Until The Final Battle

Until The Final Battle

a father and sob playing with wooden swords toy
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We began this week thanking the Lord for the men and women who have given their lives to preserve the freedoms we enjoy. We continued the week mentioning the soldiers of the cross who remained faithful to our Lord and Savior, even unto death. Not all in the armed service of our country, nor in service to our Lord are asked to die. Those of us remaining honor those before us through rejoicing, being thankful, and living in the honor these have won.

“For to me to live is Christ,

and to die is gain.”

Philippians 1: 21, KJV

The apostle Paul wrestled with his desire to be with the Lord and his desire to continue in the battles fought on earth. His heart ached to be finished with the wars of this life, and he suffered many. Yet, he was convinced of the need to remain and fight a little longer for the joy and faith he could share with others. He asked—

“Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs,

  • That ye stand fast in one spirit,
  • With one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
  • And in nothing terrified by your adversaries:

which is to them an evident token of perdition,

but to you of salvation and that of God.

For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ,

not only to believe on him but also to suffer for his sake;”

Philippians 1: 27-29, KJV

As those, in service to our country, remain to fight another day are not standing alone, neither are we, who live in Christ, left to fight our battles alone. For—

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?

Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

As it is written,


Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded,

that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature,

shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8 35-39, KJV

While we remain, battles still rage within and without. These will end. But until the final battle is fought and won, when Christ takes his throne, we can rejoice. For he fights with and for us. He guarantees we will live. For as the old song, by Rex Nelon says, “When the battle’s over we shall wear a crown.”

Until the final battle is won and war will be no more—

“Grace be to you and peace

from God the Father,

and from our Lord Jesus Christ,

Who gave himself for our sins,

that he might deliver us from this present evil world,

according to the will of God and our Father:

To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Galatians 1: 3-5, KJV

Grace and peace are for the here and now. It can be found only in Jesus Christ. His promise is true—he will deliver his own from this present evil world. Until then, keep fighting the good fight of faith, walk in love toward one another, pray always, and rejoice.


A Tall Glass of Water

A Tall Glass of WaterDSCF1514

“I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O LORD …

Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness:

O LORD, quicken me according to thy judgment.”

Psalm 119 145a, 149, KJV

The sun beat down on the high desert plains where my mission crew worked. The dry heat zapped the fluid from my body before my throat felt the desperate need for water. When my tongue grew thick and felt like sandpaper, I knew dehydration had depleted my strength. I grabbed my water bottle, lifted it to my parched lips and allowed the slow stream to flow through my body. After pouring water on my bandana, I laid it around my neck. My breaths returned to an even rhythm. My heart rate slowed. Another drink of the water revived my strength. Lesson learned that year—take many water breaks so you don’t become faint.

When reading the psalmist’s cry to the Lord to be quickened or revived, I envisioned the one pleading being faint and having a desperate desire for the Lord to strengthen him—like Job who cried in his despair for the Lord to come near and speak with him. I couldn’t help but wonder if my own desire to draw near the Lord equaled these two men’s or even my physical longing for water. Did I thirst for God to—

  • breathe new life into my spirit, as much as I had longed for that drink of water in the desert?
  • Renew my passion for him?
  • Had I allowed my spirit to wilt in the face of pain, busyness, or other trials?

Thinking on these things created a longing to grow nearer to the fountain which would satisfy my longing.

“O God, thou art my God;

early will I seek thee:

my soul thirsteth for thee,

my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land,

where no water is …

In the last day, that great day of the feast,

Jesus stood and cried, saying,

If any man thirst,

let him come unto me, and drink.

He that believeth on me,

as the scripture hath said,

out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

( But this spake he of the Spirit …)

Psalm 63:1; John 7:37-38, 39a; KJV

According to the Lord’s lovingkindness, according to his word, those who seek him will find him and be satisfied. Jesus sent out the invitation and promises to fulfill his word.

“Blessed are they 

which do hunger and thirst after righteousness;

for they shall be filled …

They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house;

and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.”

Matthew 5:6; Psalm 36:8, KJV

When our spirit finds us in a dry and desert place ready to faint, the Lord is the one to seek, for he is the one—

“Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things;

so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s …

For he satisfieth the longing soul,

and filleth the hungry soul with goodness …

And the Lord shall guide thee continually,

and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones;

and thou shalt be like a watered garden,

and like a spring of water,

whose waters fail not.”

Psalm 103:5; 107:9; Isaiah 58:11; KJV

His waters, the Holy Spirit in us will not fail us. The water is always available. Why wait until we are weak from thirst? Why not drink continually of the river of life and know we are forever in his presence? Why wait? Hear his invitation—

“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.

And let him that heareth say, Come.

And let him that is athirst come.

And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”

Revelation 22: 17, KJV

Do you wait until thirst overcomes you before getting a drink? Or drink on a regular basis? Grab you a tall glass of water and feel how it refreshes your body. Then sit alone with the Lord and let him fill you with his living water and feel him breathe renewed life into your spirit. Why wait until your spirit is faint? Drink it in. The fountain won’t run dry.

A Writer’s Heart: True Identity

The Writer’s Heart: True Identity

lamb of God
picture courtesy of Pintrest

“He saith unto them,

But whom say ye that I am?”

Matthew 16:15

Biblical names identified the character or calling of a person the Lord God chose for a specific purpose. Jesus identified himself as the Son of man, when he asked his disciples who others said he was. They listed three names floating around on the tongues of the people. None used his name—Jesus—identifying him as the Son of man.

“And she shall bring forth a son,

and thou shalt call his name JESUS:

for he shall save his people from their sins.”

Matthew 1:21, KJV

After nearly three years of seeing his miracles and hearing his teaching, the masses didn’t recognize Jesus’s true calling—save them from their sins—or his true identity found in his name.

But when Jesus asked Peter, “whom say ye that I am?”

“Simon Peter answered and said

thou art the Christ,

the Son of the living God.”

Matthew 16:16, KJV

Peter answered with Jesus’s calling, the anointed one, and identity—who is the promised seed of God—the Son of the living God.

Jesus further revealed his identity when speaking to a group of questioning Jews.

“Jesus said unto them,

Verily, verily, I say unto you,

Before Abraham was,

I am.”

John 8:58, KJV

The Jews understood full well Jesus declared himself God by using the meaning of the name by which the Lord God identified himself to Moses.

“And God said unto Moses,


and he said,

Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel,

I AM hath sent me unto you.”

Exodus 3:14, KJV

FYI: Moses’s name means drawn out. The Lord saved Moses when the princess of Egypt drew him out of the water. Then the Lord used Moses when He drew Moses out from the Egyptians and out from among his own people in order to free the Israelites from slavery.

As Moses was set apart as an instrument of I Am, Jesus, a greater than Moses was set apart as the—

  • Son of man—to save us from our sins,
  • the Son of the living God—a holy sacrifice acceptable for payment of our sins,
  • I am—the physical declaration of the invisible God,
  • and “Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

Both Moses and Jesus were men sent by God with a specific purpose or calling. If you were to ask me my name, it would bear little meaning to you. If you asked me, who I am, you would see beyond the physical and into my heart.

Telling you I am a mother, you would know I have children. Telling you I am an author reveals what I do, but little about who I am. But when I tell you my name is Donna and I am a born again child of God, now you know my identity. I am identified as one of God’s own, which tells you He lives in my heart by the Spirit of Christ in me. From there you can surmise much about what my character should be and what motivates me.

No matter what we’ve done—had children, written a book, our calling, or gifting, it is vital to know our true identity.

Authors are as vulnerable to lose ourselves in our work as any others. As a Christian author, with my identity found in Christ, my writing is a calling—a means to proclaim who this Christ is that lives in me. This truth often gets entangled in our accomplishments and our failures.

When rejection slips pile high on our desks, temptations blind our eyes to truth, and—

  • We see ourselves as failures. The truth—in our failures we learn our writing isn’t an editorial on us as a person, our identity. Our failures are a stepping stone to growth in the craft and business of writing.
  • We question our calling. The truth—It is good from time to time to examine our purpose for writing and renew our commitment, remembering God doesn’t withdraw his calling. He may change our direction in it but our calling remains the same.
  • Discouragement cripples our creativity. The truth—What God has called you to do, he equips you to do.
  • In discouragement, the temptation is to quit. The truth—Keep on keeping on. God gives the increase in his time.

Remember you are a child of God and all is done for his glory.

Successes in the writer’s life come with their own set of lures that conceal our true identity. Finding our worth—

  • in our awards. The truth—our greatest award is the Father’s well done found in our obedience to his calling.
  • In an abundance of writing contracts. The truth—Ours is to do the work and give thanksgiving to the Lord for giving the increase.
  • In our own talents. The truth—this too is from the Lord. Ours is to glory in him.
  • In our new-found fame. The truth—fame comes bundled with the temptations of fear of losing it; of lazy writing, believing because we’ve “arrived” our manuscripts will automatically be accepted. Further truth—do all we do as unto the Lord. He deserves our best.
  • In sales. The truth—numbers do not equal success. When we write our goal isn’t sales—although these are good, and we should do our part—but to fulfill the purpose for which the Lord has called us. For me that is to know God and make him known to whomever he reveals himself.

I’ve given you a little insight into my true identity today. If you want to know more, read my writings, my blogs, my novel, The Nazarene’s Price. Remember it’s not me that’s important to know but the One I write for.

To get to know you better, I leave you with one question, “Who do you say Jesus is?”

A Shadow For Hiding (2)

First things first: We have a winner from my post, “A Writer’s Heart: Thanksgiving. Gary Fultz will be the recipient of not one but all three ebooks offered in the contest. He alone made comment and has opportunity to receive his choice of all or any one of the three. Congratulations! Gary. You will find his blog at garyfultz.wordpress.com. And thank you to all who did visit my post.

Now, to the continuation of Wednesday’s post, “A Shadow For Hiding.” I planned on linking to another friend’s post and reblogging another that complimented “A Shadow For Hiding,” (1), but I failed to seek permission early enough to include them here. May this post bring blessings and encouragement to each reader. Thank you, for stopping by.

white and black hen beside chicken chicks
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“Thou art my hiding place and my shield;

I hope in thy word.”

Psalm 119:114, KJV

Wednesday’s post ended with the following question:

When you need a hiding place or a shield where will you run?

The psalmist in Psalm 91 said, he would abide, “under the shadow of the Almighty.”  The author of this Psalm knew there, he would find a safe place and a strong place he could put full trust in—a place of deliverance from all that threatened him. Then he spoke of experiencing a place closer than the shadow of the Lord God most High.

“He shall cover thee with his feathers,

and under his wings shalt thou trust:

his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.”

Psalm 91:4, KJV

A hen hiding her little ones under her feathered wings is a picture of loving protection, gentleness, and comfort to her chicks. Here there is no fear but complete trust.

“There is no fear in love;

but perfect love casteth out fear:

because fear hath torment.

He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”

1 John 4:18, KJV

Under the wings of our heavenly Father, we are safe in his arms of love, grace, mercy, and righteousness.


The psalmist further mentions—

  • night terrors,
  • and attacks from evil, and earthly enemies.

When our world reeks with chaos and unrest. We are safe. Our soul is covered in the mighty wings of our Father. He covers us with his wings and surrounds us with his mighty shield.

Better, yet, when our spiritual enemy comes against us, I have read these wings, also represent the tasseled cloaks priests wore. The tassels symbolize rightousness. When the enemy slings darts of confusion and doubts into our hearts and minds about our salvation, about the goodness of our heavenly Father, his shields of truth not only protect us, but we are covered in the righteous robes of Jesus Christ.

“For he hath made him (Jesus) to be sin for us,

(Jesus) who knew no sin;

that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

2 Corinthians 5:21, KJV

Under the Lord most High’s wings of righteousness, none can move us from him, our heavenly Father, who loves us. For Jesus tells us—

“I give unto them eternal life;

and they shall never perish,

neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

My Father, which gave them me,

is greater than all;

and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

I and my Father are one.”

John 10:28-30, KJV

Because the Father has loved us in the Son, we love the Father. Because of that love the psalmist reassures us—

  • of the Father’s faithfulness to his word, and as John write, his word is truth;
  • we have deliverance,
  • He will exalt us,
  • We know his name,
  • when we pray He will answer,
  • He will be with us in trouble,
  • and He will honor us.

Did you get that He will honor us? More than what He already has.

“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD,

and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:

to shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning,

and thy faithfulness every night.”

Psalm 92:1-2, KJV

Take comfort we dwell in the secret place of the most High, under his wings.


Blood to Blood, Spirit to spirit

silhouette of spruce trees under starry night
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“Thy faithfulness is unto all generations:

thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.”

Psalm 119:89, KJV

The Setting:

Born enemies, the two youngsters, one a member of the Apache Tribe, the other a New Mexico rancher’s son, pledged their loyalty to one another. They would not follow their ancestors’ ways and fight as enemies. Instead of shedding each other’s blood in death, they chose to share their blood and become blood brothers. Blood joined blood in life.

As these two groups of people were enemies, all human beings are born enemies of God, doomed to death. But the shed blood of Jesus made it possible for us to be joined to God the Father in life, possible to be blood brothers with Jesus through his Spirit in us.

“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off

are made nigh by the blood of Christ …

And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies

in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled

In the body of his flesh through death,

to present you

holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight …

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit,

that we are the children of God:

And if children, then heirs;

heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ .”

Ephesians 2:13; Colossians 1:21,22; Romans 8:16,17a,  KJV

As the two young boys grew they would remain faithful to their blood covenant. Our heavenly Father is faithful to the blood covenant made through Christ. His blood paid our sin debt. “It is finished.”

God remains faithful to his covenant to all generations. His covenant cannot change for God is faithful. When in doubt look at creation.

“thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.”

The age of the earth provides unending material for debate. Bottom line—It’s old, older than dirt, as the saying goes. Yet, the earth, the heavens, the universe keep on working according to God’s design, power, and authority.

  • Every morning the sun greets us—whether we see it or not, it’s there sending out rays declaring the Creator.
  • The seasons orchestrate God’s beauty, wisdom, and love as they dance to their Maker’s rhythm.
  • The earth hasn’t run out of its spin, it hasn’t lost its way around the sun, and it doesn’t vary from its assigned distance—determined by God.
  • God faithfully provides for sinner and saint—creation proves it.

“God is faithful,

by whom ye were called

unto the fellowship

of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”

1Corinthians 1:9;

And because the covenant is signed with the blood of Christ and because—

“Faithful is he that calleth you,

who also will do it.”

1 Thessalonians 5:24, KJV

I leave you with the following prayer:

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly;

and I pray God

your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless

unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

1 Thessalonian 5:23, KJV

By the blood of Christ we are joined with our heavenly Father and with one another. Blood has joined Spirit to spirit. You have God’s word on it. How has God faithfully provided for you?

The Writer’s Heart: No Excuses

No Excuses

person holding knife slicing meat
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“Then said he unto him,

A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:

And sent his servant at suppertime

to say to them that were bidden,

Come for all things are now ready.

And they all with one consent began to make excuse …”

Luke 14:16-18a, KJV

So the story goes. The invitation spread throughout the community to many, but the RSVPs were riddled with excuses. One wanted to tend to a new piece of land he purchased; another desired to try out a new team of oxen; another was newly married and wanted to tend to her.

Upon hearing the excuses, the host extended the invitation to those less likely to be invited to any event and filled his house with guests. The final analysis—

“For I say unto you,

That none of those men which were bidden

shall taste of my supper.”

Luke 14:24, KJV

Many have been invited to the marriage supper of the Lord.

And he saith unto me,


Blessed are they which are called

unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.

And he saith unto me,

These are the true sayings of God.”

Revelation 19:9, KJV

True to Jesus’s parable, many will offer excuses why they didn’t answer the call—

“For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Matthew 22:14, KJV

Excuses are invalid reasons for neglecting our calling. In other words, they are like a bucket filled with holes—they won’t hold water. Those refusing the call won’t taste the fulness of God’s goodness.

As Christian writers and authors, we have a calling to extend the Gospel’s invitation through the medium of our written words. The genre doesn’t matter, fiction or nonfiction, our words in imaginative ways are to reflect the good news of Jesus Christ. Thereby encouraging our readers in a life of walking in love with the Lord and others.

IMG_4163This past week my sweet and generous husband bought a secretary work station to replace my thirty year old computer desk. This new vintage beautiful piece of furniture serves its purpose well. I jokingly told someone I now had no excuse for not being inspired. It’s beauty invites me to sit and write.

Truth is—I still find myself procrastinating at times. Writers are creatives. We are good at creating excuses for not fulfilling our calling.

  • Lack of focus—too many other things calling for our attention, the phone, social media, laundry, TV
  • Fear of that first word—how to begin
  • Not the right atmosphere—too much noise, too much quiet, a cluttered desk, the right music
  • The time change—I need sleep
  • You can fill in your biggest culprit stealing you of writing time.

This list doesn’t include valid other responsibilities—a family to care for, unforeseen circumstances invading our normal existence, helping others, and other ministries the Lord has called us to. Learning to manage our time well helps in these things but cannot always produce the time we want to give our writing. Here is where we learn to give our time over to the Lord.

There are times when writing isn’t possible. Frustration becomes our enemy. Ours is to remember those times are in the Lord’s hands. What He has called us to, He will give us strength and time to fulfill in due time, in his time.

On that day the Lord calls us to his marriage supper, no excuses will be accepted. When the robber of time is our excuse, it is time to make our choice. Toss the excuse and answer the call. Accept no excuses. Sit down and start writing—a letter, a thought, a scene, that first word. It’s time to pray, put pen to paper, and allow God to answer your prayer.

How much time to you give writing each day? How do you manage your time?

In The Way

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“Blessed are the undefiled in the way …

Enter ye in at the strait gate:

for wide is the gate, and broad is the way,

that leadeth to destruction,

and many there be which go in thereat:

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way,

which leadeth unto life,

and few there be that find it.”

Psalm 1:1a; Matthew 7:13-14, KJV

The two men unfolded the map on the hood of the van(this was before the days of GPS). “We’re not lost,” one declared to the teen mission group, “we just don’t know which way to go.”

We are born in a world not knowing which way to go. We walk in the broad way of pleasing ourselves, choosing what we want when we want it, and crying loudly if anyone denies our desires. We practice the opposite of Proverbs 3:5-6.

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart;

and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

We can only see what’s in front of us. Our personal understanding is limited. That is why we are told—

“In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

When Jesus taught what’s recorded in Matthew chapters 5-7, he began by describing how to enter the blessed way—the narrow way. Then he proceeded to contrast the narrow way—the way of life, with the broad way of destruction. He wasn’t teaching how to enter the narrow way but what that way looked like. Jesus taught—

“Not every one that saith unto me,

Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;

but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven …

And this is the will of him who sent me,

that every one which seeth the Son,

and believeth on him,

may have everlasting life:

and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Matthew 7:21; John 6:40.

Also, in John’s gospel we are told Jesus—“is the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (14:6)

Unlike our map showing many ways to our destination, Jesus makes it clear, in life, two ways exist—but only one leads to the Father and everlasting life.

It is the way—

  • Of holiness: “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, BE YE HOLY; FOR I AM HOLY.” 1 Peter 1:15-16, KJV
  • Paved with the grace of God and faith: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8,9, KJV
  • Of Jesus: “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23, KJV

If you want to know which way to go, follow Jesus. His way is—

  • Uncluttered with stumbling stones of sin:

“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin;

for his seed remaineth in him:

and he cannot sin,

because he is born of God …

We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not;

but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself,

and that wicked one toucheth him not.”

1 John 3:9; 5:18

  • Free from potholes of shame before God:

“For the scripture saith,



Romans 10:11, KJV

  • Not walked alone:

“And I will pray the Father,

and he shall give you another Comforter,

that he may abide with you for ever …

I will not leave you comfortless:

I will come to you …

To whom God would make known

what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles:

which is Christ in you,

the hope of glory:”

John 14: 16,18; Colossians 1:27, KJV

  • Paved with righteousness and life:

“Being then made free from sin,

ye became the servants of righteousness …

But now being made free from sin,

and become servants to God,

ye have your fruit unto holiness,

and the end everlasting life.”

Romans 6:18,22, KJV

On our mission trips, the Lord always lead us the right way when we looked to him. He was always with us and always brought us home. In life, Jesus has gone before us, goes with us, and will take us home to be forever with him. As we start a new year, it’s a good time to check our direction and ask ourselves, “What way am I traveling in—Where will this way lead me?”


Blessed Happiness

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“Blessed are the undefiled in the way,

who walk in the law of the LORD. ”

Psalm 119:1, KJV

“Happy New Year,” the greeting, the blessing, the hope rings in each turning of the page from the old year to the new one. Hearts desire something better than what the previous year left with us. Hopes and well-wishes are meant but how do those blessings come to pass? What do they look like?

We know that the Lord told us in this world there’s trouble. Good things and bad things happen to all people—the believing and the unbelieving. So, how do we walk in blessing throughout the coming year, no matter the circumstances that come into our lives?

“Blessed are the undefiled in the way …

Who walk in the law of the LORD …

Keep his testimonies …

Seek him with the whole heart.”

The word, blessed, is used three hundred and two times in scripture, with over six hundred references to blessing just in the Old Testament. The word means, “How happy!” Happy is used twenty-eight times. Our heavenly Father has an abundance of blessings to pour in those who walk in his way with a pure heart, obeying his word, and seeking him with the whole heart—a heart that is not divided.

We all, believing and unbelieving, are recipients of the Lord’s blessings. He gives us breath, sunshine and clouds, food, shelter, strength—his love. For the believer there is even more.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

who hath blessed us with

all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:”

Ephesians 1:3, KJV

We receive those blessings when we are born into the Father’s spiritual family. They are ours when we—

  • Delight in the Lord’s law, and walk in his ways, Psalm 1:1,2;
  • Know our transgressions are forgiven and our sins covered, Psalm 32:1;
  • Trust in God’s goodness, Psalm 34:8;
  • Remember the poor, Psalm 41:1;
  • Fear the Lord, Psalm 112:1;
  • Hope in the Lord, Psalm 146:5;
  • Serve God faithfully, Matthew 24:46:
  • Recognize our need for the Lord, sorrow over sin, suffer for Christ’s sake, Luke 6:20-22;
  • Hear and keep the word of God, Luke 11:28;
  • Haven’t seen God but yet believe in Jesus, John 20:29;
  • Place our faith in God, Galatians 3:9.

The final blessings come from the Book of Revelation. These blessings are the Lord’s final words on being blessed. We are blessed when we—

  • Read, hear, and keep what’s written in this book, 1:3;
  • Die in the Lord, 14:13;
  • Watch for Christ’s return and are ready when he comes, 16:15;
  • Are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb, 19:9;
  • Keep the sayings found in this book, 22:7;
  • Do his commandments, 22:14.

In case you’re wondering, the Lord’s commandments are simple.

“Jesus said unto him,





This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it,


On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40, KJV

None of the blessings are contingent upon world events or personal circumstances. They are contingent upon our relationship with our heavenly Father through Jesus Christ the Son. What he gives the world cannot take from us. Blessedness is our position in the Lord which produces a state of contentment, happiness, and joy even when our feelings and our spirit faces hard things. When good things come—thank the Lord for his blessings. When bad things come—thank the Lord for his blessings.

May you and yours be blessed with a Happy New Year!

The Gifts of Grace, Favor, & Faith

blog wildernessphoto-1505925119181-3537e71dbc72
picture courtesy of unsplash.com, taken by Trevor Cole

Far from the commonly traveled paths of merchants and their camels packed with wares, sat Nazareth nestled between green hills salted with white stones. *One young lady in the small village caught the attention of the Lord. Mary busily prepared for the day she and Joseph would fulfill their engagement vows. Yet, her mind wandered to the promise of Messiah. Could she begin to hope the Lord would choose her to be the mother of Messiah?

Mary shook her head. Everybody knows nothing good comes from Nazareth.

What was that? Mary turned. Her heart threatened to jump out of her chest. Who was this—man? What did he want? She looked for a way of escape. None. And no one was near to hear her screams should she need help. Mary did the only thing she knew to do and bowed on her knees with her face to the dirt floor.

The man entered the house. “I am Gabriel, an angel of the Lord. The Lord gives you great favor. Rejoice for the Lord is with you. You are blessed among all women.”

Mary raised her head. This is the strangest greeting I’ve ever heard. I don’t understand.

The angel said, “Don’t be afraid …”

Then Gabriel proceeded to tell Mary she would give birth to the Messiah through the power of God. When the message was completed—

“Mary said,

Behold the handmaid of the Lord;

be it unto me according to thy word.

And the angel departed from her.”

With this gift of all gifts, Mary received faith to trust the Lord would do what was said. She didn’t understand where this road would take her, nor how it would come to be. Mary did know and was completely convinced God’s word to be true.

Like Mary, we each are given a measure of faith—first to believe we have a need for a Savior. Then enough faith to receive Jesus as the one sent to be our Savior. A wonderful relationship with the Father begins here—with his gift of faith given in measure to exercise faith in the other gifts he gives for his glory.

“For I say,

through the grace given unto me,

to every man that is among you,

not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think;

but to think soberly,

according as God hath dealt to every man

the measure of faith.”

Romans 12:3, KJV

The Lord poured out his grace upon Mary. Upon hearing the word of the Lord, her mind and heart could have filled with thoughts of self-importance. Scripture shows this did not happen. She had done nothing to deserve being the mother of the Son of God. God the Father chose her for this once-in-the-world event. That’s his grace. He imparted to her the gift of faith to fulfill the work.

None of us will ever receive this measure of faith—for that work is done. But the Lord has given to each of us first that measure of faith to be saved. When we act upon that gift, the measure of the gift is increased to perform the work of ministry the Lord has ordained for each of his children.

Wrapped inside faith’s package are the gifts of strength and obedience to surrender to the word and work of the Lord, even as Mary surrendered and Paul wrote about.

“And he said unto me,

My grace is sufficient for thee:

for my strength is made perfect in weakness.

Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities,

that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

2 Corinthians 12:9, KJV

Faith is convinced the power of Christ in us is our strength to obey his word and perform the work. Faith knows and is convinced God—

“is able to do exceeding abundantly above

all that we ask or think,

according to the power that worketh in us …”

For thereby—

“Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus

throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

Ephesians 3: 20,21, KJV

God chose Mary to carry his glory within her and reflect it to others. We, too, have been chosen to house the glory of God in us, in the person of the Holy Spirit, to reflect his glory to the world. We are highly favored.

*Taken from Luke 1 where you can find the actual account.

For a more detailed account of this part of Mary’s life check out :



Gifts Within a Gift

A Gift Inside the Gift

“But while he thought on these things,

behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him

in a dream, saying,

Joseph, thou son of David,

fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife:

for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.”

Matthew 1:20, KJV

christmas gifts
Photo by Olya Kobruseva on Pexels.com

My husband handed me a beautifully wrapped box—the size a pair of winter dress boots could be hidden in—and yes, Tom knew how to tie up a present in style. A twinkle in his eyes and a simple smile told me he was pleased with his purchase.

Maybe it wasn’t the boots I had wanted but something more?

Nope. With the last of the paper ripped off, I opened the box revealing the exact pair of boots I had shown him and in the right size. I gave him a big hug and gushed my thank you’s on him. That’s when his smile grew larger.  

“You might want to try them on,” he said.

“Okay.” I slipped on the left one, then grabbed the right boot. I shoved it over my foot, but—frowned and pulled it off. “There’s something in there,” I said reaching deep into the toe. I pulled out a small gift. “What’s this?”

“Open it.”

Inside the large gift Tom had hidden his surprise—a little black velvet box with an engagement ring inside. My squeal rang through our house as tears filled my eyes. Over twenty years had passed since Tom asked me to be his wife. There hadn’t been enough money for an engagement ring—only two matching bands and a declaration of committed love.

The teen girls in our youth group had given Tom the idea. As I thought on what gift our Father prepared for us in the giving of his Son, I remembered the surprise of finding a gift inside the gift, and knew what gift to highlight.

When Jesus, the Son of God, conceived of the Holy Ghost, came into the world, Mary wrapped him in swaddling clothes. Within this tiny package of human flesh dwelt another gift to be given after the Son’s death, resurrection, and ascension to the Father.

“And I will pray the Father,

and he shall give you another Comforter,

that he may abide with you for ever;

Even the Spirit of truth;

whom the world cannot receive,

because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him:

but ye know him;

for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”

John 14:16,17, KJV

The gift of the Holy Spirit is received by those who—

“Repent, and be baptized every one of you

in the name of Jesus Christ

for the remission of sins,

and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

For the promise is unto you,

and to your children, and to all that are afar off,

even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”

Acts 2:38-39, KJV

And within this Gift, many other gifts dwell.

“But ye shall receive power,

after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you …

Thus I say then, Walk in the Spirit,

and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh …

But the fruit of the Spirit is

love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness,

goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance …”

Acts 1:8; Galatians 5:16; 22-23, KJV

  • Power to witness;
  • Power over the flesh;
  • love,
    • joy,
      • peace,
        • longsuffering,
          • gentleness,
            • goodness,
              • faith,
                • meekness,
                  • and temperance.

This list is in no way complete for we are told—

“Now there are diversities of gifts,

but the same Spirit …

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given

to every man to profit withal.

  • For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom,
  • to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
  • To another faith by the same Spirit;
  • to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
  • To another the working of miracles;
  • to another prophecy;
  • to another discerning of the spirits;
  • to another divers kinds of tongues;
  • to another the interpretation of tongues:

But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit,

dividing to every man severally as he will.”

1 Corinthians 12:4,7-11, KJV

Only our heavenly Father could contain so many gifts within the gift of one small Child who said—

“And I will pray the Father,

and he shall give you another Comforter,

that he may abide with you for ever;”


“Bless the LORD, O my soul:

and all that is within me,

bless his holy name …

and forget not all his benefits:”

Psalm 103: 1, 2b, KJV

As we celebrate Christmas, may we remember to celebrate the Son of the Highest and give him thanks.