Category Archives: Parting Words from The WORD

Parting Words From The WORD . . . Jesus Says Some Choice Words About Satan

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Last Sunday, my pastor said something has stayed with me this week. He said, “No matter what the enemy does, our God is faithful.”

That statement was nothing new to me. It’s a known, simple truth among us Christians, and yet, I have to admit that sometimes I act as if my life depends on what the evil one does or says, rather than what our Father promises.

It’s as if I trust the words of the evil one over the words of God.

Satan says we’re unimportant . . . God says we’re so important that He sent His own Son to die in our place.

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NLT

 

Satan says no one cares . . . God says to give our cares to Him.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. I Peter 5:7 NLT

 

Satan says we’re not worthy of salvation . . . God says even though we’re not worthy, eternal life is His gift to us.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 6:23 NIV

 

Satan goes to and fro looking for people to devour . . . God says Jesus came to save us.

For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost. Luke 19:10 NIV

 

Satan says we have to look out for number one . . . God says we must serve others.

Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Mark 9:35 NIV

 

Jesus shares a few choice words about Satan in the New Testament. He calls him the evil one (Matthew 13:38), the enemy (Matthew 13:39), the prince of this world (John 12:31), and a thief (John 10:10). In John 8:44 Jesus says there is no truth in Satan, that he’s a liar, the father of lies, and a murderer.

But at least seventy-five times throughout those same pages, Jesus Himself says these words: “I tell you the truth . . . ”

Yes, Jesus tells us the truth. And the truth is, Satan is a liar.

Jesus came to seek and to save. Satan came to steal, kill and destroy.

When times are hard and we feel alone, who do we believe? The choice is ours. I pray we choose to know and believe the words of Jesus, because knowing and believing the truth is the only way to recognize a lie.

Grace and peace be yours in abundance,

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD . . . I Could Sing of His Love Forever

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

I love to sing worship. I love the music and the words. But most of all, I love getting to that place where it’s just Jesus and me as I sing my praise to Him.

Sometimes I envision Jesus on the throne and I’m a tiny speck in the throng of worshipers surrounding Him, and yet He makes eye contact with me…and smiles. I see myself and millions of others dancing before Him, celebrating that we’re in His presence.

Other times I’m bowing at His feet with a heart of confession, singing the words of repentance from a contrite heart.

And still other times I can’t sing at all. I’m simply in awe, speechless in the confidence of His presence in my life. Of His grace, mercy, and love…in spite of my sin.

As the song says, “I could sing of Your love forever.”

Quite different from the services I grew up with. Four hymns, three verses each–the first, second, and fourth, of course. We stood for the first three songs, sat for the last.

Always.

Nobody dared change or challenge the tradition.

Nobody dared get emotional or feel the words or shutter over conviction. And the service had better end on time, or else. That’s the way it was done. Period.

And yet in John’s vision of the Revelation, he reported:

Day and night they never stop singing: “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was, who is, and who is to come.” Revelation 4:8b (Good News Translation)

I have a feeling that when we’re there before Him, we’ll be singing more than four songs, three verses. I have a feeling we won’t be standing for three songs and sitting for one.

Instead, I have a feeling we’ll be on our faces one second…and dancing the next, mere specks in the crowd of worshipers. And through it all, Jesus will be making eye contact with each of us…individually…

And smiling.

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

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD . . . Thanking God for a Dead Computer

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Perhaps you’re like me. Perhaps you’ve heard the stories of Jesus’ miracles from the time you were a little tyke. Perhaps that means you’ve been hearing the stories for many years, too. Yep, we know our Jesus stories.

Or do we?

It wasn’t until I was truly saved that I realized the power of His written Word. Stories were no longer just stories, they were lessons on life, on how to relate to one another as the Body of Christ, and on how to reflect His Light in this lost and dying world. They were messages from God.

This week the message came through the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. And the story of my dead computer.

My Christian Communicators partner and co-director, Carolyn Knefely, and I were headed to a meeting with our conference coordinator, Cynthia Owens. I was telling Carolyn how years ago God had shown me that in the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 men (not counting all the women and children) with only five loaves and two fish, He never asked God to multiply the food. He only gave thanks for it.

That insight had rocked my world way back then. After all, I’d heard the story all my life, but I’d never heard anybody share that little detail. Jesus didn’t ask God to multiply the food. He didn’t cry out on behalf of the people. He simply gave thanks.

Several hours later our meeting was over and Carolyn was unexpectedly taking me and my dead computer to the Apple Store. During the meeting I had–not once, but TWICE–dropped my computer on the hard tile floor. Carolyn drove while I whined about my computer and how difficult everything was going to be if the geniuses at the Genius Bar couldn’t get it restarted. I fretted over the expense of getting this very old, no-longer-under-warranty computer repaired, or worse–having to buy a new one.

In the middle of my whining, God spoke to my spirit, reminding me of the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000; of how Jesus didn’t complain about the situation or whine about how difficult things were going to be if they didn’t have any food for all those people. He simply gave thanks.

I stopped my whining and–out loud–thanked God for how He was going to handle this computer issue. His peace came over me.

A few hours later, I walked out of the Apple store, my old computer back to her usual self. And they didn’t charge me a cent.

Thank you, Lord . . . again.

And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. Matthew 14:19 (NIV)

I pray His blessings on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD . . . Procrastinator or Determinator?

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

(Vonda here. As some of you know, I was teaching at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference last week. But what you probably didn’t know is that Gary and I are also away this week–for our 47th anniversary! So I pulled out another oldie but goodie from past Parting Words for you. I hope it speaks to you as much as it spoke to me years ago. And yes, I needed to hear it again!) 

Hello. My name is Vonda, and I am a procrastinator.

But even though I admit to being a procrastinator, being terribly unorganized, and having difficulty staying focused, that doesn’t mean I’m lazy or that I don’t get anything done.

The truth is I’ve tried goal setting, pep talks, berating myself, making schedules, setting timers, and turning off social media. But still, at the end of the day I often have little to show for all the great plans I had at the beginning of it.

I have to admit, the repeated frustration with all the real life interruptions has now encased me in procrastinator mode. I mean, why should I even try to work on that book-of-my-heart? My plans will just be interrupted anyway.

Besides, I’ve always said I couldn’t write in short segments. I’m a block-out-a-big-chunk-of-focused-time kind of writer.

But this past week God jerked that excuse rug right out from under my feet when He showed me a verse I’d never seen before.

If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done. Ecclesiastes 11:4 (TLB)

Said another way:

Whoever watches the wind will not plant;
whoever looks at the clouds will not reap. Ecclesiastes 11:4 (NIV)

Ouch.

What about you? What about me? Are we waiting for perfect conditions? Watching the wind? Distracted by the clouds? God’s Word tells us that we won’t get anything done. At least not those book-of-our-hearts projects.

Hello. My name is Vonda, and I’m a recovering procrastinator.

What about 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 . . . The Path of Life

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

(Vonda here: I’m hard at work getting ready to head out Sunday for Asheville for the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. For five days, I’ll have the joy of teaching new and experienced writers as they take seriously their call to write for Him. With critiques to do, classes to prepare for, and packing to do, my days are full to overflowing. So today I’m sharing a Parting Words from the past. It was a powerful experience for me several years ago and I hope it will encourage you today.)

I love how God speaks through His word. I had such an experience this week.

I’d been trying to make a decision for a while and continued to find myself vacillating between two equally good choices. Either path would have been good, but I struggled with which would be best for me at this time of my life.

My morning started as usual, spending some time in prayer before beginning the day’s Bible study. I asked God to open my eyes and ears and speak to me through the lesson. I grabbed my study book and flipped through the pages to the introduction for the lesson of the day.

And I smiled.

The opening scripture verse for the day was Psalm 16:11:

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11

God had spoken to me through His word! Oh, I still didn’t have the answer regarding which path to choose, but at that moment I found a new confidence in His ability to direct me.

And this week, He did exactly that. Through prayer, Bible study, and listening, He gave me the answer I was searching for. Just as His word said He would.

But It made me wonder…how many other times has He wanted to lead me, but without my prayer, Bible study, and listening, I couldn’t hear.

What about you?

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

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD . . . God is Greater Than Our Fears

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

 

Excuses. As co-director of Christian Communicators Conference, I hear them frequently.

“God can’t use me. I have a terrible past.”

“But I’m not a speaker.”

“Who am I to tell people how to live?”

“When I get my act together, then I’ll be able to speak.”

“I don’t have enough followers.”

“I don’t have a platform.”

“I don’t have anything to talk about.”

“I’ve been a pretty good person. I don’t really have a testimony.”

“I’m scared to speak.”

How many excuses can we give? Well, how many excuses are there? The truth is, for those of us who have given our lives to the Lord and try to live for Him everyday, it doesn’t matter if we’ve been “too good” or “too bad,” there’s not a single “too” that keeps us from ministry.

If we’re honest, we’re probably too fearful. A few weeks ago, my pastor at Renovation Church, Jeremy Havelin, started a teaching series on becoming one. This is his focus because we are in the process of taking two churches and making them one. What an exciting time! It’s a joy to see our Westside building filled with families and men and women and teens and kids and babies as we love and worship our Lord together as one!

Although Pastor Jeremy is teaching on becoming one, his words that day had another application to my heart and mind: Christian Communicators Conference. We’re gearing up for the 7th Christian Communicators Conference and we know from experience that there’ll be ladies there who are fearful.

  • Fearful of speaking
  • Fearful of not measuring up to other women
  • Fearful of being transparent
  • Fearful of stepping out in faith

Pastor Jeremy’s words were perfect for these precious ladies and they’re perfect for you and me: “Know that the greater our God is, the smaller our fears become. Understand that playing it safe is risky.”

Wow. What powerful truth! We know we have a great God, don’t we? Playing it safe is risky when we realize we’re allow fear to keep us from what He has for us to do for His kingdom.

What will you do with your fear? What will I do with mine? Let’s remember how great our God is. We have no reason to fear!

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
     In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid. Psalm 56:3-4a (NIV)

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

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD . . . He Precedes Your Every Test

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.
Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Vonda here: I’m thrilled to introduce my friend, Evangelist Aidan McKenzie to you. He’s a dear man of God who has suffered for years from a rare, painful muscle disease that keeps him bedridden much of the time. And yet he sees the medical professionals the Lord has placed in his life as his personal field of ministry. Every time he sends out a testimony of what the Lord is teaching him, Aidan teaches me. If you’d like to receive his encouraging writings, you can reach him at aidanmck [@] aol [dot] com.

HE PRECEDES YOUR EVERY TEST

“Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?” This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do.” John 6:6

The first man said, “eight months wages . . . is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little,” in order to feed the multitudes (John 6:7). He looked at the situation and concluded that it couldn’t be done because he couldn’t see how; therefore it couldn’t, he wrongly concluded!

The second was a little bit more optimistic. He said there was a lad who had five barley loaves, and two fish, ” . . . but what is that for so many?” He too concluded it couldn’t be done. Why not? Because he couldn’t see how; therefore he wrongly concluded it couldn’t be done.

They both looked at the circumstances logically, and concluded it couldn’t  be done. They excluded Jesus Christ from the circumstance and took the place of the Almighty in their thinking! They failed to relate it to Him who was present. They believed what they saw and not Him who had done so much in their presence previously. They came to the wrong conclusion because they leaned on their own understanding, and when they–and we–do that, they–and we–exclude Him from the scenario . . . and we wrongly conclude, “It can’t be done.” Why not? Because I can’t see how, therefore it can’t be! It is living as though He is not present, able, caring, sufficient. He tested them as He does us and we must remember . . .

In your trial . . .
I may not know how, but I know Whom.

In your trial . . .
He Himself knows what He’s going to do.
That is good news, and meant to bring comfort to our mind and soul.

He precedes your every test . . . He is present in your test . . . He is pre-eminent over your test . . .

He Himself knows what He is going to do!aidan mckenzie headshot 2
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Aidan McKenzie
Reconciliation Ministries INC
PO Box 4052
Greenville, SC 29608
www.proclaiminghim.com

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Parting Words From The WORD…Ministry is Hard

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

 

Let’s face it, sometimes ministry is hard. But how can that be the case if we’re doing what God has called us to do?

We may mistakenly think that if we’re in the middle of God’s will, doing what He has for us to do with our lives, then everything should work out smoothly.

That wasn’t the case with Jesus…and it’s not the case with us today. Jesus had no place to lay His head, few friends who stood by Him in the hard times, He suffered, bled, and died. And yet, He continued in His call.

We know that today’s suffering isn’t usually physical, as it was in the lives of Jesus, Paul, and the disciples. But it is suffering none the less.

Peter is clear that those who follow Christ will suffer.

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…
1 Peter 3:13-15

Our responsibility is to answer the call He has placed on our lives, and if it results in suffering or hardship or struggles of any kind, remember that we are called to suffer so that we may inherit a blessing.

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

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD…Why This? Why Now?

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

I know today’s scripture is one we’ve all heard hundreds of times before, but I believe the Lord must be trying to tell me something, and perhaps He wants to tell you, too.

In just the past 5 or 6 days, I’ve had similar conversations with ladies in multiple venues: Several women at two different weekend retreats where I was the speaker; on a phone call with a lady who had questions about Christian Communicators Conference; at a restaurant where I met with a precious CC sister; and in the car with a dear young lady who picked me up at the airport.

In each situation, the sister in the Lord had either gone through or was currently going through a difficult situation and–at least at one point–wasn’t sure what God was doing. In each case, there were two questions regarding the struggle:

Why this, Lord? Why now?

I couldn’t believe I had heard the repeated refrain over and over again. Not necessarily in those same words, but it had been the same basic conflict in each case: Why was this happening and why was it happening now, at this point in my life?

Why am I having this conflict in my marriage at a time when I’m growing closer to you?

Why did I go through this completely unexpected medical issue at this young age?

Why did I let that sin overtake me when I have such a precious family?

Why did that woman discourage me at a time when I feel I’m following God’s direction?

Why this? Why now?

As I kept hearing these questions and talking and praying with these ladies, one verse continued to replay itself over and over in my heart and mind. It’s one we all learned early in our walk with Christ, and yet its words ring truer to me today than ever before as this world and our culture grow further and further from God.

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

Why this? God often uses His own blessings to draw us to Himself, whether it’s complications in our health or our children or our marriages.

Why now? Satan often uses the deepest joys of our hearts to attempt to put a distance between us and the Father.

But the good news is, the Lord is always the victor, because what Satan meant for evil, God can turn it upside down and use it for good.

I can look back on several hardships in my life that seemed to have been anything but a blessing. And yet it was those very things that God used to ultimately orchestrate His perfect will for my life and my family. If the struggle hadn’t happened, the good couldn’t have come about. It’s as simple as that.

Why this and why now?

Because it had to be. Because God wants to give us His best and bring glory to His name.

I pray His blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

Thanks for sharing!

Parting Words From The WORD…Why This? Why Now? The answer may surprise you. http://bit.ly/1T3cHCu @vondaskelton (Click to Tweet)

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Parting Words From The WORD…Open Doors

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

As speakers and writers, we often struggle with promotion. And it’s no wonder. Throughout God’s Word and throughout our lives as Christians we’re challenged to humble ourselves, think of others better than ourselves, guard against pride and self-focus. (I wrote about this whole idea on a post years ago. You can read Would Jesus Network? here.)

Reality is, if we want to share our verbal and written words with the world, we must speak up, whether audibly or written. Otherwise, how will they know about our message of grace and mercy that’s available to them by calling on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ? As Paul says:

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? Romans 10:13-14

How can they hear without someone telling them?

Okay, so now that we see the need, what can we do to gain more opportunity to tell others, while still holding tight to Jesus’ words and our convictions?

The first thing is in who we’re promoting. Are our words all about us, or are they about what He’s done for us? There’s a huge difference between “Let me tell you about what I can do” vs “Let me tell you about what He’s done.”

Once we have that straight and are focused on promoting what Him, it’s time to ask for open doors. Yes, we need open doors. We need opportunities to speak and write. And that, dear friends, is what we should be praying for.

And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.  Colossians 4:3 (NIV)

Just as Paul asked for open doors to share Christ while He was in chains for the Gospel, we should pray for open doors to share Christ through our lives and ministries.

Open doors.

That’s my prayer for you…and me…today.

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

Vonda

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