Tag Archives: Christian relationship

Heart’s Desire

 

Gretchen Slinker Jones poetry
Heart’s Desire

Most, if not all, of us have times in our life when things don’t go exactly as we had planned – a relationship that didn’t turn out, a career that didn’t pan out, a friend that ran out when you needed her most – but God’s plans are frequently different than ours.

When circumstances warrant, there are occasions when we have to set aside our wants and needs and just simply “do what needs to be done.” Hopefully times like this are few and rare, rather than “the norm.”

Heart’s Desire was written in the midst of one of those life challenges. Thankfully, God eventually changed the circumstances – albeit not as quickly as I would have hoped for – and His plans for the better; and there is no longer a conflict “in the mirror.”

Are you thankful today for where God has you right now? Even if you are caught in a conflict you didn’t ask for, have you told him so?

Spring Snow© – Psalm 84:3a

Selkirk Mountain Inspiration 2 week 11Selkirk Mountain Inspiration 2 – Week Eleven

As surely as we begin to think that Spring might finally be “just around the corner,” we get a surprise snow storm to demonstrate that what we think is of no consequence. The weather will be what it will be!

The birds come early some years, and we feel sorry for them; but God promises that they will be fed. How often do we run ahead of God and attempt to either second-guess Him or leave Him out of our decisions altogether – because we “think we know” what is best for us? God is available 24/7 to keep us from falling victim to “surprises” in our lives. All we have to do is listen for His voice and trust Him completely to feed us each day, both physically and spiritually, no matter the season!

Week 2_11 clip

Jesus has said, I’ll never forsake thee … Rev. H. J. Zelley

Moon Art© – Psalm 72:7

Selkirk Mountain Inspiration 2 – Week Nine

Selkirk Mountain Inspiration 2
Selkirk Mountain Inspiration 2 – Week 9

This fascinating photo my husband took on a warm Summer night reminds me of a scene from a Tim Burton movie. It looks more like a crayon drawing than a digital photograph. You might wonder at my choice to include it in this book; but peculiar as it is, I am genuinely drawn to it. I try to not “argue with God’s leading” as I make my choices for these devotional pages.

“… ‘til the moon is no more.” What a concept. Do you suppose, in the eternity to come, that there will be no moon? If Christ will be the light in that fair land, perhaps there will be no need of a moon. We will not know for sure until we get there! I hope that you are looking forward to Heaven as much as I am. We love our lives here on Planet Earth, but it is comforting to know for sure that this is not all there is! Join me this week in serving Christ as we wait for that day.

Selkirk Mountain Inspiration 2

There’s a song within my heart night and day … Mrs. Minnie A. Steele

EVANGELICALS AND THE DONALD

We watched in total dismay as the media put out information purporting that the supposedly conservative presidential candidate nicknamed “The Donald” won with the help of a huge following of “evangelicals” in South Carolina. Being an “evangelical” Christian myself, this just does not gel in my brain. My lack of understanding of how this could happen prompted me to do a little written report on what living and serving as an “evangelical Christian” means to me – and to the majority of the evangelical Christians with whom I am personally acquainted. To establish our parameters, it is necessary to first define “born again” and “evangelical.”

To be a “born again Christian,” one must acknowledge that he or she is sinful, ask Jesus for forgiveness, accept Christ as Savior, and turn away from a life of sin to a new life as a follower of Christ. Born-again Christians cannot keep silent about their faith because they cannot imagine quietly letting their friends, neighbors, co-workers and relatives spend eternity separated from God.

The term evangelical, can be described as follows: Reaching out to our community and world with the “Evangel”—the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God! This is the mission of the evangelical church where my family worships and serves Christ.

The evangelical Christian’s purposes in life – Spread the Gospel; Stand on the Gospel: 2 Timothy 4 and 5 – I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Although my article includes Trump’s name in the title, my comments are inclusive of any and all candidates at every level of public office that Americans will be considering in 2016. Is this the mission or purpose of the presidential candidate you are backing?

Philippians 4:8 NASB

The evangelical Christian is called to think and live in a particular way. This is not the picture that comes to mind when I see and hear The Donald behind a microphone. Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

The Donald was asked about his favorite Bible verse and his response was that it was a personal matter. For an evangelical Christian, it is a given that we be ready to tell anyone at any time what our favorite Bible verse is. We are delighted when someone asks! I have several, and am always quick to share them. 1 Peter 3:15 – but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence …

The evangelical Christian is called to speak and act in a specific way – Colossians 3:7-9 – and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices … Anger, wrath, abusive speech? Does the face of any particular candidate – or candidates – come to mind when you read this passage?

What the evangelical should not do: Galatians 5:19-21 – … the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Strife, outbursts of anger, factions, dissensions – do any of these sound familiar from recent days?

What the evangelical should do: Galatians 5:22-24 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Someone declared that The Donald had lots of “fruit” – that he had created many jobs. That’s not the fruit evangelicals are talking about. Being a prominent employer of minimum wage workers in America doesn’t qualify as fruit for me … When you think kindness, gentleness, and self-control does any candidate’s picture pop into your mind? Can a tough, strong leader be kind and gentle when appropriate? The answer is yes.

I don’t know about South Carolinian evangelicals, but the majority of the evangelicals with whom I am acquainted do not approve of gambling. The Donald has built his “empire” around gambling, which is a form of idolatry. One has only to do a minimal search to find that the statistics are heartbreaking in terms of lives ruined, marriages ruined, families split, lives, homes and businesses forfeited/sacrificed. The compilation of media headlines at this link paints a horrific picture that gets swept under the rug in the name of profit – http://casinowatch.org/suicides/suicides.html . Casino Watch has a comprehensive website dedicated solely to presenting factual information about the side of gambling nobody wants to talk about – the side that damages communities and sucks up social services dollars. This is The Donald’s life work and he has seemingly used every means at his disposal to make it his living.

The evangelical Christian has a specific “job.” Matthew 28:18-20 – And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Is your candidate “observing all that I commanded you?”

Evangelical Christians are called to put God as Lord of every aspect of their lives. Luke 10:26-28 –And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” Is your candidate wholeheartedly and completely loving the Lord and his – or her – neighbor?

The growing number of TV evangelists and prominent faces endorsing The Donald is troubling to me. Am I missing something here? I don’t think so. The evangelical voices that matter to me are not endorsing Trump – and never will.

The desire of 21st Century American citizens to steer away from career politicians and the D.C. political machine is 100% justifiable. The whole system is broken, and it is not designed to change. It is time for America to elect only 100% honorable, of good repute people to office. Evangelical Christians have the ability to be the largest voting block in the country. How about we start really serving and honoring Christ, rather than just checking a box on a polling survey!

All Scripture references are from the NASB translation

Almost Black and White© – I Timothy 4:1

Selkirk Mountain Inspiration 2 – Week Two

Selkirk Mountain Inspiration 2 - Week 2
Selkirk Mountain Inspiration 2 – Week 2

This was such a “gray day” that the color photo almost looks like a “grayscale” image. The scenery is deceptively uncolored. The sun was very close to breaking out of the clouds, but was not quite making it through. This beautiful vista was literally a “landscape in grayscale” in a full-color world.

There are no “gray areas” in the Gospel. The deceiver loves to pull God’s people away from Him with lies and snares and subtle deceptions. We must be diligent to know God’s Word and to use it to illuminate and “clarify” all information we take in, whatever the source. Lord, let there be no “gray areas” in our lives. May we set our hearts and lives on “black and white” and clearly show the world who our God is!

If at times I do not see Him, I will trust and give Him praise … J. E. French

Finishing the Angel Message

Each year, during the Christmas season, I am reminded that several Christmas hymns and many Christmas cards fail to finish the Scripture passage that, summarized and condensed, begins “Peace on Earth, good will toward men … ”

It may seem insignificant to some, but I have grown more and more convicted to call Christians to finish the passage, because it IS significant. The angels did not sing/say, “Peace on Earth, good will toward men,” as though they were referring to all people. Luke 2:14 says, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” (NASB)  “… with whom He is pleased,” is a serious qualifying phrase. On any given day, God is clearly not pleased with every citizen of Earth, even among those calling themselves Christians.

The significance of this passage should call us to seek to be men, women and children with whom He is pleased. This is accomplished through study of His word (so we know what pleases Him); through consistent practice of his laws (He handed them down so we would understand what pleases Him – and what does not); and through the sharing of His gospel – the very gospel (good news) that the angels were heralding – to those who have not yet heard, so they can also seek to please Him.

As you journey through the coming year, let your “resolution” be to realize the significance of the angels’ qualifier, and to seriously seek to be a child of His with whom He can be pleased from day to day. There is no peace to be had by any other means. God, through the angels near Bethlehem, did not promise that there would be peace among all men on Earth – now, or ever. He did convey there and then that those with whom He is pleased could expect to experience peace.

Years ago, I wrote the little poem below. It seemed appropriate to include with this post – my “qualifier” for the day.

CAN GOD SMILE AS HE WATCHES ME?

When He studies the things that I do and say,
Will God wear a smile at the end of the day?

Will each word my mouth speaks make Him happy?
Will the actions I take make Him pleased?
Will He whisper, “Well done, my faithful child,”
Through the day as He watches me?

As He makes His review of my actions and words,
Will a smile light the face of my loving Lord?
Or will He sigh and shake His head
As the things I do break His heart instead?

Before you speak and before you act
As you journey through each day,
Ask yourself if your Heavenly Father approves
Honor Him as He leads the way!
©2004gdsJones

Words for the Weary

Many circumstances, people, or events can make us “weary” today. It is not just a matter of being tired. In fact, our weariness oftentimes has absolutely nothing to do with physical fatigue.

As children of the Most High God, we must be conscious of when we are beginning to be weary in our souls. It can sneak up on us while we are “busy for the Lord.” We take on too many commitments, we spread ourselves too thin – and even in a good cause like God’s service, there have to be limits on how far we stretch ourselves and our resources.

Perhaps you are providing emotional support – or meals or transportation – for a friend or relative who is battling cancer – and losing the battle. Maybe your children have gone off to college and you are struggling with being satisfied in an empty nest. (Hopefully, there is still a spouse in your nest with you, so it really isn’t EMPTY). Or did you say, “yes” too many times at church and find yourself on too many committees?

Just watching the news on television can make us weary in this 21st century. There is so much “bad news” and so little good. I can’t help but think that the media hype is geared toward making us think there is no good news, rather than it being a true representation of the life that goes on around us every day.

Sheltered as we are in our small town, in our conservative county in a liberal state, we find it hard to believe that things could be so very different across the country in cities where violence seems common and ordinary and people don’t seem to have a clue what life is really all about.

Our daily prayers for our nation and her people seem to fall away with no hope for a return of the America that we knew, or the rebuilding of the moral fabric that made this country the greatest in the world.

Be it weariness from spiritual challenges, weariness from schedules bursting at the seams, or weariness from your day-to-day responsibilities and interactions, please know that you can rest in the One who holds the universe in His hands. Don’t lose sight of God at the head of your household, at the head of your church, and at the head of your workplace.

He has asked us to rest in Him. Who are we to say, “No?”

Christian Mountain Living Words for the Weary
Christian Mountain Living Words for the Weary

Surreality© – John 18:36b

Selkirk Mountain Inspiration 2 – Week Twenty One

Bk2Wk21clipNo special lenses, no camera filters, this photo just “happened” as I was taking pictures of a sunset through a smoky haze from distant wildfires near Wilder, Idaho. I have never seen a photo like this, yet all four of the pictures I took that evening have exactly the same peculiar halo draping over the setting sun.

If we view the world through the “lens” of Christianity, we will see things differently than those around us who are not Christians. We sometimes experience disappointment when people do not respond immediately to our sharing of the Gospel, or to the sharing of experiences we have had in which we credit God with a success or a victory over illness. We forget that those who do not know Him do not see things through the same “filter” we do. Pray for others and share Christ with them, but do not allow yourself to be disappointed if the “results” you think you perceive are not what you expected. You may never know until you get to Heaven whether your message or effort changed a life.

Selkirk Mountain Inspiration 2
Selkirk Mountain Inspiration 2 – Week 21

and to eyes that long were sealed was the glorious light revealed … Emma M. Johnson

Day of the Lord – II Peter 3:12

Excerpted from Selkirk Mountain Inspiration 1 – Week Forty Five

bk1wk45clipWhen I open my eyes in the morning to a scene like this one, lying snuggled up comfortably in my bed, I wonder if this is what it will look like when Jesus comes! Someday I will know, but until then I have to keep marching on – God has work for me here.

There are many who don’t understand the evangelical Christian’s concept of looking forward to leaving this fallen world and heading to our true home – Heaven. They can’t comprehend the celebration of a loved one passing into glory and away from this life. When I see the “grave markers” in novelty catalogues imploring a loved one to come back down here, I shudder. Why would anyone wish to take seeing Jesus and spending the rest of their life in glory away from someone they cherish? I realize it is all a matter of perspective. I am not planning to rush things along in any way, but I will be delighted to finally see Jesus face to face when He calls me home!

Selkirk Mountain Inspiration 1 Week 45

We’re marching upward to Zion, the beautiful city of God … Isaac Watts

 

Perfectly Pastel© – John 14:27

Bk1Wk7ClipSelkirk Mountain Inspiration 1 – Week Seven

This photo [below] is “above and beyond,” in my estimation, in terms of its simplistic beauty. What a blessing to be able to get to the camera in time on this morning! There’s no way you could describe it to someone – they just have to see it.

Peace … ah, that state of mind and heart we so often lose track of. We forget, sometimes, that worry and fear are literally a “slap in the face” of our God. When we lose sleep or fret ourselves into a terrible state, we are saying to God, “Sorry, God, I know you’re big, but you’re not big enough to handle THIS problem.” Achieving peace and contentment is not always easy. We have to give it our best, though — our God deserves our complete trust and confidence!

Anything less is an insult to Him.

From our worldly cares set free, may we rest this day in Thee …

Bk1Wk7
Selkirk Mountain Inspiration 1 – Week 7