Encouraging, uplifting , positive thoughts rooted in the love of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Storm Ahead!

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.  But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

A flock of about fifty geese hunkered down on a football field was a very unusual sight for me, so to satisfy my curiosity, I asked my colleague why the birds just sat there, as if they were immobilized and motionless. He responded that due to the high winds in the atmosphere above our level, the geese knew to remain on the field until the storm had passed; otherwise they could be blown way off course; become separated from their travelling partners; or even lose their lives. With the long flight to southern parts, and the way in which geese depend on each other in the flight routine, one mistake could result in a lost goose, and one lost goose could bring an end to the team.

The support of the flock is as important to the one goose, as the support of one goose is important to the flock. Serving God in isolation may seem the answer sometimes, but is serving by one’s self God’s design for His children?

Sometimes we feel strong enough to make it on our own, but it is much easier to snap one twig than a whole bundle of twigs. As the Bible aptly puts it, a cord of three strands is not easily broken…. When we are all grounded it is easier to stay together and support each other, but the one who has no one to support and encourage may lose his way.

Our Father is able to keep us in and through every storm. He takes care of swallows, and geese and us, His children. If geese do not fly into a storm, why should we?

Inventory / Introspection  Have I taken care to hunker down and hide under His wings when He shows me warning signs of storms ahead?  

Personal Application: My loving Father is able to keep me through the storms of life, but He also calls me to safety in Him.

Dear Father, we are grateful for your protection. You equip geese with what they need to ride out a storm, and wait until it is safe to fly. In the same way, we have the Comforter to lead and guide us if we choose to listen and obey. Help us to be on the watch for the warning signs You give us, and to be careful to walk where You lead.  When it’s time to hide under Your wings, may we run to You without hesitation. When it is time to soar, may we rise with the wind of the Holy Spirit.

I am told that when geese fly, they rotate the leadership position when the leader gets tired.  Geese know that the roles they play are not constant throughout the journey. Help us to remember that. Sometimes we will lead, other times we will follow, but we support and encourage each other to the glory of your name.

Storms and changes will come, but you remain steadfast and certain. Geese know not to fly into a storm… may we never knowingly run into danger either.

Amen.

Blessings,
ann
Toni R
(c)
Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  

Disciplined Disciples

…“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,  and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,  and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”  Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.

… 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.  Hebrews 12: 5 (excerpt)-11

 Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding. Proverbs 15:32

The difference between discipline, correction and punishment may not always be apparent, so many times when the opportunities for discipline and correction presented themselves, we may, out of fear, run in the other direction, intent at not suffering one more blow. Our Father’s discipline is different. When God disciplines His children, it is so that we can become better and develop into what He wants us to become. His hand toward us is a hand of love, even if we endure pain while going through the process.

Paul wrote that he had learned be content in whichever state he finds himself. I don’t know many like Paul, but when we rely on God to take us what we need to go through, we will find our discipline journey to be much more bearable than when we face correction because of our own unwise choices.

As believers, there will be times when we don’t want to take the path He lays out, but it is important for us to bear the following in mind:

·         Discipline is a part of our growth process

·         If we are not disciplined, we are not legitimate children

·         Discipline is unpleasant, but yields righteousness and peace

·         Correction brings understanding

Discipline in the life of the believer is inevitable. We have to face it if we choose to walk with Him.

Inventory/Introspection: Inventory/Introspection: What is my genuine response to God’s discipline?

Personal Application:   If I disregard discipline, I despise myself, but if I heed correction, I gain understanding. (Proverbs 15:32)

Father, I do not always look forward to, nor do I enjoy discipline. If I could survive without discipline, I would likely take that option, but I know this is not your design for my life.   

I am thankful that Your discipline is bound up in love, and that Your actions towards me are to help me to live the life that will glorify You. As painful as my life experiences may be, You are aware of all that concerns me, and You have my best interest at heart.

I have not yet learned how to be content in any situation, but I know that I can get there with Your love. Help me to view my life from the lens of a loving Father Who only wants what is best for His children. Help me to understand that by allowing You to mold and break and shape me, I am moving closer to experiencing what it feels like to be totally sold out to You.

I will trust You to lead me in the path that will bring “a harvest of righteousness and peace.

Amen.

Blessings,
ann


Toni R
(c)
Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  .

 

Complete The Ministry…

“…See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord”  Colosians 4:17

This verse seemed to pop off the page as I neared the end of Paul’s letter to the Colossian brethren. This was the second last line in this epistle, and although the words were written as a note to Archippus, we can apply this to our own walk with Christ.  Our ministry may seem different from those around us, but as  Paul outlined gifts and ministries in 1 Corinthians 12, he took care to note in verse 11 that “all these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He distributes them to each one just as He determines.” Each ministry is important to the building of the Kingdom of God.

We do not always understand why God asks us to do what He asks us to do, but when we are sold out fully to Him, we can walk where He leads us knowing full well that we are not walking alone. Sometimes fulfilling our ministries become more challenging than we anticipated, but if God has given us a ministry, then He will give us what we need to accomplish it. Some days may be easier to navigate than others, but thankfully for us, we serve a God who never changes.

Others may look at us and wonder why we do what we do. Sometimes the questions we are asked may cause us hurt and discomfort even as we try to explain why we remain in our positions, but when we know that we are doing the will of the Lord, we find renewed strength in knowing that we are pleasing Him. Our focus should be to do His will and only His will as we look forward to hearing Him say “well done.”

Keep working towards completing the ministry He has given you. It will be more than worth it.

Inventory/Introspection:  What has God asked me to do? What is trying to prevent me from carrying out the ministry that He has given to me?

Personal Application:   If I truly believe that God equips those He has called, then I am confident that He will give me what I need to accomplish what He has given me to do.

Father, You are amazing! We are so thankful for the fact that You chose to involve us in leading others to You, and we are grateful for the part You allow us to play. May Your name be glorified as we work on fulfilling what You have called us to do. We fully expect that obstacles and trials will come, but we are also fully confident that You are able to complete what You have started in us (Philippians 1:6).  

On our own we are bound to fail, but in You we aremore than conquerors!’ (Romans 8:37). May we trust You enough to seek You when we feel we cannot fulfil what You have asked us to do.

Give us the right words to respond to those who may ridicule or question the paths we have chosen to follow with You, knowing that ‘our labour is not in vain.’ It is our desire to do only what glorifies You.

Amen.

Blessings,
ann
Toni R
(c)
Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

Of Splinters And Secret Sins

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me… Psalm 139:1

I was somewhat disappointed when a large glass bottle fell to the floor and broke into pieces in the middle of a project. I was already strapped for time and this would only slow me down, but I picked up the larger pieces, swept the floor, and went back to my project. Unfortunately, I missed a tiny sliver and later spent more valuable time extracting it from my foot. Had I taken the time to carefully sweep and re-sweep the floor, I may  have found the splinter, but in my haste to get back to what was urgent, I cut corners and ended up paying the price.

The tiny little piece of broken glass was barely visible to the naked eye, but it brought the entire body to a screeching halt once it pierced my skin.  Sin is sin is sin… ‘big’ or ‘little’ all sin is sin, and any un-confessed trespasses can interfere with the believer’s walk.  The bigger pieces of glass were easier to see, so I had no trouble disposing of those, but the tinier pieces needed additional lighting and greater patience to remove them all.

For some of us, it’s easier to confess the ‘bigger’ things, especially when others are aware of them, but we should take care to constantly seek God’s cleansing, as ‘all the things that are done in secret will be brought to light.”  As human beings, we don’t have the capacity to forgive sins, but the Holy Spirit will alert us when we have crossed the line. It is a good thing to ask the Lord to search our hearts and cleanse us fully of any wrongdoings, so that we can be free to do what He wants us to do, instead of carrying on in our own strength and suddenly be brought to our knees by the ‘little sin’ that we forgot to ask Him to take care of.

The little piece of glass was hidden from my sight, but nothing is hidden from our Father. He will see what is inside our hearts whether or not we ask Him to look. After, all, He has searched us, and He knows us!

Inventory/Introspection: What are the ‘little things’ that I need to ask God to work out of me?

Personal Application:   “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9

Father, we are thankful for forgiveness and the ministry of reconciliation. We make mistakes more often than we admit, but it is wonderful that we can trust You to heal the big cracks and the little splinters!

Today we ask that the Light of the world would search through all the dark places, and help us to be upfront and honest with the things You reveal to us. Some ‘splinters’ have been there a while, and every now and then the pain reminds us to take care of them, but we ignore them and move on. May we be honest to You today and allow You to do a full sweep, removing anything that does not glorify Your name.

We release all those who have caused us pain, and we are asking You to help us not to cause pain to anyone.

May we run straight to You the next time we fall, trusting You to perfectly clean everywhere, even when we feel we have done a good job of taking care of the source of our pain.

Amen.

Blessings,
ann
Toni R
(c)
Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  .

Who’s Your Advocate?

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world 1 John 2:1-2

In some cultures, some types of sins are punished more heavily than others. For example, the woman caught in the act of adultery faced death by stoning, even though the man she was with did not face the same punishment. Fortunately for her, Jesus advocated on her behalf and gave her a fresh start.  (Click here to read her story )

Our sins may not be as widely known as hers, but we sin nonetheless. Our sins may not be deserving of such awful punishment. Or they may … Either way; Jesus stands ready to offer us a clean slate. As John wrote, we do not have to sin, but if we do sin, our Righteous Advocate, Jesus Christ will intervene on our behalf!”  The enemy of our souls may try to guilt us into hiding our transgressions, but Jesus knows them anyway! Not only does He know them, but His Sacrifice at Calvary was enough to atone for my sins, your sins, and for the sins of the whole world!

What a wonderfully comforting truth!

Inventory/Introspection: How does knowing Jesus is my Atoning Sacrifice affect the way I seek His forgiveness.  

Personal Application:   Having an Advocate is not a licence to sin

Father, we are so grateful for forgiveness!  We are thankful that we cannot amass wealth or sacrificial offerings or riches or deeds to earn forgiveness for sins, and that Your forgiveness is offered freely to all who will ask.

Help us to keep love at the base of what we do. If we love You and our neighbours as You commanded, then we will make every effort not to do anything to negatively impact the relationships.  May we never forget that we have a duty to forgive others, even as You forgive us for going off track..

May we experience Your love and grace in a new way this week, and may we be mindful of the opportunities that You give us to share Your love and grace with others.

Amen.

Blessings,
ann
Toni R
(c)
Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Our Father’s Embrace

But if I go to the east, He is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. When He is at work in the north, I do not see Him; when He turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of Him. But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold. Job 23:8-10

A little boy was quite unhappy at getting his hair cut, and he cried uncontrollably as the barber tried to complete the task. The crying eventually subsided when the father of the child decided to sit in the barber’s chair and hold the little one in his arms, soothing him as the barber worked.

In looking at the child resting comfortably on his father as he went through the uncomfortable process, I thought of how our Father carries us as we go through our difficult or uncomfortable situations. Just as the little boy’s haircut was necessary for good grooming, some of the fires we go through are necessary for us to grow and develop in Christ.

In the passage above, Job was responding to his friend Eliphaz the Temanite, after Eliphaz attempted to determine why Job was suffering. Job knew he had done nothing wrong, but unlike the little boy in his father’s arms, Job did not see God and felt like he was on his own. Still, he was determined to go through whatever God needed to take him through. At the end of the story, Job gets an understanding of who God is, and the fact that He can do whatever He pleases, and nothing can thwart His plans. After Job had endured his trials, God restored him and poured out multiple blessings on him (Job 42).

The circle of our Father’s embrace is a very safe place for us to be. Like Job, we may have to walk through valleys we don’t understand, but it is important to know that even though the trying of our faith develops perseverance (James 1:3), our Father will never leave us on our own! 

Inventory/Introspection: Do I allow my Father to hold and comfort me in the difficult times?  

Personal Application:   I will trust God, even when I cannot see what lies ahead.

Father, we are thankful that Your hand extends to the farthest depths and the highest heights, and that it doesn’t matter where we go, we are never so far that Your love and grace cannot reach us.

The little boy in the barber’s chair was able to go through the experience because his father’s arms were holding him. Those who witnessed what happened marveled at how the love and comforting words of a father brought peace to the troubled child. As Your children, we shout ‘Hallelujah!’, knowing that You care for us much more than anyone else ever could. Job felt abandoned, but he refused to give up on You. We know that some journeys in our lives are not what we desired, but like Job, we are certain that although we may not see You when we look around us, we know that we will come through “as pure gold” after You have finished testing us.

Teach us how to relax and allow You to embrace and comfort us as we encounter the unfamiliar.

We are thankful for the way You love and care for us. May we learn to love and care for others like You do..

Amen.

Blessings,
ann
Toni R
(c)
Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

May You Overflow With Hope!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13

This simple verse says much, and requires little commentary.  🙂

Uncertainties await us as we stand on the threshold of a new year. We can honestly say we have no idea what direction our lives will take, but we can say with equal certainty, that the God who spoke our world into existence, holds our lives in His hands.

May the trust you place in our God truly fill you with joy and peace to the point where you  overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit!

Personal Application:   My life and times are in God’s hands. I will trust Him to the point of overflowing with hope!

Father, our world has seen its share of turmoil this last year, and although much has taken us by surprise, we rest in the confidence that You are all-knowing and that You are still in control. We are thankful that Your grace and mercy kept us.

2013 may be a new year for all of us, but we know You already see the end of time as we know it. As we remain poised to step forward to new beginnings, we ask that You would order our steps, and that we would live lives that are pleasing in Your sight.

We pray for those who have lost loved ones in the past year. May You be our Comfort.

We pray for those experiencing financial difficulties. May we allow You to be our Source.

We pray for those in uncertain situations. May we trust You to be our Guide.

We pray for those experiencing sickness or ill-health. May we trust You to be our Healer

We are fully confident that times and seasons are in Your hands. We believe You are able to take care of any and all circumstances that we come across. We believe that Your name is above any sickness, pain, disease or situation that we may come across. May we trust You to make Your strength be seen in our situations.

We confess that You are all that we will ever need and so much more. May Your name be glorified in our lives as we move forward to this new year and whatever it brings. Yesterday is behind us, we will move forward in You!

Amen.

Israel Houghton – Moving Forward

Click here to watch on YouTube

Thanks again for your encouragement and support as I missed a few weeks to focus on school and family. May God return to you a hundredfold!

Blessings,
ann
Toni R
(c)
Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.