Tuesday, September 16, 2014

In the Presence of the LORD

One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek;
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life
                      Psalm 27:4 NIV 

     I have thought a lot about separation in these months following the death of my sister. Some days I long for her until I think my heart might rupture. Although we lived hundreds of miles apart, one push of her number on my telephone brought her to me as if we sat in the same room discussing life over a diet Pepsi and a cup of coffee.

     The grief process plunged me into a deep well and only now do I feel like someone has thrown me a rope—pulling me slowly toward the light of life and joy. But during these days of intense longing to once again sit in the presence of my sister I cling to the knowledge that I will see her again. I am going where she is!

     Even greater than knowing I will one day be with loved ones in heaven, is the knowledge that I daily live in the presence of my LORD. He never loses my location. His GPS is not obstructed by storms and cloud cover. He never turns His back and walks away from me. His love abides and abounds. His presence is not hidden from me. He is my constant companion.

     He is my fire by night and my cloud by day. The realization that I live in the presence of Almighty God gives peace in the midst of turmoil and joy in the midst of pain. He is my constant companion. I am never alone.

     If I would be granted only one request for my remaining days, it would be this: “That I may dwell in the house of the LORD, all the days of my life.”

Thank God that for His Children that request is already granted for we are forever in His presence. 

© Joyce Powell

Monday, September 15, 2014

Proclaim God's Word

Hear the word of the LORD; O nations,
proclaim it in distant coastlands.
                      Jeremiah 31:10 NIV

     On October 27, 2007, I wrote these words in the margin of my Bible next to Jeremiah 31:10. “I pray for the opportunity to do just that, Father. Amen.”

     Never in my wildest imaginings did I dream that seven years down the road God would have granted me the privilege, via blogs and books, of sending around the world the messages he has placed in my heart.

     Malaysia, Russia, Germany, Ukraine, France, United Kingdom, Poland, Indonesia, Canada, Denmark, Australia, India and dozens of other countries have visited the blog started a couple of years ago. Even in China, God broke through the barriers of government control and allowed a few people to find a message of hope and encouragement.

     Today I am humbly reminded of what I have long believed. NO thing is too big for my God. NO one is too small or insignificant to be used by God. NO powers can stop the Word of God.

     God calls His Children to “Hear the word of the LORD; O nations, proclaim it in distant coastlands.”

© Joyce Powell

Friday, September 12, 2014

Power in the Blood

But if we walk in the light as He is in the light,
we have fellowship with one another, and the
blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us
from all sin.
                              1 John 1:7  NKJV
     My husband recently dropped Mexican food on a white shirt. Ugly. Typically I spray stain remover on a spot, let it set a few minutes, then I throw it in the washer with the other laundry and it comes out clean.
     On this occasion, I was out of stain remover so I rubbed laundry detergent directly on the stain, let it set and then in the washer it went. However, when I took the stained shirt from the washer, the stain was still there. The laundry detergent was no substitute for the stain remover.
     Revisiting that scenario drew my attention to 1 John 1:7. It is the blood of Christ alone that cleanses us from sin. There is no substitute. John 14:6 tells us Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” NIV
     Many religions preach entrance to heaven by good works or tell us God is good and will not send anyone to hell. Some allow prayers for the dead in order that they may obtain heaven. Some have a mediator between God and man to work out the salvation of congregants.
     But the Bible is clear. Jesus Christ is the One and Only way to our Heavenly Father. His blood is the only stain remover for our sin. God cannot look upon the blackness of our sin. So He sent His One and Only Son, Jesus, to cover it with His blood and wash us white as snow—pure and clean.
     The good news is “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13 NIV
     If you have tried the substitutes and found them lacking, call on the name of the Lord. There is saving power in the blood of Christ.

©Joyce Powell

Thursday, September 11, 2014

God is our Refuge and Strength

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though
the earth give way and the mountains
fall into the heart of the sea.
           Psalm 46:1-2 NKJV

     The horror of September 11, 2001, is forever etched in the memories of all who watched as planes flew into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Our eyes watched what our minds could not comprehend. For days, evil encroached into every corner of our lives.
     Along with the evidence of evil, we heard the story of strength and courage as passengers on yet another flight fought their attackers and gave their lives in order to save others as their plane crashed into a field short of its intended target.

     During the days and weeks following September 11th, America came together and prayed. Broken hearts and ruined lives drew people to churches around the nation. Heritage seemed less important than camaraderie as people of all races and ancestry gathered to help others and pray for the families of those thousands who were murdered.

     But, with the passing of time, the spiritual energy faded and for most life returned to normal. Churches once again held empty pews and division by race and politics took on new life.

     Now on each September 11th, we hold our collective breath waiting for the day to end and praying for the safety of our nation. We ask our government to protect us. We fear they cannot. But there is One whom we can turn to in every situation. As a nation, we remembered Him on September 11, 2001. I pray we will come together as a nation once again and remember.

     God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in time of trouble.

©Joyce Powell


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

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

Friday, September 5, 2014

Dying to Live

And they took Uriah from Egypt and
brought him to King Jehoiakim, who
struck him down with the sword and
dumped his dead body into the burial
place of the common people.
                      Jeremiah 26:23  NIV

     Uriah, son of Shemaiah, prophesied in the name of the LORD—in much the same manner as the prophet Jeremiah. He foretold what would happen to Judah if they did not repent and turn from their rebellious ways. When King Jehoiakim heard about Uriah, he sent his Gestapo team to silence the prophet.

     Uriah heard they were coming and fled to Egypt, but that did not stop the king. He wanted Uriah’s head! The king dispatched an extraction team to Egypt. They snatched Uriah and brought him to Jehoiakim. Then King Jehoiakim himself slaughtered the prophet and “dumped his dead body into the burial place of the common people.”

     Century after century those who dared to follow God’s divine call upon their lives have been mistreated at best and often martyred for their efforts to call mankind back to the One and Only Living God. The cruelty devised to end the life of another is more than my mind wants to dwell on or can comprehend. However, since the threat continues on our watch in this time in history, we must not close our eyes and pretend that it is not happening.

     Part of the threat comes from radical groups who simply want to extinguish anyone who does not hold their same radical beliefs. Part of the threat comes from power struggles from country to country. Part of the threat comes from the political correctness movement sweeping across many areas of the world. The threat continues to come in new and hideous ways. It is real, and it is here now!

     We have reaction options. We can choose to become invisible Christians. We can choose to not “rock the boat.” We can choose to live our lives and let everyone else live theirs. We can choose to be part of the problem and not part of the solution. Unfortunately, many have made those choices.

     OR, we can choose to follow the call of Christ to take up our cross and follow Him! That means a “public” profession of our faith in God. That means sharing Jesus with our friends, neighbors and family. That means practicing what we preach (OUCH!).

     As Christians we love to quote our favorite lines: 

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
His grace is sufficient.
Greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world.

     But I have to ask myself, do I really believe those words. Am I willing to put them into action in the face of today’s anti-Christian climate? Am I willing to risk all for Christ?

     My answer has to be yes! After all, what could go wrong? “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain!” Philippians 1:21

©Joyce Powell

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Grace for Living

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