You Are Never Alone!


Sitting and thinking about what to write, I immediately focused on a friend who is dealing with a major challenge, and to help her all I can do is pray. I say that not to diminish the power of prayer, but to say she is dealing with an obstacle that only she can overcome.

Other friends and I, are all praying for resolve in the situation -assuring her that God is with her and to trust and lean on Him.

In my thoughts an advertisement from years ago popped in to my head – funny how the mind can open old files at seemingly inopportune moments. I pray for her and reassure her that she is never alone and that God is always with her and along with that meditation came an old TV ad for cigarettes – no I don’t smoke – where a mysterious gentleman is strolling dark streets – goodness knows why, I don’t remember – and in the ominous darkness he reaches for, and lights a cigarette and you hear the words – ‘you are never alone with a Strand (ciggy brand)’. I guess it was meant to be his comfort and of course, a sales pitch for the cigarette company.

My point here is that God can be and will be our comfort each and every day, if we choose to let Him. Our wellbeing is His greatest desire and when we allow Him complete control of our lives we are filled with a courage and comfort beyond our understanding.

Joshua 1:5d-6a …. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage. (NKJV)

So there you have it – He tells us clearly in His Word, ‘You are never alone’. Nothing dark and sinister but a comfort and the knowledge that He is with us always.

Whatever is overwhelming – whatever is challenging – God can change it.

Patricia

https://pepeprays.wordpress.com
http://pattersmatters.wordpress.com

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Why GOOD Friday?


GOOD FRIDAY mourning!

Good Friday!

I began my day thinking why is today called Good Friday?  After all Jesus was crucified this day, so long ago?

I researched and came up with this as an answer.  I admit to posting the information on FB and www.devotionalchristian.com, and now here.  If I was curious then perhaps somebody else might be asking that question too – so here is what I found out (actually I knew the answer, but this is so much more detailed and may answer your question in a way you understand).

John 3:16  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  (NKJV)

“Good Friday” is certainly not the only thing we could call this day. In Latin countries, it is called “Holy Friday.” In Germany, it is called “Mourning Friday” or “Friday of Mourning.” Norway refers to it as “Long Friday” (a reference to the length of the day’s services). The Orthodox Churches call it “Holy Friday” and “Great Friday.”

All of these names are instructive and understandable. So how did it come to be called “Good Friday” in English-speaking lands? The reality is that we do not know for sure. After scouring the internet and other sources, there appear to be three plausible alternatives.

1. An archaic meaning of “good” is something akin to “holy.” Thus, it used to mean “Holy Friday.”

2. It was recognized that the evils of that day lead to the greatest good, the salvation of mankind. Thus, despite the bad, the day was truly good.

3. An archaic meaning of “good” is “God,” just as “good-bye” means “God be with you.” Thus, it used to mean “God’s Friday.”

Each of these alternatives is apt and instructive. But perhaps the one most relevant to our culture and times is the middle one. Despite the evil of that day, God evoked the greatest good from it. But by good we do not mean happy or a time of celebration per se. As stated well by Chris Armstrong in Christianity Today:

Of course, the church has always understood that the day commemorated on Good Friday was anything but happy. Sadness, mourning, fasting, and prayer have been its focus since the early centuries of the church. A fourth-century church manual, the Apostolic Constitutions, called Good Friday a “day of mourning, not a day of festive Joy.” Ambrose, the fourth-century archbishop who befriended the notorious sinner Augustine of Hippo before his conversion, called it the “day of bitterness on which we fast.”

Many Christians have historically kept their churches unlit or draped in dark cloths. Processions of penitents have walked in black robes or carried black-robed statues of Christ and the Virgin Mary. And worshippers have walked the “Stations of the Cross,” praying and singing their way past 14 images representing Jesus’ steps along the Via Dolorosa to Golgotha.

Yet, despite—indeed because of—its sadness, Good Friday is truly good. Its sorrow is a godly sorrow. It is like the sadness of the Corinthians who wept over the sharp letter from their dear teacher, Paul, convicted of the sin in their midst. Hearing of their distress, Paul said, “My joy was greater than ever.” Why? Because such godly sorrow “brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret” (2 Cor. 7:10).

For me, the day is a somber, reflective one. I focus on all that Jesus gave up and suffered for his Church. The humiliation, pain, and death are a sacrifice on our behalf. Today, we appreciate the price of that sacrifice. At the same time, however, we should not forget the great good that Jesus’ sacrifice effected. After all, Resurrection Sunday is on the way.

Taken from http://christiancadre.blogspot.ca
https://pepeprays.wordpress.com

Easter Sunday we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ!  He is Risen, we will proclaim and we will be joyful and celebrate!

The Blue & Yellow Can


 John 10:10 – A thief comes to steal and kill and destroy, but I came to give life — life in all its fullness. (NCV)

John 15:3 – You are already clean because of the words I have spoken to you. (NCV)

The directions on the blue and yellow spray can promise us that it:

  • Lubricates (helps things to run more smoothly)
  • Cleans (removes dirt, adhesives, and much more)
  • Protects (against rust and corrosion)
  • Penetrates (infiltrates)
  • Displaces moisture (restores)

This is much like what God does with us when we enter a relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus:

  • He lubricates us, helping to make our attitudes run more smoothly.
  • He cleans and convicts us of all wrongs and removes anything that clings to us that is not of Him.
  • He protects us, by way of His Son, Jesus Christ, by giving us His eternal life, a life acceptable to Him, instead of a sentence of eternal death.
  • He penetrates our hearts and souls in order to preserve us, so that we can spend eternity with Him.
  • He displaces or dislodges the wrongs in us (attitudes or actions) and fills us with His love, truth, and integrity.

Dirt is so easily attracted.  Sometimes the harder we try to keep ourselves, our clothes, or our hearts clean, the more likely it is that we’ll be stained in some way. We can easily shower our bodies and launder all our dirty clothes to wash away the dirt, but it is difficult to change our attitudes and become more forgiving. Only God can change us completely. He erases the guilt of mistakes, encourages us to see only the best in people, and leads us along new paths in our lives — places that we would never have thought ourselves capable of walking. He gives us the strength to accomplish much more than we could possibly dream of, because only He knows what and who we should be. Only He can lubricate our lives, cleanse us, protect us, penetrate to our heart (our core), and displace anything that would spoil our chance to spend eternity with Him.

Romans 12:2 – Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect. (NCV)

Prayer: Father, we want to be made whole and in good working order, so please come into our hearts, minds, bodies, and spirits, and lubricate us with Your grace and love. We pray this in the precious name of Jesus Christ. Amen

My Blinking Coffee Maker


A New Day

A New Day Dawning

My coffee maker is winking at me! Honestly: on and off, on and off goes the little red light. It’s actually telling me that the machine needs cleaning, but what it isn’t recognizing is that I have cleaned it — I removed every removable part that I can find; I removed the filter mechanism and replaced the filter, and then cleaned it some more just to be sure. But the blinking red light still winks at me! What is its problem? What have I missed? Every nook and cranny has been dealt with that I can see, but it chooses not to take any notice — and so-o-o, day in, day out, whenever I make coffee, the machine winks at me. I even tried to hide the light with a black marker — a big, black, permanent marker that I thought I could use to daub onto the little red light and mask it — well, that didn’t work! No way was it going to be hidden. I think I’d miss it now — I’ve become quite used to its presence.

Psalm 51:1-2 – Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. (NKJV)

When God sees the need for us to be cleaned, His light, the Holy Spirit, convicts us that unnecessary sediment is present in our spirits and hearts, the remainder of all the wrongs we have committed. He pursues us continually in many ways. He puts His people in our path to get our attention, to speak to us, and help us to recognize where improvement is needed. He reminds us continually through His Word — if in fact we are actually checking the interior of the Book. He will keep reappearing in many forms, reminding us that it is time for change.

Yet, how many times we try to mask Him so that we can go on doing what we are doing — things that we know He would not approve of. It’s as if we are picking up a big, black marker and trying to obliterate Him from the eyes of our hearts and spirits. We do that in vain because His light will not be blocked, however hard we try to make it happen. He will continue to pursue each one of us and make us aware of His disciplines and His way. His light will be ever present until we take notice and attend to what needs correction.

John 12:46-48 – I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him — the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. (NKJV)

Those who have received Christ need periodic cleanings, but others need to confess their sins and receive Christ’s forgiveness for the very first time. Only when we choose to conform and repent and call upon God in the name of Jesus to help us and accept us and change us from the inside out can we begin to understand what a difference His cleansing in our lives will make. It is a feeling beyond any other and cannot be adequately described by mere words — we’ve got to try it ourselves. Many years ago, He called me to change and to follow Him. Thankfully, He took over, and I had no control over the powerful spirit of love that wrapped itself around me. He walked me to the prayer rail of my (then) church, where I gave my life to Him. I have rejoiced in that action ever since. You can do it too!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I want to know You personally. I know that I have done wrong things in the past and I am sorry. I am willing, with Your help, to turn away from my sins and turn to You. I believe, Jesus, that You died for me and rose again for me. Please come into my life and change me and show me Your ways, right now. Amen.

The Best Christmas Gift


HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

Ah! Christmas-time is here again. Time for hurried shopping trips. Time for shopping excesses. Time to buy gifts for those we love. Decision after decision!

What can I give my spouse?

What to give the children!

What to give friends and family!

Will it be a new guitar? The latest electronic gadget on which to view, text and listen? Perhaps the latest video game?

It is so easy get ‘caught up’ in the buying frenzy expected of us by retailers.

The very best gift you can give is the story of Jesus! Christmas after all, is the celebration of His birth.

He was born to bring us the gifts of peace, contentment and joy! He wanted and still wants us, to share his unconditional love with others. What greater gift is there?

Gift-giving is a beautiful way of sharing and showing our love with those nearest and dearest to us, but let’s not forget the true meaning of Christmas.

Let us remember to say, “Happy Birthday, Jesus”!

Let us invite and welcome Him into our hearts, minds and spirits.

Let us remember to thank His Father, God for all that He provides for us day by day.

Let us keep Jesus in our hearts all year long, and each successive year of our lives.

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (NIV)

Prayer: Father, when the worldly interpretation of Christmas overwhelms us, help us to not forget You, and Your gift of Jesus to us. May we focus on what is important and beneficial to us and may we grow in faith and love. Amen

https://pepeprays.wordpress.com

The Dawning


Matthew 1:18-20a,24– This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife.” When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. (NIV)It had been a long day. It commenced at 3:30 a.m. when I was called into the jail and was just ending now at 5:30 p.m. Ending was not exactly the right word, however, as my daughter had taken over at the detention centre as I left, which meant that I still had all the evening barnyard and house chores to do on my own.

I had finished feeding the dogs, collecting, washing, and depositing the eggs in the fridge, and forking hay to livestock. Now I was standing in the dusky, drizzling wet. Weary and worn, feeling every one of my sixty-two-plus years, and very much alone, I was waiting for the water trough to top up, when something unexpected occurred. A warm, soft head nudged under my hand as brown eyes looked up into mine. Denby, my collie, sensing my discouragement and frustration, had come alongside to offer his support. With this loving gesture also came the dawning of renewed truth. Just as Denby stood so faithfully beside me, so did God’s ever-present Spirit. I was not alone. God understood my situation and would continue to supply all I needed to accomplish the tasks at hand, just as He always had in the past. With this dawning, the warmth and invigorating power of His inner peace quickly routed all feelings of frustration and weariness of heart.

Many years ago, the earthly father of Jesus must also have felt deeply discouraged, frustrated, weary, and very much alone, as he wondered what to do when he discovered that his beloved Mary was pregnant with another’s child. God’s reminder to him that he was not alone came through the guise of a dream. As Joseph slept, God’s presence came alongside, revealing the right pathway for him to follow and filling his heart with invigorating power and peace to obey.

Emmanuel, God with us, was the child whom Joseph was called to care for as his own. Jesus Christ, God incarnate, had come to earth that man might never again be alone, separated from God.

This Christmas season, some of us may be in the midst of feeling discouraged, weary, frustrated, and very much alone, but this need not be so. Emmanuel — God with us — is right where we are, whatever we may be doing, however we may be feeling. Within this precious truth lies the dawning of invigorating power and everlasting peace within, if only we will reach out in faith and embrace Him — Emmanuel, God with us.

Prayer:Father God, thank You that through Your Holy Spirit, the living Christ is always near, ready and waiting to bestow His power and the peace that passes understanding upon us, for the asking. Grant us faith to ask now. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.

By Kind Permission of:  Lynne Phipps, Atlin, British Columbia, Canada

Christians And Christmas


I live in a diversified, multi-cultural area to the northwest of the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This area I now call home was only a small town sixty years ago. Now it has multiplied into the thousands. And yes, things are changing — in the home, in the workplace, in retail business, and in our churches. Worship styles are changing from traditional to contemporary. Christians have to think of new ways to get the unchanging, true Word of God out in the open for those who do not know what it is to be a Christian. What better time than Christmas to do that?

Take for example the Santa Claus parade we just had in Brampton. It was watched by many, including a mixed group of many cultures from distant lands. It was held on a Saturday evening when the main street was sealed off to all traffic, except for the floats that were all lit up in different colours.

I watched with a certain bit of pride as our church here in Brampton took part, using a float loaded with parcels all wrapped up in anticipation of the greatest gift we can give. The nametags posted on the float declared the birth of Christ.

After the parade, I began thinking how, in our churches, we need to market what we believe in and keep Satan from slipping in through the cracks of the foundation upon which we built Christ’s church!

1 Corinthians 8:6– Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. (NIV)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we come to You this day as we approach the celebration of the birth of Christ, our Saviour and our Lord. May we never give up what You have given so generously to us who believe. Help us in spreading the good news as we have been commanded. In Jesus’ precious name, we pray. Amen.

By Kind Permission of the Author:  Anne Russell, Brampton, Ontario

See more at:  https://pepeprays.wordpress.com

http://pattersmatters.wordpress.com

 

A Christmas Miracle


Today, I feel burdened!  We have a friend who has major health issues.  She and her husband have been estranged for years.  The sadness, I feel, is for her children and the fact that they have not been permitted contact with their mother for many years.  The sadness, is also due to the choices they have each made to not decide for themselves, to contact her.  They are all adults, but have had their minds and hearts hardened due to the ongoing negative comments, made by their father of their mother.

So this posting is to ask you for prayer for this lady! 

It is to ask God for a Christmas miracle for Christina. 

It is for prayer for reconciliation for this family (mother and children). 

It is to ask God for His peace, grace and wisdom to rule supreme in all their hearts and minds.

It is to ask for God’s spirit of love and healing to fill the hearts, minds, bodies and spirits of each member of this family, including the father.

It is to ask for A Christmas Miracle for Christina!

Thank you, and may God bless you as you pray for them.

https://pepeprays.wordpress.com

http://pattersmatters.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

Love or Sin?


We all have the freedom of choice and recently, I chose to commit to a writing challenge.  The goal is to write 50,000 words through the month of November – the biggest challenge has been what to write about.

Someone once said to me, “The world is your oyster” – and thinking about that statement made me realize it also applies to my ‘topic’ dilemma!  It’s all very well saying that but ‘what to choose’ – as in a subject to write about is an overwhelming thought. 

Having considered much and deliberated even more – I decided to write about a successful author (fictional) looking back over – what had been a roller-coaster ride of a life for her and for her loved ones.

In developing this idea, it occurred to me that we all encounter ‘roller-coaster’ situations in our lives and often take advice from the wrong sources. 

The bible gives us simple yet very effective advice:  ‘Love Each Other” – imagine the kind of world we would live in if we respected one another, loved one another and did not judge one another? 

Consider this:

1 John 3:7-10  Children, don’t be fooled.  Anyone who does right is good, just like Christ himself.  Anyone who keeps on sinning belongs to the devil.  He has sinned from the beginning, but the Son of God came to destroy all that he has done.  God’s children cannot keep on being sinful.  His life-giving power lives in them and makes them His children, so that they cannot keep on sinning.  You can tell God’s children from the devil’s children, because those who belong to the devil refuse to do right or to love each other.  (CEV)

1 John 4:16b-21  God is love.  If we keep on loving others, we will stay one in our hearts with God, and He will stay one with us.  If we truly love others and live as Christ did in this world, we won’t be worried about the day of judgement.  A real love for others will chase those worries away.  The thought of being punished is what makes us afraid.  It shows that we have not really learned to love.  We love because God loved us first.  But if we say we love God and don’t love each other, we are liars.  We cannot see God.  So how can we love God, if we don’t love the people we (can) see?  The two commandments that God has given us are:  Love God and love each other”.

Sinful folk will not have your best interests at heart!  They will take advantage of you – your situation – your naivete – your weaknesses!  They will laugh at you – will not respect you and will certainly lie if it is to their advantage.  I know this to be fact – because I have encountered such people through my life;  they are very convincing and very manipulative and they will con you out of everything that is good and wholesome in your life.  They will NOT be lovers of God – nor will they believe in Jesus as His Son.  They will scoff at such beliefs; whereas if you choose to take the life-giving, life-saving advice that can be found in the Bible – your life can be immensely changed, for the better.

The Contemporary English Version or The Message are both written in every day language, that can be easily understood.  Try one of them and see for yourself, if you have the inclination – it will be well worth the effort.

 

more commonsense sharing @ http://pattersmatters.wordpress.com

www.devotionalchristian.com

Psalm 23


At a particularly crucial time, in my life, I was drawn to this Psalm in a bible!  I was in England and had travelled out of the city to attend a job interview – for an exciting and challenging position working with seniors.  I had time to spare and wanted to calm my nerves and so walked into a church close to where my appointment was to be.  I walked to the front of a small chapel and knelt; picked up a bible and asked God to guide and reassure me – to show me what to read – the bible ‘fell’ open at Psalm 23 and I have loved that particular psalm ever since.

Here is another version that I came across recently – I do hope you like it and are comforted by the words contained therein!

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd (that’s relationship)

I shall not want (that’s supply or provision)

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures (rest)

He leadeth me beside the still waters (refreshment)

He restoreth my soul (healing)

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness (guidance)

For His names’ sake (purpose)

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death (testing & trials)

I will fear no evil (protection)

For Thou art with me (faithfulness)

Thy rod and Thy staff comfort me (discipline)

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies (hope)

Thou anointeth my head with oil (consecration)

My cup runneth over (abundance)

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life (blessings)

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever  (security).

May God guide our decisions and our words today and hold us close to His heart!

more at:  http://pattersmatters.wordpress.com   &  https://pepeprays.wordpress.com