Saturday, December 6, 2014

Jesus, Our Good Shepherd

December 6, 2014

John 10:11 "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep."

Life is not as it used to be when I grew up, or when you did; is no longer as safe or secure. As well, we cannot trust strangers as easily as we could then, have to be extra alert, as to where our children are and who they are with. I can testify, from my own life experiences, how foolish a thing it is to place my trust in people, places or things; all will disappoint, though people not always on purpose.

My life, being quite difficult, found me constantly searching for something to make me feel safe, something that would make me feel better about myself, something that would change the way I woke up every day, which was waking up only to start my day in fear, wondering what is the next horrible thing that will happen to me? How am I going to get my daily needs met? Who can I trust? Who is next to abandon me, to criticize me, make me feel horrible about being me? Who is next to toss me aside like garbage, leaving me feeling dirty, ashamed, unlovable, unwanted - undeserving of anything good?

    I am sharing today's post because I have received mail from so many friends throughout the past twenty years, friends whose emails sounded exactly like what I just shared. They asked me questions like: "Barb. Why is life so hard for me when I always do my best?  Why, after giving my best, loving my best, sharing all I had, did the love of my life abandon me just like my father did? What can I do in order to feel safer, Barb, to not be so fearful? Why does nothing work out for me, and how can I feel good about the person I am when I get put down so much, when nobody tries to understand? Barb, what can I do to not be so afraid? Am I truly that unlovely friend? "


 Life is very hard these days, harder than it has ever been, is far more dangerous and painful. The tsunami's, earthquakes and other national disasters we have been experiencing have been the worst in the history of our world.
   Along with these scary things, we're having to deal with the ever rising number of murders, rapes, child abuse cases, school shootings, and domestic violence, and this is the short list. Is it any wonder that fear stalks everybody?  

Where are we to find help? The answer is that our help comes, and will always come, from above, from JESUS, OUR GOOD SHEPHERD. 

What is good about the fact that Jesus is our Good Shepherd? Have you ever thought about all that a good shepherd does, or maybe you have just forgotten.

1- A good shepherd leads his sheep, sees what they sometimes miss, or are 

    unaware of. He walks ahead of his sheep, encounters every danger (before) his 
    sheep do. Jesus, our good shepherd, went before us, so knows all the dangers 
    we must pass through before the end of our lives. It won't be easy, going the
    rest of the way. But if we will just walk in his footsteps we will be safe.

2- A good shepherd pastors his sheep, nurtures them; provides their daily needs. 
    We can trust our Good Shepherd.

3- A good shepherd names his sheep.

 In the Bible, it tells about a night two shepherds were tending their flock, (meaning they had merged their flocks together). When morning came, and it was time to separate the sheep, the shepherds only had to call out to the sheep in order to separate them; the sheep knew their shepherds voice, knew to whom they belonged.
    Jesus said "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and are known of mine."
                         -John 10:14

He knows where we live, who we live with, how old we are, whether we are sick or well. and what our needs are. We don't worship or love an impersonal God, but one who desires our company, who loves nothing better than to spend time with us.

4- A good shepherd protects his sheep.
    A shepherd  always goes ahead of his sheep, watching for wolves, snakes, or

    anything that might harm them. Jesus, having already gone ahead of us to 
    prepare the way, knows all we will experience in this life. Does he understand
    our feelings and frustrations?
He most certainly does. He was persecuted, misunderstood, criticized. He was       betrayed, and humiliated. He know how it feels to have friends disappoint you, to let you down. He knows how it feels to be hungry, tired, sick, hurt, and

rejected. He went ahead of us, and still, though we cannot see Him, is beside us
every day, paving our way, making our paths easier.

 5- A good shepherd loves his sheep
   Jesus, Our Good Shepherd, loves us with all his heart. Unless we make the 
   choice to leave him, He will hold us fast, keep us at his side. If we fall, and get
   lost, he will search for us until he finds us. He will never, not EVER, give up
   on  us, but will, as he promised to do, finish the work he began in us.

    I would like to point out something in the book of John. Jesus says, in
  John 10:17
"Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again."
He laid down His life for my wretched, miserable, unlovely one. There is no love

greater than that. No wonder our Heavenly Father loves Jesus so very much.

 Knowing all these things, dear ones. Knowing how greatly he loves me, and you,
I ask you, how then shall we live?

Be happy, Be healthy, Love one another.

Happy holidays,

Love you much,


Saturday, November 1, 2014

What Are You Looking At?

November 1, 2014

Every day, I hear people tell me how afraid they are, how worried, sad and discouraged. They  say "I can't fix my life; it's too messed up." They ask "Barb, How can I be happy with so much going wrong in not just my life, but in the lives of my family, my neighbors, and  the world too?"
      I can relate to what they are saying, and feeling, for most of my life I lived in fear. I  suffered from depression, worried all the time, and was sad and almost always very discouraged, believing that what my life was, was all it would ever be. Like many people,  I found it difficult to be happy. But when I was twenty-six I discovered how wrong I was, that though it is hard to be happy, it is not impossible. What made the difference?

What made the difference was What I was looking at and How I was looking at it. Have you ever thought about the definition of the word look? I ask this because sometimes we live life according to the one definition we are familiar with. And if we go by only one definition of something, we oftentimes miss out on other definitions that if rightly understood, could improve the quality of our lives.

LOOK: To look is to: fix one's eyes upon, to stare, give attention to, to study.

If we want to be happy in this world, to be able to experience peace no matter what is going

on around us, we have to learn to do that which makes it possible. And that which makes it possible is paying attention to HOW we are looking, and WHAT we are looking at.
 If our eyes are fixed  mostly upon the evil and unrest in the world, upon our  trials, sorrows, and other negative things, happiness will never enter our door. Why not?   Because while our minds, hearts and energies are focused upon these negative, painful things, the door to our hearts remain closed. And if our hearts are closed off because of fear, discouragement,

sorrows and worried, how can The God of All Comfort even began to comfort and uplift us?
 How can He, if we're not looking at Him, not  paying attention to Him? 

His arms are always reaching out towards us, are wide open. He is forever doing what He can to guide, strengthen, lift up, bless, and encourage us; is always working hard to fill those empty, hurting places within our hearts. But while He is waiting for A LOOK from you,  a LOOK from me, so that He can help us, our minds, hearts, thoughts and energies are upon the very things that are making us so miserable. We have to change some things if we want to be happy, to experience that promised peace of Christ. What must we do?

We must LOOK BACK.... .to Calvary.
We must take a backward look, (fix our eyes on the Cross) reminding ourselves that Jesus gave His life for ours. We will stumble sometimes, will fail and feel guilty, but don't have to 

worry about it. From the Cross, our Lord and Savior tells us our sins have been forgiven,
we have been pardoned, washed clean. He says "I love you. I will never abandon you but
will be with you forever.  Mercy, Grace, Forgiveness and Power all flow from the Cross.
                                                                        Hebrews 2:9
"But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death,

crowned with glory and honor, that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man."

We must LOOK UPWARDS......To the living Jesus.

Looking upwards takes our focus point away from the negative stuff that keeps us miserable and unhappy, and sets it upon Jesus, who is our perfect example. Keeping our eyes fixed upon Him keeps us strong, courageous, hopeful, and at peace. As long as He is our point of focus we won't fall back into depression, or walk through each day being fearful and worried.


Titus 2:13 "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God

and our Savior Jesus Christ."
Looking forward should fill us with excitement, should remind us of all the wonderful things we have to look forward too, especially being able to actually be with, talk with, and interact with the ONE who loved us so much he gave His life.

 I love gazing at the stars, always imagine how far away God is. I like to imagine what the throne room looks like, and the mansion Jesus built for us. I love to imagine what the voices of the angels must sound like, am eager to hear them singing.
Mostly, when I take my upward look, I almost always cry a bit. How could I not? Jesus is

coming soon. And when He does, I will never have to experience pain again, no tears, no aches and pains. I will no longer have to lose loved ones or suffer abuse. All that hurts us today will no longer exist. God will wipe away our tears.
    All around me I see crime worsening, children being harmed, murders, rapes, domestic violence. People lie, steal, betray their spouses, abandon their children, do all kinds of horrible, cruel, evil things. But seeing it no longer makes me afraid. The worse it gets, the more settled I am within my heart, for I know that the Lord's return is closer than most people think.

 If you, the reader, are struggling with some of the same things I am, and most people are, I encourage you to change the way you LOOK at things. I want to encourage you to, from this

moment to:

Look Back daily to the Cross,

Look the living Jesus,
Look the Coming King

Gracious Father,

Bless us this day, Lord. Touch our hearts that we may desire better things for ourselves,

not material things, Lord, but those things that will make us better men and women, better parents for our children, better friends to the lost and hurting in the world. Help us be kinder, sweeter, more patient, more tolerant, more merciful, slower to anger and quicker to forgive..
    Help us change the way we LOOK at things from now on. Help us keep our eyes steady upon Jesus, for He is the only ONE who can give us the peace we so desperately need.
I ask your blessings especially upon those whose marriages are falling apart, those whose children are in trouble, those whose faith is fading, and those who are seeking You. Please, Lord, let me be one who helps them find you, like somebody helped me.

Thank you for the gift of your precious Son, for the many things you do for me each day.
The days are not easy Father, nor the nights, which sometimes seem without end. Yet, no matter how lost I feel sometimes, I always know I will be okay because you love me, and know where I am.

Be with each of my children, their families, and the many friends I have who are so kind,

loving, and supportive. I ask these things in Jesus name. Amen. 



Saturday, September 27, 2014

Are You Midst A Storm?

September 27, 2014

After trying to decide what to share with you, the Lord put it upon my heart to

 share about the storms of life; those unexpected trials that come our way. No
storm is  pleasant. Each one is stressful, difficult, and painful. Each one  causes
 us to at times become fearful, worried, depressed, and discouraged.

While trying to cope with my latest trial, I heard a story that not only lifted 
my spirits, but clarified my vision and got me back on track. I hope it does 
the same with you.

                                                   The Canary

There was a lady who had a beautiful yellow canary. She loved that little

bird, especially loved hearing it's beautiful song, because hearing it always
seemed to make her hard life easier- her burdens not quite so heavy.

 Every morning, rain or shine, the first thing she did before breakfast, 
was to vacuum the carpet, because it was always full of bird seeds below 
the bird cage. On this particular morning, she'd finished doing the carpet
 and switched to the small hand vacuum she owned.
Her intention was to quickly clean the bottom of the bird cage. 

She opened the cage door and turned the vacuum on. The canary began
 flitting about and making shrieking sounds.
The phone rang!  While reaching for it, the hand holding the vacuum 

swung up a little. She heard a whooshing sound and then, there was no 
sound from the bird. It had been sucked up by the vacuum cleaner.

Horrified, she quickly turned the vacuum off, tore open the vacuum bag,

and was relieved to see movement midst all the dirt, dust, and
seeds she'd vacuumed up.
She rushed to the sink, filled it with dish soap, gently put the bird into 

the water and began washing it as best she could.
Once she got the canary rinsed off, she saw that it was shivering.
   "Oh, you poor thing." she muttered, and went to get the hair dryer.

She'd mentioned her experience to a neighbor, who told the local 

newspaper. A reporter, following up the story, went to ask how her 
canary was doing.
     "He's not the same really,"she said. " He mostly sits on the perch 

and stares. I no longer get to hear his song."

And that, dear hearts, is just how it is with you and me. 

We are confronted by an unexpected storm, and before we know it,
like the canary, our song too is silenced. Our trials change us too.
They steal our zest for life. We find  we no longer sing, whistle, or
hum like we used too. We become spectators in life instead of participators.
Trials weaken our faith, destroy our confidence, drain what little bit
of strength we have, and too often leave us with little, or no 

How do we make it through a storm? We make it by remembering not

who we are but WHOSE we are. We make it by feeding on God's Word,
memorizing the promises he made to us. It is those promises that 
will get us through the rough waters, will see us safely to the shore.

We make it by helping one another; by not allowing ourselves to

fall back into the habit of isolating ourselves. We make it by taking
the Lord at HIS Word, remembering that His promises are never
broken. Unlike the promises we make, HIS are dependable; are
promises we can always depend upon.

"Deuteronomy 31:6 " 

"Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of
them  for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; 
he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."

One of my favorite Bible verses is "Joshua 1:5

"There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days

of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not
fail thee, nor forsake thee."
   How can I possibly be worried, fearful, sad, depressed, or anything 
else negative with this promise to hold onto? I depended upon, 
and leaned on my mother and father. They died!

I leaned on my sister. She died! I leaned on, and depended upon people 
I believed loved me ,and had my best interest at heart.
Some died! Some betrayed me - turned out to be my enemies.

 I have friends and family that love me very much.
 But I know better than to depend upon them for those things
I hunger for like: inner peace, a strong and mighty faith, a

 relationship with Jesus, and one day- eternal life.
 Nobody can give me that except He who 
created me. 

Storms of life will come; many of them. But we do not have to
fear them. If we are the Lord's, we will never...not one time, 
have to face a trial alone. No matter where it is, no matter what
the trial is, how painful, how sad, how overwhelming...even
death; Jesus has promised that he will be with us to the very end.
We cannot trust many people. But we CAN trust the LORD. If we
cannot trust the one who created us...who then can we trust?

Stay strong my friends. Hold tight to the Lord's hand when in 

trouble and he will not fail you.

Memorize Joshua 1: 5 and this one:
Joshua 1:9 

"Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of
a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou
dismayed: for the LORD they God is with thee
withersoever thou goest."

May you every day experience the honor of HIS presence,

the warmth of His love, and the tightness of His embrace.

Love you much.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

God's Grace And You- and Me.

September 6, 2014

I do not usually start my Spiritual entries with a story, but am today.
I chose to do it  this way because I think sharing the story first will
help us to remember what is important; help us to remember
that which the Lord would not wish us to ever forget.

There was a man whose neighbor was an elderly woman. She'd been a very
good neighbor- he knew her well. This woman was without a husband or
children. Her only companion was a dog, a dog she loved more than anything 

else in the world.  One day, this man was driving home, was very tired, so not
quite as attentive as he should have been and ran over her dog. He felt terrible!
 Shaking, feeling heartsick over what he had done, he dreaded facing the woman.
 But, after taking a few deep breaths, and giving himself a few minutes to regain
 control of his emotions, he picked up the dog and carried it to the neighbor's
 house. Being in poor health, it took a few minutes for the woman to come to 
the door. When she finally did, there stood the man, her dead dog cradled in
his arms.
     "I am so sorry." he told her, tears filling his eyes, his voice shaky.

 "I was very tired, was not as alert as I should have been and hit him. "
     "It's alright." the woman said. "I keep telling him not to chase cars, but

 he did it anyway. If you hadn't hit him somebody else would have. But I can't
 bury him. Would you help me do that?"
   "Of course. "the man said, and promptly dug a hole and buried her beloved 

dog next to the Oak tree. The woman, seeing how distressed the poor man still 
was, patted his shoulder and said," Really. It is alright. "

The man went home, and that night could not sleep; he kept thinking of what

 a horrible thing he had done. He was weighed down with guilt over it; kept 
thinking of how this dear lady would now be forced to go through life without
 her beloved companion.
     "She must have been  in shock." he said to himself. "I don't think she knows

 her dog is really dead." He went to the big Oak tree, where the dog was buried,
 dug it up, and carried it back to the house. When the woman came to the door
he held the dog out to her and asked, "Do you realize what I did? I mean really?
 Do you understand that your dog will no longer be with you?"
   " Yes." she said."
      The man buried the dog again, went home, and again started thinking about

 the woman, about how lonely she'd be without her dog. "Surely, she doesn't
 realize her dog is dead."  he told himself. "She is quite old now, and obviously
 in denial. I have to make certain she knows he is gone. I have too! 
He returned to the Oak tree, dug the dog up and once again showed it to the
     "I am so sorry I killed your dog." he said. " So sorry you will be without 

him now."
     The woman, old as she was, saw the sadness weighing upon him. Again 

she tried to reassure him. "You don't have to keep saying you are sorry
 I know you didn't mean to kill him. And I forgive you." 
Even after hearing she forgave him, the man dug that dog up for two weeks.

 This story is about you- and about me. It is about God's grace, and how 
too many of us don't truly understand what it is, and how it works, which
 is why so many of us are still carrying around so much shame, worry, fear,
 guilt, insecurities. Sometimes we don't even recognize when grace is at 
work in our lives. For instance: The times we've made a mess out of our lives,
 or something really tragic happened, and we keep praying about it, keep 
saying to God "Please Lord, fix this for me. I can't handle this. It's too hard.
 Too much!" 
We have not understood that God is trying to work out some things

 within us. Sometimes God can't answer our prayers because we keep
 talking, pleading, getting in His way, telling him just how we need, 
or want this problem to be fixed. We seldom heed his WORDS to
 "Be still and know I am God."

God is so patient while working with us; has to put up with our fears,

 our  doubts, our  worries, our need to control,  our constant "But Lord,
 what if's?" Think about some of the trials He has seen  you through. 
Messed up as you were  (as we all were), He brought us through, didn't he?  
That is because of God's great love for us...HIS GRACE.

Grace creates masterpieces out of the mess we make of our life.

Grace so changes a man (or woman), that people who have known 
them all their lives scarcely recognize them.
Grace forgives, comforts, directs, restores.
Grace holds us steady and at peace midst the chaos in the world.

Grace is love in action, and there is no love as great as the Lord's.

I shared this story with you because I know that many of you are as 

this man, still carrying around guilt and shame over past mistakes. 
I was this man for many years. It was about three years ago that I realized
 what I was doing. I can't tell you how horrible that made me feel. 
 Jesus gave his life for me, covered my sins by his love- his grace, and yet
 I continued to grieve over all I'd done. My constant grieving, constant
pleading for forgiveness  was as bad as spitting in his face, acting as if
 his sacrifice was worth nothing.
Nobody enjoys reminding us of the horrible things we've done more

than Satan. I determined not to let him do this to me any more.
 Not ever!  There are times still, when he tries to imprison me again by 
reminding me of the, horrible mistakes I made. But each time he 
does, I remind  myself about the man and his dog.
It is my prayer that this story helps some of you realize what I did, 

that the Lord's words are not as ours. When HE says I forgive you 
HE means it. And not only does he forgive us, God says once he
 forgives us he will not remember our sins; they are forgotten.

Hope this story is as great a blessing to you as it was to me.
I pray you may always experience the warmth of God's love, 

the honor of His presence, and the tightness of his embrace.

Love you much,





Saturday, August 30, 2014

God desires us to be strong- to trust Him.

Hebrews 12:12-13

Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed."

The above verse gives me a mental picture of a very sad, fearful, weak and  insecure person, somebody who has made the mistake of giving discouragement too big a welcome. If you read through the words carefully, I'm fairly certain you will see yourself there, if not now, then perhaps in the past. I say this because every one of us has been confronted with trials: some huge, very painful and intimidating- almost always causing us to be afraid. Most of us, if we're honest, will admit that when the trial is unexpected, and something that is going to drastically change our lives, we are tempted to avoid it, to find an easier way out.

There are numerous ways of avoiding the crisis, rather than facing it, and too often, when we are up against something that we're fearful of, we say "I am not ready to deal with that just now." We say this because, at the moment, we feel inadequate, not strong enough. And why do we feel this way?  Because we gave discouragement too big a welcome, which is not good.  Discouragement makes a man physically, mentally, morally, and spiritually weak: it becomes a comfy blanket, one we find difficult to discard.

What God is saying in this verse is "Lift up the hands that hang down." Don't let this latest problem get you down. It's not as if you're facing it alone. I AM WITH YOU.

Get up- Stand tall. Turn around, and without hesitation face that which you fear.  As soon as you take that first step I will lead you to victory.

Don't let your feet "be turned out of the way."  (cause you to walk in the wrong path),but let your body " be healed," your faith made strong again. Open your hands and let go of yesterday's failures, and all that troubles you today.

I have binders full of my favorite quotations. The two I am sharing below are two that have kept me strong midst my darkest, most painful moments.

"Go right ahead and leave no Jericho behind you unconquered, and no place where Satan can say that he was too much for you."
                                                                 A.B. Simpson

This quotation has been a huge help to me. Every time I became overwhelmed, fearful, or felt too intimidated to move forward I thought of this quotation. I do not ever wish to give Satan opportunity to say he was too much for me. I wish him to know that no matter how tough my crisis, or how painful, I know that whether I live or die, I am, and will always be, the Lord's, so either way  I win.

I pray for each of you every day, asking God to keep you happy, healthy, and close to His heart, which is the most wonderful place to be.


"Pay as little attention to discouragement as possible. Plough ahead as a steamer does, rough or smooth--rain or shine. To carry your cargo and make your port is the point.
                                                            -Maltbie D. Babcock


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Regarding Promises

JUNE 9, 2000

 Ecclesiastes 3:14
"I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing be taken away from it; and God doeth it, that man should fear before him."

What an impressive thought that is; knowing that whatever God does -or says- stands for ever- is something we can rely upon.

Titus:1:2 "In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began."

How many times have we heard the anguished cry (but you promised)? How many times have we seen marriages dissolve because of broken promises? How many times have we witnessed the heartache and devestation caused by a broken promise?  Husbands walk away from wives and wives from their husbands, over minor disagreements. Children run away from home, get into drugs, drinking and promiscuity because of promises not kept.

We fall in love, marry, and promise to love for ever- but do we? We make friends with somebody, share everything for long periods of time, promise to always be there for each other- then aren't. We seem to have no true understanding of what permanence is- and except for Christ, we have no good example.
    We say we love our children, yet when they get out of hand, when we can no longer handle them- we turn our backs on them. The children of the world need permanence; need to know that when Mom, Dad, sister, brother, friend, pastor, or teacher says "I love you. I'll always be here for you, no matter what." they mean it.
    In our dealings with one another, we need to think- before speaking. It is far better to promise nothing and do our best, than to constantly promise things- and break that promise. We give our love- then take it away as if it were a trinket of some kind, a toy to be used for emotional blackmail.

I had a wonderful friend who got cancer-  lost both breasts. Until the day that happened her marriage seemed solid. But her husband, upon hearing the news, did not even visit her after her operation; just left a note with her mother. It said."I'm sorry. I just can't deal with this." As many years ago as that was, I still remember how heartbroken my friend was, how long and hard she cried. I was so angry at her husband, so resentful of how he'd abandoned her after promising to love her forever.
   For the longest time after that experience, I found myself listening to what members of my family said to one another, what neighbors said, what friends and their families said about love- and what they promised. I was amazed- and bitterly disillusioned with what I saw and heard. And to be perfectly honest with you, not much has changed. If anything, it's worse.

Today mankind still lacks understanding, still fails to realize the sacredness of a promise; whether that be in marriage, a friendship, or between brother and sister. The death of a loved one, a difference of opinion, incompatibility, major illnesses, finances, loss of a job, betrayal, or just a simple misunderstanding: all of these seem to be cause these days for people to remove themselves from what they once made a commitment too. All of these caused separation between good people who claimed to love one another. But NONE of these things, or anything else can ever separate us from the love of Christ. No matter our circumstance he is enough!

Psalms 19:7-9

(7) The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is
sure, making wise the simple.
(8) The statues of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
(9) The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are 

true and righteous altogether.

I think sometimes of how lost I was before Christ found and rescued me from myself. Before Christ I was so different than how I am now: breaking my word, drinking and smoking, caring for myself before others. I was constantly disappointing or disillusioning people - always hurting so deep in my heart, not liking the person I was becoming, but ignorant as to how I could change- how to help myself. I had nothing to offer others! I could not give them courage, teach them patience, show them what trust was. I could not reveal what love was like, or tell them how it felt to be sure of something. I could not offer them encouragement because hope scarcely existed for me at the time.
     When Jesus came into my heart I discovered what it meant to truly be alive. I learned how it felt to be loved for myself- flaws and all, to have somebody in my corner who not only loved me , but liked me; somebody I could count on to be at my side till my very last breath. I discovered that trials were nothing to be afraid of any more, because it didn't matter how weak I was, or how insecure or unsure of myself. I had Christ now, and HE was all I would ever need.

I have had, as all you've had, some really rough waters to wade through. There have been some pretty rough, painful, heartbreaking storms in my life too. Many times I wanted to quit! I used to say to myself, "My heart can only be broken so may times and this is it." But I realized my heart would be just fine as long as I kept close to Jesus, as long as He held the number 1 place in my heart. 

My time with the Lord in the morning, is my most favorite time. It's where I get all the good stuff  that helps me be able to bless others. It's where I discover over and over again, how much God loves me. When He says "I will never leave you or forsake you." he means it. So if you are having a rough time in a relationship, remember that you can just do your best. If the other person works hard on it too, that's great. If have the Lord in your corner. He is all you will ever need.

My prayers are with you...and with those you love.
God bless you,



Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Do You See Your Trial...or God?

July 30, 2014

 Our sufferings, sorrows, trials, cannot be avoided. We will all experience them.
 But it is not something anybody looks forward too. Our burdens can feel so
 painful, so heavy that we feel isolated from God. Our faith falters,
sometimes disappears for awhile, as if it never existed. Doubts follow 
suit, washing over us like the ocean against the shore.

We see our trials as a bad thing, either forgetting, or not realizing that it
 is midst our darkest, most difficult moments that God is the nearest- as
close as our breath.

I used to believe that God allowed trials in my life in order to teach me 
something. I never grew spiritually until I understood that I had it backwards:
he didn't want to teach me something. What he wanted was for me to recognize 
that I needed to unlearn something; wanted me to understand that because 
I was going about something in the wrong way, nothing in my life
was going right. He couldn't set the crooked paths of my life straight until
I understood that.

Every time a new trial confronts me now, I know to look for God in it;
rather than be intimidated by the trial. The more I do this- the larger, more
strong my faith becomes.
Whatever your burden today, however heavy or painful, look for God in it,
and peace will return to its rightful place in your life.

God bless you


Monday, May 19, 2014

The Lord is Always With Us

Romans 8:35
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or

persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?"

God does not keep us immune from troubles; did not place an invisible shield about us to protect us from being hurt. But he says  "I will be with him in trouble." So many of us would experience more peace if we'd remember what he said. WITH US! How awesome is that? What else would we need in times of trouble, no matter what kind, if we'd only
believe these words as our children believe what we tell them.
Some people mistakenly believed that once they became a Christian nothing bad would  ever happen to them. When something did, they were overwhelmed; their faith wavered, and their trust in God was shaken.

Jesus said in John 16 verse 33 "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."

We have read the above words many times, haven't we? Yet I know that many of us have either skimmed over the words..."but be of good cheer." or  read them, but didn't allow ourselves to think about them because to us, they simply don't make sense. Be of good cheer when facing a divorce, loss of a job, my child has run away or is on drugs? Be of good cheer when I'm going blind, have cancer, or I just found out my child is gay?
  YES! That is exactly what Jesus wants us to he wants our attitude to be.
Did you by any chance notice how he strung his words-the order in which he placed them?
  1- These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.

  2-In the world ye shall have tribulation.
  3-but be of good cheer.
  4-I have overcome the world.


"In me ye might have peace."
Knowing us, he knew we'd worry, fret, become anxious, fearful and discouraged
when trials came. He wanted to comfort us, to let us know ahead of time that 
there was no need to become overwhelmed. In simple terms he was saying.
" Remember now. When things get hard for you, when you hit a really rough spot,
you don't have to worry or be afraid. I am with you, will always be with you,
both in good times and the bad. Lean on me when bad times come.
I am the God Of All Comfort. I will be your strength, your courage,

your energy- whatever you need. I am your Peace.

The trick is to keep this in order. If Jesus is our point of focus 

we'll always experience his peace. And because we have his peace,
 when tribulations come, we, instead of falling apart from worry and fear,
 will thank him for loving us so much, and praise him for giving us 
 that peace in the first place.

Did you notice where he placed the words "be of good cheer?"
He placed them right between our tribulations and "I have overcome."
This reminds us that we don't have to worry about how inadequate we are,
how weak, weary, or worn down we may be when those trials come.
We'll lean on Jesus, and through Him we'll overcome too.
We'll come through just fine. Pretty terrific, if you ask me.

Nothing can ever separate us from the love of Christ. Nothing!
Tribulation, however exhausting and discouraging it is cannot
 come between us.

Famine? No matter how weak and weary we become, it cannot come
between us and God.

Anguish?  We've all experienced this, know how rough it can be:
sleep becomes an elusive thing, our appetite fails, we are nauseous;
The anguish burns like fire- is salt upon an open wound.
Yet it  cannot come between us and Christ. Not ever!

When we hold on to the love of God, when we're at the lowest point in

 our life, something miraculous happens, something that strangers,
 neighbors, friends, and sometimes even family members are unable
to comprehend:  which is how we're able to carry on with our life as 
though nothing is wrong.
  I've had people ask" Barb, How do you do that ? How can you be 

so calm when you have so much on your plate, when everything is
 such a mess right now?"
   My reply is always "By God's grace."

  God continues to surprise and amaze me at how quickly He  comes
to my rescue, and how he truly does what he promises to do:
make us strong in His strength, empower us to do 

what must be done, fill us with that promised peace of Christ.
And he never fails to bless me by letting me experience the honor of
his presence, the warmth of His love, and the tightness of his embrace.

It is not just knowing Jesus but believing Him that keeps my life

 more stress free than it has ever been. He is trustworthy.
None of us have to be afraid, worried, or discouraged. 

Oh, these things will settle upon us from time-to-time.
 But they won't linger, unless they get to warm a
I don't give them any! I always let Jesus answer the door.

Have a blessed day.
Love you much,


Saturday, May 17, 2014

God's Amazing Grace

John 8:9-11

 (9) And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
(10) When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her,
"Woman, where are those thine accusers, hath no man condemned thee?
"She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her. "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."

The definition of GRACE?

Unmerited favor, divine goodness, mercy, pardon, leniency, forgiveness.

The Bible tells us that GRACE is all sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9) 1 Cor. 15: 10 tells us 
a truly awesome thing, which many of us fail to remember, which is as follows:

"But by the GRACE of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me."

We've read about the adulterous woman many times, but fail to realize we are watching Grace in action. To read a definition of grace is one thing; to attempt to describe what in truth it really is, well, there just are no words. Amazing comes the closest, in my opinion.
How does Grace work?  What does Grace do? Let's observe.

In ver
se 4 of John 8 the scribes and Pharisees brought to Jesus, a woman caught in the very act of adultery. It has always amazed me, the nerve these people had, to say to Jesus, as they set her in the midst," Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?"  Their implication was if MOSES said it..well, that was all that mattered. The Lord's opinion didn't' really count, didn't matter at all.
They were, of course, wanting to tempt him, eager to be able to accuse him of something.
   The beginning of grace in action: Verse 6 ".....But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as if he heard them not.
Grace did not react as we would have. Jesus did not shake his finger in their face, did not raise his voice and shame them by naming their own personal sins aloud. Instead, he remained quiet, chose to ignore their words, though they did not yet silence themselves.
We could learn much by his example. How well we control our tongue reveals to the world just how much we have really learned by spending time with Jesus, or how much we truly much more we need to grow.

Verse 7 says ...." So when they continued asking him, he lifted himself, and said unto them. " He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone. at her."
 Being convicted by their own conscience, all of them departed, leaving the woman alone with the Lord.

 Sometimes that is what Jesus has to do with us too, has to allow things to happen that force us to be alone with him. Sometimes that is the only way he can get us to listen to him, sad as that is. We have our spouses, our children, our hobbies, our studies, our work, our friends...everything taking up so much of our time HE gets none of it. And if we are never alone with him there is no way he can educate us, instruct us, guide us,  comfort us, uplift us, strengthen us, or embrace us. It is that one-on- one time alone that can empower us to do as he asks.

  He asks us to do something; sets it upon our heart and mind so strongly we know it is HIM talking. And what do we do? We say things like "But Lord... I can't..."I have no time." I don't know how." What if this, or what if that? " He will put up with this for only so long. Then he'll turn away, and leave us to do whatever we wish. When that tall a wall gets between us and the Lord, it's not a wall of wood, but steel- and the only thing that can bring it town again is a repentant heart, a sincere heart, one like David's who recognizes how far we've wandered away -- how truly horrible our sins, how desperately we need a new heart.

Grace redirects us. Verse 10  Jesus asks the woman where her accusers are, if none have accused her. "No man, Lord." she says. Verse 11, "And Jesus said unto her. "
Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."
Verse 12. Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying. "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."

Once Jesus touches our life; once he forgives us and sends us on our way we'll fall again, will still make mistakes. But that's okay. He says that "he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness..."
 This means we no longer will have to live as we were before his grace touched us; we'll never have to be stuck in the dark again. We can, in his strength, and with his help, walk on the right paths, following after the light.

Jesus (grace) did not condemn the woman, nor does it condemn us. Instead, he forgives us, is merciful, loving, lenient. Jesus could have humiliated the woman further, could have made her feel more sad, discouraged, worthless. But he didn't. And he treats us with the same kindness and gentleness as he did her. God's grace pardons us, embraces us, heals us, binds up our wounds, and somehow, miraculously changes us into the person we have always wanted to be. God's grace sets us free from the things that have held us in bondage.

God's grace fills us with something we lacked. It so changes our hearts that we are able, through Christ, to no longer walk in darkness but in the light.

We all have things in our past we'd rather forget, things we'd not want anybody else to know about. We forget at times just how amazing a thing God's GRACE is, until Satan reminds us of something we did, and guilt and shame overwhelm us again. We run to the Lord and say "Lord, I am so sorry. Please forgive me."And what does he say?  He says "I don't remember that sin. I don't know what you are talking about. AMEN! Thank you, Lord.

 When we ask for forgiveness- he gives it, and gives it not only, but reminds us that it is now forgotten. Our problem is that we don't take him at his word. I determined awhile back, to get into the habit of reminding myself of that fact. It's helped a lot; has added quality to my life as well as given me the peace that the Lord desires his children to have.

It is the desire of my heart that we all come to rightly reflect Jesus Christ, so that

those who have yet to know him may desire to have that which we have, so that they may share in our JOY. 
Have a blessed day.
Love you much,