Blood moons, financial collapse on the horizon, prophecies about earthquakes, warnings about other countries’ invasion of ours…...on and on and on. Sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed, reading articles and listening to programs each day about the coming doom.
As I pray, I sense that God is cautioning us about balance. He does want us to be informed, alert and aware of possibilities. We should not hide our heads in the sand or dismiss these warnings as though they were nothing. They are true (mostly) possibilities and we need to have wisdom. Living in denial will not position us in a place of victory.
Our true preparation is our spiritual one. Why? Because when things get really rough, our only true hope is in Him. That is true even today as we face so many troubles in life. We need our focus on Jesus and all He offers us. It’s the only way to have peace or gain wisdom. He imparts divine wisdom when we have none. We must learn to hear Him clearly.
In Matthew 25:1-13 we read a parable about the virgins who prepared their lamps with oil to be ready to meet the Bridegroom. Half of them secured their oil, and made the necessary preparations to be ready for Him. The other five just went to sleep, not taking any trouble to be sure their provisions were in order. Then, when the Bridegroom arrived, the wise virgins were ready, but of course, the foolish ones were whining to the wise ones to give them their oil. Since there wasn’t enough, the foolish ones had to go out at midnight to find a place to buy oil and by the time they returned, it was too late!
We know this story is about the return of Jesus and how we should be ready. It certainly applies to our situation today as well. We have been warned aplenty of our need to get our spiritual lives and our houses in order for whatever is on the horizon. Still, many are refusing to listen. Many mock. Many put other things as a priority. What will the outcome be? Just like those foolish virgins, when things crash in, the foolish will be crying out to the others to share what they stored or prepared with them. They will be miserable in not knowing how to depend on the Lord because they’ve ignored their spiritual lives. They will be in despair because their children and other loved ones are looking to them for strength and hope and they won’t know how to grasp those things for themselves, nor how to give them to others.
Please get yourself on the “wise” list. Stop chasing after more money, titles, or whatever distracts you and get on your knees right away. Wake up! Don’t be deceived into thinking that your wise friends will be ready to share all they have because you were too foolish to prepare your own house. They might be. They might not. Everyone has to answer to God individually. No one can do it for you. If you don’t know Him today, please open that door and let Him in. You can never say you had no warning. He loves you deeply and is sending those alerts constantly. Time is running out. Fill your lamps with oil now. Then you can keep a healthy balance in where you spend time and energy.
Have you ever had a week where anything that could go wrong went wrong? The past two weeks we’ve had a domino collapsing party around our house. One thing leads to another to another to another. There are moments where I sit down and say “Lord, what are You thinking here?”
You might wonder if I’m being a drama queen. Well, I’m not generally that. My husband was called with a bad medical report, so we had to scramble to go have more tests run. I was not exactly scrambling because I had been hit with a severe case of sciatica and was having trouble walking. One of my online accounts was hacked. We had two major mistakes on some billing --- you know those kind where you’re on the phone for hours with several different people who can’t seem to understand what’s going on? (You all have those and know how fun they are.) Then, when it was time to go for my hubby’s test, I was afflicted with some weird tooth problem. Oh yeah, and did I mention it began on the weekend, so I had to bite the bullet, so to speak, and it was quite painful, for days. There were some other things as well, which I’ll spare you the details on, but I think you get my drift.
When we’re in a state of battling one issue after another, guess what? We get tired. We get frustrated and we sometimes lose our focus. I’m the one who’s always teaching about standing firm in times of trouble. I’m the one who tells people to stay in the Word, in prayer, keeping that sword drawn against the enemy, right? So, I guess it stands to reason that I have to be tested. I hope I passed the test as these trials seem to be lessening by today. (Only God knows.)
What I want to share is that even though I teach those things all the time, I found myself at a couple of low points where I was so exhausted and negative thoughts were pounding my brain. Did I exhibit perfect peace and joy in my trial? I don’t think I did. I got kinda grumpy and even thought about hosting a full blown pity party one night. But….I did realize at one point that the enemy was joining in to bring me down. He does that! God, on the other hand, is so gracious that He tipped me off to the devil’s schemes. What a Father!!
I was lying on the bed with an ice pack under my hip, and holding another one on my jaw when a couple of thoughts hit me that seemed strange. They were dark, ugly thoughts that really weren’t like me at all. Not that I’m perfect by any means, but they were self destructive thoughts that I do not ever have. Thoughts of giving up, resigning from everything, blaming God. As miserable as I was that day, I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me, warning me that this is how the enemy works---kicking you when you’re down.
Thank God I took His authority over the whole mess! I began to pray differently, stop whining, and reflect on how blessed my life really is. I put my earphones in with my praise music flowing. I felt the heaviness lifting off within a few minutes.
My point in sharing today is that you are going to have some rotten days, maybe even weeks. Things don’t always go well, even when you’re giving it your best shot. But when you’re in the middle of the storm, remember that your enemy will jump right in there to try to bring you down. You have to put on that whole armor of God and stand firm. Don’t let that devil get a victory just because you’re tired or sick. God will deliver you out of it!! When the storm is past, you will look back, as I am today, and see how distorted things can become when you let your guard down. And you can remind yourself of one of my favorite scriptures, “and it came to pass…” ha. It will pass! Things always change and things always get better. “The testing of our faith produces endurance, so that we may be complete..” James 1:3.
I saw a joke today about how many pastors were posting on social media about setting clocks so that no one would miss church, but most of them aren’t warning anyone about missing the critically important season we are in. It wasn’t funny to me. I’m not pastor- bashing; I don’t do that. I am a pastor. I’m just asking a question: how many are truly preparing their flocks for some serious times coming soon? If you are in a church where all you hear in sermons is how happy, prosperous days are just around the corner, you are in trouble. I will never tell you that God is not faithful or that he doesn’t bless us. It’s undeniably true that He blesses, protects us and is good. But, friends, we are on the brink of some treacherously serious days, and we must get prepared.
Some have already turned away from this or deleted it because they don’t want to hear it or believe it. Ignorance can be bliss….but only for a short time. We can’t do anything about that except pray for them. I am so concerned about the body of Christ who is sitting in ignorant bliss each week, hearing messages about how God is about to make them rich and deliriously happy...any minute now, if they just claim it or decree it. If you are on social media, you see countless memes with these messages too. Granted, they can be encouraging when you’re a little down but where are the ones warning people that time is short, and it’s time to get hearts right?
God is warning His people. He is sending us dreams and visions, highlighting scripture as we read it, and shaking our spirits to say, “Wake up! Pay attention! Judgment is coming to America!” Take a little walk through history. Every time our leaders have done any action that negatively affects Israel, we have a major weather event that shakes cities or regions. God keeps trying to get our attention, but we blindly go on our merry ways. Pastor Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth, once said, “If God doesn’t bring judgment to America, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.” So true. God is not kidding around about us getting our lives in order, His order.
God wants you to come to Him; get clean. Repent of things in your life that don’t please Him. Have a clear conscience, a pure heart, washing clean the channels through which He speaks. Then He will show you what is coming and what you personally need to do. He doesn’t want His people to be taken by surprise, and devastated by world events. He spelled it all out in His Word, which most people don’t read or take to heart. If you only pull out a few verses here and there that make you feel good, you are missing the greatest opportunity of your life---to know the true and living God! And to understand His purposes.
I’m writing this because I encounter Christians every day who tell me they don’t want to hear this. They choose to blindly go on to the mall and ignore the warnings. How is this going to benefit your family, your children, when times get rough? Please take time to go to the Lord and ask Him if I’m speaking truth? When tragedy strikes where you live, will you be the one God uses to encourage others and lead them to Him, offering hope and peace in the storm? Or, will you be falling apart, writhing in fear, angry at God because you always heard in church that you would be raptured before any tough stuff came along? Ask believers in other countries what they think about that, as they are suffering for Christ daily?
I feel an urgency to warn people. If you are paying any attention to world events, and you have read the Bible at least once, you know I’m telling the truth. Don’t hide your head in the sand. It’s quicksand, my friend. I’m praying that you wake up and smell the coffee, which is boiling over at this moment. Take heed, be obedient to your Father, and turn away from those who sugar coat the gospel for their own gain. Time is short and God is calling His people to prepare so that we can be vessels for His use in times of trouble. You will need His peace in the storm. You likely will not have it if you have not prepared beforehand. Learning how to press into Him and hear His instructions and guidance will be your salvation and hope. I pray you do this now.
The LORD delights in those who trust him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. Psalm 147:11
Have you noticed lately an increase in the prayer requests you’re receiving? And not just the number, but the intensifying gravity of situations as well? Recently I’ve found myself interceding and sobbing over urgent text messages and emails like never before. Life is serious at times. I was going to describe to you some of my heart wrenching stories from the past two weeks, which included even my own family, but then I changed my mind. I think that if you are hurting and struggling over something painful, hearing other stories probably won’t make you feel better. But just know that you are not alone.
As I prayed about sharing a message of hope today, I was reminded that the Bible teaches us that in the world we will have trouble. Jesus said “take heart, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) He has overcome the world! We haven’t quite gotten it yet. We struggle and battle through the painful attacks that hit us. The enemy of our soul is relentless. He kicks us when we’re down, shooting those flaming arrows right into an already bleeding wound---in short, he plays dirty. Many times we never see it coming. The other night I was awake and praying at 3 a.m., feeling a bit sorry for myself and asking God why certain things are hitting so hard. He reminded me that I teach about spiritual warfare and then I forget that I’m a target too!
God is our Abba (Daddy) Father. He loves us so much. He is always with us. He walks with us through the fires. He is our Comforter and our Strength in times of trouble. Often He allows certain situations in order to refine us, mature us or develop our faith because that’s what a good Father does. We don’t usually enjoy those times of discipline or teaching. We just want a happy, safe little world where nothing goes wrong.
The Bible teaches us that evil will abound in the last days. We are headed that direction and things will escalate as time goes on until the day Jesus returns for us. As believers, we must learn to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (Ephesians 6:10) We are in training for harder times coming. As we endure these difficult days, we are building strength and learning how to minister to others who are struggling. We are also learning how to stand strong regardless of what is happening around us. There was never a plan for life to be fun and easy all the time. If it was we would be shallow, immature, spoiled brats. He says He will never leave us nor forsake us. If we are His, and submit ourselves to Him, He will protect us, provide for us, shield us from the enemy, and lead us to victory over the darkness. He’s done it for me time and time again.
We must get up every morning alert and discerning, praying on the whole armor of God, pleading the blood of Jesus over ourselves and our families, feeding on the Word to build our faith, and then going out into the world armed and ready for the onslaught. (Ephesians 6:10-18) If and when we do all that, we are in a stronger position to face the things that come, and many times to ward them off, with His help. We lower the risk of being blind-sided or feeling hopeless.
The Lord sees your tears, hears your cries and is compassionate. Never doubt that. He is here for you. His arms are out to you, wanting you to trust Him and believe that He is faithful. Tell Him everything---your fears, your anger, your pleas for what seems right. He is listening and He loves you deeply. And, He is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6) Expect good things; expect answers to your prayers. Expect His Presence to flood your soul with peace even when the issue is not yet resolved. That is worth so much!
If you need prayer and would like me to lift your needs to the Lord, please leave me a message on the “contact Nancy” link on this home page of my website. I will be honored to pray for you. You are not alone.
Tribute to Miss Daisy
Grieving takes a lot of energy, draining me for sure. Last night we buried our precious little Daisy dog. Holding her for days as she was fading away took a lot out of my husband and me. We loved her so much. She had been our baby for over fourteen years. What a joy she was! From the time she was only a few weeks old, she was a happy, loving little thing. She absolutely adored everyone she met. Many times I’ve heard people say their dogs are the best examples of unconditional love there is, and Daisy was no exception. She made us laugh and warmed our hearts daily. But, dogs get old, just like people do, and at some point you have no choice but to say goodbye. Sure is hard.
Today I’m thinking about how we love our pets and treasure the joy they bring to our lives. To me, they are gifts from God. He uses their loving ways to soften our hard hearts. On the worst of days when we’re angry or down, here comes that little furry gem to wag it’s tail, give us a kiss or to do something funny to make us laugh. How many times did I come home after a long day and there she was, dancing in circles, deliriously happy to see me, as though it had been days instead of hours.
I wonder why we don’t treat the people we love in the same manner? Of course it’s because people fail us, have their faults, and so on. We just don’t see anything in our pets that’s unforgivable. They occasionally misbehave or disobey, but there’s never any malice. It’s just so much easier to love animals!
So this little message today is for myself. I realize that all the beautiful qualities I can list in my dear little Daisy should be those others could list about me. That will take some effort on my part, where I don’t think it did for Daisy. It came natural to her. I am praying that God will help me to be a person who loves unconditionally, who cheers others up with my joy, and one who never holds a grudge. Maybe I’ll spare my loved ones from me dancing in circles when they arrive at my door, but my attitude can surely convey the same message. Rest in peace, my precious Daisy Joy.
MASKED IN DECEIT by Nancy LaPointe
Voting in the Bookbzz.com Prize Writer Competition
The judges have announced the 10 finalists from each category in the writer's competition! My mystery suspense novel, Masked in Deceit, is in the ten finalists! Now it is open to public vote. PLEASE go to the site and vote for my book. It's quick and easy to do. I appreciate it SO much! If you want to review my book page first, the link to that is: http://bookbzz.com/masked-deceit-nancy-lapointe/
Scroll down to the "Mystery, Detective and Crime" Category. Click on that and it will give you the list of books. Click on "Masked in Deceit" and it will take you to the ballot box to submit.
Can't thank you enough! Winners will be announced on March 5, 2015.
Hugs to all!
I'm so honored to welcome Nan Jones, Author and Blogger, as my Guest this week! I know you will be as inspired by her writing as I have been. Thank you Nan, for sharing what God has put on your heart. - Nancy
And My Restless Heart Stilled....
by Nan Jones
I lay crumpled beneath my blanket. Still. Worn. Depleted. My
spirit sighed with the agony of burdens, with the sorrow of
brokenness. In my stillness I silently screamed to the Lord, Oh
my God! Help me...help me, Lord.
I opened my eyes to face the window. Dawn burst forth with its
glory. Magenta and tangerine ribbons waltzed across the sky
proclaiming God's faithfulness. A cardinal's song broke through
my silence, bringing remembrance that God is good and worthy
to be praised.
From deep in my spirit arose a well-loved psalm. With tears
sliding down my cheeks and dripping onto my pillow I spoke
"Oh God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts
for You; My flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where
there is no water."
I began to praise my Redeemer, to thank Him for who He is. I
thanked Him for His mercy and faithfulness. I thanked Him for
His precious Spirit that enfolds me and shelters me in my pain.
And my restless heart stilled.
Psalm 63 goes on to say, "Because Your lovingkindness is
better than life, my lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless
You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name ...
When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in
the night watches, because You have been my help.
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. My
soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds
me." ~ Psalm 63: 3,4,6-8
The Hebrew word for praise as used in this text is shabach (shah-
vahch) meaning, not only to adore or to glory in something, but
shabach means to still or to quiet. I love that! In Psalms 65:7
and 89:9, the Lord used shabach to calm the tumultuous seas. In
Proverbs 29:11, the word shabach is used to refer to hushing
things stirring within someone's heart.
When I choose to give the Lord praise, regardless of my
circumstances, His peace settles upon me and calms my fears.
Praising Him reminds me who He is and who I am not. Praising
Him ushers me into His Presence where I am comforted and
sheltered beneath the shadow of His wings.
Will you praise Him with me? Will you glory in the Lord your God,
thanking Him and cherishing His magnificent love? His love never
fails. His mercy endures forever.
I'm learning that when it seems my life has been cast onto a
tumultuous sea that threatens to destroy me - I'm learning that
if I will but praise the One who tells that sea how far it can go, I
will find peace.
My restless heart will be stilled.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord.
Nan Jones is an author/speaker who uses the words of her heart to assist fellow Christians in discovering the Presence of God in their darkest hour. Her devotional blog, Morning Glory, has become a place of community for Christians to find encouragement in God’s Word and comfort n His Presence. She has been published in several anthologies as well as the online inspirational sites Christian Devotions, and Inspire a Fire. Nan has also had the honor of being featured as a guest blogger on several sites. She is thrilled to announce her debut book, "The Perils of a Pastor's Wife" which is slated to be released June 30, 2015 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. When Nan is not writing, she enjoys leading prayer retreats, bible studies or sharing God’s love as keynote speaker for special events. She is becoming known by her brand: "Even so, I walk in the Presence of the Lord" as she teaches her audience to go beyond the veil to find God's Presence.
You many visit Nan at her website: www.NanJones.com or her blog, Morning Glory: http://morningglorylights.blogspot.com/.
The winners of the Prize Writer Competition will be announced and televised on World Book Day 5th March 2015
I’m so excited that my novel, “Masked in Deceit” has been named in the finalist choices for the Bookbzz.com competition for 2015! Next week Bookbzz will share a link for readers to vote on the finalists and these votes, along with their judges will decide the winners. I will be so honored if you would respond to that, especially those of you who have told me how much you enjoyed the book. I will be posting the link as soon as it comes out. Masked in Deceit is a Christian based mystery novel. I absolutely love that so many of you have expressed your appreciation for a good, clean suspense story (with a little romance thrown in) that you can enjoy without all the crudeness we so often find in novels. It encourages me to keep writing.
I’m not comfortable with constant selling messages of my books, but once in awhile I do like to share with my readers reminders to give my books as gifts to others or maybe just share on facebook, twitter or other social media. It would encourage me so much and I would definitely do the same for you.
Lastly, I just want to say how much I appreciate those who regularly visit my blog! I don’t see a lot of comments, but the emails you’ve sent and private messages mean so much. I am always here for you should you need prayer or ministry. I am not in this to make a living---but to administer the love of God in any way that I can.
Praying you all have a blessed and joy-filled week!
A new week dawns. Many groan over the Monday morning alarm. It’s often challenging to get back into a routine when you’ve experienced a restful, playful and overall enjoyable weekend. Isn’t there some way to look forward to Monday? Seems it would behoove us all to find that key because most would benefit by finding that one little element that causes us to feel a positive anticipation when the alarm goes off and Monday’s face peeps into the fuzzy blanket of dreams.
I find that on Sunday evening a little cloud begins to emerge. Some tell me they actually get pretty depressed on Sunday nights. What a shame! We waste some valuable weekend time, dreading the new week. There must be a reason that we do that. Don’t many of us have the careers we dreamed of---the job we went for with great gusto? And of course, many do not have that, though it’s a great time to remind ourselves what it would be like without a job when we need one.
As I was perusing facebook comments and memes which always include laments over Mondays, I began to wonder why year after year we don’t conquer that little devil. Is it because we just enjoy complaining about Monday? Maybe. Or, does it run deeper than that?
Maybe we need to have a paradigm shift. We need to take hold of this little rascal of doom and put him to rest for good. Here are a few ideas to help in stopping the dread of Monday.
Ways to Look Forward to Monday:
Make a conscious decision on Friday as you leave work to be positive about Monday. Leave work at work; take a deep breath as you leave. Mentally leave it there.
Before you go, deposit a little encouraging note with your favorite scripture, saying or inspirational words on your desk or somewhere at your workplace to find on Monday morning. C’mon--just try it. You’ll surprise yourself!
Every time you think of work over the weekend, stop and switch gears to focus on being present with family, friends and activities, so that your work energy is stored up for the new week. Your quality of weekend activities will be enhanced as well.
Pray for a love of what you do; that you could perform your duties as unto the Lord, no matter how much a stretch that might seem.
Ask God to give you creative ideas to make your work more meaningful and enjoyable. Be alert and watch for ways God is answering that request.
Evaluate your level of “serving.” Do you have a ‘servant heart’ as we’re taught in scripture? No matter what your level of expertise or power, serving others in some way will bring favor with God and man….and a sense of peace and fulfillment in your heart.
If you are miserable and feel that your career is not what it should be, begin to ask God to move that mountain and position you in the right place of work.
If you have conflict in your workplace, realize that you do not fight flesh and blood, but spirits of darkness. Pray accordingly. One thing I learned through years of office conflicts, is that when I began to pray for my enemies with the right motives, things changed. I changed; they changed. God worked and it was a blessing.
Start your Monday morning with positive affirmations, scriptures, praise music, and determination to see a productive week. Don’t agree with the enemy. Send your agreements into the spirit realm to connect with God’s promises. He wants you to have joy, at home and at work.
Tell yourself that you look forward to Monday because it’s a fresh week with a clean slate. If you’re refreshed from a good weekend, an attitude of gratitude emerges and you become a light in a dark world. Isn’t that what you want?
Work as unto the Lord and as unto men. Whatever you do, workheartily, as for the Lord and not for men,knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24
But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:43-45
So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them? Eccles 3:22
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, Matt 5:44
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12
Welcome to my website!
"Living in God's Rest...At Peace in a Chaotic World" "Masked in Deceit," and Faith's Illusions are all available now. Living in God's Rest can be purchased from any of your favorite booksellers online or in stores. Masked in Deceit and Faith's Illusions, Christian novels, are available from Amazon. All books are offered in ebook versions as well. I always appreciate reviews on the seller's sites. Just click the books below and you will find links to purchase.
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Have a blessed day!