Monday, June 28

Persecuted?

photo courtesy of INSPIKS

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’
sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Matt. 5:10 NKJV

The Living Bible states that verse this way, “Happy are those who are persecuted because they are good, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.”

Happy? Happy? How happy are we when we try to live righteous, upstanding lives and get berated for it? What puny vapors compared to the persecution others around the world suffer.

But scripture says you’ll be happy. You’ll be blessed. You’ll be rewarded. It is hard to imagine, isn’t it? But that is what the Word says. Let’s see…

“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are My followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.” (Matt. 5:10-12 NLT)

Jesus told the disciples, “Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave isn’t greater than his master!’ So since they persecuted Me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to Me, they would listen to you! The people of the world will persecute you because you belong to Me, for they don’t know God who sent Me.” (John 15:20-21 TLB)

Does scripture say that persecution will end? No. We cannot escape it, as Paul said, “Yes, and those who decide to please Christ Jesus by living godly lives will suffer at the hands of those who hate Him.” (2 Tim. 3:12 TLB)

Rarely was Paul not persecuted. He continued to live with it shadowing his life. He wrote the Philippians, “For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for Him. We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it.” (Phil. 1:29-30 NLT)

And remember that when they persecute you, they persecute Jesus.

Paul, the worst of all persecutors of Christians, tried desperately to destroy the church. One day, on the Damascus Road, he encountered a blinding light as the Lord surrounded him, and said, “‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ Then the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting.’” (Acts 9:4-5 NKJV)

In persecuting the Christians, Paul had persecuted the Lord Himself.

When persecution comes, remember what Peter said…

“Usually no one will hurt you for wanting to do good. But even if they should, you are to be envied, for God will reward you for it. Quietly trust yourself to Christ your Lord, and if anybody asks why you believe as you do, be ready to tell him, and do it in a gentle and respectful way. Do what is right; then if men speak against you, calling you evil names, they will become ashamed of themselves for falsely accusing you when you have only done what is good. Remember, if God wants you to suffer, it is better to suffer for doing good than for doing wrong!” (1 Peter 3:13-17 TLB)

What did Paul tell the Roman Christians? “If someone mistreats you because you are a Christian, don’t curse him; pray that God will bless him.” (Rom. 12:14 TLB)

And the reward? The Kingdom of Heaven is yours!



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Friday, June 25

Ah, Peace!


“God blesses those who work for peace,
for they will be called the children of God.”
Matt. 5:9

Ah, peace! Ha! Not right now. As I sit here typing this, the sound of the yardman’s blower grates on my ears and jars my soul. That is definitely not the sound of peace to me.

But what is peace? According to one definition, Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says, “According to a conception distinctly peculiar to Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is.” Amen!

Peace is…

…rest in the Lord
…contentment that the Lord with work on our behalf
…harmony with the Lord.

Peace is the calm rest in the Lord that brings harmony in the midst of a fiery trial or the depths of an agonizing heartache.

What does scripture tell us about peace?

*“…for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 14:17 NKJV)

*“Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.” (Rom. 14:19 NKJV)

*“God has called us to live in peace.” (1 Cor. 7:15b NIV)

*“…to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Rom, 8:6 NKJV)

*“I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying, for He speaks peace to His faithful people.” (Ps. 85:8 NLT)

However, there is one more element to peace…and that is trust in the Lord. Total reliance on Him to carry us through the worst of life’s flames.

God said through Isaiah, “I will be your God through all your lifetime, yes, even when your hair is white with age. I made you and I will care for you. I will carry you along and be your Savior.” (Is. 46:4 TLB)

He also wrote of God’s promise, “He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord!” (Is. 26:3 TLB)

Paul said, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank Him for his answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7 TLB)

When chaos invades my world, do I still claim His peace and praise Him? Yes, indeedy! For “I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of His glories and grace.” (Ps. 34:1 TLB) Amen!

And when the enemy swirls his darkness around me and attempts to discourage or frighten me, do I still trust Him? You betcha! I say as David said, “But when I am afraid, I will put my confidence in You. Yes, I will trust the promises of God. And since I am trusting Him, what can mere man do to me?” (Ps. 56:3-4 TLB)

Are you struggling to retain your heart’s peace? What did Jesus say about His peace? “I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27 TLB)

The old hymn It is Well With My Soul describes it so well…

“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.”

If we aim for and pursue peace within ourselves, we shall be known as God’s children and be able to share His peace with those around us. “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.” (Rom. 14:19 NKJV)

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 15:13 NLT)

May it be well with your soul!



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Thursday, June 24

The Plan A Woman in a Plan B World blog tour

Today, I’m happy to bring you an interview with Debbie Taylor Williams, author of The Plan A Woman in a Plan B World: What to Do When Life Doesn’t Go According to Plan.

Leave a comment at the end of this post to be entered in the give-away for Debbie’s book.

About the book:


From the beginning of time, women have dreamt about their “Plan A” - the perfect husband, cute children, immaculate home, size six wardrobe, prestigious job, fabulous friends. But it doesn’t take much of real life to set in before compromises, changes, and disappointments manage to cloud those dreams. The Plan A Woman in a Plan B World: What to Do When Life Doesn’t Go According to Plan encourages women to re-evaluate the Plan B route and discover the blessings of God’s Plan A.

Using nine landmines that often claim the God-given plan for women, author/speaker Debbie Taylor Williams helps women reclaim hope and teaches them how to manage those sabotaging thoughts that claim many minds. Sprinkled with humor, an obvious love for God’s Word, and discussion starters for small group study, The Plan A Woman promises to help woman believe that God does have special plans for her, even in this Plan B world.

About the author:


Debbie Taylor Williams is the founder of Hill Country Ministries, an organization dedicated to spreading God’s Word and ministering to women. Best known as a passionate biblical expositor, Debbie uses humor and practical illustrations to communicate spiritual truths to women throughout the nation. She is the author of Pray with Purpose, Live with Passion, Prayers of My Heart, and other books. She and her husband make their home in Kerrville, Texas. Learn more by visiting her popular Web site: www.debbietaylorwilliams.com

Q: Your book focuses on living the Plan A life God designed specifically for you. What encouragement can you give for the woman who feels she’s lived far too long on Plan B? Is there hope?

A: With God nothing is impossible! The Spirit who moved over the surface of the deep and created light and life is the same Spirit who abides in every believer. We can live the Plan A life God has for us because Christ lives in us and He is our hope of glory. Col 1:2

Q: In your book, you talk about hazardous landmines. What are a few common landmines women fall into?

A: Bitterness, discouragement, being fixated on the past, fear, feeling shaken by our circumstances, having expectations of how others should act are but a few of the land mines we can experience in a Plan B world. Left unattended, these land mines can cause devastating harm to us and others.

God’s Plan A is not for us to ignore these land mines, nor is it His plan for us to tip toe around them. Rather, He directs us to address and de-mine them. When we do, we can walk in bold assurance, confident of the ground upon which we walk. We’re able to carry out the good works and plans God has for us, those that bring purpose and joy.

Q: Talk about your P.R.A.Y. conferences and how women can learn more about your prayer ministry.

A: On April 2, 2008, God woke me up at 4 a.m. and told me that I wasn’t doing all that He wanted me to do. He then directed me to one of His Plans for my life: to take the principles from my book, Pray with Purpose — Live with Passion, to a church in every state in the United States.

He told me to waive my speaking fee and travel expenses, that He had freely given me the keys to prayer that can change women’s lives, and that I was to freely take them to my sisters. P.R.A.Y. with Passion Conference was birthed as a ministry of my non-profit ministry. It has been a joy to see God powerfully open doors through women who hear about the conference and pass the word to their women’s ministry leader or event planner.

Women are coming to salvation. Spiritual breakthroughs and repentance are taking place among believers. A “pink hearts” club is spreading across America, one composed of women and men who come forward and receive a heart on which they write how God has spoken to their hearts.

And God is speaking. If I haven’t been to your church/state, contact lauren@debbietaylorwilliams.com ministries, call toll free 888.815.9412, or visit my web site for more information.

Q: In your spare time, what do you enjoy doing?


A: I love being with my husband. Whether we go for a walk, watch the sunset, take a hike in the country, travel, play golf (sort of...I’m a beginner), or go for a drive and breakfast on Saturday mornings. He’s my honey and love of 35 years. Our two adult children and their spouses are so much fun to be with, as is our 17 month old grandson. Family, friends, sharing the Lord - what more could we ask?

Leafwood Publishing
Release Date: April 2010
ISBN-10: 0891126414
ISBN-13: 978-0891126416
Retail: $14.99



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Monday, June 21

Purity is Essential


“God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
for they will see God.”
Matt 5:8 NLT

Continuing with the beatitudes…

“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (1 John 3:2-3 NIV)

In Greek, ‘pure’ is defined as clean, clear, pure as cleansed, free from impure admixture, without blemish, and spotless.

Some of the definitions from the English dictionaries describe ‘pure’ as…

*clean, spotless, or unsullied
*untainted with evil; innocent
*free from foreign or inappropriate elements
*without any discordant quality; clear and true
*free from anything of a different, inferior, or contaminating kind; free from extraneous matter
*and free from that which harms or pollutes as unadulterated, free from that which contaminates, defiles, or blemishes, as free from moral defilement or guilt, innocent, chaste, so says Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary from 1879.

God made each of us as a precious being, a body, soul, and spirit needing special care. His intention was that we preserve the purity of our minds, hearts, and bodies, protecting them from anything that would harm the integrity of His creation. It was His gift to each of us.

How hard do we work to keep ourselves from inappropriate contaminants that sully our purity while waiting for our Beloved’s return?

Do any of these negative things tramp through your heart with their muddy feet and attempt to camp out…doubt, worry, unbelief, strife, stealing, cheating, covetousness, lying, pride, unforgiveness, depression, murmuring, complaining, filthy language, rebellion, hypocrisy, bitterness, judging, gossip, speaking against others, addictions, impure thoughts, lust, internet porn, or anything else that grieves the Holy Spirit?

What do we look at or listen to that tempts us or puts us at risk of lusting, lusting for anything? We cannot look at or listen to just anything. Our eyes and ears act as conveyor belts of the world’s junk dumping it all into our minds and hearts. Impure sights and sounds siphon out the purity of our lives and become infinitesimal steps of separation between us and God.

Though God fills us with His holiness through Christ’s salvation, the upkeep of holiness depends solely upon us. It is absolutely necessary, as Paul persuades, that we “Pursue a godly life,” (1 Tim. 6:11a NLT) for “God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.” (1 Thess. 4:7 NKJV)

If we keep our hope and trust in Jesus, we continually flush ourselves of impurities, keeping ourselves pure in Him. Therefore, Paul says, “Dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Cor. 7:1 NKJV)

We do this because “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” (Eph. 5:25-27 NKJV)

The purity of holiness is not an option, for, without it, we will not see the Lord, as the writer of Hebrews tells us, “Seek to live a clean and holy life, for one who is not holy will not see the Lord.” (Heb. 12:14 TLB)

Paul told the young Corinthian believers to “be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (1 Tim. 4:12 NKJV)

Remember, “God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.” So, how bad do we want to see God?

“He who loves purity of heart and has grace on his lips, the king will be his friend.” (Prov. 22:11 NKJV)

I wonder if God asks the same question about us as He did of Hosea when He lamented over Samaria and their idols, “How long will it be before they attain purity?” (Hos. 8:5 Amp)

Pure in heart…as a baby. Do you have a baby heart?



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Friday, June 18

Hungry? Thirsty?


“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst
after righteousness, for they will be filled.”
(Matt. 5:6 NIV)


Continuing in the beatitudes series…

Did you ever feel hungry or thirsty? Fainting? Tired? Need recharging? What did you do? More than likely, you nurtured yourself with food, water, rest, and whatever else your body needed.

David got hungry and thirsty. He said to the Lord, “My soul thirsts for You; my whole body longs for You in this parched and weary land where there is no water,” (Ps. 63:1b NLT) and “You constantly satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.” (Ps. 145:16 TLB)

While in the wilderness, Israel hungered and thirsted, as David tells us, “Hungry and thirsty, they nearly died. ‘Lord, help!’ they cried in their trouble, and He rescued them from their distress.” (Ps. 107:5-6 NLT)

Just as it is possible to get weary physically, it is equally possible to get weary spiritually.

Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. No one coming to me will ever be hungry again. Those believing in me will never thirst.” (John 6:35TLB) And “For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water shall flow from the inmost being of anyone who believes in me.” (John 7:38 TLB)

God “gives food to the hungry” (Ps. 146:7 NKJV) and “turns deserts into pools of water, the dry land into springs of water. He brings the hungry to settle there.” (Ps. 107:35-36 NLT) But the Lord’s offering of refreshing, spiritual bread and water, is not from without, but from within.

When you become tired from your journey and your weary soul shrivels up, feeling bone-dry, what do you do? When every last drop of spiritual vitality has evaporated, where do you go to fill that lack? Do you reach outside to the world to replenish yourself? Or do you seek solace within to refresh yourself with the Bread of Life and the Living Waters?

When you reach within to draw from the Lord, just as Elijah, He will lead you to drink of the Brook Cherith and command His wings servants to feed you. And when you hunger and thirst after the things of God, you will be filled.

That is God’s promise to you!



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Thursday, June 17

Life's Too Short to Miss the Big Picture blog tour


Today, I bring you an excerpt from the book Life’s Too Short to Miss the Big Picture, written by Steve Diggs. If you leave a comment at the end of the post, you’ll be entered in the give-away for the book.

About the Author:


Steve Diggs, Personal Finance & Life-Skills Coach, is the author of six books, hundreds of articles, and is a fixture on local and network television and radio. He speaks to enthusiastic audiences worldwide over 250 times yearly. Steve is proud to announce that Bonnie, his bride of 33 years, has just picked his option up for another two years. The couple lives in Brentwood, Tennessee. For more about Steve’s ministry, go to No Debt No Sweat or www.SteveDiggs.com

Excerpt:


START SMALL IF YOU HAVE TO, BUT START
by Steve Diggs

As a habit, I don’t put bumper stickers on my car. It’s partially because they distract from the appearance of the car, but there’s actually another reason why my car is a sticker-free zone. Frankly, I don’t generally prefer to go around announcing all my political beliefs and preferences to a world that mostly doesn’t care—and when it does, can become hostile.

But what about those bumper stickers that tell the world that I’m a Christian? You know the ones. Sometimes they’re in the shape of a fish. Others make a proclamation of belief in Jesus as the Way to God. Why don’t I put those particular stickers on my car? After all, if I’m really serious about Jesus, don’t I want to be a walking, talking billboard? Isn’t life too short to miss such opportunities?

This is where it’s going to get a bit tougher, because this is going to force me to admit an embarrassing truth. I don’t put those bumper stickers on my car because I’m afraid I’ll do something that will destroy my witness. I’m afraid I’ll do more harm than good.

What if I cut another driver off in traffic, or lose my temper and glare at someone? Do I really want the last thing they see as I pull away to be a sign advertising my allegiance to Jesus? It’s the same reason I don’t wear many “Jesus shirts.” I love and respect other Christians who attach the bumper stickers and wear the clothes—as long as they are 66 Life’s Too Short to Miss the Big Picture really representing Jesus. But as I say elsewhere in this book, Jesus gets some of his worst PR from professing Christians who don’t live their profession.

Recently I was working on a project with one of my dearest friends, Pat Boone. One thing about Pat—he’s not ashamed to proclaim his faith. As a matter of fact, he wears neck chains and rings with godly symbols all the time. One day as we were wrapping up some work in his den, Pat pulled out a ring and said, “Steve, I have a gift for you.” I wasn’t quite sure how to handle a guy giving me jewelry. But in a moment I saw what it was: a beautifully designed ring with a very large cross in the middle—just like the one Pat was wearing.

Ah, this was perfect for me! Not as bold as a bumper sticker or as bombastic as a tee-shirt—but at least it was something. It was a start. So I thanked Pat profusely and accepted the gift. As I put the ring on my pinky, I decided that this would be my first witness to the world, so I turned the cross outward.

Since that day, I’ve worn my cross ring 24/7. As a matter of fact, recently a young woman at a cash register noticed it when I paid my bill. Over the months I’d seen her on a number of occasions. I had always been amiable and friendly. She said, “I really like your ring.” I thanked her politely and walked on.

Was she another Christian who had been encouraged by my ring? Was she a seeker who had run me through whatever litmus test she uses to assess whether Christians are real or fakes? I don’t know. But at least in that one particular case, I was able to smile in my heart as I walked away knowing that I had acted like Jesus would want me to act. I had not embarrassed my Master.

Now for you Christians who are much more mature than I am—those of you with fifteen “Jesus stickers” on your car, a gold cross chain around your neck, and an “I love Jesus” tee-shirt with Scripture verses on both front and back panels—my baby step probably sounds pretty pathetic. But for me it was a start.

Maybe it would do us all well to realize two things:
1. Life is too short not to be a walking, talking, living, breathing banner for Jesus.
2. Life is also too short not to walk the walk if we talk the talk.

Frankly, this is sort of exciting for me. Who knows, it may help me graduate to a bumper sticker—or even a tee-shirt.

Leafwood Publishers
Release Date: April 2010
ISBN-10: 0891126406
ISBN-13: 978-0891126409
Paperback, 220 pages
Retail: $14.99



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Monday, June 14

Mercy!

photo courtesy of Fazeel at picasaweb

“Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.”
Matt. 5:7 NKJV

The above verse is the next statement in the beatitudes Jesus spoke in the Sermon on the Mount.

The dictionary defines ‘mercy’ as compassion, pity, benevolence, acts of kindness or favor, kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power, or something that gives evidence of divine favor, blessing.

Vine’s says the Greek word for ‘merciful’ means “not simply possessed of pity but actively compassionate, is used of Christ as a High Priest, Heb 2:17, and of those who are like God, Matt 5:7.”

To ‘obtain mercy’ means to compassionate (by word or deed, specially, by divine grace), to have mercy on, to succor the afflicted, to bring help to the wretched, to show kindness, by beneficence, or assistance, to feel sympathy with the misery of another, and especially sympathy manifested in act.

Who comes to mind of a modern-day servant of compassion? Mother Teresa! She has been dubbed “an angel of mercy.” She said, “Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”

And what did she do? She desperately and consistently tried to fill those needs. Her active mercy-compassion knew no bounds.

Who was her example? Jesus. Scripture says, “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them.” (Matt. 9:36 NKJV) Several other times, scripture says Jesus was filled with compassion for an individual.

As we are to follow Jesus’ example, we can apply to ourselves what Jesus said to Peter in a parable, “Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?” (Matt. 18:33 NKJV)

Are we touched with compassion for others? Are we actively seeking to be compassionate to all those that cross our paths? Do we go out of our way to be God’s hands of mercy kindness, sympathy, and assistance to one suffering in life? Sure, we may do so for family, friends, or even for some strangers.

But what about our enemies, those who offend us? Hmmm, another matter, isn’t it?

“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8-9 NKJV)

William Shakespeare wrote…

“The quality of mercy is not strain’d;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.”

In need of mercy? Reach out to another. As the verse says, those who are merciful will receive mercy’s compassion.

May you and another be blessed as you spread mercy and compassion today!



This post is part of the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival. Hop on over to Bridget Chumbley’s site to view all the other participants.

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Friday, June 11

Blessed Are the Meek


“Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.”
Matt. 5:5 NKJV


Meekness reminds me of a sweet, little lamb. But what does ‘meek’ mean? In general, in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, it means humble, mild, gentle, and so on.

The Bible tells us the man of meekness in the Old Testament was Moses. It says that “the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” (Num. 12:3)

In the New Testament, meekness is exemplified in Jesus. He said it of Himself, “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matt. 11:29 KJV)

Meekness is an inward grace of the soul given by the Holy Spirit, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” (Gal. 5:22-23 KJV)

It is a virtue to be practiced, to be followed after, “Seek the Lord, all you meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility.” (Zeph. 2:3 NKJV)

To have an attitude of meekness is to have humility toward God and gentleness toward men. Meekness is not weakness. Weakness manifests as a lack of strength or lack of courage. On the other hand, meekness is strength and courage under control, wrapped in kindness.

God’s Word tells us that meekness is …

* to be walked in, as Paul told the Ephesians, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love.” (Eph. 4:1-2 NKJV) Gentleness=meekness.
* to be evident by a man’s “good life his works in meekness of wisdom.” (James 3:13)
* to give the reason for the hope that is in a person, “with meekness and fear.” (1 Peter 3:15)
* to be shown in our relations with one another, “tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” (Col. 3:12-13 NKJV)
* to be followed after, as Paul told Timothy, “follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” (1 Tim. 6:11 KJV)
* to be a part of our speech and character, “speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.” (Titus 3:2 NKJV) Humility=meekness.
* to be in readiness, “to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” (1 Peter 3:15 NKJV)
* to be a partner with “humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth.” (2 Tim. 2:25 NKJV) Humility=meekness.
* to be used in confronting those who have sinned, “if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” (Gal. 6:1-2 NKJV) Gentleness=meekness.

James wrote, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.” (James 3:13-14 NKJV)

Meekness is a grace, a beauty, that must come from within and permeate every area of our lives. Peter wrote, “Let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God.” (1 Peter 3:4 Amp)

Meekness, being precious in God’s eyes, has a promise...it inherits the earth.

Would anyone say you are a meek and gentle spirit?



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Thursday, June 10

Changing Me, Change the World - interview with Lynnda Ell


Today, I am happy to bring you an interview with Lynnda Ell, author of Changing Me, Change the World. Be sure to read to the end. She has a special offer for you.

Hey, Linda! Describe Changing Me, Change the World for us.


Changing Me, Change the World
contains the English Standard Version of the first forty one psalms of the book of Psalms with a contemporary prayer for each one. The format is a little unusual. Every psalm is on the left-hand page and every prayer is on the right-hand page.

Sometimes, the psalm and prayer do not end on facing pages. When that occurs, a blank page allows the reader to write his or her own prayer.

Tell us about your background and your family.

My parents raised me in a godly home where I learned to love God and to follow Him and that has shaped my life. Polio completely paralyzed me when I was a child. The effects of that disease also shape the boundaries of my life every day.

The career paths of my dad and husband dictated that I move every two or three years. I gained a wealth of experience from living in different sections of the country and in seeing other countries. After our two daughters were born, I stayed home until they were almost out of grammar school. Then, I followed careers in direct sales, accounting, and electrical engineering.

Now, I am a freelance writer and a grandmother of five. My life has not been easy, but it has always been rewarding.

You live in New Orleans. How did Hurricane Katrina affect your life?


Damage to my home exceeded $100,000, but we were able to move back to New Orleans after five months and to live in the house while we restored it. We worked on it for over two years. By a series of miracles, we did not lose everything as so many people did.

Why did you write Changing Me, Change the World?


Communicating with God has always been an important part of my life. In the spring of 2001, my older daughter suffered brain damage in a car accident. For two months, I lived with her in a rehab hospital as the medical staff worked to restore her health.

The experience drained me physically, mentally, and spiritually. I spent significant time in prayer to find renewal and I felt that God wanted me to record the prayers. In the right time, those prayers became a book.

What do you hope readers take away from it?


People want to pray. An internet search on the words “praying to Jesus” brings up twelve million results. Yet, countless people have told me they don’t know what or how to pray. I published Changing Me, Change the World to model one – powerful – way to pray. By taking a portion of the Bible, in this case a psalm, and using it to guide their prayer, I hope readers see that God wants to hear our heart-cry in a manner that honors Him.

You can find Changing Me, Change the World in both hard cover or soft bound editions at:

Amazon.com
BarnesandNoble.com
and other internet bookstores.

Lynnda blogs at Calling All Aspiring Writers of Nonfiction Books and at Passionate for the Glory of God.

Lynnda has offered a special give-away for all the followers of Heading Home. To get a free copy of Changing Me, Change the World, send an email to her at lynndaell[at]live[dot]com with “Heading Home” in the subject line. In the message, provide your full name and your mailing address. Then look for it in your mail box.

Thanks so much, Lynnda!



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Monday, June 7

Blessed Are the Mournful


“God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.”
(Matt. 5:4 NLT)


I went to a funeral the other day. A very precious friend’s husband died.

As I sat there listening to the trembling voices, soaked in tears, and the preacher’s words of tribute, I cried along with the family and friends.

Separation from a loved one brings grief, but the Lord brings His comfort. The Lord said, “He has sent Me to comfort the brokenhearted.” (Is. 61:1 TLB)

When a loved on is no longer with us, the afterglow of his or her presence lingers on in our hearts and in all the hearts of his/her loved ones on earth long after that one has left our sight. The beauty of such a person never dies, for he or she leaves behind so much of themselves. Our hearts are always illuminated by the memories of their smile, their laughter, their kind words, the touch of their hand, and, if they are a Christian, their love for God.

When we lose a loved one who loved the Lord, we may also look at it this way: Of the roses that climb the garden wall, some will blossom on the other side, being hidden from our view, but the vine keeps them all joined together.

And so it is with the wall of death. It merely hides the other side; it does not divide. Our loved ones who have gone on to be with Jesus may be hidden from our view, but they have just blossomed on the other side. And, if we, who remain here, are also in Christ, then we are all united together, because the Vine keeps us together.

Mourning encompasses more than the heartache of losing a loved one. We mourn when a loved one goes astray in his/her marriage and divorce results, distressing the children. Or when s/he makes wrong decisions and ends up in jail or addicted to some substance.

We mourn for our own mistakes and regrets, for fallen heroes, for abused children, for children kidnapped and forced into sex trafficking, or for those caught in a natural or some other disaster.

There is “a time to weep,” as Ecclesiastes 3:4 NKJV tells us. But what did our opening verse say? “God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” In all our mourning, the Lord blesses us with His comfort.

David knew the Lord’s comfort and we are blessed with David’s thoughts and writings in the book of Psalms. David wrote, “My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life” (Ps. 119:50 NIV), “May Your unfailing love be my comfort” (Ps. 119:76 NIV), and “Let Your compassion come to me that I may live” (Ps. 119:77 NIV).

In His care for us, God sent Jesus “to comfort all who mourn” (Is. 61:2b NIV), “to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” (Is. 61:3 NIV).

David wrote, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Ps. 147:3 NKJV)

Trust in those words.

It is God’s promise to you.

Those that mourn shall be comforted…with the Lord’s presence.

If mourning is a part of your life right now, I pray the Lord blesses you with His presence and His comfort.



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Sunday, June 6

Life in Defiance, blog tour for Mary DeMuth

Life in Defiance

About the book:

In a town she personifies, Ouisie Pepper wrestles with her own defiance. Desperate to become the wife and mother her husband Hap demands, Ouisie pours over a simple book about womanhood, constantly falling short, but determined to improve.

Through all that self-improvement, Ouisie carries a terrible secret: she knows who killed Daisy Chance. As her children inch closer to uncovering the killer’s identity and Hap’s rages roar louder and become increasingly violent, Ouisie has to make a decision. Will she protect her children by telling her secret? Or will Hap’s violence silence them all?

Set on the backdrop of Defiance, Texas, Ouisie’s journey typifies the choices we all face—whether to tell the truth about secrets and fight for the truth or bury them forever and live with the violent consequences.

Where did you get the idea for the book?


My husband and I have helped women caught in the middle of domestic violence, and we’ve seen the church grapple with how to help women in this situation. Writing about Ouisie Pepper, a pastor’s wife who is trying to hide a huge secret helps bring to light the complicated issue.

I have encountered folks who hide, who seem to be upstanding Christians in public, but who hide their issues behind closed doors. I’ve seen the tortured state of their souls, and I’ve wondered why folks hide so much. Based on those encounters, I formulated the Defiance, TX trilogy to address hiding versus authentic, amazing faith.

Is any part of the book true?

Only in terms of walking alongside women who have experienced domestic violence. My story is not that at all. But I have seen the devastation up close with friends.

And then of course, I am writing the book, so there’s always a lot of me woven through all the characters.

Do you have a favorite character in Life in Defiance? Why?


I would say Emory Chance because she is so lost throughout the series, and deeply broken, but in this book she truly starts to absorb the beauty of Jesus. That, in a way, is the story of my life. I was a broken, needy girl who Jesus rescued.

What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

That you may encounter Jesus in outcasts. It’s not always the folks who promote themselves as believers who truly walk as Jesus did. Jesus comes in distressing disguise. Will we miss Him?

Where are you headed next?


I just finished a standalone book for Zondervan—a mystery set in Rockwall, TX, which is where I live! And it has a romantic element to it. I’m also dabbling into YA (young adult) fiction, hoping to write for that demographic. So many of the things I write about can impact teen girls (identity, authenticity, beauty, abandonment, etc.). I look forward to see how God orchestrates that.

Thanks, Mary! May the Lord bless all you do!

Life in Defiance on Amazon
Mary DeMuth’s Website
Mary DeMuth’s Blog
Mary DeMuth’s Facebook Profile
Follow Mary DeMuth on Twitter
For the other tour stops, click here.



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Thursday, June 3

Are You Poor in Spirit? Rejoice!

photo by joshuaBENTLEY at flickr.com
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Matt. 5:3 NKJV

This is the first of the beatitude series...

The poor in spirit…


What does ‘poor in spirit’ mean? The word ‘poor’ in Greek means to crouch, a beggar (as cringing), pauper, asking alms, needy, and lacking in anything.

The one ‘poor in spirit’ is lowly in heart, convinced of his or her spiritual poverty and pleads as a beggar to God to be replenished.

One who is ‘poor in spirit’ has emptied himself or herself of all pride, selfishness, and ambition through humility, gratitude, and submission to God.

…are blessed…


‘Blessed’ in Greek means happy, supremely blest, fortunate, well off, and of that which is the highest good.

…for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…


The Greek word for ‘kingdom’ means royal power, kingship, dominion, rule, the territory subject to the rule of a king.

Without recognizing one’s lack of spirit, one cannot realize God’s fullness. Grace cannot be poured out to one oblivious of his or her necessity for it. The poor in spirit have the fulfillment of heaven’s kingdom dominion.

The poor in spirit are blessed with the kingdom’s abundance of riches. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33 NKJV)

Scripture tells us that we share in the God’s kingdom because we are His children, “For [God’s] Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are His children, we are His heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering.” (Rom. 8:16-17 NLT)

Are you poor in spirit? Then, shout because you are blessed. The riches of Christ are yours. The kingdom of heaven is yours. Hallelujah!



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