by Brenda Johnson
Over the years, I have been under physical attack in my body for several medical issues.
A "Gist" for this and a "Gist" for that. The "Gist" of things is this; our healing does not come from these "Practitioners." We may look to a "special-gist" for whatever ails us BUT there is only one healer - The Lord God Almighty!
Call on Him. Tell Him all about your pain, sickness and illnesses. Psalm 6:2 says, “Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint. Heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony." He may answer by guiding you to seek a practicing "special-gist" for comfort and management. However, put your faith in Him for your healing. Psalm 41:3 says, "The Lord sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness.” His Word promises us that we shall be sustained and restored. That means comforted throughout our illnesses and restored from our sickbeds.
Though we may not know the manner or length of time of the comfort we'll enjoy, we can trust and believe that He is faithful to His Word. Our restoration from our sickbeds may not look like what we imagine. Be rest assured that it will come. We will be restored, and I truly believe it will manifest just as soon as we clearly understand the "Gist of Things." GOD is our healer, not the "special-gist"!
“It wasn’t any herb or ointment that healed them but your word alone, Lord, which heals everything.” The Wisdom of Solomon 16:12
Written by Donna Butler
We all have some goals…and so does God! Throughout His world, His goals for us are to love others, forgive, prosper, seek Him with our whole hearts, and many others. He wishes to bless us and not harm us, to give us hope and a future (Jer. 29:11).
There’s one that I came across in my devotion time from Hebrews 12:14 (CSB), “Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness - without it no one will see the Lord.” My first thought was, “Of course! I love peace!” But, the Holy Spirit prompted me to dig deeper. So, I backed up to the section’s subtitle which began at verse 3 and it said “Do Not Grow Weary.” I wondered, What was I going to get weary of because I could already give God a whole list of what I’m tired of! Hebrews 12:3-4 in the Passion Translation puts it this way: “So consider carefully how Jesus faced such opposition from sinners who opposed their own souls, so that you won’t become worn down and cave in under life's pressures. After all, you have not yet reached the point of sweating blood in your opposition to sin.” (Oh, wow, and ouch!) Verses 5 - 13 go on to talk about training, correction, discipline, transforming my character, and strengthening my weaknesses. Doesn’t this sound like a workout program!
I realize “pursuing peace” is not like going into Ross or TJ Maxx, finding your bargain of the year (Oh look! It’s Peace! In my favorite color! Thank You, Lord!), and you’re done. “Pursuing peace with everyone” is an ongoing process that requires effort! But wait, there’s more! “AND holiness”! Peace and holiness go hand in hand like God’s grace and mercy! (MIND BLOWN) As you strive for God’s peace with everyone (the workout plan), you are also obtaining the holiness (defined muscles) that God wants you to walk out this life in Christ because “without which no one will see the Lord”.
So, we can’t see God without holiness and neither will the people who are not holy…unbelievers…What? :0 Our “spiritual fat” becomes a stumbling block for others seeing the love of God! Our unforgiveness, judgmental, religious/pious attitudes slow us down from pursuing peace and holiness. We hinder others from receiving the blood that was sacrificed for ALL our sin!
God, Help me to pursue peace with everyone. I want to be holy as You are holy. So please, open my eyes, show me where I have spiritual fat because I want to be a healthy and whole part of the Body of Christ.
In Jesus’ Name
Written by Susan Stedman
Matthew 6:8b, “…for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask.”
I grew up with an earthly father who was neither here nor there. We rarely knew where he was, so he was not a very good example when I started to learn about my Heavenly Father. Donnie didn’t know very much about me either, about the things I liked, the things I didn’t like, who my friends were, or how I did in school. You get the picture. The one thing he always knew was what scared me. That was pretty much the extent of our relationship. He got a kick out of scaring me, my sister, my cousins, and any friend that might have been around at the time.
About six years ago, I reconnected with an old friend on Facebook who had known me in elementary school. We were tickled to find each other and catch up, but the very first thing she said was, “I remember that slumber party where your dad told us scary stories all night! I didn’t sleep for a week!”
So, yeah, fear was his game. I guess it gave him a feeling of power somehow. Then we have my heavenly Father, whom I call “Daddy” sometimes. This is why…
Several years ago, my family and my sister’s family helped my grandmother move into a new house. We worked all day packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking and left for the hour-and-a-half drive home well after dark. We were all exhausted and stopped at a little restaurant for dinner. On the way out, the kids noticed a gumball machine that was filled with tiny rubber ducks and duck tattoos. We obviously weren’t thinking straight by that time because my husband started pumping quarters in trying to win all four of the over-eighteen “kids” a rubber duck. However, after nearly $10 in quarters, they all had handfuls of tattoos and no rubber ducks.
I was the last one out and I had fifty cents left, so I just felt like trying my luck. I even said a prayer for some reason. “God, I really want a duck.” I put the money in, turned the handle, and a tiny, yellow-spotted duck fell into my hand. I was elated and ran outside showing off my duck.
It didn’t occur to me till the next morning that I had probably been silly and irresponsible to pray to God for a rubber duck. I apologized to Him and told Him that I didn’t mean it in any bad way. I don’t know why I even did it. I was so used to praying constantly that I guess I just did it out of habit.
While I was praying that morning, I understood that God was not upset with me. He asked me if I knew why He did that. I had no guess.
“Because I want you to know that I am not like your earthly father. When you ask something of me, I will not let you down. I want you to know that you can trust me to give you good things.” I started to cry because I could feel those words even more than I could hear them. The situation taught me to make sure what I prayed for was worthwhile and not frivolous. I still have my “Duck of Grace”. It sits in my basket beside my bed. He will be seven years old this year.
And that brings me back around to my favorite verse in the Bible. “He knows what I need before I ask Him.” He knew I needed to have a better example than Donnie because it would cement my trust like nothing else. He has not failed me yet. It did take me some time to trust His judgment over my wants, but with age comes wisdom, supposedly. I have gotten much better at saying, “I trust you to know what is best for me.” With that comes the peace that passes all understanding.
Written by Donna Butler
Let us go to His dwelling place; let us worship at His footstool! Arise, O Lord, and go to Your resting place, You and the ark of You might. Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness, and let Your saints shout for joy!
Have you ever lost your joy? What got you threw you off? And, how do you plan to get it back?
That’s a lot to think about!
Psalm 132 gives us the answer that is repeated throughout God’s word.
First step, we must go to His dwelling place and worship at His footstool. As simple as that sounds, it is sometimes difficult to do. When we feel lost or discouraged, worshiping is not our initial response. But, in order for God to do His part, we must do ours. Yes, God can do anything... Which includes giving us free-will! So, we must be open and truthful with Him. John 4:24 says, “God is spirit, and the people who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” You may come yelling and screaming, sobbing, whispering, or just telling God how angry, disappointed, frustrated, or hurt you truly are with Him…but that’s the truth. He hears our heart, whatever state we are in, we must let down any façade or pretense. “…A broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). As we go into His resting place (in prayer), He promises to give us rest (Matthew 11: 28-30)
Have you ever tried to dress a child that doesn’t want to be dressed? This is another reason that we must surrender. As we humble ourselves, God takes the next step. He begins the process of clothing us in His righteousness. In royalty, or “Bend the knee” if you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you are awarded privileges and special rights when you submit to the authority. When the king speaks over you, everyone knows that you have been identified in kinship with royalty by a crown, robe, or emblem. Psalm 132 declares that we are clothed with His righteousness. We no longer march in a self-declared righteousness, which is useless in spiritual battle. But, the enemy now sees the royal banner and we can shout with JOY! We have protection and the reinforcements of the royal army!
God has never left you or forgotten you. He is waiting, longing for you to come to His resting place. He wants to help you take off all those heavy burdens, the should haves, would haves, and want to’s, and give you a peace that surpasses all understanding.
Dear God, I need You! I have lost my joy and my peace. Help me to remember that You, O Lord, have an unlimited supply! Help me to put down my pride, anger, and unforgiveness to receive all that You have for me. I’m only as far away as a prayer. Thank You for never giving up on me!
by Lori Henson
The Mystery of a mom’s great love
In Order of it all
What a Treasure she is indeed, always and forever on call
I give her Honor for who she is
She Elevates my soul
A Rhythm from above
by Donna Butler
Luke 9:23-24 - Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to follow after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it.”
Following Jesus is a daily sacrifice of all that we are…spirit, soul, and body. In past times, the slaying of an animal was given as an offering. Grains, fruits, and incense as well were graciously offered in gratitude as an offering to God. Our Creator set the ultimate example by sending His one and only Son as the Gift of love. Jesus willingly gave all that He was, spirit, soul and body, as a price for all that we are - a spirit controlled by a self-centered, sinful soul, and a flesh-satisfying, flawed body. So to be asked to give Him our filthy, tattered, war-battered vessel for a robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10) and a pure, clean heart (Ezekiel 36:25-27) is a no brainer!
We are a spirit, who God created to intimately communicate with Him. He loves us that much! There is nowhere on, above, or below this earth, or in the spiritual realm, that His Spirit can’t reach us (Psalm 139:7-12).
Our souls (mind, will, emotions) need direction or they will run-a-muck! Have you ever seen the movie “Inside Out”? It is a hilarious, artistic vision of the reality of our souls. It’s also a sobering reminder of why we need to be led and guided by the directorship of the Holy Spirit. We need a Helper who will speak truth and wisdom (John 16:12-13), a Counselor who teaches us all things pertaining to life and godliness, and a Comforter that intercedes for us. The One who gives us gifts to operate in that benefits the whole Body of Christ.
Our bodies are the amazing handiwork of God. Same and different in tandem. We all have organs, bones, blood, skin, etc. All this is orchestrated by individual cells with a spark of our Creator in each one! His breath of life flows through our veins! Yet, each outer covering is a uniquely and expertly crafted piece of art.
So, when Jesus says in order to follow Him, we must deny ourselves, He’s talking about making a choice in our souls. A daily decision to allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide our spirit. Our soul and body must align with the wisdom of the Creator of the universe. To buck up against that kind of logic is to declare that we know better and can do better without His counsel! Let me know how that’s been working for you. Here’s an alternate choice: “In You, O LORD, do I put my trust and confidently take refuge; let me never be put to shame or confusion.” Psalm 71:1
Written by Susan Stedman
Easter means many things to many people. To some, it represents the Earth coming back to life with spring. Many pagans celebrate fertility goddesses with eggs representing new birth. Some put no religious connotation to it at all and just take their kids to Easter egg hunts with no thought to the meaning. Then there are Christians, who have in recent times, begun to call this day “Resurrection Sunday” because it is the day which we celebrate Jesus having risen from his tomb three days after the Crucifixion.
I used to wonder why people said three days because if you counted Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon, you got one day, then till Sunday morning, that was about another half day. When I was older, I looked into this question and found an answer. Jewish people counted any part of a day as a whole day, so Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were considered three days.
With insatiable curiosity about almost everything, I once spent a day researching historical records that would prove or disprove that Jesus the man actually lived. I was pleasantly surprised at what I found. There were several contemporaries in the time of Christ whose written works still exist. The most important was a first-century Jewish historian (he was not Jewish, he was Roman, he just wrote histories of the Jewish people) named Flavius Josephus. He wrote in his “Testimonium Flavianum” about the reputation of Jesus, whom he called a Jewish wise man. He specifically noted that “Pilate condemned him to a cross but he appeared to them (ones who first came to love Jesus), spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold…”
I don’t have room to go into all the others but:
I was satisfied, so I moved on to wondering what I could find about the Tomb of Jesus. There are several spots that have been considered to be the actual Tomb of Christ. The most celebrated and plausible is The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. It is built not only at the supposed tomb but also over the area called Golgotha. The belief that this is the actual tomb dates back to the fourth century.
There is another contender called The Garden Tomb which is a rock-cut tomb in Jerusalem that was unearthed in 1867. It only dates back to the 8th-7th centuries BC. There are three others but not in serious contention, especially since one is in China and they all seem tiny, which would seem to indicate they were not the tomb purchased by a wealthy merchant named Joseph of Arimathea.
They all have one thing in common, which is the most wonderful thing I can think of. They are all empty.
Let’s look at some other prominent world religious leaders and find out what is known about their burial places:
And a few who claimed they were prophets or messiahs:
So here are my conclusions on the whole matter:
There was only one leader who said he would die and return. “I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 NLT
There was only one who was seen after his death by many with a transformed body. “Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” John 20:11-17 NIV Later, “After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.” 1 Corinthians 15:6-7 NIV
There was only one who was seen ascending to Heaven. “After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:9-11 NIV
There was only one who sent a Comforter/Advocate to care for us until His return. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:26 KJV
There was only one who said He would return for His people. “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 ESV
There was only one who said He would never leave us or forsake us. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 ESV
For me, there is only one choice. I believe The Only One.
Written by Clare Chapman
I asked God, “What are you trying to do in my life?”
He answered…“Make you understand that the answer is Me. When you search for meaning and direction I Am your answer. Seek Me with all your heart. You chase after meaningless things. Your affections should be on Me. I Am the one who truly loves you. You go, go, go…when are you going to STOP for Me? Wake up and come to Me. Don’t sleep through life. I Am pure joy and the answer to all you are looking for. I Am the real deal, not your busy life. Slow down and get with Me. You do need refreshing. I Am a well of living water.”
God help me. Give me a burning desire for your Word and intimate time with You. Help me to put my relationship with You above all my other relationships. If I spend time with You, I can be a refreshment to many. I can trust You.
Written by Donna Butler
Why do we doubt God? Why don’t we trust what He says and actually take it as “the gospel truth”? The world uses that phrase as an idiom, but it is based on what is known to be true. The Gospel is THE Truth. The Word of God, His promises, His declarations have been established through the blood covenant with Jesus Christ. So why are we second guessing the very words that He staked the sacrifice of His one and only Son on? Since the beginning, God has continued to create, renew, restore, and uphold us in His promises! So, is it really God that we doubt, mistrust, and second guess? Or, is it our own selves we don’t have enough confidence in?
We doubt our own worth to God, even though He calls us the “apple of His eye” (Psalm 17:8) or that His thoughts of us are more than the grains of sand (Psalm 139:18). And if that’s not enough, we often skip over the very beginning of one of the most quoted verses, John 3:16. “For God so loved the world…”. Let’s just park right there for a minute. God loved (welcomed, to be fond of, to be well pleased, to be contented with) even with all the sin already established before us! He loved! He loved what? The world! All of it! From His very creation and arrangement to the inhabitants which Strong’s defines as “the ungodly multitude”. From the world's affairs to the earthly goods that often draw us away from Him. Yet, He loved us enough to send His Son as a payment for what we so freely take for granted.
We also do not trust that we are who He says that we are. Yet, God created us in His image (Genesis 1:27). In 1 Corinthians 2:16, it says that we have the mind of Christ. God trusts us so much that He calls us His temple and sends the Holy Spirit to dwell in us. Would you give a part of yourself to a person that you do not trust?
We second guess something that we know in our hearts to be true. We just don’t want to believe or accept that it is actually for us and not just for someone else more deserving. Or we are talking ourselves out of something because of the cost or sacrifice of commitment. Either way, James 1:8 says that a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. Therefore, if we can’t make up our minds, should we expect God to do it for us? And, if He did, would we honor Him for it or rebel like a toddler being told no? This is why God lays it all out before us and allows us to make that choice.
So, what is holding back? Regardless of what we’ve been through or going through, God has not and will not change (Psalm 33:11). He will never leave nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). He is our Shepherd, our fortress, our Deliverer, and we also have Jesus as our advocate (John 17:15). He is faithful, loving, gentle, patient, and kind. He is a good, good Father. Let’s take Him at His Word.
Written by Susan Stedman
Sigmund Freud is the founder of psychoanalysis and a famous Austrian neurologist. He regarded God as an illusion and believed that religion should be set aside in favor of reason and science. He noted the likeness between faith and neurotic obsession and called the belief in God a “collective neurosis”.
Most people will look at you in a weird way if you even mention hearing voices because in our society today, that is taken as a sure sign of mental illness. Imagine Paul telling his therapist, “And I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, ‘Woe, woe, woe to the inhabiters of the earth!’” Would anyone have taken him seriously in our culture? I have seen street preachers doing the same kind of thing. Do you ever wonder if we’ve missed something important because of the jaded way we think of experiences like this?
Many civilizations – past and present – especially the less civilized ones - consider these people holy, not crazy. They were viewed as more aware, closer to the divine, or even touched by the gods. The Lakota Sioux have a word for that kind of holy contrary – heyoka. Their role is to make people see things differently, challenging the norms.
It always made me wonder, do these people live in delusional states or could they be experiencing things that are beyond the capacity of normal people? Think about people born with Down’s Syndrome. They are almost always the happiest, most loving, sweetest people you could ever hope to meet. They treat everyone equally with kindness and never think badly about anyone they know. They exude enthusiasm and always trust in the best. Isn’t this the way God has called us all to be? He also says we must be as little children to enter the kingdom. So, does that make them closer to Him?
Their obvious difference from us lies in their brains. Because of diminished cerebral functions, they don’t notice all the distractions around them the way we do. They don’t get stuck on “what if’s” because all they perceive is what’s happening “now”. They don’t focus on themselves or their feelings which means they don’t remember wrongs done to them or hold grudges. They don’t ascribe malicious motives to people whom we “normal” people can clearly see as malicious. They show love to all. This is something we could learn lessons from…it’s the epitome of “The Love Chapter”, 1 Corinthians 13.
Researchers who look at how our brains process religious beliefs fall into one of two categories. They either hope their findings will help convince people of the validity of their faith, or they are trying to explain away what they call “an embarrassing relic of our past.”
Many of the most well-known scientists believed in God, or at least in an intelligent design. In 1956, Albert Einstein stated, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”
In 1979, Freeman Dyson, the English American theoretical physicist said, “I believe in the ancient covenant. It is true that we emerged in the universe by chance, but the idea of chance is itself only a cover for our ignorance. I do not feel like an alien in this universe. The more I examine the universe and the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe, in some sense, must have known that we were coming.”
Werner Heisenberg, who is considered the father of Quantum Physics, said, “The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will make you an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass, God is waiting for you.”
Isaac Newton had no doubts. “Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who sets the planets in motion.” At one time, he believed that gravity was caused by the will and spirit of God, not by any material cause.
There is one modern physicist who has made a bold statement, standing out from his peers. Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist and string theory pioneer, is quoted as, “I have concluded that we are in a world made by rules created by an intelligence. Believe me, everything that we call chance today won’t make sense anymore. To me, it is clear that we exist in a plan which is governed by rules that were created, shaped by a universal intelligence and not by chance.”
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse." (Romans 1:18-20)
But we are safe. Psalm 25:1 tells us plainly, "No one whose hope is in You will ever be put to shame."
About Rays of Light:
Whereas most blogs are from one writer, these posts are from a variety of authors and styles. These scribes all attend our Kingdom Writers group. We pray our passion to share God's love through writing will encourage you today!
Our writers group meets every 4th Tuesday Night at 7PM in person and/or via zoom. Let us know if you would like to join us.