Please visit Walk by Faith Ministry at https://www.walkbyfaithministry.com.
As I finish up one of the most grueling, challenging years of my life, I have a testimony to share I never would have expected in the midst of my horrendous circumstances brought on more than anything by the consequences of a loved one’s sinful choices. For years, I stood in faith – wobbly much of the time, strong others, I will confess – that God would work a miracle in my life concerning my relationship with my loved one. I never saw the miracle I sought all those years. But what God birthed right in the midst of it all is phenomenal – something only God could do. When I realized I would not get the miracle I sought for so long regarding my loved one, I then begged God to take away the pain, the grief, and the aftermath of my loved one’s final choice and the consequences of that destructive choice. The details are really irrelevant. Suffice it to say the emotional pain was unbearable – and compounded by a years-long other situation that has been horrifically painful. On top of everything, I lost two of the most precious dogs I have ever had – and my financial support from my loved one with no explanation or warning. God shocked me. The Lord I love more than anything and everyone not only did not work the miracle I sought for so long. My God let me walk through every ounce of pain and grief and hurt that I told Him was so unbearable. What kind of God is He? God did not change my circumstances. What did God change? He changed me. When my loved one made the last of a long series of choices that caused more hurt and harm than I could possibly imagine, I realized I had two choices. I could go the way of the Lord – or the way of evil. I chose the former. I gave God all of me – absolutely every bit of me. And I asked Him to change my heart and make me the woman He created me to be. He did not change the circumstances in my life, and to this day they are no different. But I am. I spent a good part of this past year asking the Lord to purge me of anything unholy, repenting, seeking forgiveness from the Lord and from people, forgiving those who have hurt me as the Lord showed me the unforgiveness in my heart, and learning to live in a brand new way – the way the Lord intended all along. Rather than change my circumstances, God used my circumstances to work a miracle in me. I was so broken from my circumstances that I was completely pliable and moldable in the hands of the Lord. He could do anything with me, and I let Him. My life circumstances today are as hard as they have been. Almost nothing outside of me has changed. But I have. I know a peace I have never known, I have a hope I have never had, and I am learning to love with the love of the Lord. I am at the bare beginning of where God is taking me. I would have missed so much if I had gone to where God was calling me with the wrong heart. Years ago, my pastor told me God would prepare me before He set me in the place He had called me. Little did I know the most important preparation of all was not in the details of my life – but in the very inside of my heart. The Lord lives inside me, and He wants His temple to be holy. This past year, the Lord has showered me in His love, bathed me in His forgiveness, and grown me up in His Word. If your cirucmstances have not changed as you have prayed, perhaps you face the same opportunity I have had. Rather than beg God to change them, why not allow Him to change you. I believe with all my heart my circumstances will change for the good. I believe I am headed for great things, for healing and restoration and goodness in every area of my life. But first, the Lord God almighty wanted to make my heart ready for the life that lies ahead. Love in Jesus Christ.Please visit Walk by Faith Ministry at https://www.walkbyfaithministry.com.
This morning I looked – for a total of about two seconds – at 1 Chronicles 3 in the Bible. I was excited to read something yummy, as I love digging into the Word. I was dismayed to find yet another long list of names. Quickly, I decided to move on with my morning. But I stopped, and I believe the Holy Spirit revealed something to me so beauitful about what God can birth. Too many times in the Bible I have been bored by lists of names. One name. The next. Who birthed the next person. Most of the names are not familiar; most of them I cannot pronounce. In fact, I attended a Bible marathon reading and got “stuck” with what seemed an everlasting list of names. Who birthed whom. This morning the Holy Spirit showed me something magnificent. Even in the midst of the meaningless, the forgotten, the insignificant, the ordinary, and even in the midst of generations of people who messed up in unforgettable and sometimes forgettable ways, God can birth exactly what He desires. I had never thought of it this way. I love Jesus Christ so much I often just imagine He was born in His manger and later became my Savior. But imagine all the generations of people that were the long line of ancestry preceding His birth. If I look at my life, I see years and years of what seems like wasted time. Insignifcant days, weeks, months, and even years. Sin. Messing up. Shortcoming. Mistakes, too many. My errors, and the sins of others and their horrific consequences, too. Today, I see 1 Chronicles 3 and all the other seemingly endless lists of names in a new way. It is as though God is saying, “Do not give up when it seems boring, and that I have no plan at all. I always have a plan, and be excited. I can birth my plan and my purpose in the midst of it all.” Oh, how marvelous our Lord is!Please visit Walk by Faith Ministry at https://www.walkbyfaithministry.com.
Unfortunately nobody has stepped forward to help Ben2, who has now been crated 24-7 for several months due to recovery from surgery on a broken femur. His current foster home has NO carpeting, and he therefore has nowhere he can walk and hang out inside with the potential to fall and re-injure his leg. So he stays in his crate all day & night. PLEASE can anyone help Ben2 even temporarily with a foster – or a permanent home? His info is at https://www.walkbyfaith.petfinder.com/. Application process applies for fostering and adopting. Please help spread the word!!!Please visit Walk by Faith Ministry at https://www.walkbyfaithministry.com.
There is nothing like a dog fight to teach a biblical lesson. Okay, it wasn’t a bad fight. It was barely a fight at all. But it was enough to put a biblical thought upon my heart. Apparently Freckles (who still needs a home!) was dirty, at least according to his foster host, Billie. Billie decided to give Freckles a good bath, and still is as I write. He started with the ear, moved around his face, and continued. He decided to be very thorough about it. Dancer (who still needs a home, too!) liked the idea of this. He decided to help. He did not realize Billie wanted exclusive privileges to give the bath. Billie snapped at Dancer, and Freckles sat waiting for the bath to continue. Freckles did not care so much about the bather; he just enjoyed the bath. I thought of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. He called us to do the same, didn’t He? But how many of us in the Body of Christ are washing the feet of those in need? How many of us are getting our hands dirty helping to clean the feet – or, the walk – of someone in need? Furthermore, how many of us are fighting to wash the feet of someone in need? Are there so many of us washing the feet of people in need that we have to fight to find someone with dirty feet? Or, are we sitting back waiting for someone else to do the dirty work? The Bible teaches that love covers sin; we are to wash one another’s feet, and we are to humble ourselves as Jesus did to serve. Even when we are not called to physically wash someone’s feet, are we not called by God into the lives of people whose lives need cleaning up? Do we turn away and pretend we do not see the dirt – or sin – in someone’s life? Do we pretend not to see the person who needs the Lord to clean up his or her walk? Or, do we as Billie and Dancer did walk boldly up to the person with the messed up walk and begin to wash his feet? Do we speak the truth in love as the Lord leads, and do we take the person by the hand and heart and lead the person to Jesus Christ? The Lord can, and will, wash away our sin. But do we as believers not have a responsibility to bend down on our hands and knees, to lower ourselves to where our fellow is, to lay down our own life, to wash the feet of someone who needs to know Jesus? Perhaps we are a long way off from having enough believers hungry to serve to fight over who will help the one in need. But we are only a step, a breath, a prayer, a Holy Spirit-led movement away from reaching the next set of feet that need to be led, and turned, by love in the direction of Jesus Christ, begin a new walk, and be cleaned up in the process by the purifying love of the Lord. Amen. Please visit Walk by Faith Ministry at https://www.walkbyfaithministry.com.
What will you give this holiday season? Will you give the Lord’s love? Will you give help? Will you give patience? Will you give understanding? Will you give forgiveness? Will you give the mercy? Will you give compassion? Why are the stores packed with people buying Christmas presents? Why are people saving up money to buy gifts for family and friends? Why are people wrapping gifts and topping them off with big red ribbons and bows? Why do we automatically think of giving something material when the greatest gift of all cannot be purchased in a store, wrapped in a box, or finished off with a rainbow colored ribbon or bow? When was the last time you gave the gift of Jesus Christ to a family member, a friend, or even a stranger? Giving the Gospel of Jesus Christ to someone does not cost anything at all. Jesus Christ already paid the price. As you prepare to celebrate the season of His birth, why not consider celebrating by sharing Him? Throw off the ribbons, toss aside the bows, tear off the wrapping paper, lift the lid off the box, and climb out of the familiarity and comfort and security of giving material possessions that will undoubtedly have a life span and a limit. How about eternal life and the inheritance of an abundant life on earth through Jesus Christ? Why not give the greatest gift of all? Jesus. Step out and share the Gospel. The greatest gift of all. Jesus is Christ. Jesus is Lord. Amen.Please visit Walk by Faith Ministry at https://www.walkbyfaithministry.com.
God does not want us to clean up to go to Him. He wants us to go to Him to get cleaned up. I do not just speak merely from experience. Nor do I speak only from wishful thinking. I speak from the Word of the Lord Himself. The Bible says: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 KJV).” I have been more aware of my sin this past year than ever in my life, yet I have also been more aware of the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness than ever before. Have you ever shined a light into a dimly lit room only to find that everything that had appeared clean before is anything but? The more I have followed after the Lord Jesus Christ, the more I have pressed into our Father in heaven, the more the light Has shone inside me. The more His light has shone, the more my sins have been brought into His wonderful light. But how wonderful is it to have the dirt and the dust, the mud, scrapes, cuts, bruises, and all the rest of the mess become utterly transparent? Honestly? As hard as it is, as excruciatingly painful as it is sometimes even, the end result really is wonderful. Why? God does not bring darkness into the light to point a punishing finger and condemn. The Lord reveals any darkness inside me so that I can confess and repent – and He can clean me up. The Holy Spirit of God lives inside me, and my desire is for the temple in which He resides to be a place where he loves to dwell. I do not need to be ashamed of where I fall short. I only need to coming running to His mercy seat once more, ask forgiveness for the dirt I have allowed to build up inside me, and praise Him that once more He proves His mercy truly endures forever and ever more. Please visit Walk by Faith Ministry at https://www.walkbyfaithministry.com.
I asked a friend the other day for help concerning a woman I know who needs a sense of purpose with her life. I inquired specifically about how to get started in a certain profession within a creative Christian company with which she is affiliated. Her answer surprised me.”This company isn’t looking for people with a lot of experience with the gifts God has given them,” she explained. “The company is looking for people with gifts that want to use them for the glory of the Lord.” How delighted I was to hear my own belief echoed in the hearts of fellow believers. So why was I surprised? I was surprised because in this day and age, I rarely hear people so surrendered to the Lord in their work that they are willing to be public about it. Even for those people I meet who love the Lord and desire to please Him, I rarely, if ever, hear that the God-given gifts and talents are fully submitted to the Creator. Surely far more believers than I realize are sold out to Jesus Christ. But what strikes me as extra special is when they are bold and courageous enough to declare to the world that God comes first in all their affairs – work included. While I continue to walk through a phenomenally challenging season in my personal life – so challenging that I have days in which I wonder if I truly will make it – I know one thing for sure. I am sold out to Jesus. And the gifts I have been given by my Father in heaven are His to use. All for His glory. “What is different about Walk by Faith Ministry than the work you were doing before?” a friend asked today. “We are not only about working with homeless dogs, and we never were,” I said. “We have always been about Jesus Christ,” I continued. “But people were not always clear about it. Now they know. I want the public to know who we are.”We are a Christian ministry. The Lord comes first, and helping homeless dogs is only part of what we do. Our main purpose is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And we go where God sends us to do what He calls us to do, ministering His love to those in need – people and homeless dogs as well.” Are you so sold out in your love for the Lord that the gifts He has given you are surrendered for His use? Do you use them for His glory? And, are you willing to tell the world He reigns – in your heart, in your life, and in your work? To God be the glory! Please visit Walk by Faith Ministry at https://www.walkbyfaithministry.com.
Did you ever stop to think how much time and care was taken in the Old Testament to build the temple and to take care of it? The Lord was so utterly explicit with His people in how He wanted it built, how He wanted it kept, and how He wanted it used. I remember being bored, and intimidated, by the intricate detail described in building the Lord’s temple. God cared about the very measurements and the materials used. What about His temple today?I am equally astounded by the investment people today put in the way of planning, time, money, care, and thought in the dream houses they build. They stay on top of every detail, down to the placing of the precise color of kitchen tile, the tiny mark left on a wall by the builders that nobody else could possibly see, and the color of the wall of the basement bathroom that no guest will likely ever visit. Imagine the phenomenal attention that must been focused on keeping the temple clean once it was built, not to mention the exact way God desired His people to enter in, to learn and worship there, and how they were to walk forth from the place. The temple was sacred; it belonged to God. I am shocked at the degree to which people today fuss over the cleanliness of their houses. I understand clean, but I see people go to extreme lengths to keep absolutely every single belonging in its proper place. And every single mote of dust must be kept from finding residence. So many houses I have seen are like museums; everything is just right. The Bible says the person who believes Jesus is Lord is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Believers are offered the gift of God’s Holy Spirit. Where does He live? In God’s people. I wonder how clean we keep God’s temple today, if we keep it clean at all. Do we care as much about His temple as we do our houses? Do we aspire to offer God a holy, pure place to dwell? Do we care about His temple the way people did in the Old Testament? Do we dedicate as much to His home inside us as we do to the people, places, and things in our daily lives?If our hearts are home to the Lord, how much time, love, and care do we invest in the condition of our hearts? My pastor in Georgia never began teaching God’s Word on Wednesday nights until He opened in prayer and made one simple statement. “Let’s bring our hearts before the Lord.”I do not know much about other people’s temples, but I know much about mine. My temple gets cluttered up pretty quickly on a daily basis. Fear, resentment, bitterness, anger, worry, doubt, etc. Dust, dirt, uncleanness. What does the Bible say?”Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work (2 Timothy 19-22 KJV).”Truly, like the people of the Old Testament, like those who keep their homes wonderfully clean, let us bring our hearts before the Lord God almighty and repent for that which is not holy. May we seek forgiveness for what is not His will, may we learn to resist receiving into our hearts that which is not His, may we learn to walk by faith and in love, and may we walk forward with temples that will honor Him. This is not a once in a lifetime deal. This is a deal for life. It is all for His glory. Please visit Walk by Faith Ministry at https://www.walkbyfaithministry.com.
I will never forget the day I told my pastor what God had called me to do with my life. I told him. His answer was simple – and surprising. “Now begins the preparation,” Pastor Freddie said. I was flabbergasted. Preparation? God had told me what He wanted me to do, He had told me how to begin, and I automatically assumed God’s instructions are for right away. Pastor Freddie knew better. So did God.About five years have since passed, and I of course thought I have finished learning my lesson about preparing for God’s call on my life. Think again. My latest lesson? Preparation is so much more than the physical steps God wants me to take forward. Preparation is only on the outside about studying the Bible, hearing strong preaching, etc. What God has showed me more than anything in months past is that He wants to prepare my heart. My heart is God’s temple. His Holy Spirit resides within. He is refining me. He is purifying me. He is cleaning me out. He is purging from me, His temple, all that is not necessary, everything that stands in His way, and anything that is not holy. Oh, how easy it would be to plunge forward when God gives us instructions for our lives with our eyes and hearts on the human, outward steps we must take. But what good are we to God when we have everything right on the outside and nothing prepared within? Alas, I no longer stand at the threshold of working in ministry. I have walked through the door and stand in the midst. I am not at my destination, as God has given me specific instructions about His exact plan for me ultimately in ministry. Nevertheless, I have begun the work of ministry. So the preparation on the outside is over, right? No way. What about my heart? Even as I minister to others, God continues His work inside my heart. God finishes what He begins, and my heart is now fully in His hands. I am His. I am grateful God told me what He wanted to do with my life before He told me what preparation would be involved. If he had told me all at once what He would need to do with my heart and life, I am not sure I would have come this far so fast. But here I am, heart and all. His. Please visit Walk by Faith Ministry at https://www.walkbyfaithministry.com.