Thursday, September 29, 2016

Under His Wings



Every day I pray for those who read this blog.
 No matter where you are in the world,
 you can have the confidence that
 God
 has you
 under His wings. 

Hope For Such A Time as This

wExcerpt from "Words of Hope"


Hope
For Such A
Time as
 This

And who knows
 but that You
 have come to royal
position for such a time as this?

Esther 4:14b 

The closest I have ever come to royalty was during a trip to London where my husband and I walked the one-half mile red-surfaced road called The Mall. British flags, St. James Park, and the Queen’s Guard stationed along the route leaves no doubt that Buckingham Palace lies ahead; standing in royal prominence. When the Queen is in residence, the Union Jack waves above the palace to announce Her Majesty’s presence.

In front of the palace and just outside the gates, the Queen Victoria Memorial, standing eighty-two feet high and made of gleaming white marble, radiates as the sun smiles on its surface, and standing beneath her memorial while watching the Changing of the Guard drew me into a world that I could never have imagined.

The opulence of the gilded gates and proud stallions accompanied by the red and black clad soldiers and shining brass instruments of the marching band displayed a world I could only watch from the outside—never hoping to be invited in and certainly never thinking that I could be of any benefit to the people of the country of my ancestors. I am only a “commoner.”

But God has a way of taking a common and ordinary person and turning her into an uncommon and extraordinary person. Such is the story of Esther. A beautiful, young, Jewish virgin, orphaned and being raised by an uncle, snatched from her common life and thrust into the king’s harem. Placed under the care of the king’s eunuch, she was soaked in oils and spices, fed a special diet, and prepared for her night with the king. When it came, she won his favor and found herself positioned as Queen Esther.

Eventually, her uncle Mordecai made her aware of a plot to wipe out the Jews. He asked her to go before the King to save her people. Esther feared for her life for to go before the king without an invitation could mean immediate death. But Mordecai sent her a message, “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14)

Esther responded to her uncle with a request for the Jewish people to fast and pray for three days. Then she would go before the king. On the third day, she dressed in royal garments and stood in the king’s hall; waiting to be accepted or put to death. The king extended to her his gold scepter, and she entered his presence. By the end of the book of Esther, we find that her request was granted, and the perpetrator of the annihilation plot along with his entire family was put to death; saving the Jews.

You may think this Biblical account of the life of a young Jewish orphan is not relevant to you. I would challenge that assumption. Today, just as in Esther’s day, we fight similar battles. The circumstances may be different, but the battle remains the same; for it is “not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms? (Ephesians 6:12)

Often the battle appears overwhelming as more and more we see the cross of Christ and the Word of God trampled beneath the feet of our nation’s legal system. It is possible family members may turn their backs as you answer the call of God on your life. Friends may drop like flies sprayed with bug killer as you find God walking through the pages of His Word.

But do not be deceived by the enemy. When you surrender your life to God through His Son Jesus Christ, you are royalty. You have access to the throne room and the power of the King of Kings. And King David reminded you and me in Psalm 139 that God has a plan for each life when he wrote, “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.”

So never forget that although you may feel like a commoner; ordinary, average, typical—God can use you to do the uncommon; rare, unique, exceptional, extraordinary—when you surrender your life to be used for His glory. There is hope—“And, who knows but that you have come to royal position (in Christ-mine) for such a time as this?”


© Joyce Powell

Monday, September 26, 2016

Hope Replaces Condemnation


Excerpt from Words of Hope


Hope
Replaces
Condemnation

Therefore, there is now
 no condemnation
 for those
 who are in
 Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:1


Condemnation comes in many forms; criticism, disapproval, rebuke, judgment… Our world today seems filled with those who easily find fault in others; condemning you for your beliefs, words, or actions with no thought as to how their criticism and negative words might change the course of your life.


But, have you considered that you may be your own worst enemy when it comes to condemnation? Most likely you have heard the phrase “jack of all trades—master of none.” Those are the words that satan whispered in my ears for decades. Every time I heard a great pianist perform, an accomplished singer sing, read a fine work of literature, or saw a remarkable photograph displayed, my mind would rush to the “if only I had” focused on one thing: piano, vocal, composition, photography—“then I would not be a…jack of all trades and master of none.” Heaping condemnation upon myself became a bad habit.

Perhaps you too have played the self-condemnation game. But Romans 8:1 says “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” While we usually think of this verse in the context of freedom from sin by the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ, I would like you to think outside the box for a moment. 1 John 3:19-21 tells us that God is greater than your conscience, your thought process, or the rationalization of your behavior.

Psalm 139 beautifully proclaims God’s activity in your life before your lungs inhaled for the first time. Almighty God looked upon you while you grew in your mother’s womb. Verses fifteen and sixteen explain that before your body was formed, all the days God ordained for you were written in His book; before a single one of them came to be.

God loves you, and you are so precious to Him that rather than condemn you, when you were an embryo, in a little tight ball, He planned your days and wrote them down in His book. That does not mean we will never face trials, temptations, or sorrows but that as soon as you surrender your life to the Father through Jesus Christ His Son, you are in safe hands; no longer condemned. Sin cannot condemn you, satan cannot condemn you, and you cannot condemn yourself. 

Never again allow satan to whisper, “You are not good enough,” in your ear. Never again allow him to convince you that you have sinned too often, been too bad, or done too much wrong to be useful in God’s Kingdom. Never again allow satan to make you believe that you are “just ok” in your service for the Father, because 1 Peter 5:8 tells us that our “enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”


Do not let it be you! Find hope in the words Jesus spoke to a woman caught in the act of adultery in John 8:11b, “And Jesus said unto her, ‘Neither do I condemn thee go, and sin no more.’” (KJV) Let hope replace condemnation in your life.

Friday, September 23, 2016

WORDS OF HOPE Now Available



Words of Hope: Help for the Hurting Heart
(Giving Joy to the Heart) (Volume 1)
Paperback – September 23, 2016

by Joyce L Powell (Author)

Praising God for His unmerited favor!


May be purchased by clicking the link to the right under "Available on Amazon.com"






Reconciliation Grace



For if while we were enemies we were
reconciled to God by the death of his Son,
much more, now that we are reconciled,
shall we be saved by his life. More than
that, we also rejoice in God through our
Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have
now received reconciliation.
Romans 5:10-11 ESV


Life is filled with spiritual battles. Until a person receives God’s gift of grace, she remains at odds with God—an enemy of God. But immediately upon the acceptance of God’s gift of salvation, everything is forgiven—the past wiped clean and the future secured. (Romans 8:1)

Reconciliation brings harmony, peace, and acceptance. The reconciliation of man to God cost the life of God’s only begotten Son. Jesus, the greatest sacrifice of all time, paid the ultimate price so that man could be reconciled to God—the creation could return to the Creator.

Our world is in great need of reconciliation—most importantly man to God but also important man to man and woman to woman. I often wonder how much more effective our churches would be if we, God’s children, would refuse to get our feelings hurt. How many have walked out the doors of the church and never returned because they perceived an unkind word or considered their talents wasted? I wonder how many times God shakes His head over one of His children that He desires to bless but cannot because they refuse to be reconciled to another of His children.

Our world needs Jesus! But how can we walk into a lost world and claim to be spreading the news of God’s grace if we are unwilling to extend grace to the saved as well as the unsaved? How can we take the message of grace outside the church walls if we refuse to display God’s grace inside the church walls and from church to church?

Reconciliation grace is available to every child of God. Sometimes personalities clash. Sometimes cultures clash. Sometimes someone is simply having a bad day.

I propose that today we make satan one very unhappy dude! Determine to extend grace. Determine to love one another as Christ loves you. Determine to be a blessing and be blessed by walking in God’s reconciliation grace.

©JP 2013

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Equipped for Hope

Excerpt from "Words of Hope"

All Scripture is
 God-breathed
 and is useful
for teaching, rebuking, correcting
and training in righteousness,
 so that the man of God
 may be thoroughly equipped
for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

Every day we witness circumstances of people equipped for action. Whether it be big-league sports, the medical profession, those who work in finance, construction, customer service or a myriad of other jobs, leaders and workers are most successful when they are well-equipped, furnished with the tools they need, armed with information, and appointed to the correct position to carry out the task at hand.

 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” Because God has given us the tools we need to be thoroughly furnished for every circumstance in life, we are equipped to hope.

Romans 5:18 records that “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations…” Joshua 6:23 tells us that Rahab had hope in the promise of two spies from Israel—“the young men who had done the spying went in and brought out Rahab, her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her…” Because she hoped, waited in expectation, her family was saved from annihilation as the walls of Jericho collapsed around them.

1 Samuel 1 tells the story of Hannah. She longed for a child. She grieved and fasted while calling upon the LORD to answer her prayer for a child. Verse nineteen tells us “Elkanah lay with Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her.” Verse twenty describes what happened next, “So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, ‘Because I asked the LORD for him.’”

Throughout God’s Word, we read the truth of life after life changed by believing God. What does that mean for you and me? How are we equipped for hope? We find the answer to those questions within the Word of God:

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. (Acts 16:31)
Trust in the LORD not yourself. Acknowledge Him in everything you do. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Study to know the truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
Glory in the cross alone. (Galatians 6:14)
Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)


Simply put, developing this pattern of living means believing God. I cannot begin to explain the number of ways I fail. I praise God that He does not seek human perfection but rather sees you and me in right standing with Him once we kneel at the cross and come to Him through the blood of His One and Only Begotten Son—Jesus. It is then, and only then, that we are equipped to hope!

© Joyce L Powell