I appreciate all of you who have given a listen to my podcast venture....now for the reviews. If you have a minute, please let me know what you think. It is much easier to read my thoughts than to write them, but it is a way to communicate with my supporters and encouragers. Thanks a bunch!
Hope you are enjoying these short podcasts. This week the subject is treadmilling. We all seem to get ourselves in a rut with routine, but it's time to break out and start rebooting our daily activities. This can also start occurring in our spiritual life, so let's start adding some zest to life and fill our days with vibrant color!
We continue to try new things through The Sounding Board Ministry. With the help of one of our cousins, Cookie has begun podcasting. Let us know what you think. If you have problems, the link to put into your browser is:
Let us know what you think!
Blessings, my friends....
and may God use each and everything we do for His glory!
Ever caught yourself looking out a window daydreaming? Or maybe sitting beside a beautiful or solemn area contemplating life? Today I saw a young man looking out the window of his business waiting for his next client and I ask him, "Daydreaming?" His reply was simple, "No, just looking at the day and wishing I was out there."
I often feel that very same way when I entertain making decisions...I wish I were on the other side of the window enjoying the correctness of good choices. You see, I get stuck while contemplating right decisions in my life. Too many variables to consider. I often find myself praying, "Lord, if you would just send me a letter and give me the answer to this particular issue, I will carry it out gladly!"
It just isn't that simple, is it? God expects us to pray and wait....wait and pray...and then one day the answer will surface. Or maybe it's already been given and I haven't been paying attention? But I think an integral part when dealing with a decision is prayer. Just meditate on the Word of God and keep requesting a direction. The answer might come from a person or mode of communication you never expected, but I don't believe God wants to hide an abundant life from us. He wants us to live in joy, peace, love, contentment and self-control while implementing a sharp God-given intellect. And if that is His plan for His children, wouldn't He be about the business of giving us the instructions of how to carry it out? Wouldn't you do the same for your children? Don't you desire your kids to live in joy, peace, love, contentment, self-control and initiate that God-given intellect that offers them skills to live an abundant life?
Decisions...how do you go about handling them? Is God a part of seeking the answer? Making choices with His guidance through prayer will reap better benefits than the advice of friends, social media or the current mode of worldly correctness. Why consult God? Because our Lord is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He never changes. He is our strong tower.
God, there are so many decisions in our lives. Please guide us so we will not be led astray by Satan and his enticing methods of self-knowledge. May we as believers strive to find the right path that leads to blessings. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Anger: A strong feeling of displeasure and usually of antagonism
Antagonism: Opposition of a conflicting force, tendency, or principle; actively expressed opposition of hostility
Thoughts for the Day: "Refrain from anger and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil." Psalm 37:8
"But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness." Psalm 86:15
"Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly." Proverbs 14:29
There has been a lot of anger and antagonism flying through the air in America. Multiple reasons have been given for this seemingly continuous wrath; justification for the unjust actions of others; unfair legal practices; trampling on the rights of citizens; loss of income; health insurance needs; and let’s not forget a pandemic of mass proportions. In each situation there has been countless explanations of how to remedy each circumstance.
In most cases anger erupted when opposing opinions clashed while seeking a solution that best meets the needs of various individuals. Sounds a bit familiar, doesn’t it? My first experience as a mediator demonstrating fairness was between my children when they were small. Whether it was over food, a toy or basically one of them didn’t want the other staring at them, if I didn’t handle the situation to each one’s satisfaction I would be dealing with a volatile state of affairs.
Nothing much has changed in thirty years except the problematic occurrences between sides. The only modification to the solution in today’s society is an agreed upon mediator. Although the word is quite over used, a truly bi-partisan individual that has the best interests of all involved would be the ticket. But can that person or persons truly be found today? Would both sides agree if he/she were not wearing the correct animal pin on their lapel? Have we degraded to the point of wanting every statute, covenant, or amendment that has built this country and made it great (and it was great long before Donald Trump became President) destroyed and think with all our current biases we can build a better foundation?
You know what is lacking? God Almighty. God led men and women to leave their homes and cross the Atlantic Ocean with a desire to leave religious biases behind. They wanted to be free of the Church of England and be able to worship God in Spirit and in truth. Almost all of them died that first winter, but they never gave up because they knew God was with them.
What has happened to America is heard almost daily. The answer is a simple as looking at creation. God has been left out of every decision and every desire. Power, money, success, and the “win” attitude is destroying us from the inside out and our enemies and watching and waiting for our collapse. Man and woman is doing what is right in their own eyes and it’s not working. Humans cannot be satisfied in and of themselves. If you did a survey and ask only twenty people what is the definition of good, you know what you’d get? Twenty different answers. We need a plumbline, folks. We need absolute truth and it’s not found in the mouths of screaming individuals nor is it found in barricading ourselves from reality.
It’s time to ask God back into our homes, our lives, our educational systems, our policies, our government, and each person that has been handed an elected office by the voters he/she represents. Time for Christians to stand up and be counted and that’s not a confrontational stand. It’s a stand that causes us to do what is right, fair and true.
Jesus Christ died for each of us. He rose on the third day victorious over death and the preconceived evil plans of Satan. It’s time we all looked to help our fellow man regardless of his/her skin color, quit calling one another names and seek to build this country to be one that bears the name of Christ unashamed. These are the most incredibly sad days I have ever seen in my lifetime. God will not be mocked. It’s time we all looked in the mirror to truly see who’s looking back at us and ask the question, “God, what do you want me to do?”
God in heaven, Father please forgive us for being unkind and disruptive in this country. How it must saddened You as we are destroying one another and the country so many of our loved ones and ancestors died to save. Protect us, give grace and mercy to those who don’t know what they are doing. May our lives demonstrate the light and love of our Savior.
Invisible: incapable by nature of being seen, not perceptible by vision
someone or something that cannot be seen or perceived
Thought for the Day: But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” I Samuel 16:7
Have you ever felt invisible? A time when those around you acted as if you were simply not present? A specific occasion comes to mind when I was invited to a gathering for coffee. At one point during the visit the women in attendance began talking about a specific event they had attended which I had not. They talked for quite some time about this experience, as I sat there feeling as an outsider looking in. As the only one who did not have any exposure to this particular topic of conversation, no one seemed to notice I was not participating in the discussion. I honestly felt invisible. Eventually, the hostess must have realized I had not exchanged any dialogue and asked me a different question drawing the ladies’ attention from their current banter. Needless to say, I have been careful in accepting invitations involving these participants. Why? Because the feeling of invisibility is uncomfortable, to say the least. Every individual wants to feel included.
When I was nudged to write on the topic of invisible for this devotional, I was reminded of Jesus feeding the 5,000. You might already know the number 5,000 reflected the number of men present, not the additional numbers of women and children. Why was that? Weren’t the women and children important to count? Absolutely, but in that day a census reflected the number of men. As we well know, if you are a student of Biblical history, Jesus began turning the tables on preconceived ideas of equality. I believe Jesus taught many important concepts with this story including highlighting the one who brought the solution of hunger to thousands of individuals…a young boy and his lunch. Why do you think Jesus implemented a young boy when he could have instantly brought down manna from heaven? Because, in the Lord’s eyes, that young boy was just as important as anyone in the crowd that day. He was not invisible. His meager offering was multiplied to meet an immediate need. Jesus is awesome with multiplication.
Remember the Samaritan woman who came to draw water from Jacob’s well in the heat of the day? Although the women of the town always made this trip together in the cool of the morning, they ostracized this woman and condemned her for failed marriages and for currently living with a man that was not her husband. The Samaritan woman felt unworthy, invisible and personally struggling due to past mistakes. But Jesus met her at that well and offered her something greater; living water and forgiveness. When she realized she was in the presence of the Messiah extending love which overrode her guilt and mistakes, she couldn’t wait to spread the news! The Lord saw her. No longer invisible and ashamed, she was integral in spreading the news of the Messiah! He continues to bring that same message of hope and healing today.
In conclusion, the scripture from today’s devotional tells about Samuel’s quick assumption of whom he believed was God’s chosen King for Israel because of his appearance…that of a boy. God, however, reminded Samuel that the Lord looks on the heart, not on the appearance or stature. God saw David as a mighty warrior, a King to lead His people, Israel. David’s abilities and future was not invisible to God. God had a plan and a purpose for David’s life, something that was unseen to the human eye or heart.
I don’t have any idea what is occurring in your life today. Whether you have felt invisible in the past, now or possibly in the days to come, but I do know this; with our Lord you are not invisible. You were born into this world due to divine intervention, not coincidence. From the point of conception, you were visible to our Holy God, Maker of Heaven and earth. He has a grand plan for your life regardless of your age, your abilities or what has occurred in your past. Give your heart and life to Him and watch as your thoughts of nonexistence fade. You, my friend, are a distinguishable, visible Child of our loving God.
Thank you Father for seeing us, loving us, and giving us a hope and a future. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:1 KJV
Have you ever looked at something very familiar, something you have seen numerous times before, but it is almost as if you are viewing it for the first time? I’m sure you have encountered this situation. It happens all of a sudden and allows you to wonder how did you not see or understand this concept beforehand?
Most of you who are taking the time to read this blog know that I am a Christian. Whether it be outward through something I have said, done or a stance I have taken, you realize I love Jesus. I often describe myself as a little Chihuahua running out in front of Almighty God trying to defend the great I AM! God so very often has to bring me back to His side and gently tell me to take a deep breath because He control of the situation.
Well, this same “take a deep breath” moment happened to me yesterday as I was writing a blog for my website. I was pouring it on in a writing that I thought was justified. I’m incredibly weary of the unfairness, anger and bad behavior of current events and the lack of respect for opposing views. We live in America, a great country founded on freedoms for EVERYONE, not a limited few who happen to be in control of judicial, legislative and executive seats elected BY THE PEOPLE!
After penning what I thought was a well written blog, I decided to place an image on the blog and poof, the blog was totally wiped out! Gone! Of course I have learned countless times always save your work as you go, but this time I did not. I was so mad at myself I decided to blame Satan. After all, this was a justifiable writing to defend the beliefs of conservatives and call attention to the unfairness of what is happening to believers and persons having opposing views of those seeking to destroy our country.
THEN, The Chosen, episodes two and three were presented last night. And stories that I have read many, many times in the Bible began to shed new light. It was as if I hadn’t read them as closely before. If you haven’t seen these productions you are, in my humble opinion, missing out on a wonderful presentation of the Bible and the gospel of Jesus Christ who lived on this earth being fully God and fully man. Why did what I viewed last night have such an impression on me? Because it filled me with conviction especially two parts of each episode. In episode 2, Nathaniel before he became a disciple and follower of Jesus, was sitting under a fig tree. Alone and frustrated, he was calling out to God praying and questioning why God hadn’t used his (Nathaniel’s) talents and gifts for God’s glory. With tears he placed architectural drawings of a synagogue, something he had wanted to build for the God’s glory, on the ground and burned them. He then prayed that God saw him, and that God would use him.
Shortly after that he was honored to meet Jesus and Jesus told Nathaniel that he saw him sitting under that fig tree and yes, he was going to be used of God. Can you imagine for just a moment how that might have felt? The Messiah, God’s Son is telling you the location of when you cried out for guidance and help? However, we know from scripture Nathanial’s call wasn’t building structures, it was building the Kingdom of God.
Oh, my friend, haven’t we all been there? As believers in Jesus Christ we desperately want to be used to bring others to Christ, but the way in which we think he will use us isn’t occurring and we are wondering what we’re doing wrong? We might have worked for years to hone our skills and do that which we think pleases him, but it feels like we aren’t getting anywhere. Maybe we need to lay down those plans and burn them…maybe not with fire, but just lay them down and pray that God will direct us into where HE would have us go and what we are to do.
The third episode, which was a gift from The Chosen team to viewers last night, was one that I viewed, but this morning I saw it again with a clearer vision. The disciples were with Jesus in Samaria and countless scores of individuals came to find Jesus for healing. His popularity was rising, and he continued to heal the sick and afflicted from sun up to sundown.
The disciples were sitting around a campfire awaiting for Jesus to finish for the day and they began sharing their thoughts and feelings. Soon they began to share what they thought would be the vision and mission of the Son of God…to destroy Roman rule. They admitted that Jesus was off healing people when they believed a battle should be ensuing instead. After all, would these Samaritans really KNOW who was healing them or were they taking advantage of the fact they were receiving cures and health? Shouldn’t a focus begin in taking back the rule from the Roman Empire?
Then the nit picking started and for a time they all focused on Matthew, a former tax collector for the Romans. How could he turn on his own people? Some of the disciples had taken action to come up with monies due the Romans to protect their homes and families that possibly would never have transpired if not for the pressure asserted by tax collectors. Matthew had escaped this due to joining and working with the Romans. The bickering continued until they heard footsteps. Jesus comes out of the darkness from a day of healing the broken, diseased, crippled and hurting. He is almost dragging with physical exhaustion; sweating, blood on him, and in need of care. He only bids them goodnight and continues to his makeshift tent.
His mother, Mary, was present and after sharing she felt he no longer needed her because he was an adult, came to his aid and helped him remove his outside cloak, washed his feet, hands and face and then bid him goodnight. He hugs her and as he lays down, we hear Jesus begin to pray to his Father for the ability to sleep.
The scene ends with all the disciples looking shamed for their conversations and their lack of compassion for one another. It was then that I almost heard Jesus saying, “Now, Cookie, write your blog.” It was the kindness, grace and mercy of my Savior that caused that blog to disappear yesterday. This chihuahua needed to be reminded that God has the world today in His hands. My job as a child of the King is to show kindness, love and compassion through my words, actions and deeds. It isn’t easy, but it’s the most I can do for the One who died for me.
As far as what He will do with my gifts, talents and desires for service…stay tuned. He’s not finished with me yet.
Father God, you see us where we are. You know the plans for our lives. Please help us as believers in Your Son, Jesus Christ, to be loving, kind, considerate, gentle, full of compassion and mercy towards every single person we meet. Take away all the bitterness and intolerance among us and may all others see is YOU in us. Protect our great country. In Jesus name, Amen!
Luke 24: 1-9 CEB
Very early in the morning on the first day of the week, the women went to the tomb, bringing the fragrant spices they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. They didn’t know what to make of this. Suddenly, two men were standing beside them in gleaming bright clothing. The women were frightened and bowed their faces toward the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He isn’t here, but has been raised. Remember what he told you while he was still in Galilee, that the Human One must be handed over to sinners, be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words. When they returned from the tomb, they reported all these things to the eleven and all the others.
Palm Sunday is the celebration of Jesus entering the City of Jerusalem the week of Passover. Passover is a huge celebratory time for those of the Jewish faith because it is a time to reflect upon their delivery from the Egyptians led by Moses as they headed to the Promised Land. After being enslaved for 430 years by the Egyptians, the people of God were headed to freedom and the land God had promised to their ancestor, Moses.
The night before they left Egypt God sent the final plague which would change the mind of Pharaoh to set God's people free. The Death Angel would pass over each home striking the firstborn of every family including the animals. The only sign needed for the Death Angel to pass over a home was the blood of a lamb on the doorposts. That blood sacrifice that covered the entrance to the home was the only prerequisite required.
After this night, the blood of a lamb was brought to the temple in Jerusalem each year and sacrificed for the sins of the people during the celebration of Passover and the remembrance of this night. Lambs were most commonly purchased in Jerusalem upon arrival by those that traveled great distances. The most spotless of lambs possible were purchased and given to the priests so the ritual of sacrifice could be carried out for the sins of each family.
Can you imagine the amount of blood that would run throughout the streets of Jerusalem if each family gave a lamb for their sins? And yet on Palm Sunday, Jesus, the perfect, sinless Lamb of God, entered the City of Jerusalem for the final time as he prepared to give his life a ransom for the sins of the entire world. No longer would each family have to give a lamb to be sacrificed because the ultimate sacrifice has been given. But blood was shed, my friends. The precious, sinless blood of Jesus.
This week, remember what Jesus did for us and spread the good news of what we gain from his offering. When breath leaves these earthly bodies we will each take a walk through the valley of the shadow of death and we will fear no evil, because Jesus will be with us....he is one casting the shadow so we are not harmed by death, but will accompany us in walking victoriously into the Light of Heaven....our eternal home.
God's blessings on a week of remembrance and celebration....
Cookie & Gary
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.