Month of Prayers for Your Clergy – Day 25

October is Ministry/Clergy Appreciation Month. What better way to show your gratitude and support than to pray for those in charge. Pray God’s name and word back to Him. He likes that.

Pastor’s Spirit

Colossians 2:10, 15: …you have been given fullness in Christ/Messiah, who is the head over every power and authority…and having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Genesis 2:15 implied: Initiator of Work

How to pray: Bless Pastor with the joy of living in God’s trust which allows him to work alongside God in:

~changing situations meant for harm into good;

~defeating satan’s plans to hinder spiritual growth;

~revealing God’s wisdom in dealing with pain and suffering;

~reconciling sinners to God through Jesus’/Yeshua’s sacrifice as the atoning Lamb.

Prayer/Blessing for you, the pray-er

May my life radiate with joy in spite of unpleasant circumstances. I recognize you, LORD, as Examiner and Tester of the Righteous (Jeremiah 20:12 implied).

Prayer for the Congregation

Luke 8:39: (To the demon-possessed man that was healed, Jesus/Yeshua said,) “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus/Yeshua had done for him.

Psalm 18:3 Worthy of Praise

How to pray: that each member of the congregation:

~be both hearer and doer of God’s word;

~speaks with boldness as he/she witnesses to others;

~brings no shame on himself/herself because their actions don’t match their words

Month of Prayers for Your Clergy – Day 8

October is Ministry/Clergy Appreciation Month. What better way to show your gratitude than to pray for those in charge. Pray God’s name and word back to Him. That delights Him.

Pastor’s Soul (Will)

Isaiah 43:13:…I am (God). No one can deliver out of My hand. When I act, who can reverse it?

Isaiah 55:11: So is My word that goes out from My (LORD) mouth. It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Psalm 135:6: LORD Who Does Whatever Pleases Him

Isaiah 60:22 implied: Controller of Time

How to pray: As events unfold, pray that Pastor is able to see them in light of God’s will being accomplished.

Prayer/Blessing for you, the pray-er:

You are Fulfiller of the Desires of Those Who Fear You (Psalm 145:19). My wish this day is to live according to Your will, not mine, to be a good ambassador of Your kingdom and to bless You in thought, word and deed.

Love Your Enemies – A Letter from God

Dear Child,

Love your enemies. I use them to bless you.

Fear gripped the heart of Balak, king of Moab, when the Israelites camped next to his country. They were too numerous for his people to defeat. He believed that pronouncing a curse on the foreigners would enable him to drive them out of the land and insure Moab’s safety.

The well-known heathen soothsayer, Balaam,was called to do such a service. However, in My usual creative way – a talking donkey -, I captured Balaam’s attention. I informed him that he would only speak My words. Even though he told this to the king, Balak insisted that Balaam make his pronouncement.

Three times My people received blessings, not curses. I used enemies to emphasize My protection (Numbers 22-24).

Consider the Jordan River. If flowing in a straight line, it would cover about 65 miles. But I created it with a winding course. That allows the river to water two times more land.

Similarly, I use enemies to throw curve balls in your life so My blessings can cover more territory.

Love,

Controller of Enemies (Proverbs 16:7 implied)                       Excerpt from Forgiveness, God Style

 

 

Published in: on December 29, 2012 at 3:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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Love Your Enemies – A Letter from God

Dear Child,

Love your enemies. I use them to accomplish My purpose.

The Red Sea stood as an enemy for Israel. Pharaoh’s army, another enemy, was in hot pursuit. Crossing the sea was unsafe. Divine intervention was needed. I parted the waters, the Israelites crossed in safety on dry ground (Exodus 14:22), and their enemy who followed them was destroyed when I released the waters again (Exodus 15:5).

In the midst of their uncertainty and frustration, I parted the waters to reveal the path that would move them to the other side.

Not getting the job you wanted, or the home you thought would be ideal or spending the rest of your life with your spouse are enemies. All are part of living. Sometimes I use them as a dam to reveal characteristics that need changing – your impatience, your not seeking My best for you, and taking for granted My blessings.

My actions could seem like punishment. You could respond with jealousy for the one promoted ahead of you, depression for living in a lesser-valued home, or anger for having changes in your life-style.

View your enemies – both people and situations – as My tools. See them as opportunities to seek My answers for your troubles. Then I can turn what seems to be punishment into blessings, and you receive the benefits.

Love,

God Who Holds in His Hand all Your Ways (Daniel 5:23)

Excerpt from Forgiveness, God-Style

Published in: on December 23, 2012 at 3:18 am  Leave a Comment  
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Love Your Enemy – A Letter from God

Dear Child,

Love your enemy. It might even be you!

Sometimes people overlook what I say. For example, when I summed up the Ten Commandments into two. The first command to “Love Me with all your heart, soul, mind and strength” means to love Me completely. Love Me in every possible aspect (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:39). Love Me in your innermost being, emotions, thoughts, efforts and energy. Love Me with utmost sincerity. In other words, love me in the same way and extent that I love you (1 John 4:19).

The phrase connecting the two commands is most important but often neglected. “The second is like it.” The love to be expressed in the second command must carry the same intensity and honesty as the first command.

The second command is, “Love your neighbor (friend or enemy) as yourself.” The phrase ‘as yourself’ is usually ignored. This explains how you love your neighbor. The degree of love you show for yourself will be the same extent of love you can offer others. If there is a deficiency in loving yourself, that carries over in the love you are able to show others and sometimes even Me.

You are to love yourself in the very same way that I love you. Child, self-love is not ‘conceit.’ It simply means that you desire to be the best individual possible in all areas of life. That is how I love you. When you speak or think negatively about yourself or your situation, you become your own enemy. Don’t do that. Put yourself in My hands. Follow My paths. Look for My point of view. Then you will find a good friend in yourself.

Love,

Your (best) Friend                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  (John 15:15)                                                      Excerpt from Forgiveness, God-Style

Love Your Enemies – A Letter from God

Dear Child,

Love your enemies. They were created in My image.

When you look at a painting and praise it, your accolades are really directed toward the one responsible for the picture – the painter. When you see a beautifully landscaped yard where the height and colors of various plants complement one another, your admiration is directed to the one who made the selections – the gardener.

The same is true about how you view your enemies. It becomes an indictment on the one ultimately responsible for that life – Me!

You are instructed to love for a good reason. To be indifferent is very hard. So, if you do not love, you put yourself in the position to ‘hate’. Those who ‘hate’ are murderers (1 John 3:15). You murder a reputation, a relationship, a future, ambitions and hopes. Hate affects three ways: the one who hates, the receiver of that attitude and those aware of the situation.

Please understand. To love doesn’t mean to like. They are different. Love people; dislike their actions. Hate evil; cling to what is good (Romans 12:9). In other words, look for the good in your enemies. You may be surprised by what you find.

Word of caution. When you believe hatred has been directed toward you, take note. Constructive criticism is judgment meant to bring about positive results. When criticized, pick apart the comments. Bring them to Me. Together we will analyze them to see if there is any truth. If not, toss the words over your shoulder and move on. If there is truth in the criticism, make it a learning experience to improve yourself. Truth should never be treated as a stumbling block. It is a stepping stone to betterment.

Love,

Creator (Genesis 1:1)                                                                                       Excerpt from Forgiveness, God-Style

Published in: on December 15, 2012 at 4:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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Love Your Enemies-A Letter from God

Dear Child,

Love your enemies. You imitate My heart.

People delight when their children resemble them in looks and in actions. Children are a reflection of their parents.

I am your heavenly Father. I want you to be a true reflection of Me, not in looks but in your desires and deeds. The work I do, you do. The attitudes I display, you display. When people look at you, I want them to see Me. What delights Me should delight you. Act with kindness, justice, impartiality and righteousness (Jeremiah 9:24).

I am patient. I want everyone to repent (2 Peter 3:9). I want them to see My love demonstrated through you. Love will draw them to receive My salvation. But if you don’t reflect the love I have shown you, how then can others understand My feelings toward them?

I send my blessings on both – friend and enemy (Matthew 5:45).

Don’t be like the brother of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). He never understood his father’s heart. He never accepted the father’s love shown for the wayward brother. He never respected his father’s feelings of happiness when his love and patience were finally rewarded.

Love your enemies, My child. Someday you may find out they are your siblings when they return to Me.

Love,

Father of All                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  (Malachi 2:10)

Published in: on December 14, 2012 at 2:44 am  Leave a Comment  
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Love Your Enemies – A Letter from God

Dear Child,

Love your enemies. It’s My command.

I have many reasons for telling you to love those who hate you. Not many take the time to understand My motives. You did. You took my words about turning the other cheek when your enemy hits you (Matthew 5:39).

Remember how you stood in front of the mirror? You looked at yourself as if you were looking at an enemy. You slapped your right cheek causing your face to turn away from your reflection.

Following my instruction, you turned from the left to the right – 180 degrees. In so doing, you once again saw your ‘enemy’ in the mirror. However, I did not want you to stop there. That is why I said, “Turn the other cheek.”

I also instructed you to pray, “Lead me not into temptation” (Matthew 6:13). If you did not turn the other cheek to your enemy, you would have been face-to-face with your attacker. You might have been tempted to strike back physically, speak hateful words, or entertain retaliatory thoughts.

Turning the other cheek allowed you to look past your enemy to see Me. I send common blessings, like sun and rain, on everyone. It pleases Me when you respect My love for all people.

Love,

Director of (Your) Way

(1 Thessalonians 3:11)

 

 

Published in: on December 11, 2012 at 5:59 am  Leave a Comment  
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Love Your Enemies-A letter from God *

Dear Child,

Love your enemies. I want them to be My children, too.

You enjoy an intimate relationship with Me. Your enemies are witnesses to the blessings I give you. They see that you do not walk in fear.

Displaying an attitude of love and good works toward them act as a magnet. It causes them to desire a similar life-style. This puts them in a position to seek and receive My forgiveness. That will lead to their salvation, and My family will increase.

This pleases Me. Remember, you were never meant to live for yourself.

Love,

LORD God Who Loves and Befriends the Stranger

(Deuteronomy 10:18)

*Excerpt from Forgiveness, God-Style

Published in: on December 9, 2012 at 3:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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