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Bittersweet

“I’m praising God! After all, arrows were meant to be released.”

His calm demeanor and peace filled face, surprised me.

We were discussing the graduation and move of his first born.

I knew he was referring to Psalms when he said “arrows”.

Psalm 127:3-5NKJV — Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

I’d never thought about it that way, but agreed.

An arrow is of little use still in the quiver, any experienced Archer knows not to waste them by letting one fly out of time.

The Lord brought me back to this truth this morning as I prayed for our second daughter and her husband.

They are moving several states away in a few days and it has not become real yet.

My heart is finding the circumstance bittersweet.

Hard to be so far away, but thrilled that they are walking where they feel God is leading.

I’m so thankful I can trust the Lord to guide and direct them.

For He is faithful and His way is perfect.

Psalm 4:5 KJV — Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Lord, I thank You that these precious people in our lives have never been ours. They have always belonged to You. Thank you that you are working in their lives and directing them to this new place. Lord Jesus, I know You will walk with them and guide them. I know You love them more than I could ever do, and I love them so much. Lord, I am excited to see how You will use this new place to grow them in Your truth, Your Word, and Your ways. Lord, please help them to find the answers to questions through prayer and scripture. Lord, please open their minds to learning and their hearts to understanding. Lord Jesus, thank You that I can rest in Your peace knowing You have them in Your hands. I love You, Lord. Amen

Preparing for the Return of Jesus Christ part 2

I will prepare myself to Represent Jesus Christ

1 John 2:29 NKJV — If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.

When people see me live a righteous life, God is honored through my actions.

And the Lord gives us the ability to die to our flesh and walk in righteousness.

Romans 6:6 NKJV — knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

It begins and ends with what you think.

The world has it backwards.

They say you have to do good works to get right with God.

When the truth actually is: that we do good works because we are right with God.

Belief drives your values, which drive your behavior.

Truth, (which comes only from God) must lead you.

Allowing emotion to lead, results in being double-minded.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
James 1:5‭-‬8 NKJV

Thus, to apply the truth and follow His commands is walking daily in the new creation given by God at salvation.

God created us, then saved us from our sins, and brought us into His family.

With that comes a new way of living, a new perspective, and a new future.

1 Peter 1:3-4 NKJV — Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,

It doesn’t happen over night, just like a newborn doesn’t have many abilities at birth.

Rather, it’s a journey of learning God’s Word, applying it to our day-to-day, and being guided by the Holy Spirit, realizing our actions can quench His leadership in our lives if we choose to walk in the lusts of the flesh instead of the truth of Christ.

Ephesians 4:22-24 NKJV — that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Ephesians 4:25‭-‬30 NKJV

My choice is to live a life which is pure.

Are you setting your mind on things above or things of this earth?

Do you practice righteousness, service to God and others?

Are you confident that you will hear: “Well done good and faithful servant”?

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
I John 3:1‭-‬3 NKJV

Are you preparing to meet Jesus?

I hope so.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your truth and the clear guidance You give us. Thank You for salvation and Your compassion. Thank You for understanding us better than we do and revealing so much to us. Lord, I’m so thankful that this is a journey which You walk with me each day. I’m so blessed to be able to look to Your Word for the renewing of my mind and the transforming of my attitudes and actions. Lord, please let my life be a reflection of You. Thank You! Amen.

This post is based upon the sermon notes from our Pastor, Rod Wilgus, and if you want to hear the sermon it is on our YouTube page: Elkton Bible Baptist Church.

“Preparing for the Return of Jesus Christ” part 1

Our pastor gave a wonderful sermon yesterday and I spoke with him afterwards, gaining, by the request, not only his permission to use his sermon for my blog, but he generously handed me his sermon notes.

Then, turning with a broad smile responded, “And you don’t need to put my name on it. It’s all the Lord and I gather things from other places, some I’ve read, others I can’t remember where it came from, but it’s all the Lord.”

The power of the truth and the succinct way he phrased them, is well worth repeating, of course understanding these truths are authored by Almighty God.

To allow each one to steep in our hearts, I’m going to be doing a series of posts.

I will prepare myself to meet Jesus Christ.

And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.
I John 2:28‭-‬29 NKJV

For every individual the journey of meeting Christ begins at salvation.

Acts 16:31 NKJV — So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

With this belief comes new birth.

1 Peter 1:23 NKJV — having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,

2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV — Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

For a born again believer, the journey is a life long relationship with Jesus, all in preparation for the final day when we will meet at His return or our arrival in Heaven.

Thus to prepare oneself to meet Jesus Christ we find instructions in scripture for the journey.

We are to abide in Him.

“And now, little children, abide in Him,…” 1 John 2:28a

To abide is to continue to feel at home with the Lord.

Which equals recognizing Jesus Christ as my master and includes Him in all my decisions, depending upon His Word for direction and guidance from the Holy Spirit.

Home should be a place of peace, safety, and an opportunity for refreshment.

One finds these things through dwelling with Jesus and surrendering themselves before Him.

We are making ourselves ready for our future with the Lord Jesus by learning His ways and applying His truths.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for this instruction which tells us to abide in You. Lord, Your Word is clear that one cannot serve You and anything else. You alone are to be Lord. Please continue to teach me how to walk in Your Word each day. Lord, please bring to my heart and mind Your Word and the truths I have learned. Lord, please help me to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and careful in my actions. Lord, thank You for being my Savior, my Redeemer! How I look forward to the day when we shall meet face to face. Until then, may my life be a reflection of You. I love You, Lord. Amen.

* For those who would like to watch the sermon on YouTube our church name is Elkton Bible Baptist Church, our pastor is Rod Wilgus and the title is: Preparing for the Return of Jesus Christ, 1 John 2:28-3:3.

The blessing of children

Our son, many years ago

Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul.
Proverbs 29:17 NKJV

Last Sunday, I was chatting with another lady about raising children.

Her youngest, a lovely young teacher, smiled and listened to her mom relating some language trouble her older sister had experienced.

When the older lady finished, I smiled and said I understood.

“Two of our children had difficulties with speaking.”

I briefly told about our second daughter and then spoke about our son.

I tried to be succinct with my words, putting many years into a few sentences.

The lady’s face wore surprise.

“I had no idea! When he was at the VBS training he was so articulate.”

I smiled.

I felt my emotions rising, I didn’t want to respond with tears and make my companions uncomfortable.

But I praised God!

He alone, understands what our son has had to go through to be the young man he is today.

It’s been a difficult road and we are not going to be at the end anytime soon.

I wouldn’t trade it.

The joy our son is to us can not be contained in a few bland sentences, but to give a hint I’ll relate our morning.

I woke him up early, requesting his help.

His response, “Okay, I’ll get right up.”

He got dressed and met me outside, asking what I wanted him to do first.

A bit later we discussed what else needed to be done and agreed he could head inside.

As I finished up the watering, I kept smelling something, I couldn’t place it, but my stomach reminded me I’d not eaten.

I was nearly finished, when he stuck his head outside.

“Mom, are you almost done? Because I cooked you breakfast and your toast is up. Do you want butter?”

“Yes! Thank you! I’ll be right in.”

After breakfast we each had tasks and I headed to the garage to work on furniture.

After an hour, I took a break and sent today’s prayer out.

Our son received it and responded:

“That is very beautiful I think Jesus likes to get letters.”

I had listened to my Bible app not long before this and it had ended with Proverbs 29:17.

My heart resounding with the truth of those last words: “…Yes, he will give delight to your soul.”

Children are a blessing from God.

I’m so thankful for each and every one of our children and grandchildren.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the truths of scripture! How blessed we are to be able to see Your promises fulfilled in our son’s life. Truly, You have granted us so much. Lord, I don’t know what You have planned for our son, but I trust You with his future and thank You for giving him to our family. Please continue to teach us how to be encouraging, how to train and exhort him through Your Word. Please encourage other parents who are in the throws of the difficult without any hint of a chance at improvement. Help them to be diligent, loving, compassionate, and wise. Help them to learn their child or children and be the parent that child needs. Thank You for Your blessings. Thank You for children. I know they are dear to Your heart. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

July 19, 2022

Today’s prayer:

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.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your clear instruction. Thank You for the guidance You give us through Your scriptures and Your Holy Spirit. Lord Jesus, please continue to teach me how to focus on these things. Help me to discern what things are true, noble, just, pure that I might think on these things. Lord, please remind me to look at those things which are lovely, of good report, and full of virtue. Please help me to be continually full of Your praise and worship. Lord, help me to be grateful to You in everything. I know I can trust You with my life and I know walking in Your ways is where I find peace and assurance, quietness of spirit. Lord Jesus, please help me to be honest, thoughtful, quick to listen, slow to speak, full of integrity, patient, kind, faithful, and loving. Thank You for giving me so much. May my life bring glory to Your name. Amen.

“I wanted to share these with you…”

“Because we are a family and it’s how we get to know each other.”

With these words, his aged hands passed me a few black and white photos.

My mind jumped backwards to the photos (picture above) taken by my father many years ago.

As I looked at each one, he told me something.

“That one is of me and all my brothers and sisters, there were nine of us.”

I smiled with surprise at the many faces all lined up for the photo.

The next picture was of a beautiful lady.

“That one is a picture of my wife when she was a teenager!”

His pride and love were so evident.

“Well, she is beautiful!” I responded.

“That’s me.”

The older gentleman laughed, and said, “See! I had to prove I wasn’t always old!”

I laughed too.

“Yes, I recognized you right away,” I smiled warmly at him.

The next one was his wife, a bit fuzzy, because her arms were full of a baby who obviously wasn’t holding still for the picture.

I held it up and he began to tell me about when and where the picture was taken.

About this juncture another man came over, who always sits next to the gentleman I was talking to.

“And he was my neighbor, even then!” He added with enthusiasm.

They have each told me they are best of friends.

They don’t look alike, save for being elderly, as the gentleman with the photos is short and his friend and neighbor is a tall big boned man, even now.

The taller gentleman nodded and smiled as he settled himself.

I returned the pictures to the first gentleman and thanked him for sharing them with me.

I asked his friend if he’d gotten new hearing aids, as I noticed they looked different from the time I’d seen him last.

He said they were not new, but used.

“But I can hear! And that’s the point!”

I laughed and agreed.

As he turned to face forward, attention being drawn to the front, I thanked the Lord for healing him.

The last time I’d seen him, his ear still hadn’t completely healed from the fire.

He’d told me weeks ago, when I questioned him, “what happened?” that he’d been on his tractor, it had caught fire, and burned him pretty badly.

He’d mentioned the worst thing was in his efforts to put out the fire he’d lost both his hearing aids.

But he ended up with a positive note.

His good friend, he leaned forward, not to be overheard,”He’s a really good man,” he emphasized.

Then continued to relate how the shorter gentleman had given him one of his own hearing aids.

I’d looked over to see both older men had one hearing aide a piece.

I prayed for them both that Sunday.

Yesterday, I was blessed to see God had answered my prayers for his healing.

I will be praying for them, rejoicing that they both have two hearing aids and that God placed me in the same church, one row behind.

For they have been such a blessing to me and my family.

Through their simple gentle words, their kindness, and sharing their lives with us.

Both men are in their nineties, one fought in WWII and the other in Korea.

Both use canes and wear giant smiles.

Both are such a beautiful picture of the family of God.

When the service was over and they stood to leave I shook the shorter man’s hand and thanked him for sharing his pictures.

I shook the taller man’s hand and told him I prayed he’d have a blessed week.

They both responded with kind and encouraging words.

And as if this wasn’t blessing enough, as I looked after them, there was the shorter man, near the door, carefully showing the pictures to my husband who’d been busy previously, in the sound booth.

My heart is so thankful to God for His incredible blessings.

I doubt these elderly men know what a gift they have been, but I’m inspired again to reach out and share my life with others, praying God uses it for His glory.

Just as He is using two elderly gentleman in our lives.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your body and how we can be lifted up by others. Lord, I pray for these two men and their families. I humbly request that You bless them as they have been a blessing. Please continue to gift them with all that they need and help their legacy to continue far after they have gone home to Heaven. Lord Jesus, I know they must have daily pain and other troubles, please continue to sustain them daily. Lord, I want to learn how to be as encouraging, loving, and joyful as they. Please restore any area in their lives or families, that they might have no regrets. Thank You, Lord for all You have done and all You are doing. Lord, please continue to inspire us to learn from the aged, those who are living for You even in their elder years. Thank You, Jesus for Your blessings, especially the body of followers. I love You, Lord. Amen.

July 8, 2022

Psalm 100:2 KJV — Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for how timely You are in placing Your Word in my heart and mind. Lord Jesus, I know You have all these things, every detail in hand, and I want to walk in Your ways, choosing to live as a reflection of Your Word. Lord, please help me to understand Your will for this day and to never stop praising You. You are great and Your name is glorious! You are merciful and mighty, true and good. Your love is incredible and Your salvation is the only way. You give hope to the hopeless and rest to the weary. You are the Good Shepherd and provide for me in ways I don’t expect. Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your blessings. May Your name be praised throughout the whole Earth. Amen.

“Who do you live for?”

It’s a simple question.

But how one answers has profound effects into their future.

As I was praying this morning, seeking God’s wisdom and direction, He softly spoke.

Who do you live for?

I answered immediately:

“You, Lord.”

And in that truth came the clear direction for the circumstance I’d been praying over.

For the truth of my allegiance brought clarity on the circumstance.

My peace returned.

My identity safe in the knowledge of my salvation through Christ.

My understanding broadened.

Each of us must choose who we are living for daily, sometimes, moment by moment.

For those who testify to Christ’s lordship, our perspective should be one honed by His Word.

John 12:26 KJV — If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

The servant of Christ is a follower, one who knows the Father’s Word, surrenders to His will, and is blessed by Him.

Who do you serve?

I pray it’s Jesus Christ; Son of the living God, whose ministry is written in the Gospels, and whose life fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah, who died and rose again that we might have hope.

Patiently wait for His return while humbly obeying Him in the task at hand.

God bless you!

Happy Independence Day

For all those in uniform, protecting our country,

Thank you!

For all those who have served in the past,

Thank you!

For all those who have supported a loved one while they served, spending countless hours without them, but holding them up by keeping the home a safe place to return to,

Thank you!

For those who have given of themselves in other ways; pastors, counselors, teachers, medical staff, and hundreds of other positions which help our nation,

Thank you!

For those who boarded a boat to start a new beginning in a land unknown, willing to risk so much just to serve God and build a future for their families,

We remember you!

For those who chose to separate from England and risked their lives to fight for freedom,

We remember you!

For our Heavenly Father, who created each one, provides for each one, and sent His Son to pay the price of sin, for each one,

Glory and honor and praise be to You!

May we never forget that America is blessed because of God.

May we never tire of living faithfully before God and mankind as a testimony to Jesus Christ and the betterment of all.

Happy Independence Day!

A lesson from a leper

When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
Matthew 8:1‭-‬4 NKJV

This story is rich with personal application.

Picture the words:

“When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him.”

Jesus is not alone, infact He’s being followed by an extreme number of people.

“And behold a leper came…”

God’s Word clearly states that those with this terrible disease were to avoid others.

“Now the leper on whom the sore is, his clothes shall be torn and his head bare; and he shall cover his mustache, and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ He shall be unclean. All the days he has the sore he shall be unclean. He is unclean, and he shall dwell alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.
Leviticus 13:45‭-‬46 NKJV

Can you hear him?

He would have yelled “unclean” as he crept toward Jesus.

But then his actions changed.

“…and worshiped Him.”

The first thing this leper did was worship, some translations say knelt.

The attitude of this leper is one of humility.

Which are reaffirmed by his words.

“Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”

He’s not asking for healing, he’s staying his understanding of Jesus’s authority and placing himself before Him with surrender.

‘Then Jesus put out His hand…”

As a person who was not allowed to be touched, this must have been an incredible moment.

But it was Jesus’s words which were life changing.

“…saying, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”

This leper was a leper no more!

And Jesus gave him another identity, one of testimony.

“And Jesus said to him, ‘See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.'”

His testimony was not of words, but of action.

This man was to stand before the priests as a testimony to Jesus’s healing.

The very religious leaders who should have recognized the hand of God.

This man’s story is staggering.

His desperate need brought him to a place of surrender before Jesus.

Jesus changed his life, permanently and gave him a new future, a new calling.

The change in him after he met Jesus being visible to all.

I want that kind of testimony.

I want my life to be so healed, so different than the me before Jesus, that people might merely look at me and see Him.

And I know if I humble myself before Jesus daily, surrendering myself fully to His will, He will touch my life in such a way as to change me, making my life a testimony to others.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for this story. Thank You for the humility in this man. Lord, I know he was never the same after meeting You and neither am I. Lord Jesus, please help me to humble myself before You surrendering myself completely. Thank You for making this transformation a journey, each day a new opportunity to be polished by Your Holy Spirit. Each day a chance to shine brighter than the one before. I give You all glory and honor, Lord! You are worthy of all praise and worship! Amen.