Dear Friend

Dear Friend,

You’ve been on my heart and mind (and prayers) for some time now, and I’m so sorry for taking so long to write to you. I’ve never been very good at consoling people when they’re sick or hurting; to be honest, I’m not very good at congratulating people when something great has happened either…I guess I should really work on my people skills. Epistles

However, I couldn’t let another day go by without taking some time to write to you. You know, the Bible in James 4:14 says that we don’t know what will happen tomorrow and that our lives are like mists that last for only a little while. This makes me think about how when you spray perfume or air freshener around a room, that vapor can be seen hovering in the air for such a short while, it leaves a scent, but then soon after, it’s gone. For the Bible to use this analogy to describe our lives says a lot about how short our lives are in relation to how long eternity is. We don’t know what will happen today or tomorrow. We don’t know how our lives will change for the better or for the worse; but one thing is for sure, we are here one day, and gone the next. Many people don’t get a chance to prepare to leave this world; they’re taken away in the blink of an eye, through an accident, medical emergency, or criminal activity. Not that having time to prepare makes it any easier…or does it?

I’ve heard stories of great men and women of faith, who were so confident in where they were headed after their passing, that they had what the Bible calls, peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Do you have such peace? While this world may be full of evil, hurting, pain, and sickness, I can honestly say that I have this peace. It’s a peace that comes from my knowledge and relationship with Christ as my personal Savior. I’m not trying to scare you, preach to you, or offend you (although, the offense is certainly worth the risk), but I would never forgive myself if I never shared this precious gift that I’ve been given with you, dear friend.

A lot of people are under the impression that all it takes to go to heaven is to be a “good person.” Yet, the definition of a “good person” is different from person to person. Sometimes we talk about something terrible someone has done, then we say, “but they’re a good person” or “they have a good heart.” According to the Bible there was only one perfectly good person, Jesus, God’s Son. So in reality, He’s the standard by which we should be comparing ourselves. I don’t know about you, but I know I’ve fallen extremely short of that mark. In fact, the Bible says in Romans 3:23 what we’ve all sinned and fallen short!

However, there is a God who created this world from nothing, who shaped you in your mother’s womb, who knows the number of hairs on your head, and sees into the very depths of your soul. The Bible says He knows you better than you know yourself (Jeremiah 17:10). When He originally shaped this world, He didn’t desire it to be full of death, sickness, and decay; but full of life and love! The thing is, love comes from the ability to choose and so we were given free will and the opportunity to make choices, right or wrong. Hence sin (and death, sickness, etc.) entered the world through mankind’s bad choices. But God, being all-knowing and all-powerful, had a solution to this before time even began, before He ever shaped the earth, or placed you in your mother’s arms. He sent His perfect Son to this earth in the form of a man, to carry the weight of all humanity’s sin on His back. He pinned that sin to a cross where He died, and rose again three days later—destroying the curse of sin/death for all time! He opened the doors of heaven to all those who believe this and receive Christ into their hearts, offering us the chance to spend an eternity with Him. I know you can’t hear my voice, but when I say how excited and overwhelming this is for me to think about and share, you should understand that my heart feels like it’s going to explode.

I don’t know you very well, perhaps, you’ve already accepted Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, Friend, and greatest Hope; but if you haven’t, you’ve been given an opportunity that many don’t have…time. No matter how great or small, time is a gift. I’ll continue to pray for complete healing in your life—because I know I serve a God who is capable of the miraculous—but I don’t know God’s will, mind, or purposes, and can’t see what will happen in the future;  but I will most certainly continue to pray that you have the opportunity to make peace with Him. I pray that you’ll recognize the sins and failures in your own life, as I once did, and accept what He did for you on the cross. He loved you enough to send His one and only child to this earth to be crucified on a cross for you, so that He can have a relationship with you; as a mother, I’m sure that strikes a chord with you.

Lord, I pray over my friend. I pray that You please watch over her, bring healing to her body, peace to her mind, and life to her spirit. I pray that she come to the understanding and realization of who You are and all that You’ve done for her. I pray that no matter what may come in her life, whether miraculous healing or the sleep of death, she has the opportunity to accept You into her life. You are great and mighty, all-powerful, all-knowing, and Your ways are far above our own. We may not understand the things that happen to us in this life, but we can trust that You are sovereign and in control at all times of all things, and You alone know what is best. I also pray over her family. Her children and husband need Your peace and comfort over their lives. I lift them up to You and ask that You envelop them with Your love and compassion; give them strength and encouragement; and most importantly, the opportunity, in their own time, to come into relationship with You. I love You and thank You, Father. In Jesus’ precious, holy Name, amen. 

If/when you’re ready…

Accept that you’re a sinner and ask for God’s forgiveness.

Believe in Jesus.

Confess that Jesus is your Lord.

Love & God Bless,


High Stakes

I finished the book of Romans, and have begun 1 Corinthians, this week. I’ve decided that I really like keeping a journal when I study the Word of God, because it helps me remember what I’m reading, which in turn, helps me understand and apply it. Well, this is what I’ve been mulling over for the past few days…

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17 ~ NIV)

I’ve always taken these verses in the literal or physical sense, as in the Holy Spirit lives within us and therefore, we shouldn’t do any harm to our physical bodies and neither should others harm us, because God will have His revenge. But when I read the same verses in the Amplified Bible, it took on even deeper meaning.

Do you not discern and understand that you are God’s temple (His sanctuary), and that God’s Spirit has His permanent dwelling in you [to be at home in you, collectively as a church and also individually]? If anyone does hurt to God’s temple or corrupts it [with false doctrines] or destroys it, God will do hurt to him and bring him to the corruption of death and destroy him. For the temple of God is holy (sacred to Him) and that [temple] you [the believing church and its individual believers] are. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17 ~ Amplified)

EpistlesPaul’s epistle (letter) to the church at Corinth, wasn’t just talking about our physical bodies. He was also talking in the spiritual sense of harm and corruption to the individual believer and to the church as a whole!

These verses made me realize (again) how careful we must be as teachers—and sharers—of God’s Word, to stick to His Truth and not tell others things that they want to hear, just because we’re afraid of what they might say to us, how they may treat us, or what they may think of us, because we will be held accountable! And if we didn’t get the hint with these verses, the Word tells us the same thing elsewhere…

    • But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. (Matthew 12:36)
    • You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. (Titus 2:1)
    • Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Timothy 4:16)

I believe I’ve mentioned before about how teachers will be held at a higher standard, because we “should know better” (James 3:1-6). As we should! After all, there are souls at stake!

Because I love the people around me and because I value the Bible as the VERY Words of God, I cannot, in good conscience, tell someone that it’s okay to live a certain way or commit a certain act, when I know that it’s sin–per the Word of God–and will ultimately lead to their complete and utter separation from God! I’m not passing judgment; I’m stating Biblical fact/Truth. This is me being loving because I don’t want anybody to be severed from the love of God. I want every one of my readers to come to the knowledge of Christ. To recognize their (our) need for a Savior!

For some reason the world encourages us  to warn people of the danger of being embarrassed, and the danger of being physically, emotionally, or financially injured; but for some reason, it discourages us from warning others of spiritual danger—the most important and destructive threat to our very souls! This life is temporary (extremely short); but eternity is forever. I want every one of you to spend eternity in heaven, but I also understand—according to the Truth found in the Word (the Bible)—that God can’t commune (connect or establish a relationship) with us as long as there’s sin in our lives. In fact, the Word says that as long as there’s sin in our lives, we are actually enemies of God (James 4:4).

Yet, even so, God still desires a relationship with us! As it says in Romans, “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (verses 5:7-8). Can you imagine dying for your enemy? THAT’S love. (Jesus did all the work; all we have to do is repent–turn away from our sin and turn towards God–to receive the precious gift of eternal life and a relationship with the giver of life, the God of creation, the lover of our souls!)

Okay, so now you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Everybody makes mistakes and everybody sins and they should just be free to make their own choices.” (I know this because I’ve heard it repeated and asked over and over again.) Sure. Fine. But I’m not going to encourage anybody to make bad and/or sinful choices. I’ll continue to encourage them to do just the opposite; to make wise choices. Because isn’t that really, what love is about? Being there for the individual, speaking truth and encouraging them to live holy lives, pleasing to God (Hebrews 10:24)? That’s what I want for my younger sisters, my parents, my friends. I understand that ultimately, it’s their decision. I can lead a horse to water—in this case, I’m talking Living Water—but I can’t make them drink.High Stakes

Make sure the words from your mouth and pen are spoken in love and truth. Make sure you hold true to the standard that God provides us with through the Bible. If God says that He’ll respond to our actions in a particular manner, don’t accuse Him of bluffing. This isn’t a poker game (and if it were, our souls are mighty high stakes to be playing with)! If He said it, He meant it! I get the feeling that we think that God will change His mind in regards to sin. “Oh, but He loves us, how could He condemn us?!” His Word says He can and He will. We will stand before Him and be held accountable (Matthew 12:36-37; Romans 2:5; 2 Peter 2:4-9, 3:7 ). The questions we should be asking ourselves are: will we have Christ defending us (Revelations 12:10)? Is Christ our rock and our foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 2:19-20)? Is He our covering (Galatians 3:26-27; Romans 13:14)? Our life’s purpose (Mark 16:15; Philippians 1:21)? And is our life a testimony (evidence) of the One Who saves us (Acts 26:20; Romans 6:12-13; Hebrews 10:26-27; James 2:17; Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 4: 22-24; 1 Peter 1:22; Revelations 12:11)?

As Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, “I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you” (1 Corinthians 4:14).

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard . About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, “You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” So they went. He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, “Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?” “Because no one has hired us,” they answered. He said to them, “You also go and work in my vineyard.” When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, “Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.” The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. “These men who were hired last worked only one hour,” they said, “and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.” But he answered one of them, “Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?” So the last will be first, and the first will be last. (Matthew 20:1-16)

As many times as I’ve read the Bible this parable came across as though I’d never before read it. I thought about how often I hear people complaining about what’s “fair.”

My study Bible states this regarding this parable…”Jesus’ story makes little economic sense–which was his point exactly. He is giving a parable about grace, and you can’t calculate the grace of God like you can a day’s wages. We receive it as a gift from God, not as something we work hard to earn. The person who comes to God at the end of life–like the robber on the cross–enjoys the same ultimate benefits as someone who follows God from early childhood. Jealousy of another’s ‘unfair’ rewards can rob us of the joy of our own.”

Wow! What a thought! It really puts into perspective that fact that God doesn’t play favorites with us. He doesn’t love some of us more than others; and our rewards in the end will be the same, no matter how long we’ve followed after Him, or what we’ve done for Him. Nothing relies upon us; but everything relies on God’s generosity. (Which should also make us think about how we treat each other…If God doesn’t play favorites, should we?)

The other thing I noticed about this parable was that the landowner went out and grabbed even the leftovers; the workers that nobody else wanted! Proving, yet again, that God loves and cares for what the world considers to be “the unlovable.” And finally, this parable also shows that He never gives up on us; He offers us chance after chance to follow Him! How many times did the landowner go out and invite more men to work in his vineyard?! He did so repeatedly, but he could only do so until the day was over; however, he continued up until the very last hour. (Something else to think about.)

The NIV Student Bible, Revised. (2002). Zondervan:Grand Rapids Michigan.