If You Love Me

My husband and I like to take our dog Autumn for walks on our property. We take the leash along just in case she refuses to obey.

If we’re not careful, she’ll wander off and return smelling like the decaying carcass of the animal she rolled around in. Why on earth do dogs do this? Baffling and gross!

When my husband and Autumn returned from a recent walk, he was happy to report that she was very obedient. Actually, he was amazed by her obedience. Needless to say, he made sure Autumn knew he was very pleased with her.

You see, Autumn is usually a fearful, stubborn, rebellious dog (sounds a lot like me at times). So, for one of us to say that she was obedient for an entire 15-acre walk is really saying something.

Autumn’s act of obedience reminds me of scripture. John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands.”

We don’t have to exhaustingly work hard at trying to obey God in order to prove our love for Him. The more we fall in love with the Lord, obedience to Him will come more naturally. We’ll actually desire to be pleasing to Him.

Psalm 119:35 Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.

The more time Autumn spends with my husband, the more she gets to know him and trust him. The more she knows him and trusts him, her love for him grows. Therefore, her obedience to him increases.

It’s the same with God. The more time we spend with Him in prayer, bible study, and experiencing life with Him, the better we will know Him. The better we know Him, the more we will trust Him and what He says.

The more we realize we can trust God and His Word, the deeper and deeper in love we will fall with Him. Resulting in more obedience.

What is the result of more obedience? A more pleasant journey.

Psalm 119:1-2 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their hearts.

What is the reward of obedience?

Psalm 91:14-16 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him, I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With a long life, I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Just as my husband made it clear to Autumn that she had done a great job on their walk and that he was very pleased with her obedience, so also the Lord will express His delight in our obedience.

Matthew 25:23 His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share your master’s happiness!”

I don’t know about you but that’s what I’m looking forward to hearing the Lord say to me at the end of my walk.

~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 through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Me?

Wow! It’s been quite an emotional couple of weeks. Some moments have left me speechless. Others have left me angry. And still, others have left me in tears.

The expression, “When it rains it pours,” comes to mind.

Transparency isn’t always easy for me. Some may say it’s rooted in pride and they would probably be right. However, as I have been praying about whether or not to share my latest health issues with you, I sense the Lord prompting me to do so in the anticipation that my struggles will encourage and help someone else.

If I share my struggles with you, and you happen to be going through a similar situation or know someone who is, and what I share with you encourages you in some way or causes your faith in God to grow then my struggle and transparency will have all been worth it.

2 Corinthians 1:6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.

Most importantly God is glorified when we humbly admit that when we are weak, He is strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

So, it is by God’s grace, for His glory, and for the good of others I share this with you.

On Wednesday, May 22, 2019, I went to the hospital for a follow-up mammogram. Follow-up, because 6 months ago I had a surgical biopsy that turned out to be benign.

Leading up to and the day of the mammogram, I never once considered that there would be an issue. After all, I had just been there 6 months prior and all that had been determined to be cause for concern had been removed.

For one quick moment, while driving into the parking lot, a fleeting thought came to me about a possibility of an issue but I quickly dismissed that negative little thought and proceeded.

Once inside and all checked in, I didn’t have to wait long to begin the procedure. After the images were taken, I was directed to wait in the waiting area until further instruction was given.

I was sitting there interacting with the women around me, prepared for opportunities to be an encouragement to them or possibly pray with anyone who had received a negative diagnosis.

To my shock and amazement, the one receiving a negative diagnosis that day was me. As I was guided back into the imaging room and shown the images that had just been taken, I was numb and confused.

Many questions were going through my mind and my mouth was searching for words. How could this have happened in such a short amount of time? Why is this happening to Me? What is it? Is it cancer?

I was trying to trust God and resist the temptation to fear at the same time. I have to admit a little fear snuck in.

More images were taken and more waiting as instructed. All I could think was, “I have to tell my husband.” I went to my locker to find my phone.

While sending him a text, there was a woman standing beside me. She said something leading me to believe she may be a Christian. I asked her if she was a praying person and she responded that she was. She asked me if I was a Christian and I responded that I was.

As I cried, I told her about my situation and we prayed. She was done with her mammogram and was free to go but she wanted to stay with me as long as she could.

I had arrived there that morning prepared for God to use me to comfort someone in need and that person in need turned out to be me. He provided exactly what I needed at the exact time I needed it. He is our on-time God!

From there, I had a consultation with the radiologist about my area of concern and the need for a biopsy. I went upstairs to see my doctor and surgery was scheduled for the next week, Tuesday, May 28th.

In between that time and my surgery, I had many people praying for me. Everyone had encouraging and positive words for me.

To be honest, I was saying positive things and I was praying and asking God to cause this to all turn out to be nothing, as it had been before, but in the back of my mind, I sensed that this time may be different. But I was still hopeful.

I had the surgery and all went well. The area of concern had been sent off to the lab. I had no pain and no nausea. Glory to God! Post-surgery nausea has always been a problem for me in the past. Thankfully, not this time!

My surgery was on Tuesday the 28th. Thursday the 30th I received the call from my doctor with the lab results. I was hoping to hear, “I have good news, the area of concern is benign,” just as I had 6 months ago. To my dismay, that wasn’t the case this time.

Instead, he told me I have early-stage breast cancer. As the doctor informed me of my next steps, my head was spinning.

Honestly, I never thought that I would ever hear my name and the word cancer in the same sentence. I was shocked!

As I cried, I began to mentally review my “good deeds” resume’ with God. You know the one; I eat healthily, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I go to church (even on Wednesdays), I volunteer at my church, I read and study the bible, I pray for others and share the gospel with others. I don’t deserve this! Why is this happening to me?

Then the Lord reminded me that He is love. He is good. And He is sovereign.

He doesn’t love me because I do good things. He isn’t good to me because I do good things. He loves me and is good to me because it’s who He is. I can’t earn His love and goodness.

He didn’t stop loving me that day. He didn’t stop being good to me that day. He didn’t leave me that day. He didn’t fall off of the throne that day.

Once all of that was settled in my spirit, the fear left and the peace of God came. 1 John 4:18a There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.

God allows suffering in the lives of believers. We can see it throughout the Bible. For example, look at the lives of Joseph, Job, Peter, John, Paul, and of course Jesus.

God allows suffering for His greater purpose, His greater plan, and His greater good; a purpose, a plan, and goodness we don’t always see or understand right away.

I heard Joyce Meyer say once, “We live life forward but we understand it backward.” That’s so true!

What should we do when we don’t understand?

Trust the One who does!

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.

I may not understand why or how this is happening to me, but I am determined, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to trust God and to submit to His will for me. I know He will lead me to victory; whatever that may look like.

I don’t know where this journey will take me but I’m honored and humbled to be able to share it with you. One thing I do know is that no matter what happens, God will be glorified. That, after all, is my purpose.

~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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer

And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God (Luke 6:12). 

One question that comes to mind when we ponder the prayer life of Jesus is why He prayed at all. To put it another way, why does God need to pray to God? This is indeed a challenging question, and the Scriptures do not offer any explanation as to why Jesus prayed. They simply tell us that He did; so we are left to speculate on something like this.

Let’s consider some plausible explanations: 

First, because He is the Son of God, He wanted to maintain a very close relationship with His Father. Notice that He refers to the Father in the prayers that are recorded in the Bible. Examples: Our Father, which art in heaven (Matthew 6:9); and father, the hour has come; glorify Thy Son… (John 17:1).

Second,  in order to be the effective Teacher on prayer, He needed to pray in the presence of His disciples. When He was about to feed the 5,000 men, He offered a prayer of thanksgiving in the presence of all the people and the disciples (John 6:11); and at the Last Supper, He took the cup, and gave thanks (Luke 22:17; see also Luke 22:19). In His Sermon on the Mount He taught that we should pray without hypocrisy (Matthew 6:5), pray privately (Matthew 6:6a), realize the Father rewards prayer (Matthew 6:6b), avoid empty praying (Matthew 6:7), recognize that the Father knows our need even before we ask (Matthew 6:8), pray directly to the Father (Matthew 6:9a), recognize God’s holiness when we pray (Matthew 6:9b), recognize God’s sovereignty when we pray (Matthew 6:10), pray for our basic needs (Matthew 6:11), pray for forgiveness and be willing to forgive others (Matthew 6:12),pray for deliverance from Satan and His attacks (Matthew 6:13a), and pray constantly with an expectation that God will answer (Matthew 7:7-8). 

Here are some other basic facts about the prayer life of our Savior:

He often prayed alone (Matthew 14:22-23; Mark 6:46; Luke 9:18). 

He prayed for children (Matthew 19:13).

He often prayed early in the morning (Mark 1:35).

Sometimes He prayed all night (Luke 6:12).

He prayed, knowing the Father heard Him (John 11:41-42).

He considered His Temple a house of prayer (Matthew 21:13).

May we as God’s people learn to pray as He did! And He spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not faint (Luke 18:1).

Keep on praying to God on high,

Keep on praying, He hears your cry!

God will answer the sincere heart;

Keep on praying! He will do His part!

Keep on praying all through the strife;

Prayer will purchase a crown of life;

Heav’n is ringing with songs above,

Hallelujah for a Savior’s love!

For Jesus hears you,

He’s listening to your plea,

So keep on praying,

And He will answer thee! 

Keep on Praying

Frederick W. Vandersloot

These thoughts from a higher perspective were presented by John Rataczak, Ph.D.

                                         www.eleutherosbooks.com

A Brief Moment in Time

I know you’ve probably heard about the thief on the cross. But have you ever really thought about him? What was his name? What kind of life did he live? Did he have a family? How old was he? We know so little about him.

What we do know is that he was a thief and his crime was serious enough to require his execution. We also know that he had a conversation with Jesus before he died. Luke 23:42-43, Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Several years ago I was going through the hardest thing I had ever endured. It involved one of my children. One day over the phone I was having a conversation with my pastor at the time. We were talking about my son and his situation and he said something to me that I will never forget. He said, “God had to get the thief to the cross.” Those words were life-changing for me. Those words changed my perspective on the whole situation. It was no longer about consequence due to some bad choices my son had made but it was about God’s plan.

God used the thief on the cross to teach me about how far He will go to find the one sheep that is lost. And that’s when I started including these words in my prayers for my lost loved ones, “Lord, get them to the cross whatever it takes.” Those words are still so hard to say but with eternity in question, they are necessary.

So I’ve said all of that to come to this conclusion. We know one more thing about the thief on the cross. He had a purpose. For a brief moment in time, he fulfilled that purpose. Still to this day people are talking about the thief on the cross. He is being mentioned in sermons all over the world. A thief!

We all have a purpose. God used the thief on the cross to change my life, change my perspective and to change the way I pray.  Who’s life will God use you to change? Who’s perspective will God use you to enlighten? Who’s prayers will God use you to influence? You don’t have to have a platform or be a pastor or a famous person. All you have to be is available and willing to be obedient. It can be something as small as a short conversation. What may seem small to you could mean everything to someone else.

Philippians 2:13 For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

~Patrice Maguire