CRAVINGS: What You Really Want!

Real satisfaction is only experienced through obtaining what your souls truly craves

Copyright © Speak True Life, Wanda Murry, June 22, 2018

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It is my belief that in mankind’s pursuits lays the desire for a connection to others beyond customary.  Hidden beneath society’s downward spiral into moral madness, and disguised as human rights, politics, justice and the rights of the people, lies very basic needs.  Every man, woman, and child has a need to be loved, a need to belong, and a need for true intimacy.

Mention the word intimacy and many things may come to mind, so let me clarify what I’m not talking about.  I’m not talking about that physical imitator passed off through verbal graphics of bodies intertwined while the heart remains tucked away untouched and unaffected.  I’m not talking about sharing space or pleasantries or moments of time with another. And, I’m not talking about a surface driven state of euphoria that incites our emotions.

Nope  —  I’m talking about i-n-t-i-m-a-c-y 

  • I’m talkinga longing for; an ardent (warm, affectionate, passionate) desire
    • “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” Psalm 42:1
  • I’m talkinga very eager or urgent or fervent desire for
    • “O GOD, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land where no water is;” Psalm 63:1
  • I’m talkinga deep, almost painful craving
    • My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Psalm 84:2

This desire occurs in the deepest, most remote part of our being.  It’s seated in our mind and in our heart. It has been covered, concealed and is often replaced with temporary idols in a vain attempt to escape the pain produced when it is unmet in its most genuine, sincere form.

Who on earth doesn’t crave a kindred relationship that makes your eyes light up, your heart warm over with deep appreciation, and your smile spread big and bright across your face?  Who hasn’t searched out the kind of intimacy that causes you to voluntarily and unconditionally open your arms to receive, to embrace, to take comfort in, and to bask under the protective covering of another!

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As much as we crave this intimacy, we’ll continue to fall short of experiencing such depth of heart as long as we skirt entering the portal of God, where true intimacy begins. As long as we are willing to run along the edge or remain on the border of detailed knowledge and close association with God, the mind, heart, and soul will continue to have a great thirst for intimacy.

I love the way “Till I Found You” by Phil Wickham paints a picture worth a thousand heartbeats!  DON’T LEAVE WITHOUT LISTENING to the video below.  In it you will find two beautiful pictures for all of us:

  • An intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, the source of Salvation where our hunger to be known is met with the confession of our mouth, and the heart belief of God’s all-knowing, all-seeing sovereignty; and
  • An intimate, loving, committed marriage where the man loves his wife as Christ loved the church, and the wife, in turn, reverences her husband.

 

 

(imbed)

Song:   Till I Found YouPhilWickhamVEVO

Published on May 17, 2018

© 2018 Phil Wickham New song from Phil Wickham’s upcoming album “Living Hope.” Coming August 2018

 

Never lose sight of the fact that Christ came from his heavenly home specifically to create an opportunity to have intimacy with you by the redemptive power of his blood.  The Plan of Salvation is available to YOU! 

Blindsided by the Blind Spots in the Wall

Beware of the dust that gathers while standing still at the gate!

Copyright © Wanda Murry, Speak True Life, May 23, 2018

Encarta Dictionary: English (North America):  blind–side (transitive verb), blind–side (blind·sid·ed, blind·sid·ing, blind·sides)

  1.  Attack from blind side

to attack somebody suddenly and physically by hitting the person on a side where his or her peripheral vision is obstructed

  1.  Attack when vulnerable

to take somebody unawares suddenly, with detrimental results to that person

WebstersDictionary.com – blind spot  noun

2an area in which one fails to exercise judgment or discrimination

Your chest is on fire; your eyes burn with cloudiness; your breathing is labored.  Your head hurts as swirls of darkness envelop you like a soft glove.  You are rattled to the core and left feeling as if a sledgehammer has pummeled your chest. Surely you must be dying; surely the pain will be to your demise.

Tremors ripple throughout your body leaving you spineless.  Your body, in slow motion, crumbles into a heap upon the floor.  Using the last bit of strength you can muster, you wrap your arms around your body as you curl into a ball.  As tears fall, draining you of any coherent thought, even death becomes a welcome idea.

You have just been blindsided by the blind spots in your life.  While you were busy managing the multiplicity of life, you left yourself vulnerable to the attacks that are constant against those in Christ, and that which is common to the flesh.  Sometimes, the greatest blind spot is to believe one is exempt from the very temptations and troubles that accumulate into lusts of the flesh, the eyes, and pride, even though God’s Word speaks to the contrary.

In our failure to stay spiritually and mentally alert through God’s Word and an active prayer life, complacency creeps in like a tiny spider—unseen until its webs are anchored in the dark spaces our eyes did not see — and our lukewarm hearts did not feel.  Blind spots take many forms: stubbornness, carelessness, laziness, pride, trust issues, scriptural starvation, spouses, work, multiple endeavors (spiritual & physical), worldly lusts, fear, ministry(ies), bitterness, fatigue, children, weariness, etc., etc., etc.  Their development grows as one gets a little too comfortable in their state of fellowship and worship with the Holy God.

Old Testament stories highlight this common breach in the life of those on varying levels of relationship with God.  Nothing new under the sun, for there are many examples of strong beginnings of faithful servants who later falter and fall.  A tour of the internet provides an increasing number of moral failures in our churches for our learning in these modern days.  And, it is this faltering that creates the breach in our spiritual fortress.  The story found in Nehemiah is a welcome reminder.

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Photo by Chris Carter on Pexels.com

In learning that The remnant left of the captivity in the province … (were) in great affliction and reproach: (1:3), Nehemiah’s response provides us with a picture of one whose heart is towards God and God’s people, much like an uncompromising shepherd in this Laodicean church age.  In short, verses 3b-11 is the hope of a heart for what God loves … his people.  Note:

… the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire. And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven, … Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, … 11 O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: … and grant him mercy in the sight of this man…”

We are warned to remember the examples in the Old Testament by 1 Corinthians 10:1-12 – to not lust after evil things, be idolaters, commit fornication, tempt Christ, or murmur. Nonetheless, when there are blind spots in our vision, the walls of spiritual protection fall, delivering our moral compasses into the hands of worldly versions of right vs. wrong, causing spiritual weakness and compromise.052418-PrideWhen I read “There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.” (Proverbs 30:12) or the warning cry of Isaiah 5:21-Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” it is like the slap of wet hands upon the face saying, WAKE UP!  Ignorant I am not – I have fallen into several pits with scars to show.  I suspect there may be more.  So there is a great need to minimize more damage by banishing complacency, and opening my eyes and ears.  It is as good a place as any to start – at least for me.

 

The walls are failing, the breaches are widening, and God’s people cannot afford to abandon their posts#2.

Lord, wipe away the haze from our eyes; open our ears to hear the crumbling of the walls that we may turn our hearts to you again. Though our fortresses are weakened by decay, help us arm ourselves with the building materials of your mighty sword (Hebrew 4:12) and vanquish the enemy of our flesh.  Keep us from getting lost in the fabric of a busy life, that we may fortify the kingdom of God and secure the breaches with armed watchmen upon thy walls.

Silent Prayers, Private Battles, Big Victories

“We enjoy the fruits of life by savoring its sweetness & spitting out the pits!”

Copyright © Wanda Murry, April 19, 2018

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  • Are you a praying Christian?
  • Do you record your prayer requests?
  • How many of you check off answered prayer?
  • Any of you ask others to pray for/with you?
  • How many of you have prayer partners?

Ever come across that person who looks like they have it all together?  They appear content with life as they joyfully worship and serve the Lord. You’ve seen them–-always smiling; never complaining about anything! Then, you learn one day that they have been battling some really major stuff?

Every now and then, you hear a testimony from such a person. You wonder how they maintained their quiet demeanor during their struggles. You listen as they relate how grounded they were in the power of the Holy Spirit. Their stories invoke instant hallelujahs because they are spiritual works, not flesh.

These are your Silent Prayers.

Many of us have no problem dealing with the good times in life.  Truth be told, life would be so much easier if we could all live in a bubble of bliss. But, when the floor falls out from under us and life forces us to look in the mirror or reality slaps us back into the present, then what?

God is an awesome counselor who listens attentively to his children. He hears their silent prayers, and the scripture says he knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him (Matthew 6:8). We take the words we utter for granted, but God doesn’t. We forget our words are laid at the throne of God. It’s why we need to be very careful in what we ask for — we might just get it!

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Everyone has Private Battles!

Some folks are prone to get stuck in their past, and some end up on a gerbil wheel their entire life. A sad reality is that many never reach their full potential. The evidence of these internal struggles can be seen in our personal or social lives. Society suffers (homelessness, poverty, foster care, debt, addictions, divorce, suicide, abuses, etc., etc.) and, these yokes are hard to break.

The scripture makes it clear people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). This becomes painfully persistent in families where the mom or dad had no vision for their family or children, or there is no sound, structured guidance. Unexpected pregnancies, unwanted children, and uncommitted parenting have overrun the traditional family structure, and everyone suffers for it.

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If we are honest with ourselves, we recognize how lethargic we have become in dealing with certain areas of our lives. The traditional family has suffered as Adrienne McKay often points out on her Facebook group “Rebuilding the Family.” She points out what we sometimes refuse to acknowledge, in her April 15 post:

Some of our family members lose their way, and at times we may not know the reason, but Love covers all … let’s learn to cover them with love and prayer – Rebuilding the Family – it’s possible!” (emphasis added).

Perseverance can turn falls into Big Victories!

All is not lost, and now is not the time to give up or give in. We can take comfort in the Lord for the battles aren’t ours (2 Chronicles 20:15). Difficulties and hardships sometimes cause us to feel shattered when we’re in a fragile state of mind. Yet, the giver of life is also a restorer of life.

My pastor is teaching on how we can gain victory over sin (Romans 6). Reiterating that Believers fight from a victorious place because v.11 says we are dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Unfortunately, Christians often fight from a defeated positional stance. Dead things have no power! King David’s physical battles picture our spiritual battles as something that rises up against us.

For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me.

(Psalm 18:39)

We have the responsibility of bringing our members under subjection to the Holy Spirit. Only by yielding can we become instruments of righteousness. Many of us wouldn’t think of committing adultery, but that is exactly where we stand with Christ when we yield our temples to any kind of sin.

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Sponsors needed to send me on my first Malawi, Africa mission trip.

A HUGE ‘THANK YOU‘ IN ADVANCE! 

 

Traveling on the Wings of Praise

[When You Need to Remind Yourself of God’s Faithfulness]

Copyright © Wanda Murry, April 9, 2018

040918-ThoughtsFirst Things First:  I want to apologize to all of you who actually follow my blog, and those who actually take the time to read the words that come from my heart! I appreciate each of you! I love knowing you can identify with me by a like, a comment, or sharing a post. I look forward to connecting with you more. I hope to hear your personal thoughts and testimonies as they relate to the posts and/or things God is doing in your own lives.

Secondly, it’s been well over a month since my last post, and that is just not acceptable at all.  As a writer and blogger, I know I must do better. Expecting readers to partake of an inspirational menu that isn’t regularly restocked with new words of encouragement makes little sense. There are no excuses because, if I consider myself a writer but don’t write – well, I’m sure many of you might agree that there is something wrong with that picture!

WIN_20150310_203251 (2)So, what’s new? I confess there are potholes I sometimes fall into on my personal, wonderful journey called “Life.” Like street potholes, these personal potholes rattle me, causing me to veer off the writing path! This I must say — sometimes, focusing too much on surviving life can throw a monkey wrench into living the life God set us free to live. I like John 10:10 as a spiritual reminder that there are two sides to my story & to my life — two warring principles – my flesh and God’s Spirit.

10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that  they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

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Without doubt the enemy takes many shapes and forms to accomplish his thievery, murder, and destruction. Hard lessons are especially difficult when I realize I failed to stay alert & became complacent in areas of my life. I never feel good when I view my failures alongside Christ’s sacrifice. I’ve been robbed in the physical, and it’s just as unnerving when it happens in the spiritual.

In those moments of insecurity, when I’m unsure of my path, are the times when I feel more alone than I care to admit. And for one accustomed to encouraging others, I’m not a good recipient when the shoe is on the other foot, even when I need to be encouraged. Some say it’s pride, but I beg to differ. I’m private about my personal issues.

Why bother others,” reason in my heart, when I know where my help comes from. Let your requests be made known unto God, Philippians 4:6 says. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God…Casting all your care upon him;” 1 Peter 5:6-7 says. So that’s what I do; not out of pride, but because I’ve learned to turn to the rock of my salvation like David in 2 Samuel 22.040918-WordThe old saying, on a wing and a prayer, fits this post. When my wings are clipped, and I find myself unable to soar about my circumstances emotionally and spiritually, I turn to God’s Word to encourage myself. A good bible study, like the 52 Weeks of Pursuit provides incredible insight given by Mark Trotter. Sobering is the knowledge that today’s Christians aren’t so different from the errant Nation of Israel in their shortcomings.040918-MusicSymbolMusic is a balm of melodies for the issues of life. Through praise, overcoming obstacles seems less daunting as I am reminded of God’s love for me despite my failures. The fact that God already knew I’d fall short makes getting back up easier! I listen to a variety of Christian music but, Jonathan McReynolds and Tauren Wells are currently supplying my wings of praise.

When Tauren Wells speaks of being Known,” you recognize that he’s uncovered the basic heart of man – the desire to be fully known and loved by someone. His words resonant as he sings:

It’s so like You to keep pursuing; It’s so like me to go astray – But You guard my heart with Your truth; A kind of love that’s bullet proof – I’m fully known and loved by You – You won’t let go no matter what I do

Then, there is Jonathan McReynolds, who sings of the Pressures that come with all he does while also staying true to his faith. He sings, “Help me,” continuing to say:

Jesus take from me – All the pressure, pressure, pressure – To be someone that you did not create – Help me be me – And only see you – Let me decrease – And glorify you!

 

The road of life can get rocky, but with the right travel companion (Jesus Christ), You will be able to soar above the obstacles in the road on the wings of praise!  

MISSION MINDED: Traveling Outside My Box

Why I Want To Take My First Mission’s Trip Abroad

February 1, 2018 – Copyright © Speak True Life, Wanda J. Murry

God continues to be gracious and merciful unto me.  I live a comfortable life and try to keep it that way.  My life revolves around church, work, home, family, and the occasional movies and dinner with friends.  I have enough to live on, although there is always room for better stewardship of my resources.

It’s a comfortable life!  Unfortunately, getting comfortable has its drawbacks.  I recently heard of a person who believed they had learned all they needed to learn from the scriptures and felt all they needed to do at their stage of the Christian walk was maintain what they’ve learned.  Of course, at first, some might agree that sounds good.  But, with careful consideration, you realize it’s only justifiable if you’re talking about material things.

Speaking truth to myself is a necessary reality[noun, 2.] because I understand that I am opposed by an uncouth roaring lion looking to wreck my life.  I cannot allow myself to get so comfortable in my spiritual life that I leave myself open to becoming a casualty in this spiritual war.  Every time I read the bible there are new truths being revealed that I hadn’t grasped before.  Comfortability brings about a spiritual laziness that lures one into believing they are giving God their best when, according to the scriptures, even our best is as filthy rags.

The fear of spiritual complacency is one reason I’m using the 52 Weeks of Pursuit bible study by Mark Trotter for this year’s reading through the bible.  Every year I look to go deeper into the word to get a better understanding to help me more rightly divide the Word.  There is power in the confidence of knowing what you are talking about.

I know fear is not of God, but a healthy reverence for him is a reminder that he is a holy God; there is no other (no matter how many new theories arise — the earth is flat; worship of the created things, I alone am master of my destiny, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera).  The thought of missing an opportunity to go ye therefore and teach all nations leaves me with an unpleasant feeling in the pit of my stomach.

If I were willing to remain in this current, comfortable spiritual state, I have no doubt it would render me ineffective for the kingdom of God in many ways.  I don’t want to be lured into forgetting that I will stand before God one day to give an account of what I did with his gifts!  This is one of the reasons I jumped at the opportunity to take my first Mission’s Trip abroad.

Witnessing the increasing sense of entitlement our society (young and old) exhibits is another thing that spurs me toward mission mindedness.  I find it both frightening but biblically anticipated, since we are so full of ourselves that we’ve relegated God to the backseat instead of letting him lead.  We are the modern reality and future of Revelation 3:14-22.  Pride is the attribute[noun, 2.] that gets us in trouble with God and man, and personally, I don’t need that kind of trouble in my life!

This leads me to the inspiration behind today’s postWhen the door was opened in October 2017 for my pastor, Ray Stewart, to embark on an overseas mission trip to Malawi, Africa, I was both excited and scared for him.  I prayed earnestly for his safety, Mark Trotter and all who those traveling and working together on this mission trip.  Working through the ministry of The Passion Center for Children / Passion Center for Pastors, my pastor proclaimed the gospel in the villages and helped to equip local pastors in their study of Scripture to help them “rightly divide the Word of Truth” and, to stand against Islam/witchcraft.

MALAWI, AFRICA — A place I had never heard of before, and most likely, you either.  My pastor shared some of the highlights from his trip with the congregation.  We learned of Malawi’s richness, and they are underdeveloped.  The statistics were saddening:  only 9% of the entire country has electricity and running water; only 20% of children attend secondary school; and, the infant mortality rate is high due to HIV and AIDS. [Read the article on Pastor Ray’s trip by clicking here.]

I was gracefully convicted of my own wasteful and careless spending habits.  Becoming a $40 a month donor to the Passion Center for Children was a spiritual no-brainer.  Not surprisingly, I haven’t missed a dime of it!  In fact, I was blessed instead.  As I mentioned in my first post of this year, the excitement and pleasure of meeting and talking with Pastors Mark Trotter and Malawi Pastor Pilira Chibwana was a blessing.

It’s confession time. Since making the decision to join the October mission team this year in Malawi, I have been attacked with fear.  My consolation, however, is implementing a lesson I learned to push past the fear.  I wrestle control of my heart and mind out of the grip of my flesh (our enemy), and reposition myself back under the control of the Holy Spirit.  I never forget to expect spiritual attacks the moment my heart service to the Lord increases.

I’m encouraged to enjoy the comfortable interludes in my spiritual walk with God.  But, I don’t want to stay there 20, 30 years.  God desires fruit, and my knowledge is increasing on how to be a more profitable sower.  I want to bear more fruit.  Being mission-minded is another part of the process that will help me do that so I don’t become stagnate in my Christian walk.  I am honored for the door God has opened for me to participate as part of the Mission Team.   Malawi is a spirit-led open invitation to travel outside my box!

Let the preparations begin!

 

Any Support You Can Give Helps Send Our 7-Person Mission Team to Malawi, Africa.

Donations are acceptable in two forms:

Grace & Truth Baptist Church, c/o 4000 SW Kamryn Drive, Lee’s Summit, MO 64082

or

Give as a Guest on our church app on our website:

https://pushpay.com/g/gtckcmissouri?src=hpp

(Give as a guest: select Missions (not General Fund) – Forward a copy

of your receipt to graceandtruthadmin@icloud.com so that we can

acknowledge you on our website and Facebook page)

TO GOD BE THE GLORY!

2018 – Enlarging My Investment Portfolio

Keys to growing your spiritual bank account!

Happy New Year!

For all who are reading this – God has graced us with another day of life, and a new year to choose to do something new or better. My new year goals are very simple – I plan to become a better INVESTOR:

  • Invest more in my relationship with God!
  • Invest more in the study of God’s Word!
  • Invest more in the things God cares about!

For a little over three years, I have been investing in quality time alone. It has been an adventure in digging deeper and unearthing the dead things lying beneath the surface. Normally, I end each year with time away from home to prepare for the new year, but that didn’t happen this year. Instead, God provided a ram in the bush that was far better than a trip away from home.

On New Year’s Eve, I had the pleasure of meeting with an African pastor and a stateside mission leader in preparation for my first mission’s trip abroad! Talk about a great ending to 2017! Our mission’s team was able to ask questions, listen to stories of needs, and how those needs are being met by mission efforts. I wanted to cry, both from excitement and of hearing some of the stories. It was definitely the fuel I needed to come into the new year with.

Today, I couldn’t wait to delve into the new year-long bible study I was starting. Titled “52 Weeks of Pursuit,” it is a 5-day, weekly reading through the bible, from Genesis to Revelation, with notes that provide wonderful insights into the bible.  I invite you to join me in the reading – it’s an opportunity open to everyone by just clicking on the title above, then scrolling down to click on Week 1-4 and begin.

Already, my investment in reading and studying has paid off. I’d like to share just a few things I have gleaned from God’s Word using the guide of 52 Weeks of Pursuit:

Mankind is foolish! Our attempt to change the interpretation of God’s written Word is insulting to His holiness. One example is the foundation set for marriage which God has never changed: One man. One woman. One lifetime. Period! (Genesis 1:27-28; 2:24) [52 Weeks of Pursuit; page 1]. Although I fell short in this area, it makes God’s grace and mercy through salvation all the more precious!

God created man to have a relationship with him. The notes say: God beautifully offered man the opportunity to exercise his will by making his own choice concerning this relationship. [52 Weeks of Pursuit; page 1, last paragraph].  There were two trees and two choices. Just as the first Adam choose the wrong tree, man today chooses the world [Satan’s domain] over a relationship with God [through salvation].

We can run, but we can’t hide.  In Genesis 3:8, “…Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.” Trees are a picture of man. Man’s attempts to hide himself in the world [amongst the trees of the garden] is sad. The substituting of good works while outright rejecting the good news will be exposed at the great white throne

Satan’s tactics are transparent. It’s important to know how Satan operates. Genesis 3:1 reveals his tactics with these words, “…Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Satan is transparent–he has always attacked God’s Word, and he always uses three effective traps against man: (1) lust of the flesh, (2) lust of the eyes, and (3) the pride of life. On page 2 of 52 Weeks of Pursuit, in the last two paragraphs, we are provided a great example of one who falls for Satan’s trap versus one who resists Satan’s attack in comparing Genesis 3:13 with Matthew 4:1-11. Our greatest weapon against Satan remains the Word of God hid in our hearts to help us resist his temptations!

Day One of enlarging my investment portfolio has been an amazing day to set the tone for a wonderful 2018 year!

I invite you to stay tuned and join me in the 52 Weeks of Pursuit bible study. As well, I request your prayers and our support in raising funds as I and others prepare for our first mission’s trip.

Let’s set 2018 on Fire for Christ!

 

 

 

 

BE INTENTIONAL: Honor Those Called to Duty

Spiritually empowered Shepherds understand the full dynamics of the battle & develop well-trained troops

Our nation recognized its veterans this pass Saturday. Many businesses offered free services to military persons who are serving or have served this country. It is an honor that bears year round observance.  As an Army veteran, I count it a privilege to have had the opportunity to be used in preserving the freedoms this country enjoys! To those who gave so much more than just their time and service I say – THANK YOU – GOD BLESS YOU – GOD KEEP YOU!

Today, I want to honor another group that has been called to dutyThe Good ShepherdThe PastorI firmly believe God is the only Commander-in-Chief who directs one to this very important office and God directs and guides the Shepherd in the abundance of his duties toward the sheep.  Without God operating from the very seat of the Shepherd’s heart, it is easy for the church to be infiltrated by those who have today, have crept in unawares, to cast shame upon the gospel of Jesus Christ:

Jude 1:4 (KJV) – For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Moses gives us an awesome picture of what the Shepherd’s mission is – to bring a people out of bondage. Moses was called to bring a nation out of bondage, which in itself is a far cry from just managing a congregation of 50-3000 people. His call was simply stated:

Exodus 3:10 (KJV) – 10 Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.

Egypt is a picture of the world, and Moses was called to pull this great nation out the world, which is a picture of bondage.  No true Shepherd nonchalantly throws his hat into a ring like this shouting, “pick me, me, me, pick me!”  A true Shepherd spiritually discerns and recognizes that there is an overwhelming responsibility appointed to those in this position, and he bombards heaven with his prayers for confirmation. Moses was described as one who was very meek and faithful.  I wonder if in addition to his fear of being rejected by his people for his past, if a part of his reluctance was also his experience with the inherent difficulties of getting sheep to follow directions.

Today, I want to honor those Shepherds who, totally dependent on God for guidance and instruction, organize their bodies through the teachings of the bible, to the mission ministries, into a fitly joined body working together to accomplish the main goals of ministry.  I have observed some qualities I associate with good Shepherds I’ve admired and been under:

They Have A Heart For Making Disciples – Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV)

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

They Devote Themselves To Studying The Word Of God – Acts 6:3-6 (KJV)

But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.

They Sacrifice Their Lives For The Ministry – Acts 20:23-25 (KJV)

24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Their Ministry Is Christ & Mission Centered – 2 Corinthians 4:1-5 (KJV)

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

Their Ministry Is Focused On Reconciling The Lost – 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 (KJV)

18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

They Strive To Maintain A Blameless Ministry – 2 Corinthians 6:1-10 (KJV)

Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:

They Build The Ministry Through Servanthood – Ephesians 4:8-16 (KJV)

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Their Ministry Endures Through Hardships – 2 Timothy 4:1-5 (KJV)

But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

Believers are the sheep of the congregations where we worship and learn the ways in which God desires his children to develop their Christ-likeness and impact the world that surrounds us.  We stumble, we go astray, we are afflicted, but God uses his Shepherds to draw us back to the way, the truth and the life. We are no different than the Nation of Israel in the wilderness:  we complain; do our own thing; do our dirt; and then, cry out for God to deliver us from the error of ways.

If you think it is easy to Shepherd people, I question if you understand the full picture given in the wilderness experience for both the shepherd and the sheep.  I want to leave a picture from the wilderness experience in the hopes that there would be a greater honor associated and demonstrated daily to those who answered the call of duty to Shepherd God’s people, and who do so with a heart sold out entirely to building the spiritual kingdom of God; not a kingdom on earth.

True Shepherds don’t want to be put upon a pedestal and/or treated as kings. True Shepherds are Christ servants serving God’s people to expand the kingdom of God.  True Shepherds train men, women and children to be dedicated, faithful, and steadfast soul winners.  True Shepherds look for open doors in the community to serve and share the gospel message of redemption.  And, True Shepherds thrive on going beyond the four walls into the mission fields to minister in the word of reconciliation.

To the True Shepherds Called to Duty

THANK YOU FOR YOUR HUMBLE SERVICE

THANK YOU FOR YOUR DAILY SACRIFICE

THANK YOU FOR YOUR DEDICATED LEADERSHIP

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVANT’S HEART

THANK YOU FOR ANSWERING THE CALL TO DUTY!

Psalm 106

We as Sheep…

Sometimes …

  • Lack spiritual discernment – v.7a
  • Forget God’s mercy of before – v.7b
  • Provoke God – v.7c

Yet God …

  • Saved us for his namesake to prove his might – v.8
  • Leads us through dry land and valleys – v.9
  • Protects and redeems us from our enemy – v.10

We then …

  • Believe his words and sing his praise – v.12

But we …

  • Again forget his works and his counsel – v.13
  • Lust after the world’s offerings – v.14
  • Gain the world, but lack grace and spiritual comfort – v.15
  • Exchange God’s glory for other gods – vv.19-20
  • Forget yet again – vv.21-22
  • Despise his provisions & word – v.24
  • Complain more & listen less – v.25
  • Join ourselves to the unrighteous – v.28
  • Provoke our Shepherds to do them a disservice – vv.32-33
  • Mingle with the works of the world – vv.33-39

Private I

The Word of God is the perfect spiritual investigative tool known to man.

Emmanuel Otoo, a Moderator for the Facebook Group “Jesus The Only Way” posted 2 Timothy 3:1-7, prophesy of these last days we are experiencing today. This list includes not only perilous times, but a picture of mankind’s ills: lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; A call: from such turn away.  The stigma: this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. The post included as the caption: Do You Fit the Description?

In my opinion, mankind is busy with the business of living without really giving thought to how our living reflects Christ. Where someone may feel such questions come across as a judgmental wagging of a finger, we believe looking at them from a stance of pause—reflect—detect—seek remedial action is more beneficial for an individual.

Pause – Stop briefly to consider the question(s) posed. Does it apply to you? Is it an accusation, or more a question or suggestion? What this really boils down to is how you choose to view it.

Reflect – Next, give the question careful and serious thought by removing emotions so the process is not clouded by human reasoning. If it applies, then the question becomes how, why and what should be done? If it doesn’t apply, then discard it and ‘keep it moving” on the everyday journey of living.

Detect – If it applies, prayerfully attempt to uncover its origin and the depth to which you’ve been affected. Once the digging starts, the tracks may appear rather quickly, especially when one is truly open to following through. This is important as our past and/or childhood sometimes hold things we’ve buried under events, traumas or situations. Hence, prayer is a must from the very beginning, but especially at this stage.

Seek Remedial Action – This is where the hardcore work comes in; the stage where the real cleansing begins. It’s the place where humbling occurs; where the truth makes you free while bruising your ego, shaming your self-sufficiency, before building you up and providing solutions.

In all that’s going on worldwide, distractions are the handiwork of the enemy. We can see his work everywhere if our eyes are open. Yet, we can never forget that with salvation came a change, and with that change a process of sanctification. God’s children have to be honest with themselves first; wisely transparent with others. We admit God is working on us day-by-day; but, we don’t use that as an excuse to continue sinfulness.

There is work in becoming better representatives of Christ. We have to learn, and then be, who we are called to be for furtherance of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have to be the difference; the peculiar of faith-in-Christ the world sees. We have to call sin, sin, and PRAYERFULLY ask for help when there are things ingrained in us.

My constant prayer for my own private and transparent flaws remains for God’s Word to illuminate the darkness lurking within me so it can be rooted out. At the end of the day, my Private I is between God and I so others will see more of JESUS and less of I!

Copyright © Wanda Murry, September 28, 2017

[Thanks, Emmanuel Otoo, for the inspiration today!]

I’m Trippin!

For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. [Mark 13:34]

Life can be Harsh and I’ve been assaulted by it!

Life can be Unfair and I’ve been victimized by it!

Life can be Uncertain and I’ve been confused by it!

Life can be Painful and I’ve been scarred by it!

Life can be Overwhelming and I’ve been hijacked by it!

Life can be Ravaging and I’ve been devoured by it!

Life can be Terrorizing, and I’ve been paralyzed by it!

Yet …

Life can be Sweet, and I have savored its offerings!

Life can be Carefree, and I have soared upon its wings!

Life can be Deep, and I have explored its flowing depths!

Life can be Beautiful, and I have painted upon its canvas!

Life can be an Adventure, and I have found its treasures!

Life can be a Symphony, and I have hummed its Arias!

Life can be a Test, and I am its student, striving to graduate with honors!

Copyright © Wanda J. Murry, August 2017

Motivated to Surrender

Heart, Soul & Mind … Who Has You?

Song:  Withholding Nothing by William McDowell

I had to make this post today after our bible study last night, and after hearing this song this morning! The teacher spoke on Psalm 46:10.  My heart was immediately overwhelmed with a sense of confirmation, myself being in a mind space where I know I need to BE STILL and wait on the Lord more consistently and faithfully!

The teacher gave examples of how we get so busy with pursuing life that we tend to push God to the side, giving him a minuscule of our time, talents and energy.

I felt the SLAP upside my head – intuitively and spiritually!

When you are operating day in and day out on automatic pilot, going through the motions, checking off your long, sometimes extensive lists of things to be done, and especially those things done in the name of God, stop and ask yourself:

  • Am I living a life that is totally SURRENDERED to God?
  • Am I working off a mental checklist in autopilot mode?
  • Am I working in conjunction with the Holy Spirit to accomplish God’s plan(s) for my life?

Jesus left it ALL at the CROSS – For You and For Me! – He WITHHELD NOTHING from us in His defeat of death to ensure we had a clear path to salvation, free of flesh-guided works.

What are you WITHHOLDING from the Lord of Your Salvation when all he wants is YOU – Heart, Soul and Mind (Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27)?

Today, and in the days following, I encourage you to BE STILL & KNOW HE IS GOD!  Make your future plans, but freely allow God to supply the final answer and direction of the path he wants you to follow!