Archive for December, 2008

No Busy Signal

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

“Thus saith the Lord the maker thereof, the Lord that formed it, to establish it; the Lord is his name; Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” Jeremiah 33:2-3 King James Version

Yesterday I tried to call a friend of mine who lives in Canada and received a recording saying “All circuits are busy now.” This happened several times in a row. Jesus is saying to us “Call unto me, and I will answer thee.” There are no busy signals when we call Him and we are never put on hold. He is always available to us twenty four hours a day. The question we need to ask ourselves is “Are we available to Him twenty four hours a day?”

Many times we make plans without asking Him if they are what He wants us to do. He said that He will show us great and mighty things that we don’t know about. I think many times we fail in what we try to do because we have not sought His will for our lives. Unless we pray constantly for and about the ministry that He has entrusted to us, we will fall short of what He wants us to do. This is also true in our personal lives and with our jobs.

Does Jesus get a busy signal when He calls you? Do you put Him on hold? Do you let the answering machine take His call? What a sad commentary it is on those of us who claim to be Christians that we don’t answer Him immediately when He calls us. We hurt Him and break His heart many times because we don’t respond when He calls us. May God forgive us and have mercy on us. The next time Jesus calls you, answer right away and be obedient to what He tells you to do.

JoanneCopyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission.

How is Your Attitude?

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

My family and I took a day trip last week. As we drove to our destination, an 18-wheeler truck drove behind us, leaving a distance of less than two car links between our vehicles. The four-lane highway, like many of us, is under construction. Workers with orange vests, cement trucks, large construction trucks were lined up on both sides of the road. In other words, this highway is a very dangerous stretch for more than ten miles.

Each time we’d cautiously speed up to allow more room between our car and the 18-wheeler tailgating us, the trucker speeded up too.

“Why doesn’t that jerk just pass us?” I blurted out to my husband.

Hubby replied, “Oh honey, it’s too dangerous for him to pass us in the left lane, he might hit a worker on the center median.”

“Well, he may not hit a worker,” I said, “but he’s going to run into the back of us soon,” I said.

I looked out the back window again, and noticed the creep had inched even closer to us. Without consulting my husband, I lowered my window and stuck my head out, motioning with my hands to back off. The disrespectful, careless truck driver flashed an evil grin and just waved back at me.

Even in my highway wind tunnel, I heard my daughter loud and clear as she yelled “Mother, what were you thinking? Get your head back in the car. You’re only going to make that guy angry.”

Hmm, guess my response was not the best. Not to mention my windblown hair looked like an “afro do” from the 70s. Ah, you got me: My attitude toward the truck driver was less than Christ like. Ouch.

I doubt seriously that this dude saw Christ in me. What he saw was a crazy lady. I’ve told you many times that I’m a work-in-progress and that God ain’t done with me yet. And so it is with you.

Jesus always maintained a perfect attitude in every situation because He prayed about everything and worried about nothing. Prayer was His lifeline. Jesus never became defensive, discouraged, or yelled at people from a mountaintop. In the midst of trials, He was patient. In the midst of suffering, He was hopeful. In the midst of blessing, He was humble. Even in the midst of ridicule, abuse, and hostility He “made no threats . . . and did not retaliate. Instead He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly” (I Peter 2:23).

We are to be imitators of Christ in all things, including our attitudes. Jesus taught us that we can’t control what happens to us, but we can control our response.

Ten minutes after the crazy lady episode, the construction zone dangers were behind us. As the truck driver finally passed us in the left lane, I noticed a bumper sticker on the back of his 18-wheeler that read: “How’s my driving?”

I’m thinking these kinds of drivers need a bumper sticker that reads: “How’s my attitude?”

I know what you’re thinking. Duh, Jan, you need this bumper sticker too. I agree with you, and if I see one I’m buying it.

Okay, I’ve learned a valuable attitude lesson. How about you? How’s your attitude?

Copyright 2008 by Jan Coates, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Jan Coates is an author, speaker, consultant, founder of Set Free Today Ministries and serves on the Board of Directors of Christians in Recovery®.

The Right Ingredients

Monday, December 29th, 2008

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13 King James Version

I was hungry for a salad and had all the ingredients to make the salad but I didn’t make it until the next day. All day long, I wanted that salad because I knew how delicious it would taste yet I didn’t make it until the next day. We do the same thing with God at times. He has already given us all the ingredients to live a victorious and happy and peaceful life yet we don’t always use the ingredients He has given us.

If you will read Ephesians chapter six, you will find that He has given us instructions on how to have less stress and heartaches yet there are times when we don’t put on the whole armour of God. It is never His fault when we have a bad day. If we fail to put on the whole armour of God when we wake up, it is our fault, not His fault. There are things that come our way that we can’t do anything about but we can go to Him and ask Him to please help us through them.

Are you using the ingredients God has provided for you to live a happy life? No matter what comes our way, if we have accepted Jesus as our personal Saviour we will never be alone because our precious Saviour has promised us that He will never leave us, not even for one minute. As soon as you wake up in the morning, even before you get out of bed give your day to God. Ask Him to please protect you and lead you. You will find you will have a much better day but even more important you will make Him happy because you spent time with Him.

JoanneCopyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission.

God’s Bodyguards

Friday, December 26th, 2008

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. Ephesians 6:18 King James Version

Just as the president has bodyguards for protection so God’s children have bodyguards to protect them. If you are a born again Christian, if the blood of our Saviour has been applied to your heart for the forgiveness of your sins, God has assigned you the task and the responsibility of protecting and praying for other Christians.

It is very important that Christians work together as a team. I believe if all Christians would be in unity and love one another unconditionally regardless of what church they attended, we would have enough Holy Spirit power flowing through us to put out the fiery darts of satan. Have you ever seen a picture of firemen putting out a fire? It is not just one fireman holding the hose; there are several of them holding the hose because it is so heavy.

When Christians unite together in heart and purpose, God acts. We read in the Bible “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18: 19, 20).

What would happen if we all went to the same church? I believe that the Holy Spirit would move in such a powerful way in our hearts and lives that Jesus would have tears of joy in His eyes. Are you helping other Christians hold the hose of protection against satan? Are you one of God’s bodyguards?

JoanneCopyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission.

You are Always There

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:20 King James Version

When our hearts are breaking and it feels like everyone has left us, Jesus is still with us. There are times in all of our lives when the storms of criticism, heartaches, rejection, ridicule and discouragement overwhelm us and we don’t think we are going to make it. Jesus has given us good news. He has promised us that He will be with us even unto the end of the world.

Not only will He be with us to the end of the world; we will also be with Him in Heaven for all eternity if we have had His cleansing and atoning blood applied to our hearts for the forgiveness of our sins. Thank God for a Saviour who is always there for us. His compassion and unconditional love for us will never end. He loved us as much yesterday as He does today and He will love us as much tomorrow as He does today.

Thank You, Jesus, that You are always there for us. Thank You for loving us and for caring about us. May we always be there for You. Thank You so much for dying for our sins on the cruel cross of Calvary. Indeed, there is no one like You, Jesus. I love You with all of my heart and I appreciate everything You have done for me.

Jesus is there for you whenever you need Him. Are you there for Him when He needs you? Do you thank Him daily for His companionship and concern for you? He is always there for us and it is time that we are there for Him. What a Saviour! What a friend, this Jesus of Nazareth!

JoanneCopyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission.

From Victim to Victorious Difference Maker

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Compassion, and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

You can not always control situations or people, but you can most definitely control your attitude toward those situations and people.

I learned this the hard way. I grew up in a totally dysfunction family. My saving grace was my Dad–a godly man and my life-long hero. He owned his own business, worked hard, and contributed to the greater good. Dad’s actions, words, and deeds taught me that I couldn’t control many things in life, but I could never give up.

His positive attitude was contagious. His strength and faith in me helped me grow as a person.
At 19, I found myself divorced. The only good thing that came from that marriage was my son, Chris. To use a cliché, Chris was the wind beneath my wings. He taught me how to live, how to laugh, and how to love, and most of all he loved me without expectations of performance. We were as one. We did everything together: showed horses, fished, went to movies, wrote songs, and hung out with my dad. We were as one.

When I realized that I needed an education and good job to buy a home and pay for groceries, I worked two jobs while I went to college at night.

I finally graduated after years of blood, sweat and tears. I built a nice home on 20 acres just outside of Kansas City. I had great clothes. I climbed to the top of the corporate world and was recognized as one of the nation’s top successful women.

After living the life of divorced mom for many years, I married my husband Bill. Oh, we were a happy family… Until, a drunk driver killed Chris in 1982.

My life—the wind beneath my winds—was gone.

Now I’ve lived through some horrific, pain-filled experiences in my life, but losing my only child. It was as though a jagged piece of glass had ripped every seam from my heart. I didn’t want to live. My heart and soul were completely shattered and my “happy family” was destroyed.

As you can imagine, I felt like I too had died.

My husband, Bill, and I turned to other broken people—those who had lost loved ones, people who had been physically crippled for life–individuals who knew the life-changing heartbreak caused by a drunk driver. Together, we founded the Kansas City Heartland Chapter of MADD–Mother’s Against Drunk Drivers.

I’m sharing this with you because in every situation in life, we have choices. In my situation, I could have remained a victim and allowed my revenge, rage, and brokenness to keep me hostage and eventually destroy me and everyone I came in contact with.

It was no cakewalk, but we—the MADD group—spoke before senators, congressman, police officers, judges, schools, and journalists. We were frequent guests on radio and TV programs.

Today the laws are tough on drunk drivers. There’s a public awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving. We now have MADD in thousands of cities. We now have SADD—Student’s Against Drunk Driver–in our schools.

Why the change? THE ATTITUDES of people like me. People who were unwillingly to live as victims—people who changed the attitudes of lawmakers and the general public. There will always be an empty whole in my heart because of the loss of Chris.

But, I’m no longer a victim to anything. I live a life of VICTORY! AND SO CAN YOU!

I discovered an important lesson: the more I helped others within MADD, the more I helped myself.

And so it is with you. The more you help others, the more you grow as a person. In other words: When your attitude is focused on others first, your attitude can transform from negative victim to “Positive Difference Maker.”

If you’ve experienced pain from a divorce, caustic people, an unreasonable mother-in-law, an unpredictable boss, a crazy peer, your childhood, or whatever—You can be victorious! It’s up to you.

Over time and through the power of Jesus Christ you can turn your pain into passion!

Here’s what I’ve discovered, and I want you to write this down:

It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do with what happens to you.

Have a blessed week, filled with abundant blessings and an “attitude of gratitude” toward helping others–pay it forward.

Copyright 2008 by Jan Coates, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Jan Coates is an author, speaker, consultant, founder of Set Free Today Ministries and serves on the Board of Directors of Christians in Recovery®.

God’s System Restore

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

“Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” Psalm 51:12 King James Version

There are times when we have to do a system restore on our computers when viruses and spyware get through our firewall and antivirus programs. The same is true with our Heavenly Father. There are times when He has to do a system restore on our hearts and lives when satan attacks us with the virus of discouragement.

Thank God that He has provided a system restore for our hearts and lives through Jesus. When we are so discouraged that we feel like we are going under for the last time, it is then that we need to cry out to Jesus and ask Him to please restore His joy to our hearts and lives. Do you need a system restore in your heart and in your life?

If so, allow Jesus to restore His joy to your heart and life once again. He will take your hand and walk with you through the dark valleys and will once again set you on the mountain top of joy, peace, happiness and excitement. There is no one like Jesus! No one loves you like Jesus loves you! Thank You, Jesus, for caring about us and for restoring our hearts and lives with Your joy, peace and happiness.

JoanneCopyright 2008 by Joanne Lowe, all rights reserved.
Used by permission.

Do You Belong to Him?

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

“Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Matthew 21:9).

When Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem one week prior to His crucifixion, crowds lined the streets, waving palm branches and crying out, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” But when He made His entrance into the world as a tiny, helpless baby, no one was there to call out a welcome. His mother and stepfather had to settle for a bed of hay in which to lay their newborn Son, with the only visible spectators to the great event being the animals who inhabited the humble little outside dwelling.

But were there invisible witnesses to this amazing occurrence? No doubt there were. If angels were dispatched to announce the birth to shepherds in a field, isn’t it logical to think there were also angels sent to the place of the birth itself? And it is equally logical to imagine that those angels were crying out, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”

Though Joseph and Mary may not have heard those angelic declarations, all those who dwell in that “other realm” of the heavenlies did—Satan and his demonic hordes included. What a ripple of terror and anguish must have rolled through those evil ranks that first Christmas morning! The One who comes in the name of the Lord had arrived—and nothing on earth would ever be the same again.

Yes, Satan continued to operate on this planet, even to the point of having enjoyed a temporary victory when the One who had come in the name of the Lord was crucified and buried. But oh, how the earth shook and the demons trembled when He was raised again from the dead! And how much more will those demons cower in fear when that One comes again to take up His rightful throne, where we who have received Him as Lord and Savior will rule and reign with Him throughout all eternity!

Do you have that assurance that you belong to Him, that He lives in your heart and is coming again—for you? Then rejoice, beloved, regardless of the reception you receive (or not!) here on this earth. When you show up to preach, teach, write, sing, or in any way proclaim the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, even if you don’t hear a single voice call out to you in welcome, remember that the host of heaven is standing by in the heavenly realm, proclaiming in a triumphant voice, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” If we belong to Him, then He has called us to go out in His name and spread the Good News of His triumph over sin and death. Go boldly, dear friends, for we are always in good company when we go forth “in the name of the Lord.”

When the Judge Sentenced Me to an Inpatient Substance Abuse Facility

Friday, December 19th, 2008

Hands fisted tightly, as if to strike something or someone, I felt only anger when the judge sentenced me to an inpatient substance abuse facility. In my mind, the punishment of living was enough. Knowing what was coming, I floundered aimlessly in self-pity, for I was soon going to be without my friends, my family, and more importantly, my dope. I had to find a way out of this court appointed dissection of my mind and spirit unscathed. Rehabilitation was not something I was looking forward to.

At first, I was overwhelmed with the need to be left alone. I felt as if I didn’t belong in a place with others whose addictions were so severe that they had to be placed in a controlled environment – people with no strength and no willpower – losers.

“I’m not like them”, I thought. ” I’ll just play along enough to get the courts off my back. I use drugs, but only casually. I don’t need to be in a place like this. I can handle my addiction. I’ll do it my way!”

I’m sure that my addiction was trying to protect itself, telling me that I would rather do thirty days in the hole than thirty days inpatient; for the Jackal knows that virtue needs only a challenge to be awakened from dormancy on its slow trek to rediscovery.

But, for what usually follows the enactment of human improbability, believe it or not, it was my attorney who convinced me to lash my horse and ride furiously through the enemies’ front line. He was tired of representing me in these matters only to see me again in a few months. “Go ahead and do the thirty days inpatient or lose my phone number,” he said. “I’m not in the habit of representing repeat offenders…especially when they refuse to help them selves.”

There was so much baggage in my head. I was as top-heavy as a hat stand, and in a world of my own distorted design. Slowly I realized I was desolate. But far worse was the intolerable dawning that while I’d been trying and failing to bring about a change in myself on my own, the Jackal was still gnawing on my mind. The seriousness of my addiction was about to descend upon me with a most uncertain future.

Much to my surprise, my visit to the inpatient facility was just what the recovery doctor ordered. In the weeks prior to the clinic, my life had been deep with ice, cold, and freezing with pain – it was time for a thaw.

As the days passed, I began to listen to the other patients describe and share their problems. With that act, my problems at last gave way to a spring thaw. I gravitated to a new frame of mind.

StevenCopyright 2008 by Steven White, all rights reserved.
Used by permission.

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

Now I lay me down to sleep
Surrounded by a world so sweet
It takes away the sore distaste
Of living in a swirl of haste.

If I should die before I wake
That fatal, final journey make
I’m confident the King of Kings
Will open doors to brighter things.

If I should live for other days
Your lamp afoot will, through the haze,
Ignite a path that leads me on
To ever sweeter Savior songs.

RoadrunnerCopyright 2008 by Roadrunner, all rights reserved.

Used by permission.