Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Food, Fame, and Faith

When I think of the wilderness so many things come to my mind. I think of being alone, and nowhere...it seems sad. I think of the children of Israel and how they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years because they did not believe or trust God. Today in my Bible reading I read Luke 4:1, which says, "And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness."

The first thing I thought about after reading that verse was that Jesus was led to the wilderness by the Holy Spirit. The other day my husband and I were talking about trials, and how that after having gone through various and difficult trials we have realized that God entrusted us with those trials so that we might bring Glory and Honour to Him. I say entrusted because during these "wilderness" times or trials, we have the opportunity to experience the grace of God, and grow our faith. II Peter 5:10 says, "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you."

The Holy Spirit will lead us to the wilderness so that we can mature, become established in our beliefs, be strengthened in our faith, and have our questions answered - get matters of faith settled. The key to going through a trial is to fully rely on God - and not allow Satan to trip you up and cause you to wander in the wilderness. Satan will try all kinds of ways to turn you away from God - just like he did to Jesus.

Food: When Jesus was in the wilderness the Bible says He did not eat for 40 days - and that he was hungry. "And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread." Luke 4:3 Satan was tempting Jesus in His area of weakness. Jesus was hungry, Satan tempted Him with food. Jesus answered, "And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." Luke 4:4

Fame & Finances: After that Satan tried to appeal to Jesus by offering Him fame and riches - can you imagine the audacity Satan add to try to tempt the King of Kings? Luke 4:5-7 says, "And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine." Of course Jesus did not succumb to Satan.

Faith: When that didn't work Satan tried Jesus in the area of His faith. "And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." Luke 4:9-12

During those fearful times in the wilderness Satan will do the same things to you - but remember to keep these thoughts:

1. Stay in the Word of God - make sure you're eating good food!

2. "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." Luke 4:8 Keep giving your tithes, and keep serving the Lord - make sure your're working on giving Jesus "fame" and not yourself.

3. Trust the Lord - He is faithful.

The song on my heart today: He's Been Faithful To Me

In my moments of fear, through every doubt, every tear
there's a God whose been faithful to me
When my strength was all gone, and my heart had no song
even then He was faithful to me
Every word He's promised is true, and what I thought seemed impossible
I've seen my God do

He's been faithful, faithful to me
in my life, His tender mercies I see
though at times I have questioned, even failed to believe
still He's been faithful, faithful to me.


Yes through the years we have endured many trials and God has used each one to teach us, grow us, and most importantly allow us to fully realiz His love, grace, and peace...He's been so faithful to me. Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pictures



I love my family! We are so blessed to have such a wonderful, loving, and fun family! This past Thanksgiving we all got together and enjoyed a great time together. We were able to have our pictures taken and each time I look at them (there were literally hundreds of pictures taken) I am reminded of the time we shared together.

Pictures are a wonderful way to remember special times and special people. Through pictures we can see what people we have only heard about look like - like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, relatives that have passed on before we were born - people that have made a difference in our lives. As I was thinking about how pictures can mean so much, take us back to places we've been, remember joyous occasions, and allow us to see things we would never see otherwise - I thought of how we paint a picture - a portrait of sorts of Christ.

We have never seen God, yet we are made in His image. We know Him through His Word, and by what we see in His awesome creation - and to the lost and dying world Christians present a picture of Christ. We are the light of the world, and while we are commanded to shine, it is a fact that we are the light - so the world has only the light that we bring to it. Everywhere we go we represent Christ, and bring light - either a stadium beam, or a night light that is flickering...either way We (Christians) are the light.

"Now then we are ambassadors for Christ..." II Corinthians 5:20; an ambassador is a diplomat that represents his country. We are here to represent the Kingdom of Heaven while we’re here on earth. What an awesome responsibility! I started thinking about all the people that I have invited to church that have decided they don’t want to go to church because of something someone they knew had done; and whatever it was – it painted a picture that was not a true image of our loving Saviour!

As a Christian I am a picture of Christ; perhaps the only one many will ever see. However, if I don’t ever mention the fact that I am a Christian, or if I never testify of all that God has done in my life– people won’t make the connection. I can do my best to be a good testimony and do nice things, but if I don’t take the time to tell them Who I represent – I have missed an opportunity. What good does it do to represent Christ and not let anyone know that I am a Christian? If I am kind and thoughtful; if I go out of my way to do good things for others, when I help them, they’ll just think that I am a nice person and if that is all I have done, than I have failed! If I am indeed representing Christ – then I should do as He did, “to seek and to save that which is lost.”

As an ambassador, I want others to know of the Blessed Hope, to realize that there is a God that loves them, that gave His only begotten Son for them – it is my job to bring glory and honour to God! In I Corinthians 10:31 we are commanded to do all to the glory of God – “Whether therefore ye eat or drink or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” Our testimony as Christians should bring glory and honour to God – but with that testimony, be sure to testify of what great things He hath done!

Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord!
Let the earth hear His voice
Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord!
Let the people rejoice
Oh come to the Father through Jesus the Son
And give Him the glory, great things He hath done!


You'll find joy in singing, praising, and testifying of the great things He hath done! Have a wonderful day:)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Unfailing Love

On March 28, 1998 my brother Rick went home to be with the Lord after battling cancer for 13 months. Yesterday marked 12 years since I have seen my brother, since I have been able to have a conversation with him, or since our family has been able to get together and have “everybody” present.

This past week in my Bible reading I came upon the following statement, “Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee…” These words were spoken to Hezekiah after he prayed and asked the Lord to extend his life. As I pondered those words, I thought of all the times I have prayed and cried to the Lord, and received a definite answer and assurance that God indeed heard my prayers, saw my tears, and met my needs…hallelujah!

You might wonder how those two points in my life meet together, because surely we had prayed that God would let Rick live longer, certainly we had prayed and cried to the Lord for his health, and yet the cancer took him. I can say with full assurance that indeed the Lord heard our prayers, saw our tears, and healed my brother. You see today Rick is living in the presence of God because we know that “whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord…We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” We have the promise of God as quoted in Revelation 21:3-5, “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”

I miss my brother everyday, yet I know that since the day he breathed his last breath here on earth and entered into the presence of God he has never shed a tear or felt the pain his cancer caused him; he is alive forever and in the presence of our Heavenly Father because of the salvation he received that is available to all of us through Jesus Christ! I rejoice as I write these words today because they are true and faithful.

Today the song on my heart is one of my brother’s favorite songs, “Unfailing Love.”

Unfailing love flows from His heart and heals my soul
In spite of who I am He loves and makes me whole
I almost can’t believe its true – “unfailing love”
And yet I know He gave His life to give to me unfailing love


Ladies, if you are going through a trial right now, I pray that you will know that God sees your tears, He hears your prayers, and He has an unfailing love for you.

Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Completer or Finisher?

In my reading this morning I saw again how important the influence of a wife can be on her husband in II Kings 8:18, “And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as did the house of Ahab: for the daughter of Ahab was his wife: and he did evil in the sight of the LORD.” This is speaking of Jehoram, and then I also thought of Solomon and how the many women he loved turned Him away from God! “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.” I Kings 11:4 God had appeared to Solomon twice, He had given him wisdom above all men, and yet his wives were able to turn his heart away from God.

The role of the wife is that of an help meet for her husband. That means that the wife should help her husband, and be meet or proper and fitting for him. In Genesis the first time we see that God says anything about His creation is not good, is when He said “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” Genesis 2:18 in other words man needed a wife to complete him.

The wife has tremendous influence over her husband. I remember hearing through the years that the husband is the head, but the wife is neck that turns the head. As a mom of three sons I know that in raising our boys we put all that we could into them so that when they were grown we could turn out mature, responsible, God-fearing men that would be ready to contribute to the next generation – we did all we could for them, and then when they got married their wife’s position is to help them, to complete them.

Now there are two ways a wife can influence her husband – she can either be a completer or a finisher. Both of those words have similar meanings, but they really are quite different. Complete means: lacking nothing; whole; entire; full; finished may mean completed, but it also means: condemned, doomed, or in the process of extinction. In the case of Jehoram and Solomon, they were finished!

Ladies, you have power! You can make the difference in what your husband does with his life. You can be a completer so that he is entire and wanting nothing…or you can be a finisher and be the end of him. You choose, you can influence him to live for you, or you can follow God’s plan and love him, pray for him, and have a husband that is complete. He can have the testimony that he was evil because of his wife, or he can be known in the gates as is the case of the virtuous woman whose end is recorded…” Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.” Proverbs 31:28

The wives that think they’re going to win by influencing their husbands for their own gain lose because they finish their man – but the wife that completes her husband is loved and respected by her children, she is happy (blessed) and gains his praise! So ladies – make him complete, don’t finish him off!

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

To Be Used of God

This morning I was continuing in reading from the Book of II Kings and read about the Naaman. He was a captain that God had used to bring deliverance to Syria, but he was also a leper. There was a captive of Israel, a little maid that made all the difference in the life of Naaman. In II Kings 5:2-4 it says, "And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman’s wife. And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy. And one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel."

As I read those verses I thought about how that she was unnamed, a captive, described as a "little maid," and despite all those things her assurance and hope in what God could do through man of God to help Naaman led "one" to and tell the king all that she said. What amazed me even more was that because of that the king sent money and a letter to the king of Israel! As the story goes, Naaman went to Israel and was healed of his leprosy! Before he left for home "... he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel:..." II Kings 5:15.

I remember years ago when my children we all still pretty young, that my husband took our youngest
son out soulwinning for a Big Day - that was the event at church - our goal was to try to get as many people in church so they could hear the Gospel and be saved. Jon was about 6 years old and dressed in a clown costume to attract the attention of children so he could invite them to church. One of the homes they visited was that of a man whose wife was a Christian, but he had refused to leave his religious beliefs and trust only in Jesus as His Saviour. Jon, a six-year old (adorable boy if I do say so myself), explained to this man the simple difference between trusting in the Lord or his religion, and the huge difference in where he would spend eternity - in heaven or hell. At the end of the conversation that man trusted the Lord as His Saviour! His wife was so happy and exclaimed how amazing it was that God used a six-year old boy dressed in a clown's costume to finally reach her husband!

The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart through my reading this morning, that God can use anybody, of any age to bring hope to a lost and dying people. The ingredients for being used are simple.

1. Present your sincerity - Those around you should be able to see that you are real-that your relationship with God is real, and that you walk your talk.

2. Possess compassion - The little maid showed her compassion (that she cared) by the fact that she said, "Would God" indicating it was a prayer of her heart. Jon showed his compassion by going out door to door - you won't do that if you don't care.

3. Proclaim the Hope - both Jon and the Little Maid spoke up - they knew the answers and were not afraid to tell others.

The blessing in these truths is that you don't have to be rich, you don't have to live in a big house, you don't have to "have" anything...you can be and do these things no matter where you are in your walk of life.

My song for today: To be used of God, to sing, to speak, to pray. To be used of God to show someone the way. Oh I long so much to feel the touch of His consuming fire. To be used of God is my desire.

What a joy rings in my heart as I see those that God has used, and realize that I too can be used of God!

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My Story

This morning I was reading from the book of I Kings, beginning in chapter 10. In my reading I began to notice the same phrases repeated over and over. In fact in I and II Kings this same phrase is repeated 34 times! "Now the rest of the acts of (name of person)...are they not written, (or they are written)..." I began thinking about how that every person mentioned had their acts (or actions) recorded in writing. I began thinking about all those books and I was reminded of Revelations 20:12, "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." I was immediately thankful once again that my name is recorded in the Book of Life, especially after reading verse 15, "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."

In my prayer and devotion time today I was reminded of the fact that my life, my acts are writing the story of my life. What we do is being recorded. Every choice we make, our responses to what God wants us to do, what we do for God, what we do for ourselves - all of it is being recorded! What a scary truth!

But wait - stress not! We can ask God to blot out our iniquities, "Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities." Psalm 51:9. We also have the promise "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust." Psalm 103:12-14 Whew! that is GREAT news!

One day my life really will be an open book...I want to make sure that what is written is pleasing to the Lord so that I can hear the words, "Well done thou good and faithful servant." I know that I have sinned and there are things I have done for which I am ashamed, but I can ask for forgiveness and have them blotted out of my story that is recorded in the books; I can claim the promise that through Christ my transgressions have been removed. Today, I can plan what I hope will be written and avoid doing things that will make me ashamed. The prayer of my heart is singing...

This is my story, this is my song, praising my Saviour, all the day long!

Only those that have trusted the Lord as their personal Saviour have their names recorded in the Book of Life - so if you have not been born again, or if you're not sure - get that settled today. You can post a comment and I can email God's plan of Salvation to you. If you have been saved, today won't you join me in making the story of your life "praising" your Saviour all the day long?

Have a wonderful day.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Faith of a Daughter

The other day I had the privilege of meeting a young mom named Carolyn. In the course of our conversation we realized that we were both "first generation" Christians meaning that we were both the first in our families to personally trust Christ for salvation full and free. I had been raised going to church, but I was placing my trust in my religion and my own good works to get to Heaven; I will say though that I was raised with good morals and many godly principles were instilled in me as I was growing up.

Carolyn was encouraged to learn the testimony of my family after my nearly 25 years of salvation - you see she is much younger than I am (the longer I live that seems to happen to me more and more). I am sure there are many "first generation" Christians that would have the same question as Carolyn did - "what did you do?" I wish I had a simple answer, I have wondered what answer I could give - and the best I can say is what my parents have told me through the years - "stay faithful; let your family see that your relationship with Christ is real."

This morning I was reading about Rahab, the harlot from the Book of Joshua. As I was reading, I realized that she too was a "first generation" Christian. In fact she was the only one in her whole town that believed God! When the men that Joshua sent to spy out the land lodged at Rahab's house she said, "And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land," she also said, "for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath." As the story goes she made a deal with the men that she would hide them if they would spare her and her family when God gave them the land. Then I saw the following verse: "And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day..." The family was saved because of the faith of the daughter Rahab!

What a wonderful testimony of faith - even though she was a harlot; she believed God, and God used her! She was the first in her generation that believed God...and her future generations? Let me name them for you..."And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse" Matthew 1:5. "And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David." Ruth 4:21, 22. In other words Rahab married Salmon, they had Boaz, who married Ruth and they had Obed, and Obed was Jesse's father - and Jesse was the father of David! Rahab is related to Jesus - a great, great, (how ever many generations) grandmother to Jesus! God blessed her faith for every generation!

Rahab was a daughter that had faith, saw her family saved, and was able to see many future generations serve the Lord as well. Certainly that should give tremendous hope to all of us "first generationers" as well as to those that have a "past." It is my prayer that my faith will allow many generations to come live for the Lord as well! God can and will use you if you stand on your faith in Christ!

I thrill as I see my family today - my parents are both saved, (my dad is a deacon), by brothers and their families have all trusted the Lord, my youngest brother is a pastor, our children are all living for the Lord and serving Him with their lives, and so far 2 of our 11 grandchildren have received Christ as their Saviour! I praise the Lord for His goodness and thank Him for blessing the faith of a daughter.

Ladies, if you're a woman - you're a daughter...take that step of faith, and stand on it - God will bless you!

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Faith, Grace, and Mercy

Yesterday after the morning service my husband and I had the privilege of visiting a church where my husband would be preaching the evening service. We got there a little early and I met a gal that I was able to sit and chat with for nearly an hour! In the course of our conversation we got on the subject of cancer, and so I began to tell her about my daughter that is a cancer survivor.

As a cancer patient, my daughter had many years of doctor's appointments that lasted beyond the 18 months that she was on chemotherapy. For the first several years she had check-ups that included chest x-rays, ct scans, and blood tests. I remember one time in particular that we went in for her testing and I was especially anxious. I was weak and fearful. As we were getting ready to leave, I prayed and asked the Lord if He could please just let me know everything was ok, because I really didn't think I could take the waiting for a phone call. As we were walking out the door Kellie's surgeon happened to pass by and asked how we were doing and how things were going, and I answered him telling him what tests she had just taken and so forth...anyway, a few seconds later the doctor came back and said, "Mrs. Azzarello, I just went and looked at her tests - congratulations everything is fine." I weep even now as I remember the flood of relief I felt, and the overwhelming joy at God's grace, and mercy being extended to us.

God is so good - He didn't have to answer my prayer immediately, especially since shortly after Kellie's surgery in answer to a prayer I received a verse I claim to this day. You see a week after Kellie's cancer surgery we had to take her back to the hospital because of severe pain. That evening while I was home with our sons, and my husband was at the hospital with our daughter I truly feared that she was not going to live through the night. I cried and prayed, and begged God for His help. He led me to Jeremiah 33:3, "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." As I continued reading I came to verse 6 which says, "Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth." When I read that verse I felt peace and a comfort from the Holy Spirit that indeed God was going to cure Kellie from her cancer.

The next time Kellie had her test I began to get fearful again, and prayed as I had the time before that God would give me an immediate answer, but the answer I received that time was an admonishment in my heart - that still small voice that said, "Terrie, I have already promised to give her health and cure - trust me." I realized that my fearfulness was wavering faith and asked the Lord for His forgiveness. That experience stretched my faith - and while I certainly wouldn't want to relive it, I am thankful for all that God did in our lives as a result.

John 9:41 says, "Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth." When I read that I remembered how when I didn't understand that my anxiety over Kellie's test was showing a lack of faith and trust in God's promise to me, I was blind, but once God showed me and I saw it - when I was no longer blind, then it was a sin.

I am thankful for the reminder this morning. Our Heavenly Father is worthy of all of faith - He is an almighty God that we can believe in and stand sure upon His Word! I thank you Lord, for your grace and your mercy that You have extended to all that believe. Ladies, I pray for all of you that are struggling with difficulties today that as you read this you will be reminded that you can really trust God - He will keep His Word! Have faith - He will extend His grace and His mercy to you!

Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Don't Be a Bird Brain

Currently my husband and I are living in a home in the country. We have an orchard out our front door, and a meadow behind us...it is beautiful. On the back of the house there is an enclosed patio that was recently added on by the owner for summer dining for the many church groups that stay here for their summer retreats. It is a nice big room with many windows and sliding glass doors. There does seem to be a glitch in the tie in with the original roof that allows birds to get in the patio.

Now, it may not sound like a big deal to have a bird or two get in to the patio room, except for the fact that since the room is enclosed, they can't get out! On almost a daily basis we check our "atrium" to make sure that there are no birds trapped in the room. You see, the problem is that since the room has so many windows, the birds "think" they can simply go out...and end up diving head on to the window and then crashing back on the ground!
It makes quite a noise, and sadly one of these little flying fellows has perished with a broken neck. The other problem is that though we try to help them out...they don't want our help! We try to usher the birds in the direction of the open doors or windows, and they just keep diving into the closed ones!

The other evening my husband and I were in the living room when a large bird began crashing into the window toward the house. I imagine it was because the light was on inside and since it was dark outside; the bird was flying towards the light. My husband went out to the patio and opened the sliding door and used a broom to "encourage" the bird to go out the door. I chuckled as I watched him chasing the bird in an effort to free it and save its life; only to have the bird crash into our same window over and over again. I began to laugh as my husband was then not only using the broom but also trying to coax the bird in Italian, calling it "testardo" (meaning stubborn). The bird finally flew out the door and the episode was over.

I started thinking about the bird, and thought that the slang term, "bird brain" meaning silly, or a person with confused ideas, was probably invented by someone that had the same experience with birds as we have been enjoying of late. Then I thought that really we are so often bird brained. You see, we have a Heavenly Father that knows and sees everything, that has left us His Book of instructions, guidance, love, and direction - and we too often make choices based on what we see instead of by following the Lord, and end up beating our heads against a hard surface!

That evening as I was watching my husband striving to "shepherd" that bird to safety I was reminded of the 23rd Psalm.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

The Lord is our shepherd - trust Him and follow His leading - don't be a bird brain!

Have a wonderful day!