Monday, February 26, 2018

His Heart in You


You can’t change the world
You can change you
And maybe the ripples
Will go out into the pond, beyond.

Touching others with your choices
To hold, resist, become embittered
Or, to release, forgive, grant freedom
To those held captive in your heart

Poisoning, binding, ensnaring
Your very person to that bitter root
Or, opening yourself to freedom
Giving you wings to soar high, butterfly

Released from the binding cocoon
To glitter in sun drenched beauty 
Against God’s resplendent sky
Gloriously lifted high towards heaven

Drawing closer to His throne
Nearer to His heart
Becoming more like Him who is able
To recreate in you a clean heart, apart

To give you a heart of flesh
In trade for your heart of stone
Will you allow?
Will you yield to His gentle hand?



Monday, February 19, 2018

Sharing the Truth in Love Devotional (Words from the Lord Series)
Psalm 121:1-8 (NIV)
I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—  he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Psalm 51:6 (NIV)

Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.

2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.


1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…..

Galatians 5:13 (NIV)

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.

Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

James 1:12 (NIV)

 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

Prayer: Oh, Lord God, you have given us a treasure chest full of the tools of your Word. You teach us by your example how to use them. Those promises are so rich and full AND they are ours for the asking. What priceless jewels we have from You. Please help us to use them wisely and often we pray. In Jesus most incredible name, AMEN

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

SHARING MY HEART WITH A FRIEND

SHARING MY HEART WITH A FRIEND
We were taught back in the 60s that journalists were to be objective - present facts and give the readers (or listeners) the news of the day. Thinking even before that when they did news segments before movies back in the 50s -
The editorials were subjective and the editor could voice his or her opinion on a subject...
Yellow journalism was, well, sensationalistic and put out there to sell copies with outrageous stories which sometimes did not remotely resemble reality (like the "movie" magazines and later on, the tabloids - which you would think would be cause for lawsuits for slander)
Somewhere along the way - many of our news sources seemed to become more editorialized and, some, frankly put a spin or slant on their reporting to favor their choice (be it political candidate, or trying to sway public opinion one way or the other on any of a number of topics) It got to the point where we might find out later that what we thought were news sources were not showing us what really happened at all... spin, slant and flat out propaganda ensued.
Some of this was along political lines wanting to sway the public (the masses) but many times, if one observed there wasn't much difference between the "established" politicians in either party - they just wanted to stay in power, get their funding and not have anyone (whatever party) rock their boat. Also, many times they would promise the people electing them anything and everything but when they got to DC they would not fulfill their promises nor adhere to the wishes of those who elected them.
Many were globalists - wanting not peace but one world government, one world religion etc. (This goes along with what the Bible speaks about right before the anti-Christ takes power and sets up that "one world government...")
Many were part of various financial groups (you hear names like Bilderburger - not sure of the spelling) etc. Which would lead to those financial people being major players and in power..
Other groups - international - cost nations much money and did little in reality. A lot of groups say one thing and then do something totally different in the long run.
There have always been people motivations and things going on under the surface and behind the scenes throughout history. People playing one side against the other and taking advantage of situations.
No, I am not into conspiracy theories.
I have observed things in my lifetime (and know you have too). Some are that socialism or communism has not worked anywhere in the world except for a very few at the top who were in power. And that supply and demand, capitalism and allowing people to work hard and advance has seemed to be a pretty good idea, by and large.
I also realize that we all have perceptions that possibly do not line up with what is reality. We all have areas where we aren't seeing truth clearly.
God KNOWS. HE is ultimate truth, reality and wisdom.. the rest of us? Well, we are mere humans. Weak smile.
Our world view determines how we live and what we believe and how we conduct our lives and daily choices.
I used to have different perspectives than I do now - different tags, if you will. Had the views of my parents and was a republican then got enlightened - became an atheist and pretty liberal democrat - campaigned for McGovern (I wanted out of Viet Nam because I saw friends killed, coming home messed up and with missing body parts etc.) I was an atheist for 9 years and an alcoholic for about 9 years too - counting it all up...
I had an eternity changing encounter with JESUS... and HE turned my world up-side down. I dove into the Bible and began to realize so very much - God changed me - changed my world view, pulled me, feet first out of the bottle - (I had stopped smoking dope about a year before this which I think was God working on me even then) The scales came off my eyes and it was like I was seeing a lot of things clearly, for probably the first time in my life. The Bible speaks of taking away our sin and making us new creatures... aptly - there was no other way to explain it.
I, who would have had an abortion if I had gotten pregnant ( Tom did not want kids) was now seeing that it was not a blob of tissue, it was a baby (I knew that from my embryology class at ISU and seeing tiny ones who had been miscarried at 12 weeks but my mind rationalized it all away) I knew it would be wrong to take that little one's life simply because Tom didn't want kids... (no, I never did get pregnant in my whole life). Other things began to "look" different - and God changed me completely (some things rapidly and others more slowly for sure)
The Bible says if we ask God for wisdom He will give it to us (generously and not get upset for us asking) that has become one of my favorite prayers - Lord, please give me wisdom... there is so much to learn and "see".
I try my best to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying - apply God's Word to life and situations and "share the truth in love..." being like Jesus and making choices that will not break His heart... I mess up, I stick my foot in my mouth, I have selfish motivations sometimes, I am like that toddler with sand in her hair and skinned knees - BUT , God has forgiven me and HE loves me...what a reality to grasp... what unconditional love to walk in...
I want His will in my life because I have seen, over the years, where my own will takes me and mostly, it is not pretty... Who better to know what would fulfill my purposes here on earth than Him who knit me together in my mother's womb?
I guess I strayed from my journalism topic...I guess my bottom line in all of this? Who do I trust? that would be the Creator of the Universe - GOD (Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit - 3 persons and 1 God (in thought, word and deed) Nope, I do not totally grasp that either, but I do believe it - the Bible used 3 pronouns and ONE verb... the 3 are one in action and will.
I do not trust or totally believe "the media" (any of it) I definitely trust politicians about the least of any category of persons - sorry.
I have long time friends who are teachers (especially history majors) who do not seem to "see" history repeating itself or learn from history as you would think they might...
I'm sure I have relatives and acquaintances who think I am naïve, ignorant, brain washed by "religion", gullible etc.
My goal is not to be what and who other people think I should be but my life goal is to be what and who the Lord Jesus Christ "knit me together in my mother's womb" to be, do and accomplish here on this earth, before I die. I go by what is in His written word, I go by what He lays on my heart - little nudges which He confirms over and over. Those "checks" you can sense in your spirit when you are headed off into the wrong choices and direction; willingness to be corrected, encouraged and to ask forgiveness when you have blown it... HE is able - and me? Sometimes I can be obtuse and pretty darn puny... (that toddler with sandy hair and skinned knees) Does God smack me down and leave me there? Nope, He picks me up, loves on me and sets me on my feet, once again, to toddle forward. Always forgiving, always helping me go forward once again.
What is the bottom line? Darnd, if I know - I am tried tonight but wanted to share my heart with you.
I am glad we are friends - and really happy we can talk to each other - even thought sometimes we do see things through "different glasses". Our friendship means many things to me (we do have a lot in common) and our differences help me think and look and see more clearly - not only what you are sharing but also where I am coming from and why ( as I am doing in thinking things through to respond to you) This is good and we can both grow.
I think now I am getting to the rambling stage because it is past bedtime... so will close with a photo that is worth a thousand words... (smile) Love you my friend and hope we both have a refreshing night's sleep...
JO

Sunday, February 11, 2018

He Knows Your Heart



What does it mean for God to say that He knows our hearts? Our physical heart is that from which flows our life, our life blood. Without our heart we cease to exist. There is also a reason that a Valentine is symbolic of love, romance shown by giving someone a paper heart. Often our words can say one thing but in our heart we are possibly thinking something else. When we have something shared with us by our Lord Jesus do we say He whispered in our ear? Most often that still, small voice is thought of as whispering to our hearts. Even the phrase “getting to the heart of the matter” evokes mental pictures of getting past all the fluffy unimportant issues and going straight to the core matter. 

So, once again, I sense that my Lord is whispering to my heart:
Child, it isn’t always what you say but the heart from which it is said – I hear you. Stop and listen to Me. Read my Word and it will wash, renew and open up to bless you. You can’t always hope to know ahead or second guess but trust in My Name.

In Proverbs 4:23 we are encouraged to keep our hearts with all diligence, for out of our heart spring the issues of life.

2 Timothy 2:22 exhorts the reader to flee youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. That one sentence says so very much. On one side we have youthful lusts as opposed to what we should pursue, righteous, faith, love and peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart, marriage counseling in just one verse. The word is incredible that way, isn’t it?

The banquet of life there for our “eating”, I think it is never too late to “taste of the Lord and see that He is good”. We can do that best by reading, studying and getting ourselves into His Word, the Bible.


Prayer: My dear Jesus, thank you for whispering to me, thank you that you help me to turn, to hear your still, small voice. Thanks so very much that you do look to my heart and not what is sometimes coming out of my mouth, or not coming out that should be….I choose to trust in you, my Jesus. Help me to purpose to spend more time in Your Word, getting to know You better and better each day. AMEN

Love Day is Approaching ~ Some Thoughts About Love for Valentine’s Day 2018



Love could be chocolate and flowers……Love is giving. Love is a commitment. Love should be forever but often times it is not.

Love is a choice. Let’s take a look at the “love chapter” from the best-selling book of all times:
1 Corinthians 13:4-15 (New King James Version)
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

WE place conditions on God’s love for us. It isn’t God placing conditions on His love. We become what we think other people think we are. We build barriers because we think we are inferior to them. We listen to the enemy. Most likely the other people weren’t thinking that about us to being with.

Love needs to be two way (returned) We need to give and receive. Sometimes we can’t receive because we feel unworthy.

1 John 3:18 (New King James Version)
18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.

Condemnation separates us from God and it is a LIE. Conviction is from the Holy Spirit and it is the truth gently nudging us to look.

We think “if I measure up then I’ll be lovable”. This is not unconditional love from God.

Some people cannot receive unconditional love and will lash out at you. We all have met them and have them in our lives. They don’t feel “worthy” so dump of those close to them who think they need unconditional love anyway. It is almost like they feel they must punish someone who dares to care.

Philippians 3:10
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…

We can and must still choose to love. When we love unconditionally we are showing the love God offers to us. What a great give to give to those who are in our lives. Love, based not on who they are or what they produce or give us in return but love offered unconditionally. A mirror of that wonderful love Jesus gifts us with if we will but receive. No strings attached, he died on that cross for you and for me while we were yet sinners.

Could there ever be a greater love than this, the ultimate sacrifice, the ultimate love gift given to us if we just reach out and accept Him.

This had given me something to look at this Valentine’s Day 2018 from a bit of a different perspective.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Gifts of the Holy Spirit and Fruit of the Spirit – I Had Much to Learn


It was a couple years after I had come to the Lord and shortly after I had been baptized in the Holy Spirit. We were in our church service and a young man had just given a very encouraging “word” to the Body and I was shaking my head. But Lord, I just heard him talking about getting so drunk Friday night that he couldn’t drive home, how can You use him to give a word to the Body? Yet it seems encouraging and “right on”……

I talked to my friend who was more mature in the Lord and we discussed some things which led me to do a word study on the gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit.

There are various places in the Word where the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are described and I will list one of them here:
1 Corinthians 12:7-11 (New International Version)
 7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
And then there is the part about the fruit:

Galatians 5:22-23 (New International Version)

 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
I began to think about all of this. Fruit involved branches and vines and roots. In the natural, fruit takes time and there is a growth process. Without a good root system and branches on the bush or tree there isn’t much hope of good fruit. I was living in an area famous for its vineyards; besides the good stock of plants there has to be great soil, fertilizer, sun and water for the crop to be a good one. There was much to think about here. For my spiritual life to produce fruit I needed to be in the branch and with good roots – attached to and getting nourishment from those.
Some other scriptures which came to mind were:


"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

And then there were those lovely verses about pruning that I just hated to stumble across when I was going through it but I knew they were valid and full of truth:

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

It was evident that for fruit to grow there had to be a growth process complete with staying close to God and in His Word AND having unfruitful things “pruned” our of my life so I could grow bigger and better fruit. It appears that the Fruit of the Spirit in my life was not instant and had a lot to do with my choices, yielding and growth in Jesus.

And I began to look at the gifts again. I must admit here that I had felt pretty special when my heart began to thump and I knew it was not me… and the Lord laid something on my hesitant heart to share out loud in a group. Actually there were times when the voice inside would say “wow, you must be pretty special and mature for the Lord to use you to bring forth a “word”… I already knew that was the enemy trying to trip me up with the same thing that got him kicked out in the first place, PRIDE. I was praying about that and the Lord really answered that prayer.

That still, small voice which belonged to my Jesus began a tiny dialog that went something like this:

Marijo, when someone gives you a Christmas gift what did you do to deserve it?
Well, nothing really because it was a gift. They gave it to me because they loved me and wanted to do something special for me.

OK, why do you think they are called “gifts” of the Holy Spirit? And why do you think that those they flow through are mature or special?

Now this was getting a little personal and closer to home… 
Ah, Lord where are You going with this?

Daughter, when I want to share in a group all I need is a willing one, one who will say YES at that moment and overcome hesitance and fear and allow my gift to flow through him or her. It really has nothing to do with that person’s wisdom or maturity.

Oh….. my…… floodlights began to light up my “thinker”. So, you could use me because I did say yes at that moment. You could also use that newly saved young man because he said yes, at that moment. Never mind that he had been drunk Friday night. Never mind that I had used “prayer request” as an opportunity to “share” some gossipy thing earlier that day.

Lord, lord, you really did answer my prayer about being a touch prideful because you gave me encouraging “words” for your body. But my goodness….
SO a gift is given to whomever the Holy Spirit gets to say yes at the time of need? It can be whatever gift you think is best for Your purpose at that point in time and it has nothing to do with the receiver but everything to do with You, the giver. You want to bless others and do it through a yielded, albeit, possibly immature and sinful vessel…..

At this point I could imagine my heavenly Daddy looking at me with a huge grin and nodding His head and thinking “yep” she is learning, maybe slower than some but she is getting it!

And the fruit, well the fruit do indicate a measure or maturity and becoming more like the vine who is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

At this point I could imagine my heavenly Daddy about to pop a button…. And all because this errant child with often times skinned knees caught a glimpse of lesson number one on page number one…..