Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Give Thanks

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise!
Give thanks to Him; bless His name!
                         Psalm 100:4 NIV

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving; a holiday beckoning images of family gatherings, turkey and dressing, giggling children, and football while Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade captures the attention of millions of Americans as final meal preparations wind down.

Like many of our national holidays, I’m afraid our day of Thanksgiving has been turned into big business. For retailers, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. For consumers, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of lists made for purchasing the objects of our affection; clothes, electronics, toys.

Tomorrow, many of us will bow our heads at the dinner table and thank God for His wonderful bounty and the good things received over the past year. Many will gather around the table with an empty chair that was occupied by a loved one in previous years. Many will celebrate with a meager meal rather than the abundance of years gone by. Others are homeless and will have nothing with which to celebrate on this day of feasting.

These are difficult times in our nation. But God remains seated on His throne and in control, and His grace still reaches out to the lost of our world. The grace of God is not made ineffective during hard times but rather the very thing to which we can cling for assurance and love and hope.

This Thanksgiving I pray that I and my brothers and sisters in Christ will bow our hearts as we speak of the excellence of our Heavenly Father and focus on the goodness of God. As we thank Him for His bountiful blessings, let us remember that “In Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28 ESV)

This Thanksgiving I give thanks to our Holy God for His Son Jesus who redeemed me from my sin as He sacrificed His life for mine. Grace—no greater gift has ever been given or received. Thank God!

© Joyce Powell

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Memorial Stones

Set up road signs, put up guideposts.
Take note of the highway, the road
that you take.
                  Jeremiah 31:21 NIV

     The words road signs in the NIV and translated waymarks in the KJV mean exactly what they say. The Lord is instructing Jeremiah to inform God’s people that they are going into exile and on the way out they need to set up stones, raised pillars, road signs in order to mark their way home when exile is over.

     This weekend, as I have looked over photos and videos of our military grave markers, I have been reminded that those markers are road signs for Americans. As a nation, we have turned our back on God. Our WWI Veterans are deceased and in 2012 our WWII Veterans were dying at a rate of 670 per day. Korea, Vietnam and all the wars and battles since 1945 have continued to take a toll on the emotional and spiritual well-being of our nation.

     Today, I challenge you to look back across the history of this great nation. Think about the lives lost from the beginning as we struggled for freedom from those who would keep us in bondage—even across the Atlantic. Think about the battle of brother against brother and father against son during the Civil War. Think about the tombstones, marked and unmarked, which are set as road signs across our nation and across the sea.

     If we once again fall into bondage, it will be of our own choosing. For just as the Israelites chose to ignore the prophet Jeremiah who spoke the warning issued by God to the Israelites, many of God’s people in America have become comfortable and lazy—choosing to ignore the neon warning signs now flashing across our land.

     We prefer sermons on grace, love and mercy over calls to repentance, holiness and obedience. In this entertain me age, we have limited our pastors to twenty-minute sermons and taken the blood out of much of the new music. Many of us are no longer fit for duty. We are soldiers in name only.

     I challenge you and myself to stop and think! Look at the spiritual life of our great nation. Compare where we are spiritually against where we need to be. Remember the grave stones set as road signs against the landscape of America. 

     Our freedom has been won and maintained because of the Hand of God. Today, let us choose to raise high the cross of Christ as we turn our hearts back to the God of our Fathers:

God of our fathers, whose almighty hand
Leads forth in beauty all the starry band
Of shining worlds in splendor through the skies
Our grateful songs before Thy throne arise.

Thy love divine hath led us in the past,
In this free land by Thee, our lot is cast,
Be Thou our Ruler, Guardian, Guide and Stay,
Thy Word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.

From war’s alarms, from deadly pestilence,
Be Thy strong arm our ever sure defense;
Thy true religion in our hearts increase,
Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.

Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way,
Lead us from night to never-ending day;
Fill all our lives with love and grace divine,
And glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine.

(George Warren, 1888)

© Joyce Powell

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Never Give Up

Be strong and courageous.
Joshua 1:7a

As a Christian and a writer, there are many days when I wonder if I am impacting anyone for Christ. Satan has a way of planting seeds of doubt and disillusionment in our hearts and minds when we cannot see the work that God is doing on our behalf. In spite of daily efforts to remind myself that I am, to the best of my ability, fulfilling God's calling on my life, doubts still arise.

I know that many of you have had that same experience. Man of you know that you know that you know you are doing the thing God has called you to do yet often good results seem few and far between.

If you are in that place today, remember Isaiah 41:10 "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Keep on keeping on dear friend. "Be strong and courageous..." Joshua 1:7a

Remember: "...If God be for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31b

Never give up on the dreams God planted in your heart. Be strong and courageous. Fear not! Pray! Trust God! He is Able!

© Joyce Powell

Thursday, October 15, 2015

I Am Resolved

"For I resolved to know nothing 
while I was with you except
 Jesus Christ and him crucified."
 1 Corinthians 2:2

"He must become greater.
 I must become less." 
 John 3:30

"I want to know Christ and 
the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings becoming like him in his death."
 Philippians 3:10

Scriptures taken from NIV

Friday, October 9, 2015

For Such A Time As This

For if you remain silent at this time, relief
and deliverance for the Jews will arise from
another place, but you and your father’s
family will perish. And who knows but that
you have come to royal position for such a
time as this?
                                  Esther 4:14 NIV 

     The Bible tells us that the LORD knows when we sit and stand, when we go out and when we lie down, the words we speak before we speak them and that He sees us yet unformed in our mother’s womb ordaining our days before one of them comes to be. (Psalm 139)

     Esther’s uncle Mordecai reminded Queen Esther that what he was asking her to do could be what she had been born to do. Although it could cost her life, she could be the one destined to save her people, the Jews, from annihilation. Esther told Mordecai to have all the Jews in Susa fast for three days then she would go in and stand before King Xerxes. Uninvited by the King, Esther would enter his presence and wait to see if he extended his golden scepter. If he reached out to her, she would live. If he did not, she would die.

     Few of us will be placed in Esther’s position. However, we daily face decisions that can make a difference in our world. As society continues to avalanche towards godlessness we have our own decisions to make—decisions that could make life uncomfortable and dangerous.

     Today we continue to stand face to face with anti-God leadership in the workplace, the government and society in general. While our military chaplains are refused the right to pray aloud in the name of Jesus and our business owners are forced to play the political correctness game or lose their ability to operate their companies, many Christians padlock their lips in fear of being seen as anti-something!

     Perhaps you will be challenged to stand for Christ today. Serving God can sometimes mean that we risk our comfort and our own security. But God has a purpose for each circumstance in which He places us. We need to be ready to unreservedly say yes to God.

     Pray, plan and present yourself to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords as an obedient servant willing to fulfill the destiny God has for your life. You and I were not born into this generation by accident. Never forget—no matter how bad things seem, we were born for such a time as this!

© Joyce Powell

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