Life-the Reason for the Season

According to John’s Gospel, Jesus is the Word who came into the world and dwelt among us. Because Jesus was the light that brought life (John 1:1-4)  and freedom to us, we need not settle for a life of bondage.

Instead, we should experience a life filled with the fruit of the Spirit, which includes love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (Gal 5:22). When we release the fruit of the Spirit, we experience newness of life.

During this Season, let us renew our minds and imitate Christ by living a life of peace, by loving others and by our acts of kindness. Only then, we can say:” It is with joy that we celebrate the birth of Jesus and that He is the reason for the season.”

May you have a wonderful season of blessings, as you interact with family and friends.

In Christ,
Joan M. Blake

Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day is celebrated annually, on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States. What the pilgrims started in the seventeenth century to give God thanks for a plentiful harvest, has continued even in the 21st century by all of us.

We give God thanks not only for the life that He has given us, but the strength to go through tough times, for His manifold blessings, for the faith to overcome our struggles, for God’s provision, for His favor, for His faithfulness,  for the hope He has given us, and most of all, for His love.

We thank God for His love, because we can be assured that nothing can separate us from His love Rom 8:35. When everyone has turned their backs on us or when there is pain or suffering, God is there. He promises never to leave or forsake us Jos 1:5; we serve a mighty God. Thank Him today for who He is.

Understanding why we should pray

We should pray because prayer is approaching God in a spirit of worship, magnifying and exalting Him for who He is. Rev 4:11 states that God is worthy to receive honor, glory and power, for he created all things and by His will they exist and were created. He is Holy (Ps 99:5), the mighty God and the God of all Gods (Deut.10:17). He is faithful and just (Deut 7:9), the forgiver of our sins (Matt 9:6), our deliverer (Ps 18:1), and our sustainer (Ps 121:5), the one who opens doors that no one can shut (John10:9), our provider (2 Co 9:8), our healer (Ps103:3), and to Jesus our supreme authority, monarch of the universe, the giver of eternal life (John 17:2), to all who would believe in Him. You and I pray because God listens to our prayers (1Pet 3:12); He delights in our praises (Ps 22:3); He answers prayers according to His will; and change occurs. We recognize that we can do nothing without God and our earthly existence is dependent on Him.

Hope in the Midst of Despair

In the past months and prior, there has been tension in the USA and abroad over the killings of innocent people. You are wondering where is God in all of this? Do we still have hope?

My dear friends, God is still supreme in the midst of disaster; the plans He has for people and nations never change. We can go back in history and we notice that God’s plans for his people Israel didn’t fail. It started with Joseph, Jacob’s younger son, who was sold by his older brothers to the Ishmaelites, and who became a leader to Potiphar, Pharaoh’s captain of the guard. Joseph was put in charge of Potiphar’s household but Potiphar’s wife saw that as an opportunity to get close to Joseph and when Joseph didn’t respond to her advances, she had him put in jail.

But God gave Joseph favor in prison and the warden put Joseph in charge of the prisoners, and he interpreted dreams for the cupbearer and the baker who were previously employed by Pharaoh. The cupbearer was reinstated to his position while the baker was hanged. Joseph asked the cupbearer to remember him, but two years past and nothing happened until Pharaohhad a dream and no one can interpret it. Joseph told him that there would be seven years of harvest followed by seven years of draught.

Joseph was placed as Governor of the whole region to oversee the food storage. Eventually, his brothers came from Canaan to purchase grain and recognized who he was and reconciled with Joseph. The entire family and other Canaanites moved to Egypt because of the economy, but Joseph had died and a new king was placed who did not spare anyone. When the Israelites had no livestock to barter for grain, they were forced to work as slaves. God heard their cry when they cried to God for help and this was the basis for the long road from Egypt back to Canaan.

God used Moses, with the rod, someone who couldn’t speak well, to speak to Pharaoh and tell him “Let my people go.” All the perils the Israelites experienced, including hunger and thirst, God provided with manna and water in the desert. The rod was used to bring about plagues in Egypt as well as to part the seas so that the Israelites could walk on dry land as well as bring the seas to its original place so that Pharaoh’s armies could be destroyed.

The Israelites were not a perfect people. They sinned by being angry, doubting God, and worshiping idols. Some died and never made it to the promised land. God has always given them as well as you and I, a second chance. His words were and still are: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and move from their wicked ways, I will hear their cries and heal their land.” God is saying this to us today. Will we hear his voice and turn from our wicked ways? If we do, He will heal our land. Prayer is the hope we have in God.

Success is a Journey through Life

Many of us have had to make decisions as we travel through life. We become frustrated with our decisions in college, work, business, and other situations. We felt that we arrived at success only to start again. The frustration comes from viewing success as an actual destination. According to John Maxwell, in his book, The Success Journey, success is simply a journey, not a destination. Today, I will define success, discuss life-changing circumstances that tend to hinder our success, and finally, relate stories of two women who were faced with adversity, who instead of living defeated lives, chose to live successfully.

Success is a journey where you acquire skills overtime and know your purpose in life. Everyone has a purpose in life and everyone is on his/her own success journey. Failures and disappointments are catalysts to your success. You have a goal and you have decided to accomplish it regardless if you fail and become disappointed. When we view success from the angle of wealth, possessions and power, we are assuming that everyone should arrive at success this way. Some people are not always happy even with wealth, and we hear of traumatic incidents with people having wealth. Those incidents happened to people because they failed to know what their purposes in life were. Others have life-changing circumstances that hinder their growth and goals.

Life-changing circumstances could include an empty nest, where children have left for college, a divorce, loss of a job, a failure of a business, past abuse by family members, lengthy sickness of a loved one, a death of a loved one; they may tend to cause people to stop pursuing their dreams. According to John Maxwell, these failures or disappointments are catalysts to success. This means that your failure or disappointment should give you an opportunity to be successful at something else. Although we are human beings and we feel pain, we must rise to the occasion and move forward to success. We are given this life to make a difference in the life of others and if we become depressed, sluggish, or inactive, we simply cannot know our purpose in life and achieve success.

The following stories relate to two women who have touched my life in significant ways and whose disappointments changed the course of history and they not only touched other lives but became success stories.

I first saw this story as a documentary on television. It’s about Jessica Long who came from Bratsk Siberia. She was one of several siblings, who at the age of 13months, was orphaned in Russia, because her parents could no longer care for her because she had a rare illness called Fibular Hemimelia. Her lower legs were amputated when she was 18months, but that did not prevent her from being adopted by an American couple from Baltimore, Maryland. Living as a double amputee, Jessica began swimming and became a gold-medalist with 13 or more world records that she received in the Paralympic sports. Her success did not end there. Jessica’s purpose in life was to go back to her roots, that she never knew, and reunite with her parents and siblings. Without hate for her parents or siblings, without the pain of abandonment, but with joy, she finished her journey by re-uniting with her parents and siblings, and was able to assist them financially.

Joni Erickson Tada, at the age of 17 loved to ride horses. She also enjoyed swimming and went to swim with some friends and thinking that the lake was deep, dove right into a shallow lake and broke her neck, paralyzing her body from the neck down. For two years she stayed in rehabilitation wondering how she would make it. She contemplated suicide and asked her friends to help. Her hopes were gone; she didn’t want to live. She found a friend in the rehab that helped her find the answers to her questions in the Bible. Joni went on to get married and she and her husband traveled everywhere telling her story. She wrote books using a pen in her mouth. She has written over 13 books. Although she felt helpless, she knew her purpose, which was telling her story and bringing the gospel to others.

I want to encourage you, that whatever you are going through, know that the situation cannot change who you are, and cannot alter your purpose. Success is not a destination, but a journey, which comes about when you know your purpose and when you can rise up to every challenge that comes your way.

I Can Overcome Hills and Mountains

Over the hills and mountains, I climb,
Persevering to see my Savior and to draw close to Him.
Sometimes I slip, sometimes I fall,
But He is always faithful to pick me up.

He provides the hills and the mountains as challenges
To show me how excellent He has been to me.
He has shown me daily that the mountains I can overcome,
And the valleys I can be lifted from.

This poem was taken from Prayer and Meditation: Finding Comfort, Hope, and Purpose in the Midst of Your Storm by Author Joan M. Blake Copyright 2011 all rights reserved. Published by Key to Life Publishing Company.

Prayer to Know and Walk with Purpose

God had a plan for you before the foundation of the world. That plan was made exclusively for you to walk in. Sometimes, struggles come to deter us from walking in God’s divine plan. Please read the following prayer and answer the question: “What is holding you from attaining your purpose?”

To everything there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under
the heaven(Eccl 3:1kjv)

Father,
Creator of all things
And Master of everything,
I have been wandering for a long time,
Not knowing my purpose in this life.
I rebuke distractions that come my way,
In the name of Jesus.
I am determined to seek Your face, God,
To know my purpose,
And to walk in my destiny.
I pray that you will teach me
To submit to Your authority
And to walk with purpose,
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Prayer was taken from Prayer and Meditation: Finding Comfort, Hope, and Purpose in the Midst of Your Storm, by Joan M. Blake copyright 2011 key to Life Publishing Company, Boston MA.

Living as a servant of God

Living as a servant of Christ.

Good morning friends: My name is Joan M. Blake and today, I will be presenting the final message of a series of six messages taken from the book of Galatians.

In our previous podcast, I discussed how to live as children of promise, and today, I will be discussing how to live as a servant of Christ. Apostle Paul summed it well when he said: “Carry each other’s burdens” and in this way, we   fulfill the law of Christ.” We should not think we are better than anyone else,  ignore someone who is in pain, hungry, or lost.”Don’t become weary in doing good, for we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

For twenty years, I have been caring for my daughter with mental challenges and I realize that it is God who has given me strength and joy in the midst of my struggles. I will carry on as long as God wants me to. I will not doubt God’s ability to heal her. He healed the woman with the issue of blood, He healed the blind, the lame, the leper, the demon possessed and the crippled, He can and will heal my daughter. I refuse to give up.

 

Do you have a situation similar to mine where healing has not taken place in your loved one’s life or did you or your loved one obtained your healing? Explain.

 

Living as Children of Promise

Good morning friends: My name is Joan M. Blake and today, I will be presenting the fifth in a series of six messages taken from the book of Galatians.

In our previous podcast, I discussed how to live in freedom, and today, I will be discussing why we are the children of  promise. Apostle Paul reminded us that Isaac, Abraham’s son, was born according to promise and through the faith of Abraham. We are God’s  sons and daughters through faith in Christ. If we belong to Christ, we are Abraham’s seed; we are no longer slaves but joint heirs with Christ and have the Spirit of Christ in our hearts. Gal 3:29; 4:6-7. What that means for us is, that we are in the world, but not of the world. We are guided by the Spirit living in us.

Are you living as a son or daughter of promise?  Are you picking up your cross and following Christ?  Are you giving God all your problems knowing that He will take care of your burdens? Are you standing on his promises? What He did for Sarah, Abraham’s wife who had a child late in life, He would do for you? Is anything too hard for God? What issues do you face that have kept you doubting the promises of God?

Living in Freedom

 

Good morning friends: My name is Joan M. Blake and today, I will be presenting the fourth in a series of six messages taken from the book of Galatians.

In our previous podcast, I discussed how to live with assurance, and today, I will be discussing how to live in freedom. Apostle Paul was teaching the Galatian Church that circumcision was not necessary for they had already received the grace or freedom  in Christ, with faith operating through love (Gal 5:6). He explained, however, that they should not abuse the freedom in Christ by sinning. Additionally, every person should not tear down each other, but instead, should show faithfulness to God by reaching out to others with love, kindness and gentleness. Loving our neighbor as ourselves is fulfilling the whole law (Gal 5:14). Whatever we do, we should do it in love. The next time you are interacting with someone, exercise your freedom in Christ by thinking about how you should deal with that person. Think about how you will like to be treated and do likewise.

May God bless you.