About Rhea Beaudry

I am a retired person who loves to find many ways to share the love of God with others. I love to blog; I also love gardening, photography, sewing, quilting, and crafts. My passion is to see people connected with each other and helping each other to grow and flourish.

Maximum Spiritual Impact

Let’s look at the last words of Paul to his followers before he took leave of them, never to return:

I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews.  I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes. I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus.

 “And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me,  except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead.  But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.

“And now I know that none of you to whom I have preached the Kingdom will ever see me again. I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault, for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know. (Acts 20:20-27)

How can we live our lives for the maximum spiritual impact while on our journey?

Serve the Lord with humility. (V 19), having a servant’s heart. I most impact the lives of others by serving them. Serving the Lord IS serving others.

“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.  Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.  You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” Philippians 2:7-8)

Have a MINDSET of humility.

“Though he was God,  he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form,he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8)

The people saw Paul’s tears. He exuded love, patience, and understanding. In other words, his life was a demonstration of the life of Jesus Christ.

Grow in your knowledge of the Lord. (V20,21) .

Grow PERSONALLY: be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:1). Personal growth is beneficial to ourselves because it allows God to change us and to develop within us the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23). Our character is changed, and we become Christlike.

Grow PUBLICLY: Share your life in Christ with others, fulfilling Acts 1:8.

 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Our lives are to be clean, not wavering, not lukewarm. We are to have clear intentions and be a bright light.

“so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” (Philippians 2:15)

Other people’s lives are at stake! Like Paul in Acts 20:20 and 27, we are to keep back nothing, not shrinking away from sharing all that they need to hear. We speak out what we are living out.

Live a selfless life (Acts 20:22-24), sacrificing self for others’ benefit. Before acting or speaking, ask, “How will this help the cause of Christ? Let nothing—none of our own creature comforts—hold us back from living unto Christ, not unto self.

“Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.” (II Corinthians 5:14-15)

We can be bold for Christ because “living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.” (Philippians 1:21)

We need to present ourselves daily “as a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1) as it is our “reasonable service”. (This word reasonable means logical.)

Let us pray that we may finish our course with joy!

Lord, we want to be like Jesus. We want to be so totally committed and surrendered to You that others will be able to just look at us and be able to see You and follow You. Create in us that humble mindset coupled with self-sacrificing boldness that we need to fulfill Your Kingdom purposes in our lives. We pray that every life that crosses pathways with our lives will be impacted TO THE MAX for You! Thank You Lord. Amen.

Enjoy this beautiful worship song by Emmanuel Live (the worship group of our church)

 

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The Good and Faithful Servant

My resource for this writing is my notes from my Pastor’s sermon last Sunday.

Our life has a purpose, and God is interested in us. We are to be in a state of constantly reshaping, growing, regrowing, expanding, re-upping, updating, and making “something out of nothing.”

ENTROPY is defined as the tendency for things to fall apart if unattended. We ask the Lord to teach us to value our days, our lives. The opposite is to devalue. If we devalue, things begin to dissolve and fall apart.

Ps 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Parable of the Three Servants

14 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. 15 He gave five bags of silver[b] to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.

16 “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. 17 The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. 18 But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.

19 “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. 20 The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’

21 “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together![c]

22 “The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’

23 “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

24 “Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. 25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’

26 “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, 27 why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’

28 “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. 29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. 30 Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

  1. Everyone is given something.
  2. God gives us freedom to do what we want with His gift. He does not make us do anything.
  3. God returns to evaluate what we did with His gift.
  4. God’s reward is based on our actions (no on the amount or worth of the gift in our eyes)

Principle: When we use well what we are given, more will be given. If we do not, what we have will be taken away.

Our culture is based on entitlement. (Everybody gets a blue ribbon). God wants a return on His investment. He isn’t particularly interested in the amount of money or talent He invests in us, as He is in what we choose to do with it. We cannot sit on our progress, but must grow and make the most of each opportunity. We have the opportunity to change our thinking from “I have to” to “I get to.”

Rene Braithwaite, a college professor, said: “You are an axe in God’s hands. God will wield you as an axe whenever He can. Your role is to work to become as sharp as you can. The sharper you are when God wields you, the deeper the cut.”

Ecclesiastes 10:10: “Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.”

A dull axe saps your strength, and you will be found to be trying too hard and accomplishing little.  Lord, sharpen me! Swing me!

My church’s Mission Statement reads: “Empowered to reach those away from God, to grow in faith and to live a life of purpose.” We come together at church to grow, so that we can succeed outside the walls. Just hearing the word on Sunday does not fulfill God’s purpose in our lives. We are building  “Redwood Faith”: The root system of these giant trees is interconnected. We need accountability and connectedness; we cannot grow in isolation.  If you are retired, don’t give in to the temptation to entropy (quitting and deteriorating), but remember you are a part of the biggest mission field, the Baby Boomers. There is much to be done. God has invested talents into you which can be used to reach those who do not yet know the Lord. Use your God-given talents to bring the love and blessing of the Lord into the lives of others.

Phil 1:9: “I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.”

How can I sharpen my axe? How can I renew myself from a fixed mentality (Im OK the way I am, I can’t change; negativity) to a growth mentality (I can stretch and grow and learn new things; positivity)?

  1. SHARPEN APTITUDE. Become better, learn new things, prepare for future, break the chain of “It’s always been this way; this is how I am”. Search for ways to grow, such as mentorships under people whom you would like to imitate. Increase the capacity and the skill set.
  2. SHARPEN EXCELLENCE. Excellence is a reflection of who we are and what we are called to do. We are to set up new boundaries. Rest is necessary to be at the top of the game. Attention is to be given even to how we dress and prepare for the day. We must teach ourselves optimism, and say no to things that prevent excellence.
  3. SHARPEN MOTIVES. Why am I here? What is my assignment and purpose? What is my platform? (way to get something done to accomplish the real purpose. Col 3:23 “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”
  4. SHARPEN ATTITUDE.  Sharpen speech and communication. Eph 4:29 “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”  Don’t be myopic (short-sighted). Work is to  be a sanctuary where ministry can take place. Have an attitude mentor, someone who you can follow, who lifts you up. Phil 2:7: “Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being, when he appeared in human form.”
  5. SHARPEN DISCIPLINE. Discipline is the ability to finish as if to win. Know your own quitting points or failure points ahead of time, and push through obstacles. Get a new grip. Persevere.

Heb 12:11-13   No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.”

Let’s pray together:

Lord we thank You for the talents and resources you have invested into each one of us. No matter what our age or circumstance, Your investment in each of us can be used to reach people who do not yet know Jesus. We ask together that You would show each one of us what our talents and resources are. Give us clear definition and insight so that we may know ourselves as we really are in Your sight. Help us to let go of preconceived self-image. Then, show us ways we can sharpen these things in our lives and use them to the maximum. Let us not be found burying Your gifts out of fear or insecurity. Show us how we can connect with others and combine our faith and resources to accomplish Your purposes. Nothing is too small for You to use and bless. Show us our infinite value to You. Let us step forth into a growth mindset and put all of our faith and trust in You, and what You wish to accomplish through us. Amen.

The FOURTH MAN

We are Called to Worship. (Based upon my notes from Pastor Nate Ruch’s sermon on Sunday June 25, 2017)

Scripture Text: Daniel Chapter 3

20 years after the Israelites were taken captive to Babylon, Daniel and his 3 friends, who were tested and tried in Chapter 2, were still thriving. They were high-ranking in the Babylonian court, they were loyal servants to a cruel, narcissistic king, obedient whenever it was possible for them; but they were still loyal to the living God. They had boundaries that could not be violated and loyalties which were non-negotiable. These men had now spent more time in captivity than they had spent before captivity. They did not have their daily devotional reading, a church family, a Spiritual Family Chat, or a Bible to keep them in line. They had the previous wise choices of their strong characters, and wisdom which had developed from the knowledge they had gained of God and His Kingdom, before being taken away from home and family.

And the King? Nebuchadnessar had been warned in a dream which Daniel had interpreted: You are the head of gold, the king of kings—but your kingdom shall be crushed and taken from you, just as the statue in his dream was crushed. His reactionary proclamation that “there is no god like the God of Daniel who is able to interpret my dream…”  Now we find him twenty years later, having forgotten about what happened to the statue in his dream, and having built a huge icon of himself to be worshipped! Instead of bowing his knee to the God of Daniel, he insisted that everyone’s knee should bow instead to him! Little did Nebuchadnezzar realize it, but he had been “set up” by God, used to show God’s superiority through His loyal worshippers.

The goal of such a call to worship was unity in the nation, establishment of loyalty. Such “statues” are still being built today, and the call to leadership is to worship them.

We are born with  a call to worship. There is a God-shaped cavity within each of us that can only be filled with God. When we unwisely choose to fill it with the worship of other gods, we violate our divine purpose.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednigo were ordered to bow down and worship the statue of evil King Nebuchadnezzar; but they made the choice to refuse, knowing that it would likely cost them their lives. They did not know the end of the story, as we do.

A decision like this can not remain private and go unnoticed. It is seen and known by all! As there are haters and tattlers now who seek to betray and destroy the loyal followers of God, so there were in this day as well. The haters hated and the tattlers tattled, and the three men were condemned to die in the fiery furnace. Yet they remained firm in their choice.

What kind of faith is this?

  1. They had faith that had moved from “What if?” to “EVEN if!”. They declared that their God was able to deliver them—but even if He did not, they would not waver in their worship of only Him.

     “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you.  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18)

    They did not have commercial faith, which is based on rewards or outcome. They had true faith, based on the Personhood of God. He is Who He says He is, regardless of what the eyes could see.

  2. They had non-negotiable faith.  When the music was played (the powerful cue) they were determined not to bow, no matter how strong the pull. They would pass the test of the importance of their priorities. Their convictions were not based on comfort or convenience.
  3. They had a tested and tried faith. Faith that cannot be tested cannot be trusted.  They had developed this endurance and strength over a lifetime of wise choices of obedience. It did not just miraculously show up in the eleventh hour.

God’s Presence is with us in the Fire! Emmanuel means “God is with us”.  Whether we inevitably perish in the fire or are miraculously delivered as these men were, God is with us! In life or in death. The book of Job records Job saying, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.”

19 Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. 20 Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully dressed in their pants, turbans, robes, and other garments. 22 And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in. 23 So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames.

24 But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?”

“Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied.

25 “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god[g]!”

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”

So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire. 27 Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. (Daniel 3:19-28)

When we worship God BEFORE the test, He joins us IN the test. However, He is not the only one who sees us in the fire. Our enemies and those around us also see our faithful obedience and loyalty when we stand tall when everyone else bows down. Evil will be overcome by our testimony. TT

“Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.” Rev 2:10

When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their testimony. (Rev. 6:9)

Then I saw thrones, and the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus and for proclaiming the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They all came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (Rev 20:4)

So, what are your “non-negotiables”?  How big or how hot a fire would it take before you would give in? Are you about the business of building up your strength and endurance NOW, before the hottest fires are upon you? Are you making wise choices about who and how you will worship? Are you following Your Father with loyalty and perseverance? NOW is the time to prepare for the coming trials and testings.  Daily set your focus on the FOURTH MAN IN THE FIRE! He will not let you down!

Let’s pray: Lord, so often we wonder about ourselves when we compare ourselves with Bible characters like Shadrach, Mesach and Abednigo…Would I stand the test? Would I persevere to the end, not knowing how the story would end, or would I cave in? I want to be one of those who will stand by You to the end, as You stood by me to the end. But I am so weak, so filled with fear, doubt and I lack courage. Your word does not ask me to live in the tomorrow, but in the today. TODAY I want to make choices that will temper my faith and endurance. TODAY I want to worship only my God! TODAY I want to stand true. Lord, without You I  can do nothing. But with Your Spirit living within me, anything is possible. Lord, please come and fill me anew and redirect my purposes along that path that You have marked out for me so that I will be found faithful and true, and my faith will be non-negotiable!

In Jesus name, Amen.

 

Get Yourself Closer to God

 

Jennifer Camp  (ibelieve.com)

You are the beloved. You are adored. You are worth fighting for.

Even if the opposite of this feels most real.

Even if you don’t know how to take the first step to believing this.

Even if you don’t know how to get close to God.

I want to share with you what practical things I do to fight for my own heart when God feels oh, so far away. It has been a season of hard things—and a season of blessing.

There is so much more to say. But for now, let’s start with a simple list.

Are you ready?

1. Get your eyes off of you.

When we are focused on our own self—our problems, our issues, our worries, our fears—we forget to look at God. This is super hard to do, right? Particularly when we feel overwhelmed. Stuck. Alone. But we need to do this.

We need to keep the eyes of our heart on God. His abundance. His presence. Right here. Right now. So, be bold—and, even if you don’t feel like it, praise Him for His goodness. Praise Him for His love. Name His attributes and look up verses that remind us of who He is. Speak them aloud. Write them down. Declare their truth over yourself.

Remember:

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge” (Psalm 91)

2. Confess to God your brokenness.

Screenshot 2015-11-04 17.47.46

Ask Him to show you how your heart is struggling. Be specific. Don’t hold back. Don’t worry about your words—how to communicate what your heart is saying.

 

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts, and see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139: 23-24).

Just say what is on your mind. Trust your heart. The Holy Spirit will guide you toward Him.

3. Make note of what He’s given you.

Ask God to show you how He has shown up for you in the past. Remind your own heart of His faithfulness, the gifts He has given you, the way He continues to press in. How has He healed you? How has He pursued you? How has He helped you? This is a prayer He loves to answer.

4. Listen to music that creates space in your heart for God.

When we are stuck—when our mind knows that God is close, but our heart struggles to believe it and move toward Him, it can help to listen to music that opens up our heart to Him. There are certain songs I turn to when I am lonely, when I am far away from my Father and I am desperate for Him to pull me close. They are songs that help my heart be receptive to the Holy Spirit. They usher Him in. They open up heart and mind and spirit to receive more of Him—more of all He has.

5. Change your posture.

Wake up. Get your body positioned to better receive the presence of the Holy Spirit. This might mean finding a place of quiet, of removing yourself from distractions. Do whatever it takes—physically—to help yourself be present to Him. Get on your knees. Or stand up. Lie down. Or raise your hands. Dance. Or run. Walk. Or be still. Concentrate your whole self on thinking about who He is, how He loves you, how He is with you, how He never leaves.

Screenshot 2016-03-10 20.43.286. Let your imagination run beautifully wild.

Picture yourself with Him—with Jesus, or with God, the Father. Invite in the Holy Spirit and give Him full access to your mind. Let Him open up your heart. Ask Him to show you a scene—just you and God or Jesus. Stay there. What does He look like? What is He doing? What are you doing? Where are you with Him? How do you feel? Stay there as long as you can. Stay. Let him show you what it is He sees when He looks at you. Let Him love you. Let Him come.

7. Do something different.

If you normally sit down and worship—stand up. If you normally stand, sit down, kneel, or lie down on the floor. Tell your mind to get out of your own way. Let your body respond to your heart. It is telling it what to do to wake yourself up to God’s presence. Trust it.

Screenshot 2017-06-22 09.49.078. Just do it—(do what you love).

This might mean finding beauty—immersing yourself in it. Or going on an adventure. Or resting and reading a book. You are created to experience God’s presence in a way that is unique to you. Invite in the Holy Spirit to steer you toward an activity that brings you joy—and, in that joy, helps you experience God’s presence. And then do it. Break the agreements you have made with the enemy about who you are, and who God is. Then you will hear Him and see Him and move with Him more easily.

9. Be a rebel.

Go against what your mind is telling you is true about yourself, and about God, and about the world that is actually false. Our Savior has risen up against the lies about ourselves and about the truth of who God—and who our Savior—is. He rises up again and again, just as the lies sneak in again and again. Jesus never forsakes us. He never leaves us. He knows our hearts and how we need Him. He knows the false messages of the enemy and entreats us to pray—activate the armor He has given us. We can’t be passive, sisters. We have what it takes to stand, to be bold, to send to the foot of the cross the lies that threaten to pull us under.

10. Accept healing.

This is big. This is the beginning of our life with Jesus—the laying down of our old life for His. This deep healing is difficult to do on our own. God welcomes us into community with Him—and into community with Saints—so that we can help each other toward healing.This pursuit of deep healing can mean counseling. It can mean sharing our stories and receiving healing prayer. It definitely means doing the hard (and usually painful but necessary and good) work of letting Jesus into the places where we have never let Him in before. We need to let Him transform our wounded, broken hearts and make them whole again.

Let’s fight for our own hearts now. He gives us the tools. He will guide us deeper into Him. We are not alone in this fight.

Father, let us step toward you now. Let us see You. Let us hear You. Remind us how we are Yours. Let us live this day believing You are right here.

Connecting the Pieces

by Rhea Beaudry

I am not a fan of putting together jigsaw puzzles. I do not have the patience to sift through all those pieces to find some that fit together. I get frustrated and cranky, and usually give up before I have matched even two together, rather than see it through to completion.

screenshot-2017-02-24-18-46-23Life can be like a 4,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. The one in front of me is an artistic rendition of the map of the world, all in blues and greens and browns. Lovely. But there is a definite disconnect between the depiction on the box cover and the 4,000 piece pile of confusion before me on the work table.

 

We want our lives to look like that beautiful finished composition, but in reality it resembles the messy pile of random puzzle pieces so much more!

All this disconnection! It brings frustration. Frustration tells me that I should NOT have to deal with all of this! This raging inner anger brings discord, dysfunction, discontent, disability, disillusionment, despair, discombobulation. When you take the D for Disconnect and add it to ANGER, you have DANGER!

Ephesians 4:26 says that anger “gives a foothold to the devil.” The anger and disconnect do not have to own me. I can come into connection! I can “make it” without “losing it.”

The book of Ephesians sets a backdrop for the whole idea of Connection. Without Jesus we cannot be connected to each other in relationships, or to Him. He is our purpose for living. Connection with God through Jesus will overflow into our lives. We will win, and we will have relationships that cannot be broken.

What are our options when dealing with in the disconnection and frustration of our inner thoughts and our outer relationships? Matthew 5:28 clearly indicates that disconnection begins in the heart, and then is carried through into action. You cannot be both happy and frustrated at the same time. It is said that we “cannot keep birds from flying over our heads, but we can keep them from building a nest in our hair.”

Option number one is to react in the old way—the way of the flesh, the way of one who does not know and trust Christ. We will either explode, or implode.

“With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.”      Ephesians 4:17-19.

What a hot mess we are without Christ! We are hopeless in our disconnection!

“So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.  But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good.  So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.  But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.  I love God’s law with all my heart.  But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.  Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?”   Romans 7:14-24

Option number two is to react in the new way—the Life in Christ. Turn to the One who is the author of the puzzle and knows exactly how to put it all together. Be renewed—made new, restored to freshness, vigor and perfection— “by the transforming of the mind” (Romans 12:2).

Our passage from Ephesians 4 continues,

“But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” Ephesians 4:20-24

Throw off the old, put on the new. These are active choices which we can make.

Our passage from Romans 7 continues,

“Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 7:25

It is during the disconnected, temptation-ridden moments of life where there is an intersection between the mind which is unrenewed and the choice to live in Christ that we must be ready to take action. We must be prepared ahead of time for enemy attacks. King David was unprepared and had drifted off course when the temptation arose to sin with Bathsheba. He was lounging around on the rooftop when as king, he should have been out on the battlefield. He let his fleshly desires take precedence. It is in the moment of exposure to the negative bait of Satan that we need to be ready to speak Truth. That Truth can only be assimilated into our spirits by the transformation of our minds. And that can only be done by the Lord.

Jesus sets us free, the moment we invite Him, from our slavery to sin. That moment of frustration and disconnect is the moment to open up to Him. “The Truth will set you free.” (John 8:32). These moments are the puzzle pieces that God puts together, causing “all things to work together for good” (Romans 8:28) in the lives of those who belong to Him.

As we learn to be fully connected to the Lord, and remain in this blessed place, we will see Him at work time after time in our lives, putting together those pieces of our life’s puzzle that we could never hope to accomplish on our own.

Let’s pray together:

Dearest Lord, we come to You, knowing that You designed the masterpiece of our lives according to how You desired us to be. All we see at times is the tangled, disconnected mess of random puzzle pieces that is impossible for us to work with. We try to put things together, make the pieces fit, and even compromise the corners so that we can try to squeeze it into the mold we think is right. But it doesn’t work! Lord, You are the puzzle maker. We choose to trust You–in Your time, in Your way, under circumstances of Your choosing–to fit the pieces together so that we may be connected. Connected to You first of all, and also to each other, for the glory of Your Name and the work of Your Kingdom. In Jesus name. Amen.

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Enjoy the messages of Pastor Peggy right here (below)

 

The Language of Love

This week, I am sharing a TREASURE from one of my favorite authors, Graham Cooke. This is the word that I need desperately at this time, and I could never say it as well as Graham does. Here’s a quote from THE LANGUAGE OF LOVE by Graham Cooke:

TREASURE HUNTER

Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus spoke to the treasure God had deposited in people. He even blessed the spiritual treasure that the person themselves did not realize they had. In Luke 19, Jesus met a crooked tax collector named Zacchaeus. Not once did Jesus reveal the man’s sin. All He did was bless him and honour him. Humbled, Zacchaeus knew what to do: “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” The man simply stopped cheating others, signed away half of his possessions, and made a contract with Heaven to restore what he had previously stolen. “I robbed you of a hundred dollars; here’s four hundred back”—that’s God at work in one of His special treasures. 

God has placed His fingerprint in the people around us, and we need to speak to that spiritual treasure. In John 1, the disciple Philip brought his brother, Nathanael, to meet Jesus. Nathanael, at first, was skeptical: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” he asked. But when he finally met Jesus, the Lord spoke to the treasure in him: “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit,” Jesus said, noting that He had prophetically seen Nathanael sitting under a fig tree earlier that day. “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel,” exclaimed Nathanael, who left everything behind and became a disciple. Jesus had spotted the treasure—that piece of God’s Spirit that had been deposited in Nathanael’s life—and spoken to it. Nathanael, in turn, became a pillar of the early Church. 

SPEAK TO THE TREASURE 

Jesus knew that whatever He spoke to would rise up in people. Humanity always speaks to the earthen vessel, noting every crack, flaw, and warp: “If you put this right, and change that, then we’ll let you in and accept you.” God is not remotely like that. He speaks to the treasure in a person and releases it from the captivity of the flesh. He extracts the precious from the worthless. We often try and do the opposite; we take out the trash and see what’s left. When we speak to the treasure in people, it moves to the surface of their lives, from the hidden to the obvious. The rubbish always comes with it. When people see their own worth, they get rid of their own carnality. That’s why the prophetic and the pastoral go so well together. But God knows there is treasure in each of us and He wants to bring it to the surface. Don’t let your view of the worthless obscure that which is precious about a person. 

“I HAVE FOUND THE PARADOX THAT IF I LOVE UNTIL IT HURTS, THEN THERE IS NO HURT, BUT ONLY MORE LOVE.” MOTHER TERESA

THE LANGUAGE OF PROMISE 

We have got to change the way we think of, and behave around, other people. We don’t have any enemies except for the devil and his demons. The Apostle Paul believed this: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places,” he wrote in Ephesians 6:12. We don’t have any human enemies, only people who we are not finding treasure in. Fortunately, God can give us a different type of vision to help us see people in a new way. 

“Let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God,” Peter wrote in 1 Peter 3:4. “Incorruptible” in this verse means that the beauty will not pass away; unlike a flower that blooms and withers, that which is precious in God’s eyes stands forever. When God looks at you, He sees what is precious—what He most loves about you right now.

Last week when I took my friend to her PT session, I encountered the Lord’s treasure in a suffering lady in the waiting room. I had the blessed opportunity to encourage her and pray for her. I think I was at least as much blessed as she was! How wonderful it was to touch another soul in Jesus’ name.

Let’s pray together:

Lord help us to remember, it is not about me.  Open our spiritual eyes to see the precious treasure You have placed in each person we encounter,  and bless and honor them as You do. Let us be Your channel of grace to others, loving them as you do and bringing them UP…up to Your presence and grace and favor and blessing. Amen.