Are you a Prisoner?

Recently I took a trip to visit my cousins. Before leaving to return home, on a Sunday morning, I attended church with them.

During the sermon, the pastor told a story about a time he had visited a prison to play a softball game with the prisoners, have lunch with them and minister to them.

He mentioned that during the worship and ministry time with the prisoners, he marveled at their freedom. They didn’t restrict their worship or their joy for fear of what others might think. They were completely free! It’s what I like to call “reckless abandonment.”

Having visited a loved one in prison, hearing the pastor’s description of his prison experience brought me to tears. I was flooded with distracting memories of someone I love with all my heart, in an orange jumpsuit, shackles, and chains.

Thankfully, the pastor made the statement that redirected my focus, “Those men were locked up for life with no hope for parole and they were freer and more joyful than people that are outside of visible prison walls.”

The prisoners were physically captive but spiritually free. As a result of their spiritual freedom, they had unexplainable hope, peace, and joy.

There are people walking around today with sadness, anxiety, and anger on their faces, on their tongues, and in their hearts. They have no hope, no peace, and no joy.

But if you ask them if they are free they would say, “Of course I am free!” “I can do what I want when I want and where I want!” They would think that your question was silly. But is it?

Jesus said in John 8:34 that everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Slaves are not free!

Romans 6:16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey-whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?

So we have two choices, we can choose to be obedient to sin or obedient to God. One leads to death and the other leads to righteousness, holiness and eternal life [Romans 6:22].

I don’t know about you but if I only have two choices in whom to obey, sin or God, obedience to God sounds like a much better deal. Not to mention that hope, peace and joy are included in the package.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I’m reminded of an incident in God’s Word where Paul and Silas had been severely flogged and wrongfully imprisoned. Their feet were fastened in stocks. Then around midnight, they began praying and singing hymns to God [Acts 16:23-25].

How could men who had just been severely flogged/beaten, thrown into prison, with their feet in stocks, pray and sing hymns at midnight? They had to be in horrible pain. How were they able to move beyond their pain, suffering, and disappointment to praise and worship?

They were free on the inside! They had a hope, a peace and a joy that was not a result of their circumstance but instead a result of their faith in God.

A true sign of someone who is set free from a life of slavery to sin is hope, peace, and joy.

How do we get this freedom from sin?

Jesus said in John 8:31-32 That if we hold to His teaching and are true followers of Him then we will know the truth and the truth will set us free.

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Jesus is the truth that we need to know in order to be set free from slavery to sin. He is the only way to eternal life. He is the only way to hope, peace, and joy.

Don’t go through life shackled and chained by sin having no hope, peace or joy. Choose to know the truth! Choose to know Jesus! Choose to be free!

John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

This is a Test! This is Only a Test!

Tax season! Ugh! Need I say more? Well, I’ll say just a little more.

Recently, I had taken all of our required tax documents to the local tax professionals to have our income taxes calculated and prepared. I went in hopeful and optimistic but I left confused and, I must admit, more than a little upset.

Outwardly I maintained self-control but inwardly I wanted to cry. As a matter of fact, I did cry a little when I got back into my automobile. When I contacted my husband to let him know the results, he was very disappointed as well.

You see, my husband and I had finally managed to build our savings back up after buying a house with 15 acres a year ago. We were hoping to be able to start some needed home repairs and improvement projects soon.

Well, with the results of the income tax calculations we found that we owed all of the money we had saved. Imagine our shock and disappointment.

I spent the rest of the day feeling a little sick to my stomach and letdown. My husband was angry and depressed.

I had a decision to make. Was I going to allow the loss of our savings to determine my joy?  Was I going to be bitter and angry at the government? Was I going to put my trust in money or in God? After much prayer and with a lot of help from the Holy Spirit, I chose to put my trust in God.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

The tax incident happened on a Thursday. Friday morning I made the decision that I was not going to allow the loss of money to determine my behavior or my joy.

Money is not my God! God is my God! He is able to provide me with more money if I need it. He is my source and my provider. He meets all my needs!

Because I moved my focus from money to God, I went from being angry about losing all of our savings to being thankful that we had the money to pay our taxes.

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

As soon as I made the decision to trust God, to keep my eyes focused on Him, and to be thankful instead of resentful, my joy returned.

Psalm 107:22 Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of His works with songs of joy.

That Saturday, my husband and I went to the tax professional to ask a lot of questions and to sign papers. While there, mistakes were discovered and we ended up owing about a tenth of what was originally projected.

Wow! Talk about rejoicing! My husband and I were so relieved.

I was reminded of an incident in the bible where God asked Abraham to offer his son Isaac to Him as a sacrifice. Abraham must have been confused by God’s request but He willingly agreed to do what God had asked him to do. As Abraham was just about to kill Isaac on the altar of sacrifice, God intervened and said, “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God because you have not withheld from Me your son, your only son.” [Genesis 22:1-19]

It was a test! God was testing Abraham’s heart. God wanted to know that He was Abraham’s number one. Abraham passed the test!

That’s when I realized that the whole tax mishap was a test. God was testing my heart. God wanted to know if my trust was in Him or in money? He wanted to know if I would willingly offer my savings on the altar of sacrifice? He wanted to know if I would still trust Him if He took away what He had given me? God wanted to know if He was my number one.

What is God asking you to be willing to sacrifice to show your love and devotion to Him? Time, money, food, entertainment, friends? It may not be something negative. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son; the son that God had promised him and had given him. Are you willing to sacrifice your ministry, gifts, and talents; things that God has given you?

God wants to be your number one. Is He your number one?

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

Nowhere to Run to! Nowhere to Hide!

Temptation is all around us! It’s in our homes, in our workplaces, in our classrooms. It’s in our cars, at parties, at the grocery store and even in our churches. It’s everywhere!

Sometimes I feel like Martha Reeves and the Vandellas when they sang the words, “Nowhere to run to, baby, nowhere to hide.”

Or is there?

Thankfully the temptation to sin is not a sin. The sin is when we give in to the temptation.

James 1:14-15 But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Woe! Temptation leads to sin and sin leads to death.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So what should we do when we are tempted to sin? Should we ignore it and hope it goes away? Should we play with fire and see how close we can get to sin without getting burned? Should we use will power?

I’m just like everyone else. I’m human. I am tempted to sin every day just like you. Over time I’ve learned that I have to rely on God for help to resist temptation or I will eventually fail.

Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Notice Jesus said to watch and pray. That means we have to stay on our guard because temptation is coming and it’s dangerous.

1 Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Once we see that we are being tempted, we should pray. Will power alone won’t be enough to fight the temptation. Even if we manage to resist the temptation the first time, it will come back, again and again, to wear us down.

When we pray we are humbling ourselves and asking God for help. Basically, we are saying to God, “I can’t fight this temptation on my own. I need Your help or I will fail!”

James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

To submit to God is to yield to His authority; surrender to His will [Merriam-Webster App]. When we surrender to God’s will we are saying “no” to our own will. When we say “no” to our own will we are saying “yes” to God’s will. God’s will is that we desire to please Him and not ourselves.

Galatians 5:16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 1 John 2:17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

Submitting to God helps us to resist the devil. The devil is the one behind the temptation. He’s the one that’s always trying to entice us to sin because he knows that sin separates us from a holy God.

And ultimately separation from God without repentance leads to spiritual death. Thus the scripture earlier, the wages of sin is death [Romans 6:23].

Resist means to exert force in opposition [Merriam-Webster App]. Exerting force in opposition to something requires violence. Meaning we have to see temptation as our enemy; a threat and a danger. This is not a time for passivity.

We have to see that the possibility of giving in to temptation is a threat to our reputation. It is a threat to our relationships and to our family. To our future. It can also be a threat to our health. And as Christians, it is a threat to our spiritual growth and our influence for the kingdom of God.

We have to view temptation as a thief that is trying to steal everything from us! We have to see it as our enemy!

John 10:10a The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.

God is our only hope to not fall into temptation.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Even Jesus was tempted by the devil. Each time the devil tempted Him He fought back with God’s word; the scriptures [Luke 4:1-13].

The Bible refers to the word of God as a sword [Ephesians 6:17]. It is a weapon! A weapon to use against our enemy; temptation.

What are some things you are tempted by? Lust, gluttony, greed? Laziness, anger, envy, pride? Hate, adultery, stealing? Lying, cheating, gossiping? Drugs, sexual perversion? The list goes on and on.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking temptation is harmless and something that can be entertained or played with. See it for what it is…your enemy; a real threat and very dangerous.

Let’s be on the watch for temptation because it is coming. Let’s humbly submit to God by praying and asking Him to help us to resist temptation. Let’s use God’s word to fight temptation like Jesus did.

So, to the questions, is there someplace to run to or someplace to hide in times of temptation?

Absolutely!

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Psalm 32:7 You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

Paid in Full!

Recently I had designed and ordered 50 advertisement postcards from a company that specializes in business marketing merchandise. I had looked over my designed postcard several times to make sure it was perfect before choosing to purchase it.

It wasn’t until they arrived in my mailbox, about a  week later, that I noticed the misspelled word. When I sent a picture of one of the postcards to my cousin, to show her my mistake, she found another misspelled word. She also made a few suggestions on how to make the entire postcard more effective. I am so thankful for her expert eye and opinion.

I called the business marketing company the next day to make the corrections and place a reorder. To my wonderful surprise, they made all of the corrections at no extra cost to me. They didn’t even charge me for the changes I wanted to make that weren’t mistakes.

I didn’t have to pay for my mistakes! Talk about amazing customer service!

It reminded me of how I don’t have to pay for my sins. Jesus paid for them all. He paid for mine and yours. He paid for all sins for all time.

Jesus never sinned. He never did anything wrong His entire life. We’ve sinned and inherited sin and He paid for all of those sins. Wow!

1 John 3:4-5 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that He appeared so that He might take away our sins. And in Him is no sin.

Sins are like debts. God says the sin debt can only be paid with sinless blood. Even if we shed our own blood for our own sins the debt would still not be paid.

Only the sinless blood of Jesus was enough to pay for our sins. Blood tainted with sin cannot pay for sin. Jesus was and is our only hope!

1 Peter 1:18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

Are you still trying to pay your sin debt? Are you trying to pay for your sins by doing good deeds? By punishing yourself? By being a good person?

Although it is good to do good deeds and to be a good person, those things will never pay for your sins. If they could then Jesus would have come to earth and died for nothing.

No! We can’t pay for our sins. Only the sinless blood of Jesus pays for our sins.

Don’t get to the end of your life and stand before Jesus only to find out that you lived your whole life believing a lie; that you could be good enough to get into heaven. Jesus said the only way to forgiveness of sins and eternal life is through Him.

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Stop trying to pay for your sins. They have already been paid for in full. Receive your gift of eternal life today!

Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works so that no one can boast.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Are People Like Pancakes?

On a recent Saturday morning, as I stood at the stove making my husband pancakes, a conversation about the appearance of my pancakes arose. I was commenting on how sloppy my pancakes looked. I was making a mess of them. My husband said, “That’s ok! It’s not about how they look, it’s about how they taste and they taste amazing!”

My immediate thought was, “If only we viewed people in the same way we view pancakes. If only we would give people a chance before judging them by their appearance.”

None of us are perfect. We all have things that have happened to us in our life that have left us and our lives looking like a mess. Life has left all of us with scars and brokenness. Some of us are just better at hiding it or masking it than others.

When Jesus was on the earth, He was drawn to the scarred and the broken. He was criticized for hanging out with sinners; those that may be considered by some to be lowlife today.

Luke 5:31-32 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

I don’t know about you but I am so grateful that Jesus came to call us to repentance. Because I was the sick sinner in need of repentance. I was the broken mess. I am the one with many life scars. I have been the one on the other side of judgment and criticism.

What if God would have looked down at us and said, “They are not worthy of my Son. My Son is too good for them. I don’t want my Son around those sinners. They don’t act right, they don’t look right and they don’t smell right. They are too trashy!”

Where would we be? What hope would we have?

Thankfully God doesn’t see us as worthless or trashy. In fact, He sees us in a completely opposite way.

To God we are amazing! We are created in His image.

Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.

Psalm 139:13-14 For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

God thinks we are so valuable that He gave His one and only sinless Son to die for our sins so that we can be in a relationship with Him and live with Him for eternity (John 3:16).

What if we were to see and think about others the way God sees and thinks about us? What if we were to look past the mess, scars, and brokenness to see the value in people? What if we were to look at everyone and see a creation made in the image of the Creator?

How would our world be different? How would we be different? How would we make a difference in someone else’s life?

Let’s go out into the world today and treat people as valuable as God says they are. Let’s stop judging them by their appearance and instead see them as God sees them. Let’s look at people the way my husband looks at pancakes; no matter how they look on the outside, they are still amazing!

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friend or Foe?

What would you call someone who is only your “friend” when no one else is around? They never mention you to their other friends. They never invite you to go anyplace with them. They behave as if they are embarrassed to know you or to be associated with you.

They might meet you for lunch now and then if it’s convenient, and the rest of the week you never hear from them unless they need your help with something or they are in a desperate situation. It’s as if you are their secret “friend.”

How would that make you feel? Would you consider that person a true friend? Would you entertain the idea that this person may actually be an enemy?

Isn’t this how we treat God a lot of the time? When we are with our “non-christian” friends we are careful not to mention God. We leave God at home or at the church “where He belongs.”

Or we only talk to Him when we have an emergency or want something good to happen to us or someone in our family. We keep God a secret because we don’t want to be controversial or unpopular; we don’t want to be politically incorrect.

When we deliberately leave God out of our lives or don’t invite Him into all areas of our lives, that is what the Bible calls being of the world; worldly or a friend of the world. The world’s way of doing things, saying things and thinking things is to do so apart from God. God is not welcome. God is not invited.

We should always love people and be friendly towards them. God tells us to love all people. That is completely different than loving the world; the things of the world and the ways of the world.

God uses some pretty strong language about being friends with the world. He definitely doesn’t mince words.

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love for the Father is not in them.

James 4:4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

In the line of work I’m in as a book author, there is the constant temptation to leave God out. For example: If I leave God out of my books I could make more money; my books could be seen by more people and more people might buy them. I’m limiting myself if I label myself a Christian Author. I would be more successful and more popular if I were a secular author.

I once heard a statement in the movie “God’s Not Dead,” that has stuck with me and explains my view of choosing between God or the world; “I’d rather stand with God and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by God!”

Even if I never make a living writing and selling books, I will never regret my decision to never leave God out!

John 15:18-19 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

1 John 2:16-17 For everything in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

Every moment of every day we have a decision to make; will we invite God to go with us every place we go? Will we invite God into our workplace, our classrooms, our friendships? Will we invite Him into our intimate relationships? Into our entertainment, our wardrobe, our politics? Our conversations? Our finances?

Most importantly, will we invite Jesus into our hearts?

John 3:16-19 For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

Will you choose to invite God into every area of your life? Will you choose to live a life that says, “I am a friend of God!”

Matthew 10:32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

​Heed the Call

On a recent Sunday afternoon, after church, I decided to go for a walk on our property to enjoy the warm sunshine and search for my husband who had mentioned that morning that he might go fishing that day.

We have a bayou that borders one side of our property. We also have a slew in the middle of our property and a neighbor’s pond that borders the other side of our property. I wasn’t sure where I’d find him but I set out to try.

Since I wasn’t sure where exactly he had decided to go fishing, I called his name out now and then, as I walked the property, in hopes that he would hear me. The area around the bayou and slew are wooded so I knew I wouldn’t see him from the main trail.

Finally bellowing his name paid off! I heard him answering my call. He called out to me. I walked back in the direction to where I heard his voice coming from and I could hear his footsteps through the woods walking toward me.

We visited for a few minutes. I warned him about the slithering sunbathers I had encountered along the trail and then he carefully returned to the bayou to do more fishing. He hadn’t caught anything at that point but later he sent me a picture of a nice looking catfish.

The next morning I started to replay that scenario in my mind. It reminded me of a scripture.

John 10:27 My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.

I was calling out to my husband because I was searching for him. Jesus is calling out to the lost, searching for them and offering them eternal life.

Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

When my husband heard my voice he knew that it was me. That’s because he knows me and my voice. He’s been hearing it for nearly 30 years.

If he had heard the voice of someone else that day in the woods; a voice he didn’t recognize, he wouldn’t have been so eager to walk towards that voice. That person would be a stranger to him.

John 10:4-5 His sheep follow Him because they know His voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.

Jesus is calling out to the lost today. If you are lost and you don’t recognize the voice of Jesus, He is the one offering you forgiveness for your sins and eternal life.

You may not recognize His voice because you don’t know Him yet. The first step in getting to know Him is by answering the call, going to Him and then asking Him to forgive your sins. There is a prayer at the end of this post that will lead you through the first step to getting to know Jesus.

The next step, in getting to know Jesus, is to read and study the Bible-God’s word. I’ve always been told that if you’ve never read the bible before, the best place to start is the book of John.

As you are reading, ask God to help you understand what you are reading. He will! He does it for me all the time!

Finally, find a good bible teaching church and a bible study group. Surround yourself with other followers of Christ. They will encourage you, pray for you and help you along your journey.

I pray you will heed the call of Christ today. He is the only way to true peace, true joy, true love, a life of purpose and eternal life. Don’t wait another day to enjoy all God has in store for you!

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Titanic

Believe it or not, I’d never watched the movie “Titanic” from start to finish. I’d seen bits and pieces here and there but never the whole movie.

I’m not a fan of movies that I know will end unhappy. I like happy endings.

On Valentine’s Day I decided to do something about that. I watched “Titanic;” well half of it. I watched the other half the next night.

As I was watching, I took note of the statements that were used to describe the Titanic; ship of dreams, unsinkable, unchallengeable supremacy, stability in strength and size and solid as a rock.

The passengers of the Titanic had put their faith and trust in the hopes that those descriptions were trustworthy. They had put their faith and trust in a man made ship, the people who had made the ship and the captain of the ship; all things and people that are fallible.

While on the ship, they went about their lives without a care in the world; certain that they would reach their planned destination. Then they ran into trouble and suddenly they were left confused, afraid, angry, disappointed and hopeless. Most of them were destroyed.

We all put our faith in something!

What do you put your faith and trust in? Do you put your faith in politicians? Your education? Your career? Marriage or spouse? Your children and their future? Money? The Stockmarket? The government? Doctors? Yourself? The list could go on and on.

There was a time that I had placed my faith in the fact that if I raised my children properly, they would never go astray. I was putting my faith in my abilities as a parent.

There have been times when I’ve put my trust in people to meet my emotional needs and to keep me happy. I have even put my faith in myself and the ability to protect myself and to meet my own needs.

In every one of those instances I ran into trouble and was left feeling confused, afraid, angry, disappointed and hopeless. Without God’s intervention, my life could have been destroyed.

Through trial and error, I’ve come to realize that putting my faith and trust in God and Him alone ultimately never ends in disappointment or devastation. Sure, I don’t always understand what God is up to, where He’s taking me or why He’s taking so long, but it is comforting to know that He knows what He’s up to, His way is always the best way and His timing is perfect. He is a sovereign God!

Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.

Life is a voyage-a journey. We can always trust God to get us to our final destination in His way and on His time schedule. We will have plenty of obstacles along the way but as long as we abide in Him we are ultimately safe from destruction.

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

God is unsinkable and unmovable! His supremacy is unchallengeable! He is stable! His size and strength are unmatched! He is our Rock and sure foundation!

Isaiah 26:4 Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord Himself, is the Rock eternal.

Now that is something to put your faith and trust in!

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Psalm 20:7-8 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.

Psalm 44:6-8 I put no trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory; but You give us victory over our enemies, You put our adversaries to shame. In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise Your name forever.

Proverbs 23:4-5 Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

Waiting, Expecting and Longing

While I’m eating breakfast in the mornings, I like to sit in the kitchen where I have a view of the backyard. Recently, as I was enjoying my breakfast and the warm sunshine, I was entertained by my dog Autumn and her interaction with the love of her life; my husband.

They had just returned from a morning walk. Autumn had chased my husband back to the fenced-in area behind our house. I could tell she was invigorated by the time she had spent with him.

After corralling Autumn into the fenced area, my husband proceeded to gather his tools to go back into the woods to do some work on our property. As he drove away on the tractor, Autumn never took her eyes off of him. Even when he had disappeared into the tree line she still watched for him.

She stood watching for a while then eventually laid down in the warm sunny grass making sure she was positioned so that when my husband reappeared she would be the first to see him and excitedly greet him. And that’s exactly what she did when she saw him returning.

I thought to myself, as I watched her, am I waiting for the return of Christ as eagerly as Autumn is in waiting for my husband’s return? Am I expecting Christ’s return? Am I longing to see Him face to face? Are you?

Acts 1:11 “Men of Galilee,” they (the angels) said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven.”

Even Jesus Himself said He will return from heaven to gather His people.

Matthew 24:30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.

If Jesus said He is coming back then He’s coming back. It’s just that simple!

But He doesn’t say when He will return. And I think that is when we start to become weary in our waiting and expecting.

2 Peter 3:3-4, 8-9 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ He promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but every one to come to repentance.

We don’t know when the Lord will return but we do know that He will. Only God the Father knows and He’s not telling. Therefore, we should always be expecting that today could be the day.

Matthew 24:36 “But about that day or hour (of Christ’s return) no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, not the Son, but only the Father.”

If we are not longing for the return of Christ then there is a relationship problem. If we don’t know Jesus, we won’t be excited about His return. If we don’t spend time with Him we don’t know Him. If we’ve never met Him, we definitely don’t know Him.

Autumn was waiting for and expecting my husband’s return because she has experienced him and she knows she can trust him; he had proven himself to be reliable and trustworthy. She knew He was coming back the same way he left.

Autumn was longing for my husband’s return because she loves him and she knows that he loves her; they spend time together, they are in relationship with one another.

Isaiah 26:8-9 Yes, Lord, walking in the way of Your laws, we wait for you; Your name and renown are the desire of our hearts. My soul yearns for You in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for You. When Your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness.

If Autumn did not know my husband she would not be happy to see him coming toward her from the woods. He would be a stranger to her. She would be afraid of him.

The same is true of those who do not know Christ. When they see Him they will be afraid because they don’t know Him. He is a stranger to them. They will be afraid because they had an opportunity to know Him but rejected Him.

John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

Like Autumn is with my husband, are you invigorated by time spent with the Lord? Are you keeping your spiritual eyes on Him as you continue to wait for His return? Are you at rest and peace knowing He will return as He said He would? Are you ready to greet Him enthusiastically when He does return?

Every week I add a prayer to the end of my blog. It is a prayer that will make us ready for the return of Christ. It is where our relationship with Him begins. Will you consider praying that prayer this week?

Romans 10:8-10 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in you heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s not Fair!

The world is full of injustice and unfairness. There is so much in social media and the news about it these days. We are crying over it and ranting and raving about it.

The list of injustices span from one end of the spectrum to the other: religious persecution, poverty, racism, illiteracy, abuse, being wrongfully accused of a crime, murder of the helpless and innocent. Some may even argue that the recent “no calls” in football games are an injustice.

The list of injustices could go on and on. You could probably think of a few in your own life that should be add to the list. Some that were mentioned may be less important to you than others but to the person who is on the other end of the unfairness, it means a great deal.

When someone doesn’t see the injustice as you do, trying to have an adult conversation with that person about these issues may unfortunately result in yelling and hurt feelings. Then what?

What should we do when life is unfair? Is there a proper way to handle injustice? Should we lash out verbally or physically? Should we sit back and watch injustice reek havoc on the inoccent? What should we do? Where should we turn?

Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

God is definitely a fan of justice! He is a just God! He sees all, hears all and knows all. No injustice will go unpunished either in this life or the next.

Unfortunately, because of evil in the world and evil in the hearts of people, there is injustice and unfairness everywhere. Evil and injustice go hand in hand. But God does not condone us taking justice into our own hands.

Romans 12:19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

God wants us to wait on His justice. But that is often much easier said than done.

I’m reminded of the unfair treatment of Joseph in the bible. Maybe you’ve heard of or read about the events of his life.

To make a long story short, Joseph was hated and mistreated by his brothers. They wanted to kill him but sold him as a slave instead. As a house servant he was wrongfully accused of attempted rape. He spent many years in prison because of it. When it looked like he may have had an opportunity to be released, he was forgotten about and ended up spending more time in prison. He was finally released due to his God given ability to interpret dreams and wisdom. He was then made second in command to the king of Egypt. His wisdom saved Egypt and the surrounding nations from starvation during a famine. He was reunited with his family due to the famine. He forgave his brothers saying, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 37,39-50)

Joseph chose to forgive his brothers for their unfair treatment of him. He chose to see the negative events in his life from a positive perspective. He had every right to be bitter and vengeful but he chose mercy and forgiveness instead.

He never allowed the negative, unjust circumstances in his life to cause him to go through life with a chip on his shoulder or with a bad attitude. He chose to see things from God’s perspective. He saw the negatives in his life as part of God’s plan for a greater purpose for good.

Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

We should always stand up for what is right and just in God’s eyes. But we should always do so in love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

So let’s learn a lesson from the way Joseph handled injustice and unfairness. Let’s be patient and leave room for God to handle the situation His way and in His timing. Let’s respond to unfairness with love and forgiveness as God instructs us to do. Let’s ask God to help us see things from His perspective and to show us how He’s using the unfair treatment for a greater purpose for good.

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

Responding to injustice with injustice doesn’t correct the injustice. Two wrongs don’t make a right. God’s way is always the right way! God’s way is always the best way!

Daniel 4:37 Praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything He does is right and all His ways are just. And those who walk in pride He is able to humble.

~Patrice Maguir

Prayer for salvation: Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.