Devotional Blog

Monday, January 20, 2020 • • General

Every season has it purpose.  Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time and season for every activity under the sun.  Although we tend to favor one over the other, each has a relevance of its own.  I had to remind myself of that each time I looked out my window and saw the beauty of the autumn leaves "falling" to the ground (pun intended). One by one and sometimes in the harmony of a marching band, those picturesque colors gave way to the barrenness of the branches. Since I have a personal enjoyment of autumn, it was especially difficult for me to bare (another pun intended) the sight.  Nevertheless, even in the midst of all of nature's changing seasons and landscape, I saw the miraculous Hand of God.

 


There in the midst of all the barrenness of winter, one tree maintained its posture, fully clothed in its array of autumn royalty.  The tree positioned directly in front of my window, I pondered its resiliency.  I could hear the Words of Psalms 91:7 resound in my spirit.  A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.  As I look out my window, that tree reminds me of God's promise to those who take refuge in Him.  Not only has it (just like the others trees) have had to endure fierce autumn and winter winds, torrential rain pours and other modes of nature's fury, it remained fully arrayed in its best golden garment.
Likewise, as we dwell in the Shelter of the Most High, we will truly rest in the Shadows of the Almighty.  God promises that His faithfulness will be our shield and rampart. A shield is a covering that protects whatever is behind it and a rampart is a wall that forms a defensive boundary around a site.  In other words, God will protect every area of our life, when we make Him our dwelling place. As we make God our trust and hope, we become like that Psalms 1:3 tree – He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.  We praise God Who is able to keep and protect us in every circumstance. Amen  

Minister Juanita Purdy

 

Saturday, July 06, 2019 • • General

 

1 John 4:19 - "We love Him because He first loved us."

 

The Bible gives us many verses about love - what it is and what it means.  None is more descriptive and detailed than 1 Corinthians 13:4-13.  It is often read at wedding ceremonies as a guideline to follow for the betrothed before their vows are said.  This passage describes perfect and unconditional love.  God loves us in this pure way.  

It is easy for us as targeted people to forget that we are loved by God.  We sometimes are tempted by satan to erroneously think that God does not love us.  Daily pain, humiliation and indignities and other suffering have a way of causing us to think otherwise.  When we think that God does not love us, we are subconsciously holding onto the pain inflicted upon us. We are accepting the bad and not the good.  Over a prolonged period of fime, accepting the bad in our lives can become a very harmful pattern.  It can prevent us from seeing the good in our lives - from the good in the past and in the present.   If we accept the good in our total lives, we can see God's love for us reflected in many ways.  He is, always has been and always will be the through line that sustains us.

Accepting God's love for us helps us to be conscious of Him at all times helping us to do good for ourselves and others.  We will want to take better care of ourselves when we internalize His love for us.  We will have more confidence in resisting the enemy.  We will have the mental and physical strength to accomplish goals set by ourselves and those inspired by the Holy Spirit.  "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31)  Knowing that "He cares about every detail down to the number of hairs on our head" (Matthew 10:30) reinforces belief in ourselves.  Above everything that has been noted here, Jesus shows us He loves us because He died for us. (John 15:13)

As we wait on God for answers, the sustenance of His love enables us to trust Him.  We will become like the faithful in Isaiah 40:31: "But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."   Because we are loved by God, we feel confident in following His word in Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God."  We can wait on Him patiently to do His work in us and to answer our prayers.  Perhaps He won't answer in the way we desire but we can be sure that His response will be the perfect one because He is perfect and because He loves us.

 

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Carolyn Cunningham

Wednesday, April 10, 2019 • • General

Romans 5:3-5, "but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."

Romans 5:3-5, "but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
One of the most insidious aspects of targeting is designed to eliminate the possibility of hope in our lives. In this way, as in many other ways, it is similar to the Soviet state in Russia and Eastern Europe during the Cold War. According to Oliver Bullough, author of The Last Man in Russia, "the Soviet state was, in fact, almost perfectly designed to make people unhappy. It denied its citizens not just hope, but also trust." Many of us can attest to some of these conditions as having been manifested in our own lives during the course of targeting. So, what are we to do? Are we to accept this as our fate? Not at all. What we are to do is to keep God's promises to us and the life, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, in the forefront of our hearts, minds, bodies and souls. The Christians of the Soviet state had their churches and religious leaders taken from them but many kept the Holy Trinity within their beings and clung to their faith in God. Like them, many of us are targeted in churches. We can continue to keep our faith in God alive and even grow closer to Him through daily prayer; practicing His commandments; studying His word and participating in worship services, Bible studies, and prayer time in our domiciles either alone or with others who live with similar circumstances. We can also worship and augment our faith in God by participating via television, the internet or the phone. The hope and dreams we've had for ourselves have been dashed by targeting in many instances. We've had hope for successful careers, marriages, friendships, good health among other comfortable earthly pursuits that seem to have faded. But God promises to overcome all of the obstacles the enemy has placed in our paths, though maybe not in the ways that we imagined. In Jeremiah 29:11, we are reminded that God has better plans for our lives than all the harm we are experiencing, thus giving us reason to cling strongly to hope in Him who made us and saved us from our sins through His Son, Jesus. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus tells us to seek God's kingdom first and we shall receive our earthly desires. Let us recall God's goodness, grace, mercy and gifts to us on a daily basis as we meditate on Lamentations 3:22-23, "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness." As painful as these targeted experiences have been and still are, let us consider how God has revealed Himself in our lives. Many of us have new friendships, new skills, and have acquired new perspectives on our lives.  God has done this and more for us.

Carolyn Cunningham