Archive for February, 2008

Forgive Everyone

Friday, February 29th, 2008

“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.” Ephesians 4: 26, 27 King James Version

In the last eight months, I have received three emails from people who said”I am having trouble forgiving people”. I used to have the same problem. It was very difficult for me to forgive people who had hurt me so much when I was younger. Until one day, God spoke to my heart and said”The reason why you are having trouble forgiving people is because you have not fully accepted My forgiveness for your sins”.

When He said that, I realized that indeed it was true, I had not fully accepted His forgiveness in my heart. It is very easy now to forgive people who hurt me because I know that He forgives me when I hurt Him. How can I not forgive others when He forgives me over and over. Now when someone hurts me I get upset, but I don’t stay angry with the person like I used to do.

One night when I was praying and asking God to please help me forgive a man who had hurt me deeply, He said”I will help you, but there is someone else you need to forgive. You haven’t forgiven everyone”. I thought and thought and couldn’t think of anyone else that I was upset with except that man.

God told me to keep searching my heart because I needed to forgive this other person. I tried to remember who else I needed to forgive. I kept searching my heart for about eight hours and couldn’t think of anyone else that I should forgive. I finally said”God, please tell me who I need to forgive”. He spoke to my heart in a tender, compassionate voice and said”You need to forgive yourself”.

Jesus died for us as well as for the people who hurt us and He loves us just as much as He loves the people who hurt us. So, yes, we do need to forgive ourselves. Have you ever noticed that we are sometimes harder on ourselves than anyone else? I am a perfectionist. If it isn’t done right the first time, then I feel like I have failed. However, that is just another trick of satan to discourage me.

If you will read the Scripture verses for today again, you will see where God said”Neither give place to the devil”. When we don’t forgive ourselves that opens the door for satan to throw more of his fiery poisonous darts of humiliation and criticism at us. I used to have a terrible temper before I was saved and it took Jesus working in my heart many times to give me a sweet disposition.

Last night I got upset with someone. I didn’t say or do anything unkind to this person. However, I had some unkind thoughts about this person for six hours. Finally, I asked God to help me forgive this person as it was very difficult for me to do it right then. You see, the person I was upset with last night was myself. I had made a decision without consulting God first and it was the wrong thing to do in that particular situation.

If you haven’t forgiven yourself, then you haven’t forgiven everyone. When we don’t forgive ourselves, we can not be effective witnesses for Jesus. When we share the good news of our risen Saviour, we should do it from a heart that is full of joy and happiness. If we haven’t forgiven ourselves, the ones we are witnessing to will not see the joy of Jesus in our eyes and in our expressions.

Have you fully accepted God’s forgiveness? If you haven’t, then ask Him to help you understand that He really has forgiven you and will not hold your past sins against you. Thank God for our loving Saviour who set the example for us when He forgave from the old rugged cross. Father, please help us to forgive others who hurt us and help us to forgive ourselves. Amen.

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe

What is Your Secret?

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

"The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee."
Jeremiah 31:3 King James Version

Someone said to me "I have known you for three years and I know that you don’t have a lot of money and that you are in a lot of pain because of your arthritis but you always seem to be happy. What is your secret?" Everything this person said is true. I don’t have much money and I do have arthritis but I know that Jesus loves me and that knowledge keeps me going in the midst of pain and difficulties. To know that the Saviour of the world loves me fills me with so much joy and happiness that I can barely contain it.

There are times that I am so overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation for Jesus and for the sacrifice that He made for me on that cruel cross of Calvary that tears roll down my cheeks. Then there are times that I just have to raise both of my hands toward heaven and shout because I can’t contain my joy when I realize anew that Jesus loves me. My secret, and yet it is not a secret, is that Jesus loves me with an everlasting love and with lovingkindness He drew me close to His compassionate and tender heart.

Twenty five years ago, I crawled underneath a bed in a mental hospital because I was afraid of everyone and everything. I had no desire to live. I had been told so many times by so many people that I was useless and no good and didn’t have a right to live that I started believing it. No one had ever told me that Jesus loved me so I had no hope at all.

I couldn’t go to Jesus in the depressed state that I was in, but with lovingkindness He came to me and drew me close to His tender heart. He put His arms of unconditional love around me and lifted me up from under that hospital bed. He sat me on His lap of love and He has never let me go. Is it any wonder that I say, and will say as long as I have breath, there is no one like Jesus? No one loves us like our Heavenly Father and Jesus loves us. What a privilege to be loved by the Saviour of the world.

It is no secret that Jesus loves us. Jesus has told us over and over again in His love letter to us, the Bible, how much He loves us. He proved His love for us when He died for our sins on the cross. Oh dear friends, you are loved by the Saviour of the world. He cares about you. He weeps when you are hurting and He rejoices when you are happy.

I tell you on the authority of the Word of God that Jesus loves you unconditionally. There is absolutely nothing that you can do that would make Him stop loving you. You might hurt Him and break His heart but He will still love you. Do you love Him? If so, what are you doing to prove to Him that you love Him?

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe

We Must Set the Example

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6 King James Version

When I was in Wal-Mart yesterday morning, I saw six teenage girls. They were nice looking girls and they appeared to be good friends. They were laughing about something when all of a sudden, their laughter stopped as I overheard ones of the girls tell her friends "My mom gave me a big lecture last night about the danger of doing drugs for almost three hours but she has been smoking and getting drunk ever since I can remember so why should I listen to her? What right does she have to tell me not to do drugs when she smokes and drinks? Sometimes, I feel like running away and marrying the first boy I see just to get out of my house and away from all the yelling and fighting that my parents do constantly."

I am reminded of my own Mother who used to tell me "Don’t do as I do; do as I say". This impressionable teenage girl was being told not to do something by her mother, yet she sees her mother doing something that she should not do. It’s no wonder at all that our teenagers rebel and won’t listen to us. How dare we, as parents, tell our children not to do things that are not good for them when they see us doing things that are not good for us?

We must set the example for our children by the way that we live our lives. If we want our children to be kind and loving, then they need to see us being kind and loving. If your children hear you say criticizing remarks about your pastor and the way the pastor preaches, your children will not respect your pastor and one day you will hear your children criticizing your pastor.

May God forgive us for not being the example to our children that Jesus has commanded us to be. Jesus has told us and the Bible also makes it very clear that we should "train up a child in the way he should go". How do we train our children? We train them by setting the example for them. If you don’t want your children to smoke, do drugs and drink alcohol, then don’t you do these things. If you don’t want your children to be disrespectful to your spouse, then don’t let them hear you criticize your spouse.

We are living in a society that is filled with violence. Children are living in fear of being injured or killed when they go to school. It is time that America wakes up and becomes involved actively in the welfare and safety of our children. If we would stop spending money on things that we do not need and invest that money in the protection and welfare of our children, there would probably be less teenagers quitting school.

Most of us come in contact with children so we too are responsible for setting a good example. One day, every person who has ever come in contact with children will stand before a Holy God and give an account of the way he or she treated the children and what kind of example he or she set for them. If we see children in the store and they smile at us or say hello, we need to smile back and say hello to them. What kind of example are you setting for your children and for all the other children that you come in contact with?

Remember, Jesus loves children and He is very protective of them. When you hurt a child, it really upsets Him and you hurt Him also. When your children talk about you to their friends, are they bragging on you or are they criticizing you? Jesus tells us how to live but He first set the example Himself. Again, what kind of example are you setting for your children?

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe

One on One

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

"But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children." 1 Thessalonians 2:7 King James Version

Many years ago when I was hospitalized for suicidal feelings, the doctor decided that I needed a one on one situation. What that means is that the head nurse assigned a nurse to watch me constantly. That nurse even went with me when I went to the bathroom to make certain that I didn’t hurt myself.

A light was kept on in the big bedroom that I shared with several other girls at night so that the nurse could watch me to make certain that I was breathing. As the shifts changed in the hospital, the head nurse of the new shift would assign a nurse on that shift to watch me.

That one on one situation used to really bother me as I like my privacy. In fact, I became very angry and demanded that they stop watching me. However, they felt justified in continuing the one on one situation as they knew that I was suicidal. It was very difficult to sleep when I knew that someone was watching me all the time. It was also extremely embarrassing to go to the bathroom when someone was watching me. The nurse didn’t just go into the big bathroom with me; she went into the little stall with me.

If ever we needed one on one situations, where people watch and pray for other people to make certain that they don’t hurt themselves or get in trouble, it is now. We should encourage other Christians to stay out of places that will hurt them and hurt Jesus and bring shame to Him. It makes satan very angry when people accept Jesus as their personal Saviour.

As soon as we accept Jesus as our personal Saviour, satan begins to attack us with everything he can. We didn’t have to worry about attacks from satan before we were saved because he had us right where he wanted us. Our hearts were full of sin so satan didn’t need to attack us. However, when Jesus cleanses our hearts with His redeeming atoning blood, satan realizes that we are no longer on his side.

We read in the Bible "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5: 8). I believe with all of my heart that if every person who claims to be a Christian would adopt another Christian in his or her heart and encourage them constantly, we would have a support system that this world has never known.

Jesus has told us that we are to be encouragers to one another and to pray for each other. He has not been here for over two thousand years so we, as Christians, need to reach out and hug people and encourage people and love them to Jesus. There may come a time in your life when you need someone to encourage you.

Someone sent me an email several months ago and told me "I am hurting so much that I can’t read my Bible or even pray". This person needs another Christian that will watch her, pray for her and encourage her constantly. Where we make our mistake is in thinking that people don’t need encouragement because they have it all together.

Joyce Landorf Heatherley, a well known Christian author and speaker, says on one of her teaching tapes as she is talking about the people we sit next to in church "They look fine and they look darling, but inside they are dying". Even though I have never had the privilege of meeting Joyce, I love her and feel like she is a close friend because she has been a source of comfort and encouragement to me many times while listening to her tapes.

What about our pastors and their spouses? I believe that we need to be there for them and encourage them. They deal with situations many times that we never hear about. They also have heartaches and crises in their own lives. When our pastors and their spouses constantly give of themselves, it is very draining. There comes a time when our pastors and spouses need people to encourage them.

Are you willing to be an encourager in a one on one situation for another Christian? Yes, it will interrupt your schedule and take a lot of time but think of the people you can encourage. Isn’t that what Jesus does for us? He not only died for us; He gives us all of His time and constantly encourages us and tells us that He is here for us. Will you answer the call of Jesus and become an encourager to people in a one on one situation?

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.

No Greater Friend

Monday, February 25th, 2008

"As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:9-13 King James Version

Two years ago, I received an email from a person who was extremely upset and whose heart was breaking. The person told me "I made a bad decision and someone who I thought was my best friend turned away from me. I am devastated". I submit to you on the authority of the Word of God that there is no greater friend than Jesus.

Jesus proved His amazing and unconditional love for us and that He is our best friend when He allowed them to crucify Him on that cross of horror and torture. Jesus willingly went to the cross and died for us. There is nothing that could have kept Him on that cross of anguish and indescribable pain if He had wanted to come down. He went to the cross and He stayed on the cross because He loves us so much.

I think that sometimes we forget that Jesus has commanded us to love one another as He loves us. Loving one another is not an option; it is a commandment. We are to love one another unconditionally as Jesus loves us. I wonder how many of us would be willing to die for a friend. We may say that we would, but would we actually do it? We may never be put in a position where we will literally have to die for someone to prove our love, but there are other ways to prove our love for our friends.

When we go out to eat, we don’t always have to go to the restaurant that we like; we can go to the one that our friend likes. We can be quiet when our friend says something to us that hurts us. There are many little things that we can do to prove our love to our friends. If you are having difficulty thinking about things to do for your friends, ask Jesus to give you ideas about what you can do. He knows how it feels to have everyone leave you. He has felt the pain that we feel when our friends hurt us and leave us. Indeed, there is no greater friend than Jesus.

If you are hurting because you feel that your best friend has deserted you in your hour of need, tell Jesus all about it. He already knows but He wants you to talk to Him about it. He will be faithful to comfort and encourage you. Jesus is the best friend that you will ever have. He will never leave you, not even for one minute. Thank You, Jesus, for loving us unconditionally and for never leaving us.

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe

The Book of Freedom

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

"Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
John 8:31-32 King James Version

I receive a lot of emails from people who tell me that they feel like they are locked up in a prison. Some say they feel trapped in marriages with spouses who are abusive to them. Others say that they feel locked up in their emotions. I submit to you on the authority of the Word of God that "the truth shall make you free".

The truth is that Jesus loves you so much that He willingly walked that long and lonely road to Calvary to die for you on the old rugged cross. There is no greater love than the love of our Heavenly Father and our precious Saviour. Even if your marriage is the most wonderful marriage on earth, the love of your spouse for you is nothing compared to the love that God and Jesus has for you. They love you unconditionally no matter what you do. You are so precious to them.

We are instructed in the Bible to be peacemakers. No where in the Bible does it say that we are to be doormats for people to walk all over us. We read in the Bible "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men" (Romans 12: 18). We need to realize that we can’t change anyone’s heart. Three years ago, when God first gave me the ministry of writing devotions I received an email from someone who said "My husband beats me every day. I have left him twice but I always come back because basically he is a good person and I keep thinking if I love him enough, he will change and stop beating me."

I am not a counselor; I am a missionary. I did not know how to reply to this person so I contacted one of my pastor friends. The pastor told me to copy and paste what he told me and put it in the email to the person so I did that. The pastor told the person "God loves your husband more than you could ever love him so your theory that if you love him enough he will change is incorrect. Sometimes we try to take over God’s job and change people and by doing so we get in the way and hinder God from working in the person’s heart and life. If your husband hits you again, I advise you to leave the house and tell him that until he gets help, you will not come home. However, you need to keep praying for him that God will soften his heart".

No, we don’t have to live in fear of anyone or anything. We have been set free by the atoning cleansing blood of Jesus which He shed for us when He was crucified. "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (John 8: 36). Not only did Jesus set us free from our sins; He set us free from the bondage of satan and this world.

If you are in a situation that makes you feel like you are locked up in a prison, go to Jesus. Tell Him all about it. He already knows how you feel but He wants you to talk to Him about it. Allow Him to comfort you, encourage you and heal your broken heart as only He can. Above all, don’t willingly subject yourself to be beaten by an abusive spouse or anyone else. Jesus died for your freedom. He paid an agonizing price for your freedom, His own blood. Walk in the freedom that Jesus bought for you that dark and terrible day when He hung on that cross.

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.

It’s Too Loud

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

"For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not." Isaiah 30: 15 King James Version

I usually have my radio on listening to Southern Gospel music which is my favorite kind of music. However, I have been having a lot of headaches lately. I’m not sure if they are stress or sinus headaches. All I know is that when my head is hurting, I can’t stand any noise. I turn my radio on every morning and the music hurts my head so I have to turn it off.

My sister and brother-in-law gave me a beautiful wall clock that has a picture of Jesus. I love it, however even the ticking of that battery operated decorative wall clock sounds like a roaring cannon. I have had to take the battery out of the clock until the headaches go away. Wouldn’t it be wonderful it we could take the batteries out of people who are criticizing, accusing and judging us? We can’t do it, but I know the one who can and His name is Jesus.

No, we can’t take the batteries out of people who are so loud with their disapproval of us. However our precious Saviour can do anything. He can melt their hardened hearts so that they no longer criticize and judge us. The noise of their accusations, their criticism and their sarcasm is very loud at times. So loud, in fact, that there are times that we can’t hear anything else.

So often, in our feeble attempts to escape from the pressures of this life, we try to drown out the loud noise of accusations, criticism and sarcasm of people in alcohol or drugs. It hasn’t worked and it never will work. Only our precious Saviour can give us the peace and rest that our hearts so desperately need. Jesus tells us that we need to return to Him so He can give us rest. He also tells us that He will save us from all of the noise and chaos of our busy lives when we enter into His haven of rest. We stay so busy with the schedules and demands of our lives that we don’t make the time to rest in the loving arms of Jesus.

We take vacations to get away from everything and rest and regroup. If we take vacations to rest our physical bodies from work, we should realize that it is far more important for us to rest our hearts in Jesus. He will be faithful to put His arms of understanding, unconditional love and rest around us. He will renew and refresh our hearts from the poisonous barbs of satan and the world.

If the noise of people who criticize you, accuse you and judge you is too loud, run into the arms of Jesus who is our haven of rest. Thank God for our haven of rest. Thank God that we have a place of refuge in the loving arms of our precious Saviour. He not only saves our souls; He saves us from the attacks of satan and the world. Allow Jesus to quiet your heart and give you peace instead of turmoil. He will once again set you on the mountain tops of happiness.

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.

What is Sin?

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

"Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." James 4:17 King James Version

I received an email from someone who asked me "What is sin?" We read in our Scripture verse for today, "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." So often we point a criticizing finger at other people when we should be pointing that finger at ourselves. We are the ones who put labels on sins. We say that one sin is worse than another sin. God does not put labels on sin. To Him, sin is sin. Jesus died for the person who hurts someone deliberately as well as for the person who kills someone.

We know that we should not say and do things deliberately that we know will make our spouses, our families, our loved ones and friends upset, yet we do and say them anyway. Since we know that we shouldn’t do them, when we do them, we are sinning. We should not start an argument, yet often we do it when we can’t get our own way.

I know of two couples who actually got so angry over who had control of the remote for the television that one of the spouses slept on the couch for several days. How sad, dear people, that we would value our television set and the remote control over our spouses. How we must break the heart of our precious Saviour.

The majority of the television programs that the stations are broadcasting now are not programs that people who claim to be born again through the precious atoning blood of Jesus should be watching. It is very rare to find a program that does not have either sexual scenes, violence, cursing, or downright filth.

We wonder why our children grow up to be disrespectful to us and to their teachers and to authority. It is because of the things that have been burned into their minds and hearts through the television. Instead of our children having the love of Jesus in their hearts, they have hatred and disrespect for their parents and for authority. It is no wonder at all that our teenagers give in to peer pressure. They see people taking drugs and drinking alcohol on television so they have the mistaken impression that it is okay to do drugs and drink alcohol.

May God forgive us for allowing our children to watch things that not only hurt them, but bring disgrace to our Saviour. One day, we as parents, will stand before a Holy God and give an account of why we allowed our children to spend most of their time in front of the television set. May God have mercy on us.

Jesus has told us that we are to spread His unconditional love to everyone we meet and when we don’t do it, we are sinning. We are to be an encouragement to one another and pray for one another and when we don’t do these things, according to our Scripture verse, we are sinning because we know to do them.

I challenge all of us, including me, to pray more, encourage more and love more. Not only will we be obedient to Jesus, we will make Him happy. Making Jesus happy should be the top priority in every Christian’s life. If it isn’t, then we need to do a heart checkup and see if we really do love Jesus.

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.

No One is Perfect

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

"The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands." Psalm 138:8 King James Version

I have received several emails from people who have told me how wonderful I am. While it is always nice to hear kind and encouraging words, and all of us need to hear kind and encouraging words, I am not perfect. I make mistakes and sin just like everybody else does.

Yesterday, I lost my temper and had to ask God to forgive me. I have been dealing with a business for almost two weeks and was not getting any results or even any replies. I actually yelled at the person and slammed the telephone down as hard as I could.

As soon as I did it, I was ashamed of myself and asked God to forgive me. Don’t start judging me because as long as we are on this earth, we will make mistakes and we will sin. I am so grateful that we have a merciful Heavenly Father who understands and forgives.

I told all of those people who emailed me saying how wonderful I am to keep their eyes on Jesus, not on me. It is very dangerous to take our eyes off of Jesus and put them on a person. The greatest Christian you know is only human and sins just like you do. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus. No one is perfect. There was only one perfect person who has ever lived or ever will live and His name is Jesus.

As soon as you realize that you have sinned, ask God to forgive you. Don’t allow satan to put a guilt trip on you. That is just another sneaky attack that he uses to discourage and defeat us. The longer you wait to ask God to forgive you, the longer satan has to discourage and defeat you. It would make satan very happy to see us walking around discouraged and defeated. When satan tries to tell you how terrible you are, tell him that God has forgiven you and that your sins are under the blood of Jesus. Then thank God for His understanding, mercy, grace and forgiveness.

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.

Never the Same

Monday, February 18th, 2008

"While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease."
Genesis 8:22 King James Version

I told a friend of mine yesterday afternoon while I was talking to her on the telephone that the weather where I live has been so hot for two days this week that I was able to open my windows and wear summer clothes. Then the weather turned cold again. Jesus tells us that we will always have cold and heat and summer and winter. However, sometimes we have days when it is hot enough in the winter to open the windows.

The weather is unpredictable despite the best efforts to predict it. We can predict the weather but God controls the weather. Sometimes in our eagerness to predict things, we forget that God controls everything. We need to be very careful that we don’t say that things will be a certain way for sure because only God knows what is going to happen with the weather and other things.

The same is true with our lives. We can have day after day of calm, peace and happiness in our hearts when all of a sudden; satan once again hurls his poisonous barbs of sarcasm and criticism. Once again we have broken hearts and our lives are full of turmoil and crises. As long as we are on this earth, we will always have cold and heat, summer and winter, peace and chaos and heartaches and happiness.

What it really comes down to is that we need each other. We must be an encouragement to each other. Where we make our mistake is not being an encouragement to each other on a consistent basis. We get so involved with our daily lives and schedules that we forget to call or email someone and say "I’m here for you." This is just another trick of satan to keep us from having peace in our lives. We must always be aware that satan wants to discourage us from serving Jesus. It makes satan very angry when he sees how happy we are and he will do his best to cause conflict and chaos in our marriages, in our homes and in our friendships.

No, the weather never stays the same just as our lives never stay the same. However, I have good news for you. We read in the Bible "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever" (Hebrews 13: 8). Our precious Saviour never changes. He is the same today as He was yesterday and He will be the same tomorrow as He is today.

He will never leave us, not even for one minute. He will be faithful to take our hands and walk with us through the dark valleys. He will always bring us through the valleys victoriously. He will once again set us on the mountain tops of peace and happiness. What a precious, loving Saviour we serve! There is no one like Jesus! No one loves us like our dear Heavenly Father and our precious Saviour!

If today you are walking through the dark valleys of loneliness, despair, heartaches and uncertainty, place your hand in the hand of Jesus. He will once again fill your heart with peace, joy, happiness, excitement and a determination to go on no matter what comes your way. Don’t let satan discourage and defeat you. Allow Jesus to take all of your heartaches and burdens away. Jesus is waiting to hold you close to His heart of compassion. Go to Him right now and you will stop hurting.

Copyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.