Monday, December 31, 2018

Reflections From the Porch: Life Lessons from Boggy Road

We've just published our 7th book, Reflections From the Porch: Life Lessons from Boggy Road, a women's Christian daily devotion, by Jean B. Burden. It contains forty heart-warming and inspirational stories intended to lead the reader to a closer, more intimate walk with Christ. Check it out at most online bookstores...  

Monday, September 26, 2016

101. A Purpose in Prayer

From CS Lewis', "The Screwtape Letters" -- Screwtape (Satan), Wormwood (His Dark Underling) ...."'Dear Wormwood, I had not forgotten my promise to consider whether we should make the patient (the human that Wormwood has been assigned to) an extreme patriot or an extreme pacifist. All extremes, except extreme devotion to the Enemy (the Lord God), are to be encouraged. Not always, of course, but at this period. Some ages are lukewarm and complacent, and then it is our business to soothe them yet faster asleep. Other ages, of which the present is one, are unbalanced and prone to faction, and it is our business to inflame them...' -- Screwtape." 

The Word of God says that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers in the air. Most, if not the many, folk, believe we wrestle against the black and the white, or the blue and the red. Yet, the colors of our wrestling do not come in hews of the seen, but of the unseen, where the color of Darkness cloaks itself in the visage of the thing born most opposite to our eyes and our beliefs. .

Monday, July 25, 2016

99. His Desire Or Our Own

"Then God said to Jonah, 'Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?' And he (Jonah) said, 'It is right for me to be angry, even unto death!' But the LORD said, 'You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. And should I not pity Ninevah, that great city, in which more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern their right from their left---and much livestock.'" (Jonah 4:9-11, NKJV)
Rather than being angry at a group of people that you have had no responsibility for or to, perhaps it would be better that you pray for those people that they might see God. For God is "...a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness. One who relents from doing harm." (Jonah 4:2b, NKJV) God's anger and judgment may be close to your perception of a group of people, but is that His anger and judgment, or your internal secret desire?

Monday, July 18, 2016

98. Examining Our Beliefs

It has occurred to me in my progressive, self-professed maturing that I have missed a few trains going in the right direction and have also found myself running after some that had long left the station. That used to be to my dismay, but now that I no longer see the cabooses of those trains of long ago, maturity calls and says, "Hey, all aboard this train over here." My self-professed maturity that, hopefully, is the speaking and leading of the Holy Spirit, is also telling me that folk's ideology is nothing more than my own particular sways, bents and beliefs...they just believe something entirely different. There's no need to get angry with internal destructive turmoil at another person's belief system. I believe kindness is speaking here when I say that they're probably not an idiot or stupid, any more than I have been at times, they simply believe differently. One aspect in all of this, though, is that it has been impressed upon me by the work of the Holy Spirit, that we will reap what we have sown, if, not in this life, then in the next. There is a reckoning time. 

If we lead other people down a wrong track as a result of our beliefs, we will surely be rewarded for whatever we have done, or said, according to our personal beliefs. Rewards are not always what we think they are and come in various sundry ways. I encourage all of us to examine what we believe, our proclivities to our beliefs and the personal ideology of those we promote, whether that be in business, religion or politics. We tell on ourselves in the things and people we promote and that doesn't go unnoticed in the heavenly spiritual realm.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

96. The Confirmation

“After being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”      (Matthew 3:16-17)

If there was ever a time in Jesus’ ministry in the earth that God smiled in heaven, this had to be the time. God, the Father, was well-pleased with His Son and said so. A smile is an extravagant expression that has lost its way among the busyness of life. The reflection of the joy of the Lord is a smile, born in heaven and filled with peace. The smile is the tender heart woven by His Spirit and flows in grace to another’s eyes. 

Smile a smile away and smile once more. It is a gift from God that never ceases to give its pleasure to the giver and the receiver.

Jesus’ humble obedience to His Father made the heart of the Father glad. In our humble obedience to Him, we follow in our Lord’s path of peace, even though we may think the path be rocky, the internal joy that He gives sees us through. What John saw that day as the Spirit of God descending upon Jesus as a dove was the reflection of God’s heart. The Spirit of God touched Jesus in approving love and affirmation.

The Father said, ‘This is My Son! I am well-pleased in Him.” This was a pronouncement; it was a confirmation; it was a loving Father sincerely glad of heart smiling down from heaven at the sight and sound of loving, humble obedience.

Why do we do what we do for our Lord? Why, indeed. For the Lord, it is He Who does His work and it is our opportunity to gladly and humbly submit to our Father in Christ, saying, “What would you have me do, Lord? Your will be done, oh, God, and not my own.” It is in our humble obedience to Him that the smile of God falls upon us. It is not that we do anything for His favor for we cannot do anything to deserve Him. But, we humbly obey out of love and sincere desire to be with Him, not just for eternity, but for this very moment that we breathe our breath in Him.

Smile a smile away and smile once more. His smile is gladness of heart, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Be glad in Him! The Kingdom of God is here, be blessed in Him today.

---- an excerpt from the devotional book, "The Treasure Within the Kingdom of God".

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

95. Being Baptized into Him

“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”                                                                                                                                         (Matthew 3:11) 

John came baptizing a baptism of repentance. His message was for all people to repent of their sins, confess their sins and get baptized into the river, into water. John was the forerunner. His message was the forerunner’s message. Jesus said of John, ‘I say to you, among those born of women, there is none greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”  (Luke 7:28) John said that the One to come would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. The Greek word for ‘with’ could also mean ‘in’ or ‘by’…that you would be baptized in the Holy Spirit. 

When we come to Christ, we are invited into His Kingdom of peace and rest. We come to the door of the cross and because He paid the debt we could not pay with His own blood, He is the door into His Kingdom. He is His Kingdom. Everything about being with Him is being in Him. When we give up ourselves, He not only comes into our lives and makes us a new creation  (2 Cor. 5:17), we go into Him (2 Cor. 6:16); we are baptized into Him (Rom. 6:3-4) and we are to remain in Him (John 15:11-16) He is the way, the truth and the life. His Holy Spirit gets into us and we get into Him. That is how we are baptized in the Holy Spirit. It is the fire that burns up anything that is not like Him. (Hebrews 12:26-29) 

If you are born into Him, you are in Christ with a heavenly Father; outside of Christ, our God is a consuming fire. The baptism of water is symbolic of the remission of sins, the washing away. It is also symbolic of being lowered into death, His death, and then being raised into life, His life. (Romans 6) When we are baptized into Him, His Holy Spirit is the One covering us completely, inside and out. It is as though we are covered in a pool of water, inside and out; we are completely enveloped in Him. 

Remain in Him. Rest in His goodness. Reside in His Spirit. Reveal the peace of God that only the Holy Spirit can reveal. He does all of the work; this is His story. It’s not about you or me. It’s about Jesus and the work that He did in saving grace two thousand years ago. He is still about it today. Rest in Him and He will work all things together for your good, to those that are the called according to His purposes and not our own.

----- an excerpt from the Christian daily devotional "The Treasure Within the Kingdom of God"