Friday, June 26, 2015

Be a Lighthouse in the Darkness

To my American friends and Christian family:

It matters not to me what the Supreme Court of the United States of America declares. My faith and absolute trust and hope remains firm in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. "In the beginning God created..."

Man can pervert, corrupt, warp, distort and twist God's perfect plan for both the sanctity of human life and the sanctity of one man and one woman wedded in the covenant of marriage, BUT GOD remains in control.

Never before in the history of our nation have Christians had such an amazing opportunity to share the love of a merciful God with our fellow Americans. Take the time to be still and know God (Psalm 46:10.) Pay attention to your God-given opportunities to share the message of the gospel and point the lost to Calvary.

America faces great darkness. As Christians, it is our blessed responsibility to serve as a lighthouse pointing the lost to safety and safe haven.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Confess Your Distress

We are in great distress.
Nehemiah 9:37b  NIV

     Have you ever been in great distress? Maybe that is where you find yourself right now. Broke. Sick. Afraid. Ashamed. Confused. Alone. Perhaps your problems are self-created. Maybe you are concerned about someone you love. Your child. Your husband. Your wife. Your aging parent. A beloved friend. But, whatever the reason, you are in distress!

     That is where the Israelites were in the Book of Nehemiah. Once again, they were reaping the consequences of their disobedience to God. Their city was broken, their community was broken and they were broken. But one man, Nehemiah, became so heartbroken over Jerusalem and the Jews that he determined to make a difference despite every difficulty.

      Nehemiah was a man of prayer. He prayed earnestly for God’s help in repairing the walls of Jerusalem and got much more than he asked for. By chapter nine, the Book of the Law had been read to the people and we find them gathered together in sackcloth and ashes of repentance and humility.

They are confessing their sin to one another and remembering the greatness of Jehovah, The Almighty, the Ancient of Days. By the end of this chapter, they acknowledge their condition to God:
        “But see, we are slaves today, slaves in the land you gave our
        forefathers so they could eat its fruit and the other good things
        it produces. Because of our sins, its abundant harvest goes to the
        kings you have placed over us. They rule over our bodies and our
        cattle as they please. We are in great distress.”  (v 36-37)

     As I jotted down notes from this chapter, I found an outline of encouragement to help me walk confidently through times of distress. I hope it is an encouragement to you:

1.   Separate yourself from the world
2.   Confess your sin
3.   Read God’s Word
4.   Worship the LORD
5.   Praise the LORD
6.   Remember what the LORD has done for you
7.   Remember God is:
a.   Patient
b.   Merciful
c.   Compassionate
8.   Confess Your Distress

PS: Read chapter ten to see what happens next! 

© Joyce Powell

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Prayer is the Key

The prayer of a righteous man is
powerful and effective.
                          James 5:16:b

     A.W. Tozer wrote “When Tennyson wrote More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of he probably uttered a truth of vaster significance than even he understood.”
     In Romans 8 we read that when we pray, the Holy Spirit himself intercedes for us in accordance with God’s will. Hebrews 11:1 explains that faith “is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
    When we combine our faith—our belief, assurance, conviction of God’s omnipotent power and boundless love for His children—with our prayers, we are stepping into the throne room of the Almighty! For it is only by faith that we understand “that the universe was created by the Word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” (Hebrews 11:3)
     It is only by faith that we believe God saved Noah and his family from a flood that destroyed every living thing that remained upon the earth. It is only by faith that we believe Moses led the Israelites out of the land of Egypt and across the Red Sea on dry ground. And it is only by faith that we believe Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died to redeem us from our sins and rose that we might live with Him eternally.
     And it is only because of our faith in a loving, merciful, wise, just, eternal Creator and our belief in His Son that we dare believe our prayers are heard and answered according to God’s will. If we have no faith, we have no reason to pray.
     So the next time you kneel, take a moment to think about this God to whom you pray. See God seated on His throne appearing like jasper with an emerald rainbow encircling His throne.  See the flashes of lightening and hear the rumblings of thunder and see the seven torches of fire and the sea so clear it appears like crystal. See the four living creatures that never cease to say; “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” (Rev 4:8) And see the twenty-four elders as they cast their crowns before the throne of God and praise Him:
     “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Rev 4:11)
     This is our God to whom we pray-in whom we believe! Are you hurting? Pray! Are you ill? Pray! Are you lonely? Pray! Do you lack faith? Pray for faith to believe. Prayer is the key that opens the doors of heaven. If we belong to Christ, we cannot lose the key, we can only refuse to pick up and use the key! The choice is ours. 

©Joyce Powell

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Perfect Peace

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,
whose mind is stayed on thee.
                          Isaiah 26:3 KJV  

     I smiled as I watched our infant
granddaughter sleep peacefully amid the chaos of four siblings running, playing and squealing in delight. I envied her ability to sleep through the sounds of toys being dropped on the tile floor, children running into the furniture and adult conversation buzzing throughout the room.  She slept in perfect peace. A year later, she continues to sleep well in the midst of chaos.

     Modern living challenges followers of Christ to live in peace in the midst of our chaotic world. It is possible. God’s grace is sufficient for peaceful living. The older I grow the more I realize that a daily focus on Jesus Christ is my pathway to perfect peace.

     When the trials and stresses of life in an ever-increasing anti-Christian world press heavy on my heart, I must focus on Christ. When news reports of what is happening to fellow Christians around the world cause my heart to tremble in fear for the things our grandchildren may endure, I must focus on Christ. When I am faced with a loved one who refuses to believe that Jesus is the Only Way to the Heavenly Father, I must focus on Christ.

     The pathway to perfect peace remains the same as when Isaiah recorded these words nearly three thousand years ago, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.” Isaiah 26:3-4 NIV

     Join me today as together we commit our hearts to peaceful living through a constant focus on our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ our Lord.

©Joyce Powell

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

God's Grace is Divine Comfort

When I called, you answered me;
you made me bold and stouthearted.
                    Psalm 138:3 NIV  

     On winter evenings, I find comfort wrapped in a warm blanket given to me by a precious friend. It is light weight, soft and quickly warms me on cold winter nights.

     God’s divine comfort is much like that blanket. He wraps it around me in the midst of heartache and trials, a busy day or an exhausting schedule. When life throws adversity my way, divine comfort comes as I remember that God works out His plans for my life and will bring me through the difficulties I face.

     I am encouraged when I remember in the midst of a broken heart or wounded spirit God’s divine comfort heals our brokenness and binds our wounds. The LORD is good. He is our refuge in time of trouble as He cares for those who trust in Him. (Nahum 1:7 NIV) When we mourn, He is our comfort. When we are weary and burdened, He is our rest. When we are faint of heart, He is our courage. When we do not know what to do or which way to turn, He is our Counselor.

     When turmoil rushes in to ruin our day, He is our peace. When we are weak, He is strong. When we make mistakes, He is our sufficient grace. When we need energy to take the next step, He is our strength to put one foot in front of the other. When we think we cannot accomplish the task He places before us, He is our power to achieve.

     God is Truth so He cannot lie. Therefore, we are secure in His promises—anchored in God through Jesus Christ. And, because He cares for us, we can cast all our care on Him. (1 Peter 5:7 NIV)

     Remembering the bountiful, generous, plentiful, abundant, lavish, luxurious grace of the LORD God Jehovah brings divine comfort. Today, as you face the struggles the world will throw your way, I pray you take the time to stop and feel the soft warm comfort of our Holy God lovingly wrapped around you. 

© Joyce Powell


Monday, May 25, 2015

Joy in Serving

Let this mind be in you,
which was also in Christ Jesus.
           Philippians 2:5 KJV 

Your attitude should be the
same as that of Christ Jesus.
           Philippians 2:5 NIV

This spring our normally dry south Texas soil has been inundated with rain; the draught of the past few years practically erased as our aquifer level has continued to rise and our dry dusty ranch lands shine bright green. Wildflowers cover the landscape in thick bouquets as if to praise their heavenly Master Gardener for the refreshing cleansing rains. And, as for all things longed for, hoped for, and prayed for, we received the rain with grateful hearts.
Recently, however, as the rain continued to fall, our creeks and rivers continued to swell until they overflowed their banks and began washing away everything resisting their encroachment; homes and people swept away by the rushing waters.
Some will undoubtedly wring their hands and blame God. But those who truly know God will find the strength and energy to roll up their sleeves and get to work helping neighbors who now have no resources to help themselves. Those who truly know God will live out the joy of serving; giving of themselves when there is no hope of repayment from those being helped. 
Those who truly know God will put into action the mindset of Christ Jesus who emptied Himself, left His royal diadem, robe, and throne and stepped into the role of servant to extend God’s grace and mercy to those who could not help themselves—you and me.
Today, I invite you to roll up your shirtsleeves and find someone to help as you are reminded by the writing of the Apostle Paul to have the mind and attitude of Christ Jesus and as you discover the joy in serving to the Glory of God.

© Joyce Powell

Saturday, May 23, 2015

A Grace Infusion

But He said unto me, “My grace is
sufficient for you, for my power is
made perfect in weakness…”
2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV 

     In every human heart, there is a longing or desire to be loved, accepted and cared for. That longing seems to grow exponentially during times of distress, grief or tragedy for it is then that we most desire the comfort of another’s touch or a gentle whisper reminding us that we are loved. 

     When we have emptied ourselves of our emotional resources and have chosen to walk through life in a state of numbness—afraid to feel because the pain is too great—we might long for an injection of supernatural energy to help us make it through our day.
     When we have blown it with a friend, made a mistake, broken a promise or ignored a warning to think before we act, we wait for just one person to exhibit mercy rather than judgment. We hunger for, yet often refuse to reach out and accept, the one thing that is immediately available—God’s grace.

     God’s grace is His undeserved favor, unearned blessing and the unmerited outpouring of His tender care. God’s grace lived before the foundation of the world was laid. Before Adam was scooped from the earth, before Eve succumbed to satan’s temptation and before the perfection of the Garden of Eden was lost to sin God’s grace abounded.

     God does His best work in us when we have depleted ourselves of all our resources, physically, mentally and emotionally. When we have exhausted our energy and our strength to fight our battle, it is then that God’s grace can best work in our situation.

     Remember, when we are at our worst it is the perfect time to recognize God at His best. When we are weak, He is strong. When we have no answers, He has all the answers. When we are sick, He is the Great Physician. When we are financially broke, He is the Great Provider. When we are broken hearted, He is the Great Comforter.

     His grace is sufficient. It is not only sufficient, but it is abundant. It is not only sufficient, but it is overflowing. It is not only sufficient, but it is abounding and beyond any reasonable expectation. It is not only sufficient, but it is available right now. Are you weak? He is strong, and He is willing and ready to give you a grace infusion.

© Joyce Powell