Category Archives: Parting Words from The WORD

Parting Words From The WORD…Need Joy, Peace, and Hope?

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

 

Joy, peace, and hope. Three words that can sometimes feel elusive and unattainable. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

I love reading Paul’s letter to the church at Rome. In Romans, he taught about salvation, grace, righteousness, and how to relate to one another as Christians. I’ve read through and studied this book many times through the years. But today, as I was reading in Romans, I read this verse and saw some things I’d never noticed before.

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

Here are the new insights I found today:

  1. Paul’s not asking that we’d simply be filled with joy and peace, but that we’d be filled with ALL joy and peace. Every bit of it.
  2. When and how do we get all this joy and peace? As we’re trusting in Him. Not when we’re working hard enough or giving enough money or doing enough for others, but AS we trust in Him.
  3. And when we trust in Him, we not only get ALL joy and peace, but we also get so much hope that it’s overflowing!
  4. That hope comes by the power of the Holy Spirit. Again, not because of any works we’ve done, but only because we’re given it by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Joy and peace…all. Hope…overflowing.

And I receive them AS…not before or after or when, but as…I trust in Him.

I’m trusting Him today for joy, peace, and hope in your life and mine.

Vonda

 

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Parting Words From The WORD…Is the World Out of Control?

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

(Thursday, as I began working on my Friday post, a friend commented on Facebook about a common feeling that things are out of control. That prompted me to put together this thought-line and combine it with an excerpt from my book, Seeing Through the Lies: Unmasking the Myths Women Believe. I pray this message encourages you today.)

Let’s face it, we can wake up feeling refreshed and renewed, ready to take on the day. But all it takes is a quick look at the headlines, Twitter, and Facebook to send us reeling.

This world is out of control.

There have been times when I’ve fretted and worried and made myself sick about a problem, all because I believed a lie of Satan—the lie that says everything is out of control. But in truth, it was simply out of my control.

We know we have the Holy Spirit. But the question is, does the Holy Spirit have us? Have we submitted to His authority and power in our lives? Have we swallowed our pride, exposed our weakness, and handed our mess over to Him?

If we’re truthful, most of us would have to admit we try to handle it on our own. Only after all other options have failed do we call out to God, admitting our frailty and acknowledging our need for help.

We’ve got it backward

One day, my pastor’s two children were playing in the den when the youngest began to cry because he had broken his toy. “Don’t worry,” his older sister said. “We’ll just take it to Daddy. He can fix anything.” You can imagine how Pastor Scott felt when he overheard his children’s conversation. His heart swelled with pride, knowing his children trusted him. They respected and honored him as their father—the one who could fix anything.

That’s how the Father wants us to see Him—as our Daddy who can fix anything. And although there is a limit to what Pastor Scott can do, our Heavenly Father doesn’t have any limits! He is all-powerful. He is all-knowing. And He is all love.

That’s not to say our problems will be resolved according to our preferences. But God does promise that everything will work out for His glory, that He is in control, and that He—and we—can handle it. All we have to do is submit ourselves and our messes to Him, and then trust Him with the details of our lives.

He wants only the best for us, and He’s the only One Who knows what the best really is. It may not be the new house we want or the husband we long for. The best for us may not even be our healing. But Romans 8:28 promises us the best is what we’ll get . . . for His glory.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD…What is unseen is eternal…

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Are you struggling today? Overwhelmed? Paul was, too, but he didn’t focus on the hardship.

I pray this encourages you as much as it encouraged me.

It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you himself. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore, we do not lose heart.

Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:13-18

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD…Reach Out in Ministry and Receive

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

(Now, before you wonder if I’ve lost my mind and converted to a “prosperity Christianity,” please hear me out. This post is far from it.)

As Christians, one of our responsibilities is to reach out to others and minister in His Great Name. The concepts of ministry and outreach are repeated throughout His word. From Israel’s Old Testament patriarchs to the New Testament teachers, we receive the continuous message to be the hands and feet of Christ, shining His Light into this dark, dark world. We’re instructed to care for widows and children, feed the hungry, visit those in prison, and love the unlovable.

Reaching out is not simply a concept to consider, it’s a command to obey. Jesus Himself said we’re to not only love the Lord with all our being, but to love others as we love ourselves. Bottom line: Christ-followers MUST be in ministry through love and compassion.

On the surface, it’s easy to see the benefits of service. Through our efforts, the poor and rejected receive food, clothing, help, encouragement, and love…all in the Name of Christ. And we feel good when we do what we’re called to do.

But what about when it doesn’t feel good? What about those times when we want to walk away?

Perhaps that’s when the ministry is as much for our benefit as it is for theirs. Perhaps that’s when God plans to teach us something through our serving. Perhaps we’re the ones who need to learn new lessons.

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:3 (NIV)

So if the time comes when you’re ministering, but just not feeling it…maybe it’s time to ask God what He wants to teach you.

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD…Is It Possible to Stop Telling Others?

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Don’t you love reading His Word and finding something you’d never noticed–or at least never considered–before? In my reading a few years ago, I found a such a verse.

In Acts 4, Peter and John have been called before the Council by the priests, the captain of the Temple guard, and some Saducees because they were healing and preaching the resurrection of the dead. They were thrown in jail.

The next morning the leaders decided that in order to keep Peter and John from spreading their message, they would warn them not to speak to anyone in the name of Jesus again. And here’s where it gets exciting:

But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:19-20 NIV

“We cannot stop telling…”

What about me? What about you? Can we say that? Can we say that we can’t stop telling the Good News of Jesus?

I recently heard that we should have our testimony ready in a variety of forms, to be delivered at a moment’s notice. We should have a 30-second “elevator pitch” testimony, a 2-minute testimony, a longer one, and a fully-written, fleshed-out version.

After all, we have the Good News of the mercy, grace, and love of Jesus. We cannot stop telling everyone about it.

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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Parting Words From THE WORD…Starting Again

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

 

How do you feel as we end this first half of January 2015? Did you accomplish what you had hoped? Maybe you’re like me and you can see progress, but also see the things that didn’t get done.

So what do we do now? As for me, I think I’ll simply toss anything that whispers of failure and rest in Him and His great mercy.

And then trust His plan for my life…again.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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Welcome to 2015: Pie In the Sky Dreams or Real Goals?

Image courtesy of cuteimage/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of cuteimage/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wow, can you believe it’s 2015 already?

It seems only a few years ago that we teens of the 60s were dancing to the lyrics of Zager and Evans’ futuristic, pie-in-the-sky song, In the Year 2525. When it released in 1969, it was pure sci-fi, frequently assumed to be the result of a drug-induced bad trip.

But today, as I read their prophetic words of babies coming from test tubes, mind-altering drugs, and technology ruling our lives, I realize the song carried more truth than we ever thought possible. And way ahead of schedule.

But this post isn’t created to generate a discussion about the 60s or the prophetic reality of Evans’ lyrics. Instead, my goal is for us to face the truth and determine our response to this question: Will we look forward to the future with a pie in the sky attitude, dreaming big, then sitting back in our office chairs to watch them come to fruition? Will we make a plan and then whine when things don’t go as planned? Or will we do the work, put in the hours, and take the training needed to see those goals accomplished?

Unmet Goals

I have to admit, for the past few years I’ve backed down from some of my goals. I’ve run into conflicts of time, opportunity, and responsibilities…and sulked in the corner of defeat. I’ve tried and failed and given up, always eager to point to the reasons I didn’t reach that goal–again.

But this year is different. Oh, I still have many responsibilities beyond writing and speaking–responsibilities beyond my control–but this time I’m committed to doing the work, putting in the hours, and taking the training needed to see those goals through. Please understand, that doesn’t mean I’m determining the outcome. After all, only God is in control. But this year, instead of giving up because my schedule was interrupted–again–I’m committing to simply picking up where I left off and moving forward, in whatever time frame God allows.

I’m accepting the fact that I can’t make anything happen. He’s the One in control of day. I’m only in control of my response to it.

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15 NIV

So, would you join me? Would you stand beside me, raise your right hand, announce your goals, and then say, “I’ll do the work, put in the hours, and take the training needed…and then trust His will for my life.”

Lord willing, we will write that book, get that agent, finish that article, and see our goals achieved. But know this: Publication is not the be-all and end-all of writing. It’s only one of the MANY ways God can use us and our words for His glory.

 

 

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Parting Words From The WORD…What is Your God-Given Goal for 2015?

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

As we begin 2015 and consider what God would have us do in the next twelve months, let’s turn to God’s Word for His direction.

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2-3

Paul wrote his heart’s desire 2000 years ago, but his goal then should be our goal today. What will I–what will you–do to help others know Christ and be encouraged and united in love?

As always, but especially as we begin this new year’s journey together, I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts.

Vonda

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Parting Words From the WORD…Jesus is Born!

Christmas gifts FDP Feel ArtAs we celebrate the Gift of Christmas today, let’s remember Him as

…the Son

…the Sacrifice

…the Resurrected Savior

…the Almighty God.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  John 3:16

I pray God’s richest blessings as we celebrate the Gift and the Giver.

Vonda

(Image courtesy of FeelArt/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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Parting Words From The WORD…His Kingdom Will Never End

Girl baby feetHis reign was foretold 700 years before His birth.

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.” Micah 5:2

And we still proclaim Him 2000 years after His death.

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1:30-33

His kingdom will never end.

I pray God’s blessings as we celebrate the Gift and the Giver,

Vonda

(Photo courtesy of ChristianPhotos.net)

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