God’s Beautiful Masterpiece

Happy Weekend Readers! I love to paint and craft. We can relate our relationship with Christ–as a beautiful masterpiece.

Do you trust God as the artist that is meticulously painting on the canvas of your life? As the brush strokes of sorrow and trials sweep across your life, do you rest in the fact that He is painting a beautiful work of art? All the various colors and shades are a result of each circumstance that you have faced.

Before a painter begins a masterpiece, he will first visualize the strokes and shades that will be needed to complete his beautiful painting. God is the Great Artist of our life. God is much more meticulous than even the best artist. Every stroke that is brushed across your canvas (your life) is contemplated by the almighty God, and He has an eternal purpose for it.

I find it very intriguing that many of the famous painters only became famous after they died. Although they invested much time and energy into their paintings, they never lived to see the results. Many of them lived in poverty, and they faced numerous times of discouragement and wondered if their labor was in vain. Yet, they kept pursuing their passions and used the talents that God had given them. Because of their perseverance, their paintings have been enjoyed and have benefitted many others. They saw few results of their hard work and had no idea that their paintings would become valuable AFTER their death.

Do you wonder about the canvas of your life? Is there a purpose for the difficult and sometimes mundane events that you are encountering? If you have a short term perspective, you may become discouraged and feel like giving up. A long term perspective sees our life here on earth, as being as brief as a thought that crosses through our minds. We are created to live eternally. We may never see the results of our faithfulness while we are living here on earth. However, we can have the assurance that Jesus is the great Author and Finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2) With each stroke of circumstance, God is creating a magnificent masterpiece out of our lives. The beauty and splendor of Heaven will be worth every stroke of sorrow that we face. Let’s open our hearts to the pain and suffering that comes into our lives. It will be worth it all when we present the canvas of our lives to God, and we hear His words of affirmation: “Well done thou good and faithful servant…enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 25:21)

Just think of it like this: when you paint, you add highlights to your paintings…kinda like when things are going well…dark spots…when we are going through hard times, sorrow, or trials in our life. As all these things are happening we tend to focus on those small parts of the painting, but We need to stop focusing on the small things and look at the bigger picture, and keep our focus on the cross.

Be blessed and be a blessing,
~M

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How can I help people who are hurting?

Welcome Readers! It is so hard to believe we are already in November. This is such a wonderful time of year for most people. However, the upcoming holidays can be very hard for others. They may be grieving and lonely or worried about financial troubles. Today’s blog is about how to help those who are hurting. A lot of people put up a good front and don’t show their deep hurts. Remember to always greet others with a smile.

Job 30:16 “And now my life seeps away. Depression haunts my days.”

Proverbs 15:13 “A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit”

Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”

Be aware of the effects of hurt on a person’s spirit, mind, and body. Awareness leads to sympathy, sympathy leads to empathy, empathy leads to helping, and helping leads to healing.

2 Corinthians 1:4 “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”

Share your experiences of God’s comfort. God’s healing in you may bring hope and healing to others.

Job 16:2 “I have heard all this before. What miserable comforters you are!”

Be careful with the words you offer to the brokenhearted. Explanations and cliches are rarely comforting. Offer those who are hurting your love, sympathy, and presence. Sometimes the best comfort you can give is to just be there.

Job 42:11 “Then all his brothers, sisters, and former friends came and feasted with him in his home. And they consoled him and comforted him because of all the trials the Lord had brought against him. And each of them brought him a gift of money and a gold ring.”

Support your own family and friends. Family life should be a safe haven in a hurting world. The family should be both a healing clinic and a training camp where you learn to cope with and conquer hurtful influences.

If you are hurting or know someone who is, please send us a message. We will gladly pray for you. May God Bless You!

Be a blessing to others,
~M

Life Hurts but God Heals Part 4

Welcome back. Today we are going to conclude this series about how life hurts, but God is there to heal our wounds. Yesterday, we talked about David and how God rescued him from the pit of despair. Today, we are going to focus on Job.

Have you ever felt that you can’t catch a break? It’s like one thing after another keeps happening and you just want to go hide?! That is how Job felt.

Job was a rich man with a large family. He was considered blameless and upright by The Lord. He was careful to avoid evil. One day, Satan appeared before The Lord. Satan said that Job was only blameless because The Lord had blessed Job with many things. The Lord gave Satan permission to punish the man. Satan thought that Job would turn away from God.

Job lost all his possessions. All his children were killed in a tornado. Job’s health declined as he endured horrible sores all over his body. His friends and wife mocked him for staying true to The Lord after enduring such pain.

In Job 7:20 — Job prays “If I have sinned, what have I done to you, you who see everything we do? Why have you made me your target? Have I become a burden to you?”

Job was tired of suffering. Finally at the end of Job, he realizes there is a purpose for his suffering. He understands that God is with him, God does care, and God is alive! After his suffering, Job is restored. Job 42:10 — “After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.”

We must remember that we are not alone. God is with us! He cares for us! He will never leave us! There is a purpose for our sufferings!!

Come back tomorrow for some encouraging scriptures to help you when you are struggling with life’s hurts. ~M

Life Hurts but God Heals Part 3

Welcome back! Yesterday we talked about Elijah and how The Lord comforted him. Today, we are going to focus on David.

David–a man after God’s own heart–experienced some awesome things in his life. As a child, David slays Goliath. He eventually grew up to become a King! However, David faced many obstacles on his journey.

David wrote this when he was hiding in a cave because Saul wanted to kill him. He felt hopeless and alone. David had lost his job, his best friend, his mentor, and his wife. But, he cried out to The Lord. Let’s look at how David was feeling in Psalm 142: “I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. I pour out before him my complaint; before him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way. In the path where I walk people have hidden a snare for me. Look and see, there is no one at my right hand; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life. I cry to you, Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.”

The Lord heard David’s cry. He delivered David from the pit of despair in 1 Samuel 24. You can read the passage at http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Samuel+24&version=NIV

David wrote in Pslam 40:1-3 — “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear The Lord and put their trust in him.”

We will all experience hurts and pains in this life. We need to remember that God loves us. If you are facing trying and hurtful times in your life, cry out to The Lord. He will pick you up from the pit of despair and place you on solid ground.

Come back tomorrow as we conclude this series on Life Hurts but God Heals. ~M

Blessings Through the Storms…

This past year has been one of my hardest ever. I have struggled and struggled with countless illnesses, vehicle troubles (both vehicles having dead batteries on the same day…flat tire that had to be replaced and only the dealership could order and put a new one on…both kids having surgery (our son (age 5) had his 4th set of tubes, our daughter (age 6) had her tonsils out and her first set of tubes)…foundation on house had to be repaired…our dishwasher died, our air conditioner’s control board fried (had to get new one and was without central air in south Louisiana for almost a week)…my dad having a stroke (and not being able to go see him due to my illnesses)…and several more things.

There were times when I just wanted to throw my hands up and say, “Lord, I give up! I can’t take it anymore!” But, I kept enduring the storm because I knew that the Lord was growing me through this time. If you focus on the negatives, then you allow Satan to take your joy away. Now, some positives that I experienced…Our children aren’t near as sick as they were, foundation has been repaired, an anonymous donor purchased us a new dishwasher, our air conditioner could be fixed and we found a window unit to keep us cool as we spent extra quality time together as family, we grew closer to the Lord and closer as a family unit. God has sent people in our lives to encourage us and to hold us up when it felt like our world was crashing down. To those people, “Thank you! You will never know how much that meant to us. You are a blessing to our family and to the Kingdom of God!”

During this time of struggle, God led me to several scriptures and directed me towards this song called, “Blessings by Laura Story”, that just described what I was going through so well. It truly ministered to me. I even set this song to replay in my van for a year. I hope these scriptures and the lyrics to her song bless you as much as they me.

James 1:2-4 – “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Ezekiel 36:26 —“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

1 Peter 5:10 – “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

Lyrics from Blessings by Laura Story

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

Let your blessings rain down, Lord!! Be blessed and be a blessings to others!
~M

What’s Your Top Ten?

A Question To Ponder…
Recently a childhood friend of mine asked me to make a list of ten ways that I would want others to treat me. So here is my list. Top 10 ways: Lovingly, Respectfully, Seriously, Compassionately, Mercifully, Forgivingly, Gently, Kindly, Encouragingly, and Gracefully. After compiling my list of the top ten I was feeling pretty good about myself. Until he said something to me that I did not expect. He said with a firm voice; now ask yourself one Question. “Is that how I treat all people?” Wow I was taken back by this question. It caught me off guard. I wasn’t sure if I could answer yes to all ten or even to just a few of them. Because he wasn’t asking how I treat people who I love, but for the treatment of all people. The longer I pondered on this simple question, the more I realized that the first question was not nearly as important as the second one. My answer to all ten toward all people was; No, not always. At this point in my conversation with my friend I prayed these words.”God forgive me of this sin and help me to treat others how I want to be treated even when they don’t treat me the way I desire. Thank You Father for this insight and revelation In Jesus Name I Pray Amen.” The Bible tells us in Luke 6:31 (NIV) “31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.” So I’m asking each one of you to take time and write your own top ten ways that you want to be treated. Then ask yourself, is this how I treat all people? A Question that all of us need to honestly answer before God. How do you treat what God has created?

From Your Pastor’s Heart,
~G

Are You Ready?

Are you Ready?

I wrote this poem about a year ago. I thought I would share it with you.

When Christ returns
Will you be ready
When Christ returns
Will He find you serving Him
When Christ returns
Will He see you or His reflection
When Christ returns
Will your life have made a difference for Him
When Christ returns
Will you go to Heaven
When Christ returns
Will your Soul Rejoice
When Christ returns
Will you be ready?

No one knows when Christ will return for His people. We are reminded of this in Matthew 24:36 -“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

There is another scripture to think about. Daniel 12:2 – “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.”

Christ gave all for our sins. Are you ready to go with Him when He returns?Hebrews 9:28 – “so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.”

Are you ready?

What will you do today to encourage someone’s faith?
~Pastor G

What makes your heart happy?

Hello Readers! I hope you have a blessed weekend. We will be relaxing, watching football, and hopefully video chatting with my dad. His left side is still immobile. He warmed my heart yesterday. Yes, I cried like a baby. But, it made my heart happy. He is sometimes hard to understand because of the weakened left side. He said, “I will never be tired of talk to Marie!” **instant happy tears**.

But, that made me think. Our Heavenly Father wants to hear from us. He never grows tired of hearing from us. We communicate to God by prayer and reading the Bible. The Bible is our instruction book. It delights the Lord’s heart when we open His Word, read it, think about it and apply it to our daily life. Do you spend enough time with The Lord that His heart is happy?

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 instructs us to “Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

In James 2:23–“And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.”

I don’t know about you, but I want to be God’s friend. He never leaves you. He loves you more than anything. He will never talk badly about you or betray you. It hurts your heart when people talk negatively about you, criticize you, turn their back on you when you need them, etc. Remember The Lord will never do those things. He gave us many promises in His Word that puts a smile to your face. Here are just a few of mine:

Jeremiah 29:11-“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Matthew 11:28-29: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,and you will find rest for your souls.”

Isaiah 40:29-31: “He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

Philippians 4:19-“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”

What makes your heart happy?
Are you making Christ’s heart happy?

Thanks for reading. Be blessed and be a blessing.
~M

How do you stay positive through the storms?

Hey guys and gals! I pray your week is going better than mine. So, many times this week I have wanted to just through my hands up and just give up. My dad had a stroke and I can’t go be with him. I am a daddy’s girl through and through. On Tuesday, I had to take our daughter to the ER for vertigo and rotavirus. I kinda feel like Job. It seems we can’t catch a break lately. Your prayers are appreciated.

Psalm 105:4 reminds us, “Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.”

I’m sure you are wondering why I can’t go. For the past 14 months, it has taken every ounce of energy I have to do routine things. I went to a doctor in June 2012 with pneumonia. She gave me meds and sent home. I called her back about a week later, and she said those things take time. So, in September 2012, I went to a different doctor. He said I had strep, mono, and pneumonia. He retired two months after I started seeing him. So, I went to an immune doctor. And, did I get some answers. Chronic Mono, bacterial pneumonia, vitamin d levels were critically low, an immune system deficiency. Recently, got results I have hep b, but it’s not contagious. So, my doctors and my Dad’s doctors have banned me from going. So, I’m struggling and crying a lot. It’s hard not to worry, but God tells us in Philippians 4:6–“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Also, The Lord reminded me, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9”

I’ll leave you with this thought. We all need to learn to fix our thoughts on the power of God! Worry won’t get you anything but high blood pressure. Trust in God, He has the power to change things and we must keep in mind His promises in His Holy Word-The Bible. He will never leave us. Remember, this to shall pass. Ecclesiastes 3:1: “There is a time for everything,and a season for every activity under the heavens”

Thanks for reading.
Be blessed and be a blessing,
M

Life is Fragile

Have you ever just woke up one day and your complete world had changed? That something will forever change your life. (death, heart attack, stroke, divorce, job loss, illnesses, cancer, etc). Yes, life will take you by surprise, but God gives us comfort in His Word, “Revelation 21:4–“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

My dad recently suffered a stroke. We are still waiting on tests results to find out more information. But, God will take care of him, because He is a child of the Lord. I love my daddy so very much. You can ask anyone. I am a daddy’s girl through and through. So, today, call your Parents, Children, Grandparents, Friends, and let them know you love them. For we are not promised tomorrow. James 4:14 reminds us, “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” Are you prepared if tomorrow never comes? Please read our How To Become A Christian tab, if you are unsure.

Each life is fragile. Especially those of babies and children. They are precious to the Lord! Even those in the womb of their mothers. The scriptures remind us of this: Psalm 139:13–“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” It truly breaks my heart when I hear that someone took the life of their innocent child. They didn’t ask for that and could not fight back.

About a year ago, I heard “Why You Were Sleeping by Casting Crowns” Here is some of the lyrics to that song.

United States of America
Looks like another silent night
As we’re sung to sleep by philosophies
That save the trees and kill the children
And while we’re lying in the dark
There’s a shout heard ‘cross the eastern sky
For the Bridegroom has returned
And has carried His bride away in the night

America, what will we miss while we are sleeping
Will Jesus come again
And leave us slumbering where we lay
America, will we go down in history
As a nation with no room for its King
Will we be sleeping
Will we be sleeping

So Readers, life is fragile. ALL LIVES!! Please don’t be caught sleeping when you could be doing something for The Kingdom of God!!!

Thanks for reading. Be blessed and Be a blessing to others! If you would like us to focus one of our blogs on a topic or one of your questions, please leave us a comment! May God Bless You this week!!
~M