I am thankful for our freedoms....I love our country and I continue to pray for strong leaders and the unity of Americans!
It almost seems impossible that we have journeyed through another year as we find ourselves turning back our clocks and entering another November and our annual 30 days of giving thanks to our Lord. Although 2020 has been quite a different year for all of us, there have been joys, as well as sorrows these past 365 days. But may we all take a moment each day during this wonderful month of counting our blessings and remember just how much we have been given by our Creator God.
This first entry is written a few hours before November 1st. I am headed to my hometown of Lynchburg, Virginia. I have been urged by the facility where my mom resides that I probably need to come and visit with my mom as her health continues to decline. I have been preparing myself for my mom to begin her journey home and this doesn't mean that she is going immediately, but it is a time for me to finally get close to her after eight months of only visiting from windows, doors and a couple weeks ago a plexiglass booth (and I am thankful, so very thankful for that plexiglass booth!). So this first day I am thankful and grateful for the opportunity to be close to my mother. I plan to sing, pray, read the Bible and talk with her not knowing if she will even carry on a slight conversation. But my heart is full of gratitude and I praise my Lord and Savior for allowing this visit to occur.
What do you have to be thankful on this first day of November?
Each year throughout the month of November this ministry takes time to daily post reasons we have to be thankful. Regardless of what is happening in the world today, our Lord and Savior is still in control and we need to take a moment each day to remember all our blessings naming them one by one!
So we invite you to join with us beginning November 1st and begin to list all the many ways you and/or your family and friends have been blessed by God. It might be a poem, a song, a favorite Bible verse, a picture(s), it's entirely up to you! You can keep your list by your bedside, on your kitchen table, next to a favorite chair when you read your Bible, or on a seat in your car to be reminded before you head out to work, school or run an errand. We all have a moment to be thankful, right?
You are also welcome to respond to my posting each day as we blog the ways in which the Lord has blessed us this year that way others may enjoy what you are sharing. It's been quite a year, but God has remained faithful and He will continue to do so....NO MATTER WHAT!
We look forward to hearing from you at some point in the month or each day, whatever you prefer!
I simply can't express what it has meant to have access these past months to our local trail. When the COVID lockdown started I, like countless others, needed to get outside and breathe fresh air! So beginning in March I would bundle up and get going!
Throughout these past seven months I have developed a group of friends (although we don't know each other personally). We wave, say good morning, and basically enjoy the beauty of God's artistic talent! During these past seven months I've seen trees go from empty branches, to budding, to birds singing and building nests. Now I'm viewing leaves in an array of colors accompanied by temperatures ranging from chilly to mid-morning warm! It is simply glorious especially as the sun shines on the reds, oranges and bright yellows of the trees lining my path and my front yard!
We are going to gather around our fire pit tonight and enjoy the milder weather before it becomes time to wrap up in blankets! But I want to take this opportunity to just thank the Lord for this beautiful time of year and the ability to be able to enjoy it. I am so blessed to have a sweet, loving family; a great church; an incredible spouse and a mom that has taught me to love Jesus since I could understand words.
May God bless your fall with a ton of blessings and I pray if you don't know Him personally, you will seek Him because He's not in the habit of hiding!
Jesus Comforts His Disciples
14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
It seems we are all growing weary of the politics, untruths, mean-spiritedness and generally the unrest of our great nation. I pray the love of Jesus Christ will shine through and we will be found worthy of His grace and mercy in these days and in the days to come. I'd like to share a beautiful time we shared with our Ohio family on Friday. It brought so much joy to Gary and me....let's hold on to our families and be kind to one another.
I've thought a lot about the concept of truth recently. Seems no one trusts that a media outlet, a newspaper, a correspondent, or goodness forbid a person with a different political view can tell you the truth about anything.
Most people who read my blogs, articles or books has already made a pretty clear assumption that I am a Christian and I adhere to truth as outlined in God's Word. There are many verses in scripture dedicated to explaining the meaning of truth, but if it doesn't jive or agree with another's thought processes or beliefs, then it must not be the truth. Truth today is merely doing what is right in one's own eyes and look where that's got us today.
I found an article that I enjoyed reading from John McArthur, whom I think has some very good points to be made about truth. I have reprinted it below for you to read if you care to spend a few additional moments looking it over. I sincerely believe truth is found in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; however, that belief is seemingly becoming a distant thought in the rear view mirror of our increasing liberal society. As long as we continue to think only of ourselves and acting like children in a candy store throwing fits when we don't get what we desire, we will digress as a society. We need the direction of our Heavenly Father, our parental guide, to guide us by His Words and the written examples laid out by His Son. If we can simply learn to lovingly listen before we forge ahead with our own self-knowledge often we will gain more than we expected and perhaps be a much better witness.
Hope you enjoy the article by John McArthur.
Unleashing God's Truth, One Verse at a Time
What Is Truth? Scripture: John 14:6; 17:17; Romans 1:21–22
Ask anyone today, "What is truth?" and you’re sure to start an interesting conversation. Try it on a university campus and you’re likely to receive laughter, scorn, and derision. The concept of truth has clearly fallen on hard times, and the consequences of rejecting it are ravaging human society. So let’s go back to the starting point and answer the question: What is truth?
One of the most profound and eternally significant questions in the Bible was posed by an unbeliever. Pilate—the man who handed Jesus over to be crucified—turned to Jesus in His final hour, and asked, “What is truth?” It was a rhetorical question, a cynical response to what Jesus had just revealed: “I have come into the world, to testify to the truth.” Two thousand years later, the whole world breathes Pilate’s cynicism. Some say truth is a power play, a meta narrative constructed by the elite for the purpose of controlling the ignorant masses. To some, truth is subjective, the individual world of preference and opinion. Others believe truth is a collective judgment, the product of cultural consensus, and still others flatly deny the concept of truth altogether.
So, what is truth? Here’s a simple definition drawn from what the Bible teaches: Truth is that which is consistent with the mind, will, character, glory, and being of God. Even more to the point: Truth is the self-expression of God. That is the biblical meaning of truth. Because the definition of truth flows from God, truth is theological. Truth is also ontological—which is a fancy way of saying it is the way things really are. Reality is what it is because God declared it so and made it so. Therefore God is the author, source, determiner, governor, arbiter, ultimate standard, and final judge of all truth.
The Old Testament refers to the Almighty as the “God of truth” (Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 31:5; Isaiah 65:16). When Jesus said of Himself, “I am…the truth” (John 14:6, emphasis added), He was thereby making a profound claim about His own deity. He was also making it clear that all truth must ultimately be defined in terms of God and His eternal glory. After all, Jesus is “the brightness of [God’s] glory and the express image of His person” (Hebrews 1:3). He is truth incarnate—the perfect expression of God and therefore the absolute embodiment of all that is true. Jesus also said that the written Word of God is truth. It does not merely contain nuggets of truth; it is pure, unchangeable, and inviolable truth that (according to Jesus) “cannot be broken” (John 10:35). Praying to His heavenly Father on behalf of His disciples, He said this: “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17). Moreover, the Word of God is eternal truth “which lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1:23).
Of course, there cannot be any discord or difference of opinion between the written Word of God (Scripture) and the incarnate Word of God (Jesus). In the first place, truth by definition cannot contradict itself. Second, Scripture is called “the word of Christ” (Colossians 3:16). It is His message, His self-expression. In other words, the truth of Christ and the truth of the Bible are of the very same character. They are in perfect agreement in every respect. Both are equally true. God has revealed Himself to humanity through Scripture and through His Son. Both perfectly embody the essence of what truth is.
Remember, Scripture also says God reveals basic truth about Himself in nature. The heavens declare His glory (Psalm 19:1). His other invisible attributes (such as His wisdom, power, and beauty) are on constant display in what He has created (Romans 1:20). Knowledge of Him is inborn in the human heart (Romans 1:19), and a sense of the moral character and loftiness of His law is implicit in every human conscience (Romans 2:15). Those things are universally self-evident truths. According to Romans 1:20, denial of the spiritual truths we know innately always involves a deliberate and culpable unbelief. And for those who wonder whether basic truths about God and His moral standards really are stamped on the human heart, ample proof can be found in the long history of human law and religion.
To suppress this truth is to dishonor God, displace His glory, and incur His wrath (vv. 19-20). Still, the only infallible interpreter of what we see in nature or know innately in our own consciences is the explicit revelation of Scripture. Since Scripture is also the one place where we are given the way of salvation, entrance into the kingdom of God, and an infallible account of Christ, the Bible is the touchstone to which all truth claims should be brought and by which all other truth must finally be measured. An obvious corollary of what I am saying is that truth means nothing apart from God. Truth cannot be adequately explained, recognized, understood, or defined without God as the source. Since He alone is eternal and self-existent and He alone is the Creator of all else, He is the fountain of all truth.
If you don’t believe that, try defining truth without reference to God, and see how quickly all such definitions fail. The moment you begin to ponder the essence of truth, you are brought face to face with the requirement of a universal absolute—the eternal reality of God. Conversely, the whole concept of truth instantly becomes nonsense (and every imagination of the human heart therefore turns to sheer foolishness) as soon as people attempt to remove the thought of God from their minds. That, of course, is precisely how the apostle Paul traced the relentless decline of human ideas in Romans 1:21-22: “Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools.”
There are serious moral implications too, whenever someone tries to dissociate truth from the knowledge of God. Paul went on to write, “Even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting” (Romans 1:28). Abandon a biblical definition of truth, and unrighteousness is the inescapable result. We see it happening before our eyes in every corner of contemporary society.
In fact, the widespread acceptance of rebellion, and all forms of iniquity that we see in our society today is a verbatim fulfillment of what Romans 1 says always happens when a society denies and suppresses the essential connection between God and truth. If you reflect on the subject with any degree of sobriety, you will soon see that even the most fundamental moral distinctions—good and evil, right and wrong, beauty and ugliness, or honor and dishonor—cannot possibly have any true or constant meaning apart from God. That is because truth and knowledge themselves simply have no coherent significance apart from a fixed source, namely, God. How could they? God embodies the very definition of truth. Every truth claim apart from Him is preposterous.
Elaborate epistemologies have been proposed and methodically debunked one after another—like a long chain in which every previous link is broken. After thousands of years, the very best of human philosophers (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Locke, Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Marx, James, and others) have all utterly failed to account for truth and the origin of human knowledge apart from God. In fact, the one most valuable lesson humanity ought to have learned from philosophy is that it is impossible to make sense of truth without acknowledging God as the necessary starting point. Truth is not subjective, it is not a consensual cultural construct, and it is not an invalid, outdated, irrelevant concept. Truth is the self-expression of God. Truth is thus theological; it is the reality God has created and defined, and over which He rules.
Truth is therefore a moral issue for every human being. How each person responds to the truth God has revealed is an issue of eternal significance. To reject and rebel against the truth of God results in darkness, folly, sin, judgment, and the never ending wrath of God. To accept and submit to the truth of God is to see clearly, to know with certainty, and to find life everlasting.
(Adapted from The Truth War, © 2008, by John MacArthur. All rights reserved.) Available online at: http://www.gty.org COPYRIGHT (C) 2020 Grace to You You may reproduce this Grace to You content for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Grace to You's Copyright Policy (https://www.gty.org
As we turn back the clocks, the weather turns a bit cooler and the leaves on the trees begin to change, we find ourselves entering October! Each year I have written about Breast Cancer Awareness during this month and used this website as a forum to request we remember and support all the women (and sometimes men) who are fighting this particular cancer. We have come a long way in the fight against breast disease, but there is much work left to do. We need to press forward in pursuit of mammogram coverage by health insurance companies for young women before the age of 40. Because of this stipulation many are finding themselves in a battle for their lives without early detection.
As a two-time breast cancer survivor, this cause is very near and dear to me. Please donate to breast cancer fundraisers and promote any opportunity you have to make others aware of this disease. If it has not touched your life, please know it could happen to someone you know or hold dear; a wife, mother, sister, niece, girlfriend, aunt or even a grandmother. Breast cancer is not selective.
Thank you and may God bless!
Lord, thank you for life and the opportunity each and every morning we have to open our eyes and be in another day. May we use our abilities, resources and finances to lend our support and encouragement to those struggling with this disease and walking through treatments. Help us to always remember the goodness that was granted to us as survivors and press onward so that others can also survive this illness. In Jesus' Name, Amen!
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
Romans 3:10 (KJV)
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
These verses have been swirling in my mind during the past week and the course of recent events in our country. I can’t possibly tell you how heartbroken I am as the country continues to tear one another apart over a difference of opinions and beliefs.
There are numerous concerns for our country during this year 2020. I’m growing tired and weary as persons destroy property, scream, and yell using scare tactics to attain their end goal, while many of us wonder what exactly is their end goal?
Wasn’t our country built on democracy and freedom to choose? Yet when approximately 2,000 individuals left the Republican National Convention in Washington D.C., they were met with angry opposition screaming and yelling to the point of needing police protection! Again, regardless of who you want as the next President of the United States, don’t people have the right to attend a gathering to hear a speech of acceptance and not be in fear they won’t make it to their cars before they are beaten??
Or should media make a spectacle how many individuals did not don masks in one venue when it is clear that many venues have numerous individuals without those masks? Does one group spread this disease more readily than another due to where you stand politically?
Why didn’t the news media put front and center 39 children being rescued from sex trafficking? Can you imagine the celebration of those families as they were reunited with their children and the feel-good story that would have resulted? Instead we learn that the First Lady wore a green dress that acted as a screen where messages could be written. Oh the liberties that were taken to place nasty, though many thought were hilarious writings, on her attire. The First Lady of the United States became a laughing stock…at least to those who oppose her husband. That’s what we’ve gotten to in this country? I don’t care who you like or distain, that was incredibly mean spirited.
And let’s not forget the couple who, because they were supporters of the President, has gained national coverage due to their sinful actions. This situation alone brought the scriptures printed above to my mind each and every day. I’ve often taught that we are living in carnal, sinful bodies. Sin entered this world when Eve took that nice big bite of the apple and Adam followed her lead. As flawed humans, sin lays right underneath our skin. It can happen to anyone at any time and no sin is beyond its reach. Believers in Jesus Christ need to go before the foot of the throne in prayer each day asking the Holy Spirit of God, which came to dwell within us upon our acceptance of Jesus, keep us from falling into the sin which so easily besets us.
I hold close to my heart the words of Colossians 2:8, See to it that no one takes you captive with hollow and deceptive philosophy which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
Can these words of scripture detain the ugliness of man’s thoughts and speech? Not without a heart transplant that is enveloped by the Holy Spirit of God. But this I do know, if you are faultless, if you have never committed an act which you would never want screamed from the mountaintops and brought into the living room of every person in the world, then pick up that stone and begin to throw. Jesus said, “Let him without sin cast the first stone,” when a woman caught in adultery was brought before him for judgement. Thus, I hold to my beliefs and openly share my story of salvation. But I am not sin free. I won’t be sin free until the Lord Jesus calls me home. Keeping myself accountable before God is a full-time prayer event. I refuse to take valuable minutes of my day yelling and screaming at others when that behavior presents a non-ending cycle.
It’s time the stones of hatred, mean spiritedness, destruction of property, livelihoods and reputations are dropped from our hands and instead we drop to our knees with hands uplifted asking Almighty God to forgive us and to heal our land. We’ll only succeed in winning souls to Jesus Christ if we become stellar examples of His love. It matters not your background, your skin color, your political standing, or your religious upbringing because when it comes right down to it,
there is none righteous, no, not one.
The blood of Jesus is the only answer.
I don't know about you, but I'm in need of a little positivity! I'm so weary of people attacking one another over differing views; protesting that is damaging businesses and disgruntlement regarding our country. What is a Christian to do?
Once again, I opened the Jesus Calling devotional, and began to read this morning. I have heard the writings penned in this devotional seem to speak directly to your heart and mind when the world and your own personal situations appear out of control. I am convinced that the Lord God could call down 10,000 angels with a nod of his head to take care of our woes. The Israelites thought in the same way. They were under the persecution of the Romans and believed the coming Messiah would deliver them from all their injustices. But God had a different plan. He sent Jesus to demonstrate that we are to be a people who witness of His love, mercy and grace. There will be a time when sin and all the injustices will be set right....consequences will be sentenced. Until then, we pray, we wait, we hold fast to our faith and we love as we are loved by our Lord.
Today the reading reminded me of this very fact. I quote from Jesus Calling, day August 26:
"Trust Me in the midst of a messy day. Your inner calm--your Peace in My Presence--need not be shaken by what is going on around you. Though you live in this temporal world, your innermost being is rooted and grounded in eternity. When you start to feel stressed, detach yourself from the disturbances around you. Instead of desperately striving to maintain order and control in your little world, relax and remember that circumstances cannot touch My Peace.
Seek My Face, and I will share My mind with you, opening your eyes to see things from My perspective. Do not let your heart be troubled, and do not be afraid. The Peace I give is sufficient for you."
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33
As I began to have a time of private prayer in my office this week, I was reminded of the scripture that says, "It is written: As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God." Romans 14:11.
At that point, even with knees that are a bit more sore than in prior years, I knelt on a small rug in the office and began to pray. I don't know why it surprised me because if you ask to meet with God, why wouldn't the Holy Spirit respond? An amazing feeling fell over me as I began to pray and place all my offerings of praise and petitions before the throne of grace and mercy. It was a sacred anointing of peace, power and encouragement as I continued to talk with the Lord, tears filling my eyes. Included in that alone time with Jesus, I prayed that if it were in accordance with His Will I would be able to move my mother into another facility that allows hospice to enter.
The current facility my mother has been a resident for the past two years has shut out all family and outsiders including the hospice medical staff due to COVID. Since I haven't been able to be in the same room with mom since February and her health is declining, I have received approval for mom to be in hospice. I have now found a new facility that allows hospice into their facility and was on the schedule to move her this coming weekend.
Little did I know or realize the Lord met with me to strengthen my resolve for coming information and prayer requests I would receive throughout the remainder of the day, including my request for wisdom regarding my mother's move to another facility. Dire needs were shared with me in confidence and I was privileged to pray over each one. However, one of the calls I received delivered the news a worker at mom's current facility tested positive for COVID. Although this individual is asymptomatic, the facility now needs to undergo testing and the chances of moving mom are becoming slim, at least for now.
I felt crushed to receive this news, but wondered if perhaps this isn't the right time to move my mother. Would I have done more harm than good? Wouldn't her involvement with a hospice staff the best option? Oh, the questions that swirl around in my mind daily since mom's care has been placed upon these small, ill equipped shoulders with brothers that are readily supportive of my decisions.
I picked up the Jesus Calling devotional later that day and read the entry for August 23. I am a few days behind, but really not behind at all since the words of this particular devotional eased my heart and spoke so clearly to me. I share them with you because maybe you are going through something similar today.
May the God of the Universe shower peace within your heart as you read a part of this devotional:
Entrust your loved ones to me; release them into My protective care. They are much safer with Me than in your clinging hands. If you let a loved one become an idol in your heart, you endanger that one--as well as yourself.
When you release loved ones to Me, you are free to cling to My hand. As you entrust others into My care, I am free to shower blessings on them. My Presence will go with them wherever they go, and I will give them rest. This same Presence stays with you as you relax and place your trust in Me. Watch to see what I will do. Jesus Calling, August 23
"Call unto me and I will answer thee and shew thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not." Jeremiah 33:3 KJV
The picture above of my mom was taken several years ago...she is such a beautiful child of God.
Judith "Cookie" White is the founder of The Sounding Board Ministry. She is the author of two devotional books which are available on this site.