Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Jesus Built A Bridge

And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the
mount before the LORD. And, behold, the
LORD passed by, and a great and strong
wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces
the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was
not in the wind: and after the wind an
earthquake; but the LORD was not in the
earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire;
but the LORD was not in the fire: and after
the fire a still small voice.
                       1 Kings 19:11-12 KJV

Barraged daily by television images of hate, evil, and death, our enemy, satan, would like to discourage and intimidate God's Children. But do not be deceived. God is alive and well and in control of this world.
Elijah saw the mountains shake from a mighty wind, the earth quake at the bidding of God, and a fire burn. But God did not speak to Elijah through the mighty, the loud, or the ferocious.
Instead, He spoke in a still small voice.

Today, in our world of constant noise, God continues to speak to His Children in a still small voice. He whispers peace in the midst of chaos. He whispers courage in the face of fear. He whispers joy in the face of sorrow and strength in the face of weakness.

Through His One and Only Son Jesus, God built a bridge that stretches from earth to heaven. It is there, In Christ, we find refuge and peace as we hear the still small voice speaking peace to our souls. Take refuge in Christ today. Do not fear. Do not be troubled. And, do not forget-God is always in control.

© Joyce Powell

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Cry of My Heart

Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
                              Psalm 90:2 NIV

     In the beginning God created. He spoke light, and the light shined. He spoke separations, and the sky appeared. He spoke to the water to gather, and dry land formed. He spoke to the land to bear food, and abundance grew. He spoke the sun, moon and stars into existence to light the world and change the seasons. He spoke to the sea and earth, and living creatures came forth and multiplied. AND THEN…

     The powerful, Almighty, Infinite, Eternal, Holy, Loving, Merciful, Creator God bent down to scoop the soil, form the man, breathe the breath of life and birth a living soul.

     Millennia later He introduced the world to His Son, Yeshua, Emmanuel—Jesus. The Image of the Invisible God. The Bridegroom of the Redeemed. The Door of Heaven, The Good Shepherd, Hope, The Redeemer—Jesus.  

     Over the centuries, many have chosen to know God, the Ancient of Days. Many have chosen to reject God. Christ has been mocked, cursed and vilified. But the gift of redemption, salvation, and the promise of eternal life remain available to all who will come through Christ and accept God’s offered gift.

     Today, my heart cries for the broken who have not yet understood that Jesus mends the broken—restoring and reforming. Today, my heart cries for the hurting who have not yet understood that Jesus comforts the hurting—bringing peace and restoring joy. Today, my heart cries for the lost who have not yet understood that without Jesus there is no hope in this world.

     My heart’s desire is to be like Paul Revere riding the landscape of our nation— spreading the warning to all who might heed. Prepare yourself. Jesus is coming. Remember His words, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) “For as lightening that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matthew 24:27)

     The cry of my heart: Come to the Father through Jesus Christ His Son because when you see Him, it will be too late!

© Joyce Powell

Monday, September 28, 2015

Blood Moon

The heavens display the glory of God
Let all the people praise Him!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Having a Heart Attack

Man looks at the outward appearance,
but the LORD looks at the heart.
                    1 Samuel 16:7 NIV

     Medical research tells us that our body’s system of blood vessels, arteries, veins and capillaries is over sixty thousand miles long—enough to wrap the earth more than twice. Every minute, our heart pumps approximately five quarts of blood—two thousand gallons each day. If our heart stops, we die.

     The Bible tells us that our heart is the seat of our emotions from which we can devise good or evil; filled with love or hate. Our heart can be deceitful (Hosea 10:2) Ezekiel talks about having a heart of stone (Ezekiel 11:19) and in Psalm 86:11, David asks God for an undivided heart.
     Then in Proverbs 4:23, Solomon gives a warning about the heart when he writes, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (NIV)

     Guard, watch, protect, preserve, keep your heart in good working order. It is the “wellspring”—meaning it is the end, the limit, the starting point, the producer of who we are and what we do. Guard it!

     Over a lifetime, many things may attack your heart. Desire can attack your heart and force a decision for right or wrong. Dreams for your future may attack your heart requiring you to choose between God’s path or your own. Emotional pain may attack your heart calling to you to sequester yourself from a world of heartache.

     Heart attacks are satan’s specialty. But God, who formed you in your mother’s womb, who saw your yet unformed body, who ordained the days of your life (Psalm 139) is the same God who causes the heart to pump two thousand gallons of blood each day. He is the same God who connected sixty thousand miles of arteries, vessels, and veins to an organ weighing a few ounces.

     He is the same God who gives us the prescription for surviving and thriving during an emotional or spiritual heart attack: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30 NIV)

     Are you having a heart attack? Trust God! He is the same God who formed your heart, knows your heart and can heal your heart.

© Joyce Powell

Monday, September 21, 2015

To Live is Christ

For to me, to live is Christ and
to die is gain.
            Philippians 1:21 NIV 

     To the atheist, life beyond this earth does not exist. They live with the mistaken belief that power, popularity, pleasure and money can fill the place in their heart that is reserved for God alone. False religion also causes those who do not believe in the one true God to strive for an unattainable goal as they seek the satisfaction that can only be found in following Christ.

     The Apostle Paul lived on both sides of the truth. First, as a devout Jew determined to rid the world of what he considered to be false doctrine spewed by a man named Jesus, he persecuted Christians. Later, after his encounter with the living Christ, he walked, talked, preached, lived and died for the truth of the gospel, the good news—Christ the Redeemer—then Paul became the persecuted.

     Paul wrapped the marching orders for the Christian’s life in one short verse tucked away in a letter to the Christians at Philippi. He began his greeting with “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” and ended with “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” But in between those greetings of grace, his letter contained what may be the most profound statement by any follower of Christ, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

     After his conversion, Paul’s life purpose was marked by his determination to boldly speak the gospel and to become like Christ. It cost him everything—including his life.

     As I think about the life of Paul and other self-sacrificing Christians who down through the centuries have given their all, I understand how spoiled and lazy I, along with many of my fellow American Christians, have become. I see the result of too many years of ease and comfort. I fear the enemy has lulled us into a deep sleep. I understand that satan has coined a new term—politically correct—and many of us fear the consequences of being bold for Christ.

     Every time he spoke the truth of the Gospel, Paul faced the reality of the consequences of being politically incorrect. Yet he spoke out boldly. Why—because, he knew the meaning of real life! Whether he lived or whether he died, he did all to the glory of God.

     I pray that what I believe with my heart will resonate throughout my life and draw others to the foot of the Cross of Christ so that they may know the truth of life in Christ. “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

© Joyce Powell

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Faith is the Victory

When Jesus heard this, he was astonished
and said to those following him, “I tell you
the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel
with such great faith.”
                        Matthew 8:10 NIV 

     Matthew 8 recounts the story of a centurion with faith to believe that Jesus could perform a long-distance healing of his paralyzed suffering servant. He believed all Jesus had to do was speak the word and his servant would be healed. As a result of the centurion’s faith, his servant was healed and the centurion commended by Jesus for his great faith.

      “Indeed, there is nothing God will not do for those who will dare to step out in faith onto what appears to be only a mist. As they take their first step, they will find a rock beneath their feet.” F. B. Meyer

     We often hear the quote, “He is the wind beneath my wings.” True! But, I like this statement by F.B. Meyer. It reminds me that Christ is the rock on whom I stand.

     There have been times in my life when I did not need wind to soar as I could not even get off the ground. Loneliness, inadequacy, the feeling of being forsaken, emptiness of spirit and prayers that seemed to hit the ceiling and bounce back in my face left me with one thing—faith! No matter what my circumstances, I have always known that although I may not feel the presence of God, He remains steadfast and strong and near. I cling to that faith when all else fails.

     One of the advantages of having decades of life behind me is the list of opportunities I have had to see God work. Faith builders! I have seen Him work miracles in the sanctuary as a young woman healed of cerebral palsy rose from her wheelchair and walked to her mother for the first time in years. I have been present when a pastor, after reminding his congregation that they may never have another opportunity to say yes to Christ, walked to the back of the sanctuary and dropped dead.  The church dropped to its knees and after many long minutes of waiting and praying God restored his life. Faith builder! (His wife told him never to use that illustration again!)

     While traveling on our bus during the years of our singing ministry, I heard Him speak to my heart with one word “Pray.” Although I did not know what it meant, I urged my friend to join me in prayer for our traveling safety only to avoid an accident before we could complete our prayers. Faith builder!

     I recognize the love, mercy, grace and hand of God in my life over the years. You do too. These examples are unique to me. I know you have your own. Remember them. Allow them to build your faith. Acknowledge that no matter the circumstances, when you step out in faith believing, Jesus is the rock beneath your feet. He is the Cornerstone of our faith. He is the Rock of our salvation. Jesus never fails!

     The next time you feel defeat headed your way, do not slump down with your head bowed in that defeat. Stand straight and tall and remind yourself that you have faith, and that faith is the victory that overcomes the world.

 ©Joyce Powell

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What Good is Prayer

Devote yourselves to prayer, being
watchful and thankful.
        Colossians 4:2  NIV 

I urge, then, first of all, that requests,
prayers, intercession and thanksgiving
be made for everyone.
         1 Timothy 2:1  NIV 

     E.M. Bounds said, “Prayer should not be regarded as a duty which must be performed, but rather as a privilege to be enjoyed, a rare delight that is always revealing some new beauty.”

     In his letter to the church at Colosse, Paul admonished his brothers and sisters in Christ to devote themselves to prayer. The Greek word for devote conveys the meaning to join, to give attention to, be faithful to, to spend much time together.

     Prayer is not a solitary action. Although we often talk about being alone in prayer, it is always alone with God, the two of us spending time together discussing faith, friends, family, life… As we worship, we can feel His presence. As we confess our sin, we can realize His forgiveness. As we bring our requests to God, we recognize our dependence upon God and become thankful for His goodness, mercy, love and grace. As we wait and listen for Him to speak, He teaches us and pulls us into relationship with Him.

     Prayer draws us close to God. Prayer is our place of power as God hears and answers. Often the change most wrought by prayer is in me as God carefully shapes and forms me into the likeness of Christ.

     Prayer is a delight. It is like wiggling your toes in an icy spring on a hot summer day. It is like a drink of fresh cool water after an extended walk on a dusty trail. It is like the first glimpse of spring flowers after a long gray winter, or first sight of a loved one not seen in years.

     Prayer humbles your heart before God and energizes you for the day’s journey. Time spent with God reassures you that you can make it through the trials of life, joyfully. Through prayer you find the peace that passes all understanding. Through prayer your disappointments become an assurance from God that He is working all things out for your good.

     Prayer allows you the privilege of a glimpse through that heavenly portal into the throne room of God—into the place where God’s glory shines too bright for your human eyes—“a rare delight that is always revealing some new beauty.”

     What good is prayer?

© Joyce Powell