What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

As For Me and My House...

Some things to think about today...not sure just why my spirit has been suddenly so stirred up,
but I think it may have something to do with the 
"signs of the times"...

"And if it seems evil to you
to serve the Lord,
choose for yourselves this day 
whom you will serve,

whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River,

or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell.

But as for me and my house,
we will 

Joshua 24:15

With all of the current turmoil in our country, men and women of faith need to stand strong and firm in our beliefs and commitment to  our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

"But concerning the times and the seasons,
brethren, you have no need that I should
write to you.

For you yourselves know perfectly that the 
day of the Lord 
so comes as a thief in the night.

For when they say, 'Peace and safety!'
then sudden destruction comes
upon them,
as labor pains upon a pregnant woman.
And they shall NOT escape."
I Thessalonians 5:1-3

"But you, brethren, 
are not in darkness,
so that this Day
should overtake you as a thief.
You are all sons of light and sons of the day.
We are not of the night nor of darkness.

Therefore, let us not sleep,
as others do,
but let us watch 
and be sober."
I Thessalonians 5:4-6

"But let us who are of the day be sober,
putting on the breastplate of 
faith and love,
and as a helmet the hope of salvation.

For God did not appoint us to wrath,
but to obtain salvation
through our 
Lord Jesus Christ,
Who died for us,
that whether we 
wake or sleep,
we should live together with Him."

I Thessalonians 5:8-10

"Now may the God of peace
sanctify you completely;
and may your
whole spirit, soul, and body
be preserved blameless
at the 
coming of our 
Lord Jesus Christ.

He who calls you is faithful,
who also will do it."

I Thessalonians 5:23-24


on the Ocklawaha River, Eureka, Florida

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Abide in My Love

"I Am the true vine,

and My Father is the vinedresser."

"Every branch in Me that 
does not bear fruit 
He takes away;

and every branch that bears fruit
He prunes,
that it may bear more fruit."

"You are already clean
because of the word which I
have spoken to you."

"Abide in Me, and I in you.
As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself,
unless it abides in the vine,
neither can you,
unless you abide in Me."

"I am the vine,
you are the branches.
He who abides in Me,
and I in him,
bears much fruit;
for without Me you can do nothing."

"If anyone does NOT abide in Me,
he is cast out as a branch
and is withered;
and they gather them and throw them
into the fire, 
and they are burned."

"If you abide in Me,
and My words abide in you,
you will ask what you desire,
and it shall be done for you."

"By this My Father is glorified,
that you bear much fruit;
so you will be My disciples."

"As the Father loved Me, 
I also have loved you;
Abide in My love."

"If you keep My commandments,
you will abide in My love, 
just as I have kept 
My Father's commandments and 
abide in His love."

"These things I have spoken to you,
that MY JOY may remain in you,
and that YOUR JOY 
may be FULL!"

"This is My commandment,
as I have loved you."

"Greater love has no one than this,
than to lay down one's life
for his friends.
You are MY friends if 
you do whatever I command you."

~Jesus Christ~
The Gospel of John

There is nothing more that I can add to these words of 
Jesus Christ...except believe in Him and you will
have abundant life!

"The thief does not come except to steal, 
and to kill, and to destroy.
I (Jesus Christ) have come that they may have life,
and that they may have it more abundantly."
John 10:10

(All pictures are from our beautiful surroundings in our "Camp in the Woods" home. Thank  you, Lord, for Your abundance and abiding love! Amen.)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Forgiveness, Part II

In my last post, "What About Forgiveness?", we looked at the benefits of forgiving others...according to Oprah Winfrey, and also according to God's Word.  However, this was a rather one sided look at forgiveness.  Today I need to address the other side...that is, our own need to be forgiven.  Yes, it is true that when we forgive others it is a release to our souls, minds, and bodies...we are set free from the bitterness, anger, and pain of harboring resentment, hatred, and an unforgiving spirit.  We can move on with our lives and put the past behind us...regardless of whether or not the other party accepts our forgiveness or not.  Our happiness and peace of mind is not dependent upon whether or not the offending party realizes how they've hurt us.  We do not have to be held in bondage to that hurt any longer.

BUT!  What about YOU?  How have YOU offended others?  Are there people in your life that you need to go to and ask forgiveness? Have you left wounded soldiers in your wake? Have you walked away without regard to how your words, deeds, or lack of deeds may have injured others? Perhaps you haven't even thought about it much...and suddenly the Holy Spirit convicts you of your wrong-doing.  Your eyes are opened to the truth about yourself...those words you spoke in haste, anger, or even jest that cut to the heart and soul of your loved one, child, friend, co-worker.  Those little white lies you may have told to cover for your mistakes, or the way you allowed someone else to be blamed or take the blame for your misconduct...the time you turned your head and ignored the person in distress that you could've helped if you had just taken a moment out of your busy day...little things that you didn't think anyone noticed. And yet, deep in your heart you know that it was wrong...and God noticed.

Yeah, it's not so easy to turn the spotlight on ourselves, is it?  When we examine ourselves in the light of God's Word, the Truth, we begin to realize that we are the ones in need of forgiveness...and the pain and anger and bitterness and resentment we may be feeling may well be because we have unconfessed sin in our hearts...and we know we need to make it right.

 Jesus says in Matthew 5:23:
"Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way.  First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift."

This works both ways...either you remember that your brother has something against you because you have done him wrong...or you remember that your brother has something against you because he had done you wrong...either way..."first be reconciled to your brother (sister), and then come and offer your gift."

I John 1:8-10 tells it like it is:

"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him (Jesus) a liar, and His Word is not in us."

I love what the book of James has to say about this subject:

"Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.
Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.
Is anyone among you sick?  Let him call for the elders of the church, 
and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.
And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
Confess your trespasses to one another, that you may be healed.
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."
James 5:13-16 

Perhaps the sickness and sorrow we are feeling in our hearts is the result of unconfessed sin...and the unwillingness to be forgiven.  That's right...we are not willing to be forgiven because we do not want to admit that we are wrong! Oops!  Can that be true?  Hmmm, I'm afraid, in my case, it could be true more often than not.

Don't get me wrong.  I believe what we are taught in I John 2:12:

"I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His Name's sake." 
And also I believe what we are taught in Romans 5:6-8 ~
"For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die;
yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, 
in that while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us." 

Yes, I believe Christ died for my sins, and that "as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us."  Psalm 103:12 

When Christ said on the cross, "It is Finished!" (John 19:30)....He meant what He said. The battle for my soul was won. Christ was victorious over the sting of death and curse of death. My sins were forgiven at that very moment.  Except for one thing...I had to Believe in Christ for that forgiveness to be applied to me....I had to REPENT of my sins...turn away from them...admit I was  wrong....and accept God's FREE gift of salvation.  (Ephesians 2)

BUT! (again)...That does not mean that I can continue to live my life with unconfessed sin...and that I should not ask forgiveness of those against whom I have transgressed (sinned).   If I truly want to be free from the bondage of unforgiveness...I must also be willing to humble myself and ask forgiveness just as I also wish to forgive others....

"If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."  Matthew 6:14-15

In the Lord's Prayer, we have prayed over and over again these words:

"Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors."  (Matthew 6:11-12)

We'd all love to have our "debts" forgiven us, wouldn't we?  But the catch is, "As WE forgive our debtors"...It is always a two pronged event..."Forgive ME...and I forgive OTHERS"...
Something to think about...Am I willing to forgive others their debts against me (sins, hurts, wounds)...and am I also willing to BE forgiven myself?...All I need to do is admit that I need to BE forgiven too....

Something to think about tonight, huh?  Yeah, something to think about...

Who do I need to ask for forgiveness? This is getting very personal.

May God shine His spotlight into our souls tonight and help us see with His eyes the truth of what we need to do. Amen.

Friday, May 3, 2013

What About Forgiveness?

I almost threw away this little free magazine that came in the mail this past week.  It is entitled "Healthy Living Made Simple", and is published by SamsClub,  the May/June 2013 issue, if you'd like to check it out for yourself.

Before I dropped it into the recycling bin, I decided to skim through the pages to see what it was all about.  There is a picture of Colin Powell smiling at us from the front of the magazine, and he has an article about how he won the battle against prostate cancer. Interesting, but not what excited me today.

Then there were some good diet tips, and an article on how to "walk your way to stress relief".  Good stuff, but still not what got me.

Then I turned the page and saw Oprah Winfrey smiling out at me."What Oprah knows about forgiveness."   That got my attention.  Now, I am not a big Oprah fan, but before you walk away, let me say that I appreciate much of the good she has done through her program and influence...however, she kind of veered off the trail a few times and took a few people with her I fear, in the spiritual sense.  But putting that aside, this particular article is one of the good things she shared, and I found it extremely factual and even biblical. It's so good, in fact, I'd like to share the highlights of it with you:
 The title of the article was,

Quoting Oprah from this article:

"I always love Aha! moments," Oprah says.  "When somebody says something that made us look at life in a completely new way.  When I first heard that, I literally got goose bumps.  The message that came through so clearly and stayed with me is this: 'Forgive, so you can truly live.' Forgiveness is letting go, so the past does not hold you prisoner, does not hold you hostage." 

The article goes on to say:

"Forgiveness doesn't mean you condone the behavior or, in any way, make a wrong into a right.  It simply means that you give yourself permission to release from your past.  It's accepting that it has happened to you--not accepting that it was okay--but that it has happened.  It's not holding on, hoping, wishing that it could have been any other way." 

"If you haven't been able to forgive, then you're holding on to something.  The person who hurt you has moved on in their life, but you are stuck in the anger--you're stuck in the negativity.  It takes a lot of energy to hold a grudge and be angy at somebody.  The truth is if you're holding a grudge, that grudge is really holding you."

Oprah says, "We think unforgiveness protects us, but in fact it really doesn't--it poisons us.  It has everything to do with you and nothing to do with the other person.  Unforgiveness blocks you from taking the risk of love."  "One of my favorite quotes is 'Unforgivenss unchecked becomes a cancer of the soul.'  What I know is that forgiveness is like medicine--medicine that can heal your pain.  It can bring you peace.  Forgiveness is something that you do for yourself.  Forgiveness means that what someone did no longer is going to affect how you live in the present moment.  When I got that, it took me to the next level of being a better person."
 What does the Bible teach us about forgiveness?

"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do NOT forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."  Matthew 6:14-15

"And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you." Ephesians 4:32

"Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do."  Colossians 3:12-13

"Then Peter came to Him and said, 'Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?'  Jesus said to him, 'I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.'"
Matthew 18:21-22

This is just a random sampling of the many passages in scripture regarding the subject of forgiveness. Actually, the whole Bible is a story of forgiveness...if you think about it...

So why is it such a difficult thing for us to do?  Why do we hang on to our bitterness, hatred, anger, and unforgiving spirit, when we have been forgiven of so much ourselves?  Good question. I know from personal experience that when I harbored unforgiveness in my heart toward someone, it kept me bound in fear, anger and huge resentment.  I could not love, I could not care, I could not grow.  My spiritual growth was stunted, and I was evolving into someone ugly and mean spirited.  When I allowed myself to forgive and move on with my life, when I was actually able to tell the other person that I forgave them, I was set free.  Whether or not they accepted my forgiveness was not my problem.  That was theirs to grapple with.  Of course, we always like to have the happy endings, where everyone forgives and forgets and loves like nothing ever happened.  That seldom happens...but if we can forgive and let go of the bitterness and resentment, we can love again...only much wiser and stronger. And who knows but that our act of forgiveness might even open the door for the other person to grow and change too? It just might...but even if it doesn't, forgive anyway and move on to brighter days.

Some good things to think about today, don't you think? Do you have someone in your life that you need to forgive? What do you have to lose? You may actually gain a new perspective on living...and a brighter, healthier life, both physically, spiritually and mentally.  Sounds like a good plan to me.
The Song "Forgiveness" by Matthew West  -- check out this link for a great song about what we've been talking about.   Great story behind this song too.

For More discussion on this topic, hop over to the next post, entitled: Forgiveness, Part II.  That should pretty well cover the subject I hope! If not, please forgive me! :)