Author Archives: Victoria

Inheritance

There once was a kind, generous and benevolent wealthy man.  He had many interests and his business dealings had brought him much honor and fame.  He was a humble man who credited his success to God and his family.  People loved being with him because he treated them all the same.  No one person was better than any other in his sight:  whether rich or poor, employee or friend, they all received the same encouragement, the same attention.

This wonderful man had many children and he raised them in the fear and admonition of the Lord, training them to be independent in thought and deed.  He disciplined them when necessary and insisted they make their own way in the world.  He did not bail them out of scrapes that they got into, but watched over them as they struggled to get themselves straightened out.  If they asked for advice, he was always there for them.  And if they fell, he would help them pick themselves up and set them on the right path again.

As a result of his parenting style, he had several successful children.  He also had the standard family dynamics everyone deals with.  One of his sons was so rebellious against his father and everything he stood for that he rarely visited.  However, always mindful that there was a reward waiting for him when his father passed, the son showed up dutifully for family main events.  He did what he was asked whenever he was asked, but always with that rebellious attitude.

Another son was very successful and loved to visit his father and talk about himself and his latest conquest, whether it was a business venture or a woman.  A third son, also successful in his choice of careers, acquiesced to any request for his presence, but rarely made the effort on his own initiative.

Then there are the daughters, two of which were vivacious and attractive, constantly doing things for their father.  They divided their time between their own homes and their father’s home, doing whatever they could find to do to make him happy.  Their father loved them, but sometimes his feelings ran close to irritation as the daughters continued to find things to do for him that he did not ask them to do.  He felt sometimes they were wasting their energies when they could be doing the things he had taught them to do instead of the things they decided were a better investment of their time.

Last, but certainly not least, is the third daughter.  She was neither as lovely nor as vivacious as the others.  A middle child, she was not what one would call a success, but she wasn’t a failure either.  A middle-of-the-road type of person, she enjoyed her own home and career (though she called it a job).  At family gatherings, she was never the center of attention.  Neither athlete nor business mogul, she had never attained the high scholastic marks the others strove for, though she always did her best.  So as the others laughed and traded witticisms and stories of their own latest successes, she listened and smiled, encouraging them with ‘ooo’ and ‘ah’ at the appropriate moments.  And after the others had departed, she would stay behind, making sure everything was back in order and her father was comfortable.  She would prepare two glasses of iced tea and, bringing him one, she would sit and talk with him a while before heading for her own home.  She often stopped in unannounced to see how he was doing and share moments of her life with him, seeking his wisdom and enjoying his fellowship.

As happens to all men, death finally overtook the man, and his family was left to divide the estate.  The day came to listen to the reading of the will, and they all (but one) sat in shock as they heard the lawyer read the man’s words:    “My dear children.  You surely must know how much I love each and every one of you.  I have placed before you many treasures throughout your lives and it has been up to you to gather them and experience the depth of those riches.  I have left you the reward of hard work, and you have turned it into a race for possessions and prestige.  I have left you the reward of obedience, and you have turned it into disobedience by deciding you knew better than I what needed to be done.  I have left you the reward of fellowship, and you have turned it into a game of one-upmanship, never delving any deeper than shallow, impersonal relationships.  My children, you have squandered the greatest rewards I can give you.  I do not believe that leaving you wealth and riches will enrich your lives.  Return, dear children, to the first lessons.”

Five of the children were outraged, incensed that their father should have denied them their inheritance.  But one of the children spoke softly, and the rest turned to listen.  She said, “He gave us our inheritance while he was with us.  You were too busy, too selfish, too self-serving, to notice.  The greatest gift he had to give us was himself.”

Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.  Revelation 22:12

Please, ask yourself today, why are you serving the Lord?  Is it because you think there is going to be some big reward?  Or banquet?  Are you doing what He has asked you to do or are you so busy ‘working’ for the Lord that you can’t hear His requests?  Are you spending time with Him, getting to know Him, exploring His character, and applying that beauty to your own life?  No one is promised tomorrow and we will all face death.  Please. Examine your heart.  If you are serving the Lord, why are you doing it?  And if you are not, why not? 

Stalemate

Good morning dear ones!

What a glorious morning….overcast, humid, rain on the way, and still, simply GLORIOUS! This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. And not only because He made it, but also because He woke me up to partake of it.

I look around me at a world gone berzerk (violently or destructively frenzied; wild; crazed; deranged) and I wonder just how much of that is real and how much has been manufactured to take our eyes and minds off of what is truly happening around us? How much is hyped up and even created by the news media to create chaos?

Here’s what I see: The entitled brats are throwing tantrums. Unfortunately, they are doing so in the middle of valid protests calling for justice. And then there are those who are being paid to move from city to city, carrying weapons and instuments of destruction, burning and looting and attacking unarmed citizens. And heaven forbid! if a citizen should arm themselves and try to defend themselves. Anarchy. How did we get to this place of destruction? It is all around the world and even in our own towns.

And yet, my spirit sings this morning as I turn my eyes to the One who created us, who loves us, who wants to spend eternity with us, and who mourns our lack of love for one another. A glorious day indeed.

Dear ones, we are living in perilous times and it is important for each of us to make up our minds right now, today, about how we will spend eternity. This isn’t a political decision. This isn’t a cultural decision. This isn’t a religious decision. This is an eternal decision. Please be certain that you are CONFIDENT of the decision you are making, because there is coming a time when the opportunity to change your mind will be gone and you will be living (and dying) with your inexorable decision. There are no stalemates in eternity.

As for me….today is a glorious day!

“And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

Are you paying attention?

Have you been paying attention?  I have.

The world around us is spiraling out of control with a centrifugal force driving it ever downward in a morass of corruption, violence, hate, selfishness, greed…just to name a few.

What I have been paying attention to, though, is the amazing exhibition of those climbing out of the spiral, consistently striving toward all that is good and right and just.  I have seen exhibitions of God’s amazing love pouring out of people in situations that would drown most of us.  I have watched as parents apply grace to those who have cost them the lives of their children.  I have watched as first-responders heroically step into the fray of violence and disease, shining like gold as they unselfishly give of themselves, even to the point of their very lives.  I have learned of missionaries in foreign (for them) lands, in the middle of panic and fear brought on by an incurable disease, standing their ground and surrounding those they serve with love and compassion, help and hope.  I have watched as neighbors help neighbors without being asked.  I have seen the face of God in the face of strangers helping strangers.

What have you seen?  And what are you being?  Are you the hands and feet and voice of God in the lives of others?  Or are you the tantrum-throwing infant who demands attention and rights?

I think these are questions we have to ask ourselves daily.  I also think we become what we focus upon.  So today, just for today, practice lifting your eyes off of what evil is being accomplished in our world and look for what is good.  You’ll have to turn off the news and get out of the house – yes, out of the house.  Look around.  Lift your eyes and see others instead of yourself and your circumstances or what the news media is trying to force-feed you.  Just for today, look for God in motion.  And then tomorrow, when you awaken, turn your thoughts toward Him and all He has done for you – remembering that God is GOOD and His mercy endures forever.  In gratitude, set your heart on another day of looking for Him in motion.  And when you see it, join it! 

God loves you and He doesn’t want to be separated from you.  Not now.  And not in eternity.  Make a choice today.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”  Philippians 4:8

All I Can Do is Praise

When the world around me is crumbling …

All I can do is praise.

When my best friend succumbs to cancer…

all I can do is praise.

When my friends succumb to COVID-19…

all I can do is praise.

When cancer decimates my family…

all I can do is praise.

When my life partner goes off the rails and destroys all trust…

all I can do is praise.

When I sit alone without a friend left to call…

all I can do is praise.

When my sisters and brothers are so consumed with themselves they neither see or hear my pain…

all I can do is praise.

When I wake up in the morning…

all I can do is praise.

When I see a hummingbird…

all I can do is praise.

When I walk in the cool morning mist…

all I can do is praise.

When I receive bounty from your hand…

all I can do is praise.

When hope abounds and joy bubbles over…

all I can do is praise.

This day, Lord, I offer you praise. Praise for who You are. Praise for what You have done. Praise for the amazing grace, unconditional love, peace, and joy You and You alone provide. I praise you Lord Jesus. May a rock never replace my voice!

PRAISE THE LORD!!!!

Proclaim Declare Decree

How often we speak without considering the outcome!  Our conversations are rife with curses as we talk about circumstances of others without taking authority over the negative and speaking the positive.  How many times do we complain, grumble, mumble and mutter to God?

In 2015, in a time of prayer and communion with God and a dear friend, the Holy Spirit dropped these words into me.  I share them with you now, in remembrance of this dear friend who has this week left behind this valley of tears and moved to her eternal home with the Lord.  Hear the words of the Lord:

“I do not want you to be clamorous.  Be assured in your approach to me, confident in our relationship and what you expect of me.  I will answer every prayer but if you are not certain of what you expect or desire as an end result then I will respond according to my righteousness.  You have the power to move mountains and part seas, but if you hesitate, your mountain may shudder, creating an earthquake in your life) rather than move, and your sea may become a tidal wave (creating a flood in your life) and refuse to part.  Be confident in our relationship and my responses.  You have power – I have placed it in your hands.  Pray the end that you desire.  Command the mountains and the seas.  Watch, my beloved child, as the universe responds.

As you decree and declare a thing, the firmament moves in the direction of your declaration.  Just as water ripples in response to a swimmer, so the firmament responds to your words.  Speak words of life – speak words of abundance – speak words of health – and watch the heavens respond and line up with your words.  Your words have great power:  use them for good.  Bless and curse not.  The louder, the better.  Like a trumpet gets the attention of the entire band, so as you trumpet the entire firmament responds.  Watch, child.  As a son commands his father’s servants, so you have authority to command my servants.  Proclaim it.  Declare it.  Decree it.

AND WATCH!”

Virus Victims

The virus which began in Wuhan, China (so we are told) has claimed many live around the world.  And the numbers continue to climb in countries which have resorted to draconian measures to control their citizenry.  The platitudes that are being handed around include “it’s for the greater good”; “we have to protect one another”; “protect the children”; “stay away from one another so that you will live”; and on, and on, and on……

The victims of the virus are greater than the numbers of lives lost.  Greater, and taking a permanent toll, on all those left behind.  We have all lost freedom.  We have all lost trust.  We have all lost relationship intimacy at some level.  We have all lost truth.  From my viewpoint, the loss of truth is the worst of all.

We can no longer trust our government to do what is best for us.  The people governing us are now focused on doing what is best for them so that they can remain in power and keep everyone else in subjection.

We can no longer trust the news media as so many of them are no longer reporting but sermonizing the message they have been told to sell.

We can no longer trust the medical community as they are no longer dealing in truth and science, but in fear and subjugation. 

We can no longer trust pharmacists who may be changing the medication we have been prescribed for something they have been told is “better” for us.

The lies being spread on social media and by the fourth estate are propagating fear and distrust, division and hate.  But then, that is the goal, isn’t it?

No organization that is filled with hate and division can survive – whether it is a business, a family, a community, or a nation.

Wake up world.  You have sold yourselves to the devil and now you are allowing him to control your life and your future.  It’s time to take a stand.  Unite under one cause, one flag, one voice:  TRUTH!  Demand the truth from your leaders, your doctors, your pharmacists, and the MEDIA in every form.  A nation divided against itself will not stand.

MARK 3:25  “And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”

Lincoln’s House Divided Speech      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln’s_House_Divided_Speech

Lift Me Up

There is sometimes such a deep, abiding despair in my soul that I cannot even cry out for help.  These past weeks have been like that, as I struggle to understand that battle in which my family is engaged.  Yet this morning, as I sat in quiet time with the Lord, He spoke to my heart about my newest sin – new as in the latest one that He is revealing to me.  It seems I sinned when I went to someone else for help rather than crying out to Him alone.

You wouldn’t think that was sin, would you?  I certainly didn’t.  I thought we were here to help one another make it through the days.  My Lord saw it differently.  You see, for many months He has been drawing me closer and closer into a deeper intimacy with Him.  He has been grooming me for His purposes and He wants me to rely on Him, trust Him, reach for Him when I am in need, and totally depend upon Him.  I knew that. 

So this morning why did I reach for a flesh and blood friend?  I don’t really know the answer to that except that I wasn’t hearing from Him and in my impatience I turned to a friend to see if they had an explanation and some kind of direction that I wasn’t receiving.  As it turned out, they didn’t.  The best advice they had was to sit and wait upon the Lord.  (If I could insert a picture of a sheepish grin here, I would!)

After receiving this sage advice, I sat back in my prayer chair and waited on the Lord.  It took all of about two minutes to receive the chastening of the Lord and His reminder that I belong to Him and Him alone and our ministry together is dependent upon our constant communion and trust of ONE ANOTHER.

Okay here’s a new one on me.  The Lord is trusting ME???  After I let it sink in a bit I realized that yes, in fact, He was.  He was giving me assignments and trusting me to carry them our according to His instructions.  He was trusting that I wouldn’t substitute my own ingredients into the recipe, or hand it off to someone else to babysit for me.  He was trusting ME to be reliable and dependable in the service He has for me.  How about THAT?!?  The God who created the universe is trusting ME!

With contrite spirit I repented before Him, asking for His forgiveness.  He, as always, was faithful to offer that forgiveness along with some new revelations and a step deeper into His heart.

I have dusted off my knees and am now basking in the incredible peace and joy that comes from walking intimately with the King of Kings.  Hallelujah!

So how is your day going?

The Bridegroom Cometh!

For those of us who have been engaged to be married, the phrase ‘the bridegroom cometh’ brings fond memories of love and anticipation.   We remember those halcyon days following his proposal and our acceptance.  The days of dreaming and planning our wedding and our future together.  We gush over dresses and patterns and flowers and guest lists.  We beam!

In our soon-to-be-wed bliss our thoughts are of the bridegroom and our future.  We don’t look back on our past or his.  We look forward with eager anticipation to the day we become one unit.  And in all of that anticipation and excitement and planning, we do not turn our eyes to another.  Our hearts are steadfast for him and him alone, and we will not be deceived into believing another’s lies or enticements.  We are faithful.  We are adoring.  We are in a constant state of preparation and readiness.  For, after all, our bridegroom cometh!

These thoughts came to me today as I read 2 Timothy 2:5 – “… if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.”  Don’t see the connection?  Let me explain….

Jesus said that he is returning for a spotless bride.  (Ephesians 5:27—“that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”  Now a bride without spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish, requires some effort.  Surely, as the bride, we do not allow ourselves to ‘go to seed’.  Of course not!  We groom ourselves, constantly looking out for anything that might mar the coming special day.  All blemishes must be vanquished!  Nails perfectly manicured, hair expertly coifed.  Our garments are clean, spotless, and pressed.  That is a bride preparing herself for her groom.  And that is what Jesus expects us to be doing now.  Preparing ourselves for our groom.

He has made the offer of marriage.  We have accepted His proposal and He has given us His ‘engagement ring’ so to speak — the Holy Spirit.  Now we who are sealed with the Holy Spirit of His promise must prepare ourselves as we eagerly await His coming.

So how does the soon-to-be bride of Christ prepare herself?  Look again at 2 Timothy 2:5 —  if you are in a race, you have to run that race according to the rules of the race.  So, too, must the bride of Christ run the race set before her according to the rules Christ has already given her in the Holy Scriptures.  It isn’t always easy.  In fact, sometimes it is downright hard to make our will conform to His Word.  It is, however, ALWAYS rewarding.

I have heard some people say they are on the ‘grace’ plan.  They can’t (translate that to won’t) do everything Christ has said so they are just believing they are saved by grace and can live any way they choose.  The fact is, we are ALL saved by grace.  Yet we who belong to Christ are commanded to live our lives in a way that honors and glorifies GOD, not ourselves.  And we do it to obtain a crown –2 Timothy 2:5 – “… if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.”

Beloved, Jesus Christ is coming in the clouds very soon to call His bride unto Himself.  He won’t waste time coming all the way to earth.  He is simply going to gather those who truly belong to Him to come to the wedding feast He is preparing.  And there we shall ever be with Him.  So let me encourage you today to live for Christ.  Obey His command to love God with all your heart and all your mind and all your strength, and to love everyone else as much and in the same manner as you love yourself.  Forgive.  Encourage.  Give of your time, treasure and talents to build the Kingdom of God.

REVELATION 22:20  …Surely I come quickly.

Catch-22

Ever been there?  Caught in a situation where every escape route leads you back to the same problem?  That’s where I am this morning.

                In August of last year – 11 months ago – I purchased three event tickets for my son’s birthday.  These were not cheap tickets and the event was almost six months past his birthday, but the group is so popular I had to buy them that far in advance.  Then the virus lockdown struck.

I received a nice email stating that the event was postponed and I would be notified when it would be rescheduled.  That is still, six months later, the position of the event holder.  However, given the time passed (almost a year) they are also offering me the option of a full refund.  How nice!

                Well, here is where the struggle begins.  The credit card I used to charge the tickets is no longer valid.  I closed that account about three months ago.  It isn’t affiliated with my personal bank so my ties to that institution are no longer in place.  And, of course, the ticket vendor will only refund my purchase price to the original purchase method – to the original CARD used to purchase the tickets.  Here we go. . . .

Fortunately for me, I was SMART when I purchased those tickets, because they were so expensive.  I purchased cancellation insurance!  Woohoo!

                I searched through my email and found the policy, clicking on the ‘file a claim’ link.  Churn, churn, churn…..and then there it was in front of me, taking up the entire screen:  NOTICE:  WE DO NOT HONOR CLAIMS THAT ARE A RESULT OF THE COVID-19 VIRUS.

                So here I am, once again low man on the totem pole, supporting not only the popular group but also the event organizer, ticket vendor, and the ticket cancellation insurance company.

I have seen this so many times in my life but never so much as during this virus.  Everyone tells me ‘big government’ is footing the bill.  Not so.  You and I are footing the bill.  Beginning with situations such as I just described and ending with the tax bill that is waiting for us around the corner.  Big business will escape as they simply won’t pay their vendors and subcontractors (who will go under).  The little business guy in your neighborhood? – he is hurting and probably won’t survive.  And people like me?  We do without.  Not that I will starve (I have family and church family that will see to that) – but the funds that have been stolen – that’s right, STOLEN – from my hands and yours will never be returned to us.  The money I saved to give my son a really good present on a very special birthday is forever gone.  Consequently, we will adjust our spending habits, tighten our belts, reduce our expenditures wherever we can, and continue to be the supporting structure for the rest of the country. 

So what is the point of this rant?  It is to say “be kind”.  Be kind to one another and be generous of spirit, and if you are able, of wallet, in these unprecedented times.  Recognize that everyone you meet is in some sort of struggle.  We’ve lost friends, loved ones, jobs, homes, families and hope. 

                It is time to love one another with all that we have within us because there is no guarantee that the face you are staring at today will be here tomorrow.  LOVE like there is no tomorrow.  FORGIVE like it is your last day on earth.  And LET GO of all of the things you can’t control.  It isn’t worth holding on to.

John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Rapture

“Rapture” is not a word found in the Holy Scriptures, but the concept is there in many verses.  Merriam-Webster defines it as:

 1 : an expression or manifestation of ecstasy or passion

2a : a state or experience of being carried away by overwhelming emotion

2b : a mystical experience in which the spirit is exalted to a knowledge of divine things 

3 often capitalized : the final assumption of Christians into heaven during the end-time according to Christian theology.

This isn’t a theological discussion but I did want to point out a couple of things.  Bible verses that speak to the concept of the Rapture are numerous.  Some of the most often quoted are:

1 Thessalonians 4:16   For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 

1 Thessalonians 4:17  Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 

Matthew 24:37  For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. 

Mark 13:32  But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. 

Matthew 24:40  Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 

Luke 17:34  I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left.

Really, I didn’t want to get into a theological discussion but rather just wanted to give a quick explanation of what the Rapture is and to whom it pertains.  Basically, it is a day that is coming very soon in which Jesus Christ will come in the clouds and call all believers to Himself.  We will meet Him in the air and go to live with Him for all eternity.  But why is this event even happening?

To understand we have to look at the entire picture.  Throughout the Scriptures, Christ is referred to as the bridegroom and believers as the bride.  A quick look at Hebrew customs of the first century explains not only why the Rapture but also those events that happen to believers prior to the Rapture.

In the first century when a man wanted to marry a woman he made the offer of marriage.  For every person on earth this correlates to the offer of salvation that has been made.  If the woman accepts the offer of marriage then the bridegroom sends a gift or token to seal the betrothal.  Every person who accepts Christ’s offer of salvation receives the “seal” of the Holy Spirit.  The next step in the ancient romance is the bridegroom coming to the bride’s house to get her and take her to his home for the wedding feast.  This, then, is the correlation to the Rapture.  Believers are awaiting the arrival of the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, to take them to His home for the marriage supper of the Lamb.  And we are excited!  Because we see the signs as described prophetically in the Scriptures.  These signs of His soon return for His bride are very evident all around us.  They don’t give us an exact date, but they do make it clear it will be soon!

The Rapture is NOT the second coming of Christ.  During the Rapture Christ will remain in the clouds.  At His second coming He will come completely down to the earth.  There are many studies available to explain both occurrences, and if you read through some of them you will discover that some theologians disagree as to the exact timing of the Rapture in relation to the Second Coming.  That is irrelevant as far as I am concerned, and all believers agree that there will be a Rapture and there will be a Second Coming.

But what about all those people who did not accept Christ’s invitation?  All those who are “left behind”?  Well, there are many movies about those events and if you have not accepted Christ’s invitation then I recommend you watch a couple of them.

What I can tell you is that the deception that will be told to all those who are left behind is already circulating.  There is a ‘New Age’ prophecy which claims there is a massive solar flare coming which will affect all human beings and catapult them forward to a new level of consciousness/development.  Of course, according to the lie, not everyone will be suitable for this new enlightened age and they will simply disappear – consumed by the solar flare!  A variation on this theme says that just prior to the solar flare our ancient ‘ancestor’, ancient aliens, will return and they will remove those who ‘don’t belong’ to the new enlightened age at the time of the solar flare.

Please know that the devil is a liar and the father of lies.  He is already spreading his lies so that when the Rapture happens, those who are left behind will be controllable with the lie that they are ‘superior’ in some way.  Rest assured – there is not one good human on earth.  Jesus said there is none good, no, not one, except God.

Now is the time.  Today is your day.  Make your choice.  Eternity is just around the corner, and we will ALL have an eternal home.  We simply have to choose – with God or without.  Your choice.

JOSHUA 24:15   … choose this day whom you will serve….