WHAT’S GOD’S WORK?

One of the first pages of a book by R. Blackaby shocked me. In, Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God, Blackaby says that Jesus sees the work God is doing and joins in that work.

What?

Jesus doesn’t have His own mandates, lists of things to accomplish, work to be done? I’m no theologian, but the Bible says in John 6:38, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.”

What about us? How do we know what to do?

Here are a few ideas:

God can carry you, but He gives you arms and legs so you can use them. Ephesians says we’ve been called. And while it’s true we aren’t all called to be Billy Grahams or Mother Theresas, we are to be like Christ … who submitted Himself to God’s will. Lord, break my will and make me more like you!

God is the motivator. That tug we feel is the Holy Spirit prompting us to action. Maybe He’s asked us to do something small, like give away a smile. Maybe it’s a bottle of water or a cheeseburger happy meal. (…I could use the Nike quote, but that would put me in serious trouble.) So, whatever we’re asked to do, Just Act On It!

God has infinite knowledge and wisdom. When we ask, He supplies His extraordinary, supernatural intellect, strength, and courage. We might not all be Solomons, but we can ask and receive God-sized wisdom!

God, who has no beginning and no end, isn’t surprised by our tomorrows. He’s already seen each and every one of them. He existed before He created us, and He’s prepared to do the impossible for us. In fact, He already has! All we have to do is ask.

He holds our days in His hands. His breath of life is in us, He’s measured our days, and He knows we’re frail creatures, made of dust. Yet, He’s created us to do great works to glorify Him. If He says we’re more than conquerers, then what are we waiting for?

He knows how we’ll respond to each challenge. And He still loves us! The Bible says with every temptation God’s made a way of escape. Have you called out to Him and experienced His faithfulness?

The choice to do the work He gives us is ours.

A little chorus from Sunday School goes like this:
When we all pull together, together, together,
When we all pull together, how happy we’ll be.
For your work is my work and my work is your work.
When we all pull together, how happy we’ll be.

God does have important work for us to do. And He equips those who want to do the work. The question is, are we willing?

By author eMarie

To leave a comment, please click on the title above, “WHAT’S GOD’S WORK” and scroll down. Thank you for subscribing and sharing this blog with family friends! And please come back next week for more encouragement. God bless you!  🙂

 

 

WHAT’S THAT SMELL?

My hubby Bert and I chatted while driving home from a wonderful social gathering weeks ago. With the heat on full blast, we suddenly noticed a strong, unpleasant odor. After scanning for the usual culprits, we spotted no dead animals on the roadside. At last in our driveway, we burst open the car doors and investigated its several compartments. Nothing. Next, we searched beneath the seats, but came up empty again.

We took off our jackets in the house and, voilà, the offending odor hit us. By process of elimination, we surmised an unsuspecting participant’s strong, spicy cologne or perfume had rubbed off on our clothes. And while their cedary, chili pepper scent pleased them, it assaulted our nostrils with its unpleasant odor.

That’s when God’s word flooded in.

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. (2 Cor.2:14-16a, NKJV)

Many Old Testament books, including Genesis, Leviticus, and Numbers, talk about a sweet aroma to the Lord produced by grain and animal sacrifices. God required these offerings to atone for the sin of the people.

But, thank God, the New Testament demonstrates that Jesus, the Lamb of God, is the once-and-for-all sacrifice. When we give our hearts and lives to Jesus, because of His death and resurrection, God now knows us as the sweet aroma of Christ. Because of Jesus’ righteousness, we become righteous, and an acceptable aroma to God.

No need to worry whether or not we pass the world’s sniff test. To them, we are a defining fragrance. The aroma that calls them to repentance or continued rebellion. As opposed to the scent our clothes picked up at that gathering, the sweeter our aroma to God, the better.

So, let me ask you a personal question. How’s your aroma?

By author eMarie

To leave a comment, please click on the title above, “WHAT’S THAT SMELL?” and scroll down. Thank you for subscribing and sharing this blog with family friends! And please come back next week for more encouragement. God bless you!  🙂

EVILDOERS

More than 3,000 years ago, King Cyrus of Persia allowed Israeli captives back to their homelands to build a temple for the Lord.

Since no one ever said this task would be easy, Zerubbabel girded Joshua and his team with prayer. His next priority was organizing the workload and hiring skilled tradesmen while waiting for cedar logs to come in from Lebannon. Then he arranged for daily food and drink. If the men questioned Zerubbabel’s priority list, they wouldn’t wait long to find out they were wrong.

Ezra chapter 4 says the enemies of the Lord heard about exiles who had come to build a temple to the Lord, the God of Israel. Think of this group as present-day evildoers churning out anti-God rhetoric at full speed! Their first attempt to slow temple-building came cloaked as something good. “We want to help you,” they said. Who would deny that offer?

Zerubbabel the wise!! Because they were spiritually fortified, Zerubbabel and his companions recognized their enemy (“The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16). Zerubbabel and his men were prayed up. They discerned the voice behind the offer. Ah, but true to form, these evildoers didn’t throw up their hands and walk away.

Plan B was initiated. This next volley came as a two-parter: discouraging zings first. Maybe these messengers whispered that the task was too great; not enough laborers; too many cedar logs clogging the port; no, not flatbread for lunch again!

When the temple builders didn’t buckle under discouragement, the enemy rolled out part 2: a social media blitz centered around … fear. What if the structure isn’t sound-it’ll crash down on you. Sunburn hurts. You can’t keep up this kind of physical exertion in these temperatures. There are ravenous animals, spiders and snakes, sickness, not enough water/food, inadequate housing, material shortages, significant price hikes…

None of these tactics worked, so the enemies of the Lord dug deeper. Since offers to help, plots to discourage, and a firestorm of fear hadn’t worked, they no longer disguised their evil efforts. But Zerubbabel and his men prayed and continued their work, letting God fight their battles.

Recognize the same ol’ arrows at work in our world today?

The enemy has aimed these unimaginative devices at believers for thousands of years. They won’t work if we’re prayed up and moving forward in Jesus’ Spirit, strength, and power. In fact, Jesus said the believer … “will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:12-14)

Like Zerubbabel and his men, we too are temple (kingdom) builders! When we stand tall on our knees (pray) and keep our eyes on Jesus, He will deal with the evildoers of this present age and we, too, will accomplish the tasks He equips us to do.

By author eMarie

To leave a comment, please click on the title above, “EVILDOERS,” and scroll down. Thank you for subscribing and sharing this blog with family friends! And please come back next week for more encouragement. God bless you!  🙂

RUINS OR REALITY

Walk with me through the Smithsonian and gaze at impressive dinosaur bones, spacecrafts, farming tools, and war artifacts. A strange foreboding invades. Though well preserved and decoratively displayed, each item is a relic. No longer useful. Dead.

Travelers visit the Parthenon, the Colosseum, and the temple wall in Israel. Marvelous remnants, blushes of their former glory. Reminders of what once was but is not now.

Tour guides take spectators and Believers alike to Jesus’ tomb. The borrowed, empty sepulcher which, for a brief time, contained the crucified body of Jesus Christ.

In sharp contrast to that of King Tutankhamun, Christ’s tomb is empty. The Old Testament prophesies, written in every New Testament book by eyewitnesses, confirmed!

So, is seeing believing? No. Skeptics and unbelievers still exist. From the moment the stone was rolled away until today, naysayers postulate theories to disprove reality.

We are more like Thomas than we care to admit, unable to believe unless we see the nail prints in Jesus’ hands and feet and the gash in His side. And though the Bible has an answer for every question ever asked, we pore over  ancient artifacts hoping to find the meaning of life.

Here’s a few questions that unbelievers regularly ask:

Why would hundreds of thousands of people throughout history accept tortuous deaths (i.e., crucifixion, hanging, beheading, burned to death, boiled in tar, etc.) to perpetuate a myth?
Answer: They wouldn’t. Jesus didn’t just hint at reality when he said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6, NIV). He spoke irrefutable truth.

Why hasn’t this two-thousand-year-old story faded into oblivion?
Answers: Authenticated scrolls have been found to support Biblical accounts. Eyewitnesses and historians’ detailed reports corroborate the life of Jesus and his apostles. The same Holy Spirit that empowered the apostles continues to bear witness that Jesus is the Messiah, the son of the living God. (Matt. 16:16)

If God is all-powerful, all-loving, why do bad things happen?
Answer: Why blame God when you don’t believe in Him?

Let me ask you a question:  why is it that when we see pottery displayed in museums dating back several centuries, we accept these ruins as truth. Carbon-dated bones we have no problem with. So, why the difficulty with our loving God preserving numerous Dead Sea scrolls that authenticate reality – He lives!

The choice is ours: ruins or reality.

By author eMarie

To leave a comment, please click on the title above, “RUINS OR REALITY,” and scroll down. Thank you for subscribing and sharing this blog with family friends! Please come back next week for more encouragement. God bless you!  🙂

STONES OF REMEMBERANCE

An article in TheChristianPost.com recorded school-aged children’s responses when questioned about the meaning of Memorial Day. Not all, but most had the same answer.

“…the day the pool opens.”

Their response may have gotten chuckles from a “Children Say the Darndest Things” audience. However, the sad truth per a recent Gallup poll is that only 28% of Americans know the real reason for Memorial Day.

So, what caused a blessed nation to forget, to cast aside what we should honor, revere, remember?

Maybe the reason lies in what God told Joshua to do: have 12 men pick up 12 stones from “the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm” and carry them to the other side of the river.  (Josh.4:3a, NKJV)

God knew there would come a day when the Israelite children would ask, “What do these stones mean to you? Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.” (Josh.4:6-7, NKJV)

We need reminders! Stones of Remembrance. So when we gather with our children, we’ll gratefully pass down the reason for our celebration. Which all start with God’s mercy and goodness to us.


How about we reawaken the stones for celebrating Memorial Day? Let’s see how much we recall. Ready?

  1.  Earliest recorded Memorial Day commemoration occurred in
    A.  1865-freed slaves in Charleston, S.C., buried & decorated Union soldiers’ graves
    B.  1921-Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery
    C.  1968-the Uniform Monday Holiday Act (enacted in 1971)
  2. Memorial Day began as a way to remember fallen soldiers from
    A.  WWI
    B.  Viet Nam Conflict
    C.  Civil War
  3. The original name for Memorial Day was
    A.  Ginormous Sales Day
    B.  Decoration Day
    C.  Veteran’s Holiday
  4. Memorial Day was officially established as the last Monday in May in
    A.  1968
    B.  1866
    C.  1993
  5.  People began wearing red poppies to commemorate fallen soldiers from
    A. Civil War
    B.  WWII
    C.  WWI
  6. Gen. Logan suggested people do this to soldiers’ graves
    A.  Nothing. Just go shopping
    B.  Decorate them with flowers, etc.
    C.  Barbecue and watch “Saving Private Ryan”
  7. The American flag should be hung at half-staff on Memorial Day until
    A.  10 a.m.
    B.  6 p.m.
    C.  Noon
  8. The official Moment of Remembrance across America marked by one long whistle sounded by Amtrak conductors occurs at
    A.  9 a.m.
    B.  3 p.m.
    C.  Noon
  9. In his moving poem, WWI Canadian Surgeon/Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote “In Flander’s Fields” from this point of view
    A.  Prime Minister Winston Churchill
    B.  Former property owner of Flander’s Fields
    C.  Deceased soldiers

Check out the answers below. And, please, “pick up a stone” – talk about the meaning of this holiday with your family and friends. A quote that’s attributed to many including Winston Churchill says, “Those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” Let’s not forget that our country’s foundation is based on “…a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence…” By God’s grace, America is still the land of the free, home of the brave.

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!
God bless our veterans and active military personnel and their families.

By author eMarie

To leave a comment, please click on the title above, STONES OF REMEMBRANCE, and scroll down. Please subscribe, share this site with friends, and come back next week for more encouragement!  Thank you and God bless you!  🙂

ANSWERS:
1. A,  2. C,  3. B , 4. A,  5. C,  6. B,  7. C,  8. B,  9. C

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MADE NEW

I about keeled over when my hubby Bert talked about selling his 1985 CJ7 Jeep.

He bought it used in 2010, polished the sun-damaged red paint until the entire Jeep gleamed, and worked on the engine til it purred. Aside from the occasional carburetor troubles, he loved this vehicle.

He’d talked about unloading it for a year or so, but I knew he wouldn’t do it. That Jeep continued to be his pride and joy. Neighbors would stop by to chat with him about it, and Bert would come in the house holding his cheeks – they ached from the grin he wore.

What price do you put on that kind of joy?

So, when he announced he was putting an ad in the neighborhood news, I threw my hand up and batted the air,  and went back to work. But then the calls came in and the Jeep drove away, and tears filled my eyes. Bert’s too.

A few days ago, our neighbor stopped by with the Jeep. He explained that a mechanic friend searched until he located the precise carburetor for this Jeep. Then he took Bert for a ride. Though filled with nostalgia at its parting, Bert loved that the Jeep ran better than ever before. “Like new,” were his words.

And isn’t that exactly what Jesus does for us?

2 Cor. 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

When we turn our lives over to Jesus, give Him ownership and allow Him to work in us, He makes us new. He washes us clean in His life-giving blood, searches for and heals the sin-damaged areas, and sets us free to live for Him.

Priceless joy!

And then, with Him in the driver’s seat, He takes us on an unforgettable ride. All the way home.

 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Gal.2:20, NKJV)

By author eMarie

To leave a comment, please click on the title above, MADE NEW, and scroll down. Please subscribe, share this site with friends, and come back next week for more encouragement!  Thank you and God bless you!  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE PAPER BAG FIGHT

While scouring material for my 1930s suspense novel, I accidentally came across this gem about Margaret E. Knight. Her life didn’t start with a silver spoon in her mouth. In fact, things went from bad to worse, and her story almost didn’t have a happy ending. Ah, but Providence had a way of allowing Margaret’s hard work, tenacity, and wonderful inventions to shine.

Born in Maine on February 14, 1838, Mattie, as some called her, never played with dolls but instead preferred tools and blocks of wood. After the death of her father, she, her mother, and two brothers relocated to New Hampshire. To help support the family, Mattie left school and began work in a cotton mill at age 12.

When she witnessed a co-worker’s severe accident due to equipment failure, Mattie invented a device ensuring its safe operation. Unfortunately, she never patented this safety measure and left the mill due to health issues shortly thereafter.

It’s said that if neighboring boys had problems with their gadgets, they sought help from Mattie. Her mill invention may be one of the reasons.

Mattie received her first patent for a “pneumatic paper-feeder.” She had moved to Springfield, MA three years earlier and worked for Columbia Paper Bag Company. Paper bags that could stand on flat bottoms were handmade and expensive. Mattie built a wooden prototype that cut, folded, and glued brown paper into the shopping bags we’re familiar with today.

To request a patent, however, she needed an iron machine. Charles Annan visited the shop constructing Mattie’s paper bag machine. Imagine Mattie’s surprise when she applied for a patent but instead had to file a patent interference lawsuit. Whether true or not, some records document that Charles contended that Mattie, a woman, wouldn’t have a clue how to make such a machine.

Mattie didn’t shrink from the fight. But their day in court, which cost Mattie about $100.00 per day for 16 days, proved Charles wrong. Not only did she have multiple witnesses testifying to her work, her blueprints, journals, and models detailed her remarkable invention.

Accounts vary, but at the end of her 76 years of life, Mattie had amassed an estate worth approximately $275.00. Paultry in comparison to the approximately 30 patents she’d acquired. These exclude her many unpatented inventions. Though she had received little formal education, her superior intellect earned her many accolades—one which dubbed her “woman Edison.”

In 2006, Margaret E. Knight was inducted into the National Inventor Hall of Fame. A small-scale version of the machine that earned her bag-making patent sits in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.

If you’ve ever the notion to give up or walk away from a righteous fight, pick up a paper bag and think about what it cost Mattie. Then quash the naysayers. Work hard, stay in the fight, and do the impossible. *

The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the mouth of the upright rescues them. (Prov. 12:6, NIV)

By Author eMarie

To leave a comment, please click on the title above, THE PAPER BAG FIGHT, and scroll down. Please subscribe, share this site with friends, and come back next week for more encouragement!  Thank you and God bless you!  🙂

*Info Sources:
women-inventors.com
invent.org

IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED

Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. (James 4:10)

I entered my first writing contest four years ago, I had no idea what to expect. When the results became available, I didn’t want to look. Then, I almost fell off the chair.  Someone wrote the words “first place” beside my name.

Prayer, hard work, and lots of help from fellow writers helped polish those chapters. After resubmitting the story a year later, it earned a semifinalist award in a nationwide contest.

Later that year, another story that I helped co-author won a first-place award. The year after, the same story earned a semifinal award in a nationwide contest.

You might think, wow, amazing achievements. Where can I buy your book?

Ha! The humbling truth is, I’ve lost more contests than I’ve won. Worse yet, I have not had a single traditionally published book.  (A Snowflake’s Adventure is a self-published children’s picture book written for my grandchildren and donated to children around the world. To date, my hubby and I have given OCC/Samaritan’s Purse almost 600 books.)  🙂

Why am I telling you this?

An adage that I learned back in first grade, thanks to Mrs. Titus, a wonderful mother figure, went as follows: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Turns out, decades earlier, Mr. Thomas Palmer wrote these words in a Teacher’s Manual to inspire children to do their homework.

Seems Mr. Palmer’s life may have served as inspiration for his words. An immigrant from Scotland, he and his brother settled in Philadelphia where they established a print shop. Mr. Palmer’s interest in education led to his support for reform. When his brother passed away, Mr. Palmer moved to Vermont where, in his latter years, his accomplishments included farming, opening a school, setting up a library, and authoring textbooks. 

Mr. Palmer’s many achievements came because he took his own advice. He tried, and tried again, and tried again.

If we’re honest, repetitive failure pulls toward despair like the world’s largest magnet.

What do we do then?

For me, spending time with Jesus changes everything. His love brings life. And His Spirit transforms, equipping me to do His work. Motivating me to be all He’s created me to be.

Whether a tweak in attitude, a bigger dream, a different approach to a goal, or more muscle, go to Jesus! Work at what glorifies Him, and let Him provide.

By author eMarie

To leave a comment, please click on the title above, IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED, and scroll down. Please subscribe, share this site with friends, and come back next week for more encouragement!  Thank you and God bless you!  🙂

HE CARES FOR YOU

This week, we celebrated time with two of our children and all four of our grandkids. I slipped away in my memory to the times my sweet little ones would slip and fall. They’d come running to me with teardrops on their cheeks, their injured knee or elbow extended, confident I’d apply a cool compress, then fix their boo boos and owies with a kiss, and hug them until everything was better.

If all else failed, a Band-Aid with a happy face or bright colors or super hero design would do the trick.

But those fixes don’t work for adult “slips and falls.”

When we examine the life of David, the scraps and victories, the brokenness and wisdom, the pitfalls and the profound faith, the man who God dubbed “after His own heart,” there isn’t a failure he endured or praise he lifted that we can’t relate to.

As transparent as his life was to God, so is ours. Our Heavenly Father sees every high and low. He cares for us, whether we’re down in the valley or high on a mountain. Whether basking in His love, or humbled and bruised and struggling to follow Him.

Like a balm to our wound, the words penned below can dry our tears, strengthen our faith, fix our hope, and move us closer to our Savior. To let Him be our Healer. Our Lord of all.

God bless you as you trust in His everlasting care.

By eMarie

To leave a comment, please click on the title above, HE CARES FOR YOU, and scroll down. Please subscribe and share this website with a friend. Thank you, and God bless you!  🙂

 

ICY, SLUSHY, MUDDY

Do you remember the thrill of washing your first car?

Mine was the best ever!! A 1968 American Rambler with a white roof, teal body, and matching teal seats. I couldn’t imagine owning a better car. To top it all, I’d emptied my entire savings account to pay for it.

At that time, winters in NJ were rough. But my little jalopy took me everywhere. So, with great joy one fine April morning, I hauled out a bucket of soapy water, a hose, and a sponge and gave my baby the first of many baths.

Here in Idaho, car washes occupy nearly every street corner – a far cry from do-it-yourself scrubbing. For a time, my hubby and I bucked the trend. But after many miles on icy, slushy, muddy roads, we yielded to this decadent convenience.

At the entrance to the car wash, a teenager with a bright smile waved us in. Though we couldn’t see them, he ensured that our tires fit perfectly into the tracks on the ground. As soon as we shifted the car into neutral, voilà, it began to roll into the tunnel. When a green light flashed, Smiley picked up a hose and squirted our car with a sudsy film. Then he disappeared! Actually, everything did!

To our surprise, we rolled into a soapy cloud that progressed to a torrential downpour with catastrophic gusts. Ah, but once the storm ended, we could see perfectly through a clean windshield. Little did we know, we had yet to endure a heat wave. Large red lights descended, then retracted as we neared a closed garage door.

Wait – shouldn’t someone open the door – soon!? As quick as a prayer, the door opened and we happily rolled toward a flashing green light that said “GO.” Once we shifted into drive, we left the tunnel and traveled down the road to home.

No longer car wash novices, we’ve learned to enjoy the experience. Safe in our little bubble, we sometimes bring coffee to sip while the storm rages around us. We’ve even taken our precious grandchildren with their frozen yogurts along for the ride. And always with excellent results—a squeaky clean car.

The more I thought about the car wash process, I realized how much it mirrors a Christian’s life.

We come to the Lord, and He graciously takes us just as we are—even if we’ve participated in icy, slushy, muddy roads. With a brilliant smile, He waves us forward, and by His Spirit He directs us onto the right track. Then, unlike Smiley at the car wash, He stays with us through blinding storms, harsh winds, and scorching heat. As we travel life’s road, the more we lean into Him, trusting Him for the things we can’t see (faith), our relationship deepens. We grow to love and praise Him, in seasons of plenty, pain, or problems.

One day, all the rocky ridges and slippery slopes will clear. We’ll come to the green light, the moment we’ll shift into “GO.” And we’ll head home, into the arms of Jesus!

In the meantime, I want to bring as many family and friends through the car wash. How about you?

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. (2 Tim. 4:2, NIV)

By Author eMarie

To leave a comment, please click on the title above, ICY, SLUSHY, MUDDY, and scroll down.  Thank you for subscribing and sharing this site with friends. See you next week for another encouraging post. God bless you!  🙂