SERVANTS???

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“If a ruler hearkeneth to lies, all his servants are wicked” (Prov. 29:12). Does this mean that if the owner at our workplace or our boss is an evil person, we’re supposed to quit? No. In the Bible, there are different meanings of the word “serve” or “servant,” and it’s important to know the difference. In Proverbs 29:12, the word for “servants” means that the person worships the ruler, desiring to carry out his every wish, ministering to his way of thinking. It’s different from the usage of the word “servants” in 1 Peter 2:18: “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear [respect]; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.”

 

The word “froward” means crooked, perverse and wicked. If God were asking us to worship and yield entirely to this kind of person, it would be a contradiction of His Word. But instead, the word translated “servants” in this verse means “fellow resident or household servant.” It’s like you work in the same household, the same business. When it says that these kinds of servants are “subject” to their masters, the word “subject” means an attitude of cooperating, assuming responsibility and carrying a burden, in a military sense or business sense or household servant sense. It is not at all in the sense of worshipping or ministering to his or her ideologies. Only God Almighty and His son Jesus Christ are worthy of that kind of service.

 

We need always to be aware of where we stand as far as our servitude. Job 36:11 tells us: “If they obey and serve him [God], they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures.” That’s where we want to be.

 

On the other hand, Psalm 106:36 tells us: “And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them.”

 

We are sometimes challenged in our employment situations to make value judgments in serving. If our employers ask us to do or say things that are contrary to the Word of God, we have to stand up for God. When I was an executive assistant, I was responsible for typing and signing letters for my boss. In one of his letters, he dictated a bold-faced lie. Morally, I couldn’t sign it for him. I knew I could be fired for calling him out on it, but I had to choose that day if I was going to put God first or my job. I chose God and went into my boss and told him if he wanted the letter sent, he would have to sign it himself, because I just couldn’t do it. (Believe me, I said it in the nicest way possible). Well, I didn’t lose my job, but he’s held a grudge against me to this very day.

 

I’m sure many of you have faced this moral challenge. The way I do it is to remind myself that I am only a subcontractor on loan from the Lord. I worship and minister to and for God alone. And in the workplace environment, I strive for excellence, contributing to the work of the household, but in my case, not necessarily to the philosophy of the people in charge. I know where my loyalty lies.

 

Every so often it’s good to check the quality of our service in our secular environment as well as our spiritual one. Both are important to God but our spiritual priorities always come first.

 

“Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:24).

 

Love, Carolyn

 

 

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OBEYING WHEN WE DON’T KNOW WHAT’S AHEAD

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It was one week before Halloween, 2014. Jane and I talked about what we wanted to do. For the past several years we were outside on the porch to greet the kids and hand out candy. But this year we both felt the Lord didn’t want us to do our normal routine. No decorations and we weren’t supposed to sit out on the porch either. We were supposed to stay inside and open the door when the doorbell rang. We both thought this was odd, but the Lord told us what He wanted us to do, and He wasn’t saying any more about it.

 

So, like most people, we tried to come up with our own answers as to why the change. But eventually we knew it was futile, and we just accepted the fact that if we didn’t need to know ahead of time, then that was that. We’d just obey anyway.

 

Sometimes we want God to explain Himself and tell us why He wants us to do something differently. It doesn’t hurt to ask, and at times He will download more information, but more often He gives a command or request, and then nothing more until we carry it out. If we obey, we’ll find out soon enough, and that’s the fun of it!

 

As it turned out, a wonderful thing happened. We paid more attention to each group of kids that came. There was one group that especially caught our attention. When the three of them came up with their faces painted like skeletons, Jane told them to take as much as they wanted of the candy and popcorn.

 

Their eyebrows arched up, and the surprise was evident. Seeing their reaction was priceless. “Take as much as you want” was a phrase they hadn’t heard often. They stood still and paused for just a moment before all three small hands dove into the bowl and pulled out as much as they could hold. A big “Thanks!” and off they ran.

 

It was a delight to give those kids perhaps their first Ephesians 3:20 experience. “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.”

 

It was great to be a part of the Lord’s plan for those kids, to show them that things don’t always get doled out in small, constricted increments. Sometimes the treats come big and are more than our expectations.

 

Jane and I knew this wonderful experience resulted from of our obedience to change our plans to what God asked. Deuteronomy 11:26-27 tells us, “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day.”

 

I have a plaque in my bedroom that my friend Wendy gave me. It says: “Enjoy the little things in life…for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.”

 

Have a wonderful week full of little BIG things as you go about obeying the words of Lord.

 

Love, Carolyn

 

 

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WHAT ABOUT THAT PHRASE “GOD IS IN CONTROL”?

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I was listening to a preacher yesterday who used the phrase, “God is in control.” He has the right to use it because he has surrendered his life to the Lord’s leadership on a daily basis. For him, using that phrase is accurate and justified. But for too many people it is an excuse for apathy. “Well, I can’t do that much anyway. I just let God be in control.” But it doesn’t work that way. If God were in control of everything, Adam and Eve would have never sinned; David wouldn’t have killed Uriah to steal his wife; Peter wouldn’t have denied Jesus three times.

 

There are certain things that God is in control of, but we need to be sure we are not shirking our responsibilities and apathetically turning over the tasks at hand to God because we are too lazy or afraid to take responsibility for what He’s given us to do.

 

God gave humanity freedom to choose. God inspired Joshua to make the people decide: “If it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

 

When the Israelites came to the edge of the Promised Land in eleven days, Moses sent out twelve spies to check out the situation. God brought them to the land He’d promised them. But there were obstacles.

 

When God brings us to a new place in our walk with Him, there are going to be obstacles, but that’s no reason to give up and lamely excuse ourselves by saying, “Well God’s in control, so I’ll just sit here and see what He does.” There’s a time for waiting, but if the Lord is leading us and we’re yielding to Him, we may discover that there are more times He calls us to action than the times He asks us to sit on the sidelines.

 

The Israelites were supposed to go into the Promised Land after the eleven days, but since ten of the twelve spies saw obstacles, the people got afraid and wouldn’t go in. And God couldn’t make them go in. God doesn’t force us. He gave us freedom of will. The Lord wanted them to be bold and act, but they wouldn’t do it. (See Numbers 13 and 14.)

 

Fear and apathy go hand in hand. “The slothful man saith, ‘There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.’ As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed” (Prov. 26:13-14).

 

“So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth,” says the Lord in Revelation 3:16.

 

If we are going to use the phrase, “God is in control,” let’s mean it in our personal lives and use it in the right way, because we have chosen to surrender all to Him, daily yielding to His every call to action. Let’s sign with Him in contract, be with Him in action.

 

Be bold. No more sitting on the sidelines thinking God is going to do all the work. We’re a team.

 

Love, Carolyn

 

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BLURRY PICTURES REVEALING THE MYSTERIES OF GOD

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God will show us small pictures or visions at any time of the day or night, and not just when we are praying. He does it while we’re listening to someone or reading, while we are speaking or even just daydreaming, while we’re working, playing, anytime at all. They can seem to come “out of nowhere,” but they’re not out of nowhere.  They are pictures from the Lord. They usually have an ethereal, light, almost transparent quality and if we don’t grab them, they flee or drift off like a wave or a vanish like a wisp of smoke from a cigarette. But God wants us to grab those blurry pictures and look at them, really look at them because it’s when we observe them, that they become substance. The particles come together, and the picture is solid and clear.

 

Research in Quantum Mechanics has shown that an electron or a photon of light existing in the form of a wave changes into a particle when observed. The remarkable double slit experiment studied the nature of subatomic phenomena. A photon of light was to pass through two slits. When not observed, it acted as a wave. But when observed, it acted like a particle. We need to observe the pictures God shows us as quickly as possible so that they don’t float away or blow away like the wind, but, in fact, become substance.

 

It’s much easier to get God’s picture message if we describe the picture out loud or if we write it down. I’m often surprised at how many details my mind actually observed in a God-given picture message, once I start to focus on it and try to describe it—more details than I initially thought existed. When we concentrate on bringing the wave image into a clear image, we are going to get the revelation God intended.

 

We are told several places in the Bible that we as believers can “crack” some of the mysteries of God as He reveals them to us. We do it through Christ. Colossians 1:27 says we have Christ in us. Jesus always received and understood the messages God showed Him. The Christ in us does that for us today.

 

Jesus told His disciples they would receive the knowledge of certain mysteries that others may not be able to grasp. “He answered and said unto them, ‘Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given’”  (Matt. 13:11).

 

In Luke 8:10 He told His disciples that they could know the mysteries of how God operates, but others would have to be told in parables because they wouldn’t be able to see as clearly, spiritually, as those who had spent time with the Master.

 

“And he [Jesus] said, ‘Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand’” (Luke 8:10). When we see through our spiritual eyes, we have the privilege to focus and the Christ in us works quickly to put those wavy, ethereal pictures into solid particles of revelation.

 

Have you ever wondered why God is so mysterious, why He doesn’t always talk to us in a distinct and unique human voice, rather than in such clandestine ways? Proverbs 25:2 tells us: “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but the honor of kings is to search out a matter.”

 

God wants us to have a relationship with Him. He wants us to seek Him. When He gives us a message in a wavy, fleeting vision, He wants us to capture it, seek it out, or it will quickly disappear. Kings search out a matter. And in Revelation 1:5-6 Jesus calls us the kings: “Jesus loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father.” Jesus is the King of kings, and He’s so happy to be with us and let us in on the great mysteries of His Father, God. He knows we will delight in knowing things He knows and fellowshipping with Him.

 

I don’t know if every born-again believer sees these small pictures, blurry snapshots, and translucent images, but if you are someone who does see them, next time take notice. Stop and focus because God is revealing to you one of the mysteries of heaven. There are mysteries to be cracked, and we are the kings to do it.

 

Love, Carolyn

 

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“OH MY GOSH, I’M SO OFFENDED!”

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Three weeks ago my 12-year-old washing machine stopped working. When I went to buy a new machine, the worker told me they had a new delivery service and could deliver within two days. But they couldn’t tell me what time the delivery would happen, so someone had to be home all day. What?!  They expected someone to stay home all day waiting for the washing machine? That was crazy. I was appalled, offended that they would expect us to put up with such an inconvenience! Added to that, Jane overheard two ladies in the store complaining about the delivery service, so we were ready for a hassle, but what could we do?

 

As it turned out, our offense was unfounded. The delivery service called us the evening before, and though we had to wait on the line for about 15 minutes, a very nice woman answered and gave us a 2-hour window for the delivery. Two very polite young men showed up right on time, installed the washer, took the old one and finished the whole process in only 10 minutes! Our offense was totally out of line! Sorry, Lord!

 

These days it seems that we are so easily offended by everything: the internet is too slow; the traffic is too fast; the radio isn’t playing the songs we like; the neighbor’s dog is barking, and so many other things I can’t even begin to name. If we started to count how many things annoy us or offend us in just one day, we’d probably shock ourselves.

 

Offense is bad for the heart. It’s bad for the nerves. It’s just bad for the universe in general. Matthew 24:10 tells us that when people carry offense they “shall betray one another and shall hate one another.” Let’s make a real effort to change the course of offense in our world. It’s become quite a big problem. But this kind of problem doesn’t get changed by an edict or demand. This kind of problem gets solved by one person, making one decision, one incident at a time. And you are that person, and I am that person. We can change our world, by changing the way we respond to it, one person at a time.

 

First Corinthians 13 is the chapter in the Bible on the love of God. Verse 5 tells us the love of God “is not easily provoked.” God’s love is like a river; when it comes to an obstacle, it just goes up and over or around. It doesn’t stop and have a hissy fit, but just keeps flowing. We need to be more like that, to stay healthy and out of stress.

 

Jesus said this to His disciples: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). We need to not get so riled up about everything, but calmly and prayerfully observe, then engage in life from a Godly point of view, a God-loving point of view. The Lord will help us and guide us. I’m not saying it’s easy; I’m just saying we need to judge each event on its own merit and not jump to conclusions (especially negative ones) so quickly.

 

We have a real problem in America with critically biased news. But we all are plagued at times with certain biases in our everyday attitudes and actions. Jane and I were offended by our perception of what the washing machine delivery would be like. We were biased by what we heard and swayed to think negatively, and instead it turned out more than wonderful. We need to be more careful about letting offense go wild and ruling our actions, rather than letting the wisdom and peace of God rule.

 

The disciples of Jesus were offended because someone who wasn’t part of “their group” was healing people. But Jesus handled it.  John self-righteously declared, “Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part” Mark 9:38-40). Jesus had a way to so calmly answer the disciples with the truth and take away the source of their negative bias.

 

When my experience with the washing machine delivery turned out so great, I immediately got on the phone to the store where I bought it. I told the lady in the appliance department the whole story and that the only glitch was that you had to wait on the phone a little bit before someone answered. She was thrilled to hear it and asked me to fill out a short survey so that others would know the truth. I pray that this will help stop the negative talk in the store and help the delivery company with their business.

 

We have a challenge, and that is put to us in Philippians 1:10: “That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.”

 

Our greatest goal is to love God above all else and love His Word. That is the only answer to peace and the removal of offense. “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them “(Ps. 119:165). Now that’s an awesome promise and challenge, wouldn’t you say?!

 

Love, Carolyn

 

 

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STRETCHING OUT OUR PRAYER INFLUENCE

This past Sunday, a fire started in Sonoma County California. The winds were whirling up sparks and sending them off to start more fires, playing an evil game of leapfrog over the land. I got word that 38 separate fires were raging, and they were getting closer to where my family and friends live. I was urged by the Holy Spirit to alert my Christian friends to pray. After I sent out messages, my niece reported that the winds had died down and the humid ocean air came in. They were safe. I figured I was done with my part and I sent the good news to the friends who prayed. I was pretty satisfied with everything, but God was not!

 

I’m sure we’ve all done this: We feel like we’re finished with what we want to pray about, and we say Amen, and we’re done. But the Lord may not be finished with what He wants us to pray about. I think I need to start asking, “Is there anything more, Lord?”

 

Today, Wednesday, there are still fires raging. My family is safe, but many others are not. There are still 21 separate fires raging in the area, and I need to pump up my prayer until God says it’s finished. Yes, I’m guilty of figuring since my family’s safe, I’m done and can go on to other things. But it’s not over til it’s over with the Lord.

 

For a long time, Jane and I have been praying this prayer of Jabez: “And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, ‘Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me!’ And God granted him that which he requested.” (1 Chron. 4:10)

 

Today God granted my request in the form of enlarging my coast in the form of prayer coverage. God isn’t satisfied with me stopping with my immediate family and friends in this situation. He wants me to go further, as a warrior for His people.

 

The Bible also says: “Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes” (Is. 54:2). Now I believe this also includes our prayer coverage.

 

So please join me in stretching our prayer out over more space, more lives. James 5:16 tells us: “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” “Effectual fervent” means it’s operative and has outward success. Outward success is what God will give us.

 

In the name of Jesus Christ, every knee must bow, according to Philippians 2:10: “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.” Wind is a thing here on earth. Jesus told the wind to be still. In His name, we do the same.

 

I command the wind to stop, and I pray for great wisdom to come upon the men and women fighting the fire. God give them the grace to prevail. Refresh their souls and provide insight. I call miracles upon your people now in Jesus’ mighty name, Christians and non-Christians alike. I ask You, God, to show yourself mighty, forgiving, loving, full of mercy and grace toward your people, their pets, their livestock, and their land. I ask this in Jesus name. Amen. And I know You will do it.

 

Love, Carolyn

 

And thanks everyone for your prayers.

 

HIDDEN: GOD GIVES JANE A MANDATORY TIMEOUT

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I do the writing on my articles. Jane does the promotion. If you know Jane, you know she is outspoken. Last Wednesday she got mad at one of the social media where she promotes my stuff and was going to write a big exposé on censorship. But God put her in a timeout.

 

Before she could get on the computer, she went to buy stamps. When she came out, she got in the car, and it wouldn’t start. She called the insurance company, and they said they’d send out a guy to jumpstart it.

 

President Trump was in town, so the traffic was backed up all over, but the guy finally showed up, and the jumpstart didn’t work. He even got under the car, pounded the starter (which he said, sometimes works), and still, nothing helped. Jane started out about 8:00 in the morning and now it was already close to 11:00, three hours! Jane called the insurance company again, and they said they’d send out a tow truck.

 

Under normal circumstances, Jane would have been furious by this time, but God had already taken care of that. The car was in front of the Office Depot, and though the weather was still hot, the car was in the shade. She went into the store, got a soda and cookies and she’d just picked up some new movies from a friend, so she had those to watch on her computer. She was perfectly calm about everything and just waited. Even if she had wanted to write her scathing exposé, she couldn’t because she had no WIFI.

 

The tow truck finally arrived at 1:30 p.m. When Jane got to the repair place, there was still no WIFI, so no letter. Instead, she had a cup of coffee and watched what was on T.V., a show whose main actress is on Jane ‘s prayer list. The car needed a new starter, but since we put in a starter a year earlier, they put in a new one for free. I got a ride after work to where she was, and by then Jane had no inspiration to write the exposé. That idea had fizzled out. By 8:30 that evening, we both realized it was God who used a faulty starter to ground Jane, giving her a mandatory timeout. It wasn’t time for the exposé.

 

All day long I was getting texts from Jane, and it surprised me that she wasn’t angry, frustrated or anxious. I thought, “Who took the real Jane?” She was unusually calm in a situation in which she would have “naturally” been ballistic! At about 9 p.m. we were back at home. We laughed, thanked God for His sense of humor and went to bed.

 

God knew just how to keep Jane out of trouble, under the radar and happy all day long in a normally tiring and grueling situation.

 

Sometimes we just need to stay below the radar, stay invisible to the enemies, instead of going after them. Jesus did this with the scribes and Pharisees in Jerusalem. Jesus embarrassed them when they wanted him to authorize stoning the woman caught in adultery. They wanted to shut him up permanently.

 

“They took up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by” (John 8:59). And the next thing we see is Jesus teaching more great truths and healing a man who was born blind. In the situation where the Pharisees were determined to stop Jesus, God put him undercover, and Jesus just walked through the crowd, but the enemy was unable to see him.

 

Jane was put in a timeout on her letter to the social media, but also the Lord has been showing us that we need to go undercover on some of our prayers as well. We have to ask for God to shield us under His wings and have angels scramble the air, so demons don’t hear all of our prayers. They don’t need to know what we’re up to.

 

Just like Jesus walked through the midst of that crowd and no one saw Him, we can pray powerful specific prayers that no enemies can see either. In the Old Testament times, God hid Elisha. He gave Elisha revelation on when the Syrians were going to ambush Israel. The Syrians found out where Elishah lived and a great army went down to arrest him. But God hid him.

 

“And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the Lord, and said, ‘Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness.’ And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha” (2 Kings 6:18). Then when they were blinded, they couldn’t see that Elisha was the man they were after. “And Elisha said unto them, ‘This is not the way, neither is this the city: follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye seek.  But he led them to Samaria” (v. 19). Elisha told them he’d take him to find the man they were after and led them right into the enemy’s camp!

 

God will hide us in plain sight if we need it, like He did for Jesus and Elisha. He will hide our prayers from the enemy and scramble their receptors if we ask. And He will go so far as to ground us and make us take a mandatory timeout if He sees our boldness could get us in too much trouble.

 

We are His warriors, and He is our camouflage.

 

Love, Carolyn

 

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