Best Friends

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Mulan and Birdie

Proverbs 18:24 (AMPC)

24 The man of many friends [a friend of all the world] will prove himself a bad friend, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

 

John 15:12-13 KJV

12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

 

I have always told my kids, “You don’t need a lot of friends, just a couple of good ones.”  In the lonely times, God will be there for you, and we can be encouraged and know He may be teaching us how to rely upon Him first and foremost when friends seem to be few and far between.  

He is the ultimate friend who laid down His life for us.  If we will let Him be the friend only He can be in our lives, and learn to be satisfied with His companionship, then all our other friendships come into order.  We will be better friends to others when we get our primary affirmations from God.  God alone is fully capable of  constant pure love, consideration, and abilities to know what we need at any given moment. 

Desperate people do desperate things, and often have very specific expectations and or agenda’s.   When these type of people don’t get their way, they often bite!   But believers who keep God in their view, and commune with Him daily through prayer and the Word, seem to have the sweetest dispositions and graceful filters when dealing with others.  (Psalm 119:165 (KJV) Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.)

We long for friends, who understand and accept us flaws and all.  It is never easy being and having friends, but it is always worth it.  Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and let God make you and bless you with the joy of friendship.

 

love in Him,

 

Pastor Wendy

do you really love me?

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John 14:23-24 (NKJV)

23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.

I remember when my husband proposed to me.  I was elated  that I would soon be his and he would be mine.  There was no ring involved.  I hardly noticed.  We were both working and saving our money, which we had very little to speak of.  I was so elated that we had promised our hearts to each other and our lives to be lived as one together.  A ring seemed actually insignificant to me at the time.  I was so amazed that he gave me his heart, and chose me to be the one in whom he wished to live out the days of his life.   To have him was more than enough.  I couldn’t have been happier.

Then the comments came and began to multiply, about the absence of a ring.  It seemed unimportant to me, yet some seemed to think it needed to be pointed out that he gave me no ring.

Fortunately, I did not really think about it and it certainly did not spoil our engagement.  He asked me to marry him, and that was the highest honor he could give me at that stage of our relationship.  He gave me his word that he was mine and I gave him my word that I belonged to him.  He gave me his heart, and promised we would be together forever.  

We began to plan things that were important to us, and knew God had brought us together  for specific reasons, and had great things in store for us.  I did not let the comments about something so temporary and material as a ring, spoil the depth of joy I had about our engagement.  After all, its just a ring.  I knew the true treasure was his heart, his word, and his promise to be there with me in the future.

If we love God, then we recognize what the true treasure of the relationship is all about.  We cherish and keep His Word.  We cherish our communion with our Father.  He has our heart and we have His.  We love Him and are careful to keep His Word so that we abide in that love.  

We know He brought us into His family for a unique purpose and are elated about discovering that plan hand in hand together with His abiding love and presence. We are not looking for what others call the next “move of God” or fancy extremes that sparkle and shine.  We have a living relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.  

This special bond is only accessed when we give Him our hearts.  His Word is more than enough to keep and guide us along the way.  His intimate love and communion is the assurance that all is well and we are on the right path.  Why look for anything else to validate His affection?  We have everything we need for life and godliness wrapped up in our relationship with Him.

blessings,

Pastor Wendy

Chill

1 John 3: 19-20 NIV

19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 

 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 TPT

 9 But he answered me, “My grace is always more than enough for you, and my power finds its full expression through your weakness.” So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me. 10 So I’m not defeated by my weakness, but delighted! For when I feel my weakness and endure mistreatment—when I’m surrounded with troubles on every side and face persecution because of my love for Christ—I am made yet stronger. For my weakness becomes a portal to God’s power.

Chill

      Do you sometimes take yourself too seriously?  Maybe getting all worked up over things because of your narrow view of how things “should be.”  Then when you realize you are not believing the best about others, you come down on yourself even harder.  This is a pattern or trap we can all fall into if we allow our thoughts to be unfiltered with God’s manifold grace.

     The good news is that God is bigger than your most sophisticated plans.  He alone is capable of bringing you to your expected end.  He alone has what you need to make the journey simple, joyful, and unfettered with systems that add complication and bear no fruit.   He does the hard part, and we do our grace filled small part.  

     Life is complicated, but life is good!  We have His presence within us to keep us safe from our imperfect fallible selves.  His grace also keeps us out of the control of selfish and designing people who do not have our best interest on their radar.  Like a bird released from a snare, He says, “Fly away free to soar wherever your heart leads in unison with my will.”  Sometimes we fall flat, because we have misperceived His plan, timing or ways.  He will never bless anything that is outside His best for you.  

     When our own hearts rise up to condemn us, He speaks one Word that brings justification and peace.  That fruit of grace supersedes our natural calculations and silences the accuser.   We find ourselves like children at the lunch table with the bullies, enjoying our provision from our Father God reading His love notes found hidden in our lunchbox.  If He has my back, all will be well.

     We like to avoid pain, disappointment, misunderstandings and conflict.  But no matter what we do or don’t do, these things are part of a well spent life in this fallen realm living with imperfect people who are doing the best they can to live their lives with their understanding.  We all have areas we need to grow in knowledge of how He actually sees and intends things to be.  All the dark moments actually make the brightness shine more brilliant and clear.  All the bitter, makes the sweet even sweeter.  And we get to chuckle at ourselves along the way knowing God never intended us to be so hard on ourselves.

chillin’,

Pastor Wendy

This day...

 
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Psalm 118:21-24 nkjv

21 I will praise You,
For You have answered me,
And have become my salvation.

22 The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.

23 This was the Lord’s doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.

24 This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.

 

Every morning we have the opportunity for a fresh start.  We can come before our Father in Heaven and give Him the first portion of our day.  It is such a lovely time when we honor Him with our affection and attention. 

In His presence is joy that overflows into thanksgiving and praise.  In His Word is nourishment for our lives that will keep us from evil.  It all sounds so elementary, yet hidden in the simple is the profound effects of honoring Him first.

He keeps us on the right path for each day we start with Him.  Effortlessly we are aware of His presence along the way, when we place Him in that place of honor and love.  

If life is getting hazy and heavy, return to Him.  If your days are began with Him, they will be bright and cheerful even when the sun goes down.

Love in Him,

Pastor Wendy

He Leads

 
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(Psalm 23 NKJ)

A Psalm of David.

1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell[a] in the house of the Lord
Forever.

     I remember coming through what felt like a series of storms.  I believe when we get knocked down by the enemy, he moves in to kick and harass us mercilessly.  He is the proverbial bully.  I felt like I was dragging myself through the day a miserable reflection of Him.  I was fatigued, hurt, and angry. 

     It was in the morning and I caught my reflection in the mirror I was passing by in the privacy of my home.  Just as I had suspected, I looked horrible.  I kind of chuckled, and thought, "What an example of a woman of faith you are!"  

     It was kind of like the fruit tree not bearing fruit, and I felt a little bit cursed.  Then I heard the faintest reply to my ugly thoughts.  "You have two things following you today, Goodness and Mercy."  I felt loved and cared for in that moment of God's Word bubbling up speaking life to me.

     All of the sudden, I snapped out of it.  I was excited about the the day and knew what I had come through was just a temporary season.  The devil cant take us out whenever he wants.  God's people are never forsaken or forgotten, despite how you feel. 

     I knew that God's mercy and goodness had never left me, and only because of Him did I have the strength to stand and endure the test I had just come through.  I looked forward that day knowing the path ahead was waiting for me to proceed confident His supply of all that is good and merciful for the believer, will never run out.

following His Voice,

Pastor Wendy

His eye is on the Sparrow

 
 Do you hear that?

Do you hear that?

 

His eye is still on the sparrow
He leaves the fold to find the one lost
He searches diligently to find the pearl of great price

     The other day I was with a dear friend, enjoying our morning walk together in the beautiful sunshine on paths lined with a variety of well manicured plants.  We have a few trails we take in the morning following a few similar routes, over and over. 

     This particular morning, I turned around and went a direction totally different from our normal routines.  As we approached a little park, I was drawn to this bench which I envisioned us setting on together for a little rest.  As I approached the bench, I heard a rustling in the near by trash can.  It would rustle, and then stop, and then begin to rustle again. 

     I thought, “Oh no, that sounds like a trapped animal of some kind.”  We fiddled with the trash can a bit, and it continued to rustle unable to dislodge itself and break free.  We finally laid down the large metal trash can on the ground hoping to help dislodge the animal.   Sure enough, a bird flew out! 

     We were very relieved to have been used to help release the trapped bird, and watch it fly away.  We never sat on the bench, but just kept walking rejoicing we were used for the unexpected blessing of helping something so vulnerable and likely to weaken and die rather quickly. 

     God knows where all the trapped hurting people are in the entire world.  He has His eye on them, and needs a believer to be available.  He wants to interrupt our normal routines, to get us into position to help them.  They are trapped in horrible places not made for them to survive.  Many are broken, bruised, and full of panic and grief weakening as they try to break free.  We have the power to help release them, but only God can give them strength to fly.  God will send them into their purpose and destiny if we will allow Him to use us as He wills.

     I hope you will listen, and let the Holy Spirit guide you off your normal trail, and out of your regular routines.  There is someone helpless, and rustling in a place they were not made to be.  Waiting for you to obey God and tip over that trash can. 

Luke 4:14-19 ampc

14 Then Jesus went back full of and under the power of the [Holy] Spirit into Galilee, and the fame of Him spread through the whole region round about.

15 And He Himself conducted [a course of] teaching in their synagogues, being recognized and honored and praised by all.

16 So He came to Nazareth, [that Nazareth] where He had been brought up, and He entered the synagogue, as was His custom on the Sabbath day. And He stood up to read.

17 And there was handed to Him [the roll of] the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened (unrolled) the book and found the place where it was written,

18 The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon Me, because He has anointed Me [the Anointed One, the Messiah] to preach the good news (the Gospel) to the poor; He has sent Me to announce release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity],

19 To proclaim the accepted and acceptable year of the Lord [the day when salvation and the free favors of God profusely abound].

Available,

Pastor Wendy

 

1000 to 1

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impossible odds are God’s specialty
the devil will give you 1000 reasons to be Bitter God gives us one Word to Forgive
Colossians 3:13 (NRSV) Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord[a] has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
the devil will give you 1000 reasons to Hate God gives us one Word to Love
John 13:34 (nrsv) 13 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 
the devil will give you 1000 reasons to be Sad  God gives us one Word  to Rejoice
Philippians 4:4 (NKJV) 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
the devil will give you 1000 reasons to doubt your Salvation God gives us one Word to Believe
Romans 10:10-11 NKJV 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.
the devil will give you 1000 reasons to serve Money  God gives us one Word to refuse to
Matthew 6:24 (NIV)24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
the devil will give you 1000 reasons to quit Church  God gives us one Word to not to
Hebrews 10:25 NLT25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
the devil will give you 1000 reasons to disappear into isolation God gives us one Word to stay brightly lit on a hill
Matthew 5:14-16 NKJV14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
the devil will give you 1000 reasons your faith is too small  God will give you one Word a tiny bit is sufficient
Matthew 17:20 (NIV)20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.Nothing will be impossible for you.”
the devil will give you 1000 reasons to curse God gives us one Word to minister grace
Ephesians 4:29  (NKJV)29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
the devil will give you 1000 reasons to look back God gives us one Word to forget and reach
Phillipians 3:13 nkjv 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
the devil will give you 1000 reasons to question God’s goodness God gives us one Word to trust Him
Romans 8:28 nkjv 28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
the devil will give you 1000 reasons to quit and give up God gives us one Word to Stand
Ephesians 6:10-18 nkjv 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[c] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints

Jesus our humble King

 
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John 13:1-17 NLT

13 Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end.  2 It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. 4 So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, 5 and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.

6 When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

7 Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”

8 “No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!”

Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”

9 Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!”

10 Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. 14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.16 I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. 17 Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.

     Many run to the opportunity to have a title and lead, but few want to serve humbly unnoticed.  Jesus was never above laying aside His authority, to relate to and serve mankind.  He had one additional task at the last supper, and that was to wash the disciples feet.  He wanted to leave His disciples with the powerful truth that we are to first serve each other in humility, because that is how He served us.  Even though he knew of Judas imminent betrayal, He still loved and included him in washing his feet.  We don't get to pick and choose who God wants us to serve. 

     A true disciple has been washed, forgiven, and blessed beyond measure by God Himself.  A true disciple looks not  for authority to rule, but opportunities to serve.   No task is beneath us as we reach to be a blessing to others sharing our love and faith.  

In Him,

Pastor Wendy

There is a River...unlike any river on earth!

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Psalm 46:1-7 (NIV)

1  God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.

2  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

3  though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.[
c]

4  There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.

5  God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.

6  Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

7  The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

8  Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth.

     I have always been drawn to flowing streams and rivers!  I could just sit by them and enjoy the beauty of God's creation all day.  But earthly rivers dry up, get diseased, and are filled with living creatures that like to bite.  Still, the river draws me to take in it's beauty.

     God's river never runs dry.  The streams are pure, not diseased.  The contents never bite, but make us glad.  Streams of joy, healing and life flow in this river.  God is in the midst of her,  and flows through believers whose hearts are humbly yielded to Him.  

     I don't get to see natural rivers often, and when I do it is a special treat.  But God's river is never far away, or hidden in a forest.  His river is constantly available to any who are thirsty.  Come, and let us drink freely for a very high price has been paid for access to this supply that runs straight from the throne of God.  Take me to the river.

Love in Him,

Pastor Wendy

Surrender

 
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Psalm 139:23-24  (NLT)

23  Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Surrender: 
-to yield to the power, control, or possession of another upon compulsion or demand
-to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another
-to give (oneself) up into the power of another especially as a prisoner
-to give (oneself) over to something (such as an influence)

     In light of this definition of surrender, may I say.  “God does not demand, He convicts, He draws, He beckons, He invites.  When we surrender, we become His child in His family.  We become co heirs together with Christ, in His kingdom.  We are filled with not just His influence, but with the glory and power of God through the person of the Holy Spirit.  If we are prisoners, we are prisoners of mercy, goodness and love." 

     There is nothing easy about fallen man surrendering to an unseen God.  It is the most important and biggest fight of your life.  Will you yield?  And will you yield again and again?  As a believer, your old nature hates it when you surrender, but it is precisely in that place that you are propelled into a new place of freedom.  It continues to be the greatest battle of your life, even as a believer.

surrendering today,

Pastor Wendy

One Drop is more than enough

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Hebrews 10:1-22 (NLT)

1 The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. 

2 If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared.  3 But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year.  4 For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.  5 That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God, 

“You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings.  But you have given me a body to offer.  

6 You were not pleased with burnt offerings or other offerings for sin  

7 Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God— as is written about me in the Scriptures.’”

8 First, Christ said, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them” (though they are required by the law of Moses).  9 Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect.   10 For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.

11 Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. 12 But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 13 There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet.  14 For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy. 

15 And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says,

16  “This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the Lord: will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”  

17 Then he says, “I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.” 

18 And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices.

19 And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus.   20 By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place.  21 And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house,   22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting Him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

     I have heard a phrase over and over through the years in my heart which I believe is from God.  In my spirit a phrase resounds, “One drop of the blood of Jesus contains enough power to cleanse all of humanity for all of eternity of sin!”  

     His sacrifice was given once and for all.  His sacrifice has not lost any power nor run out.  He secured our permanent deliverance, our continual cleansing, and our living qualification.  How could we not trust a God who gave such a priceless gift?  How could we turn our backs on Him?

     Let’s always remember this blood covenant and be mindful of such unspeakable glory.

washed and forgiven,

Pastor Wendy

 

Baby Rattler and Dinosaurs

 
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Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)

21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

     I was in my kitchen doing my normal routines for the morning when my son Benjamin, who was a toddler at the time, was playing in our living room.  Normally, I kept him there so I could see what he was up to.  But that particular morning he wanted to go into our garage that had a play area, and I let him.  

     Normally, he would not go out there until the afternoon with one of his older sisters to supervise him while they would color and play.   For some reason, I propped open the garage door and returned to the kitchen allowing him to play out there by himself that particular morning.  He had several plastic dinosaurs of all kinds lying on a small carpet and loved playing with them.  Not to mention a large toy box full of toys.

     He came back into the living room after being out there for a few minutes playing alone.  All of the sudden, I got this urge to go pick up his plastic toys and put them away.  I normally did this in the evening, but I found myself going out into the garage with a strong desire to pick up all his toys.  

     I was loading all the dinosaurs of all different sizes into the toy box, and my eye was led to a toy I had never seen as I reached for it.  It was a curled up baby rattle snake!  I was correct that I had never seen it because it was real!!  I went back inside and just thanked God that He had given me an unction to break my normal routine and find that poisonous snake.  Most of all, He protected my precious son Benjamin from that snake.

     I called animal control and they retrieved it.  I saw the look on the mans face, as he listened to my story.  He said, “Baby rattlers can’t control their venom.”  In other words, it would have been catastrophic if someone was bit.  But God!

     How often have we ignored His nudging and been bitten needlessly by something He was trying to protect us from?  As believers we have an unction.  We have a signal that God uses to help us in this world full of toxins, traps and hostile adversaries.  Worry about nothing, pray about everything.  That communion is priceless!  Through a healthy prayer life,  we condition our hearts to respond when we live connected to Him.  We often do not know we are being led by the spirit when we begin an action, but it may later be revealed that God was ordering our steps!  

     That day reminds me, fear nothing and just obey God!  God will perfect all that concerns you. 

blessings,

Pastor Wendy

 

 

 

He see's you, and knows your name.

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LIFE IS SHORT, BUT GOD HAS A GOOD PLAN FOR YOU!

John 1:35-42 New (NLT)

35 The following day John was again standing with two of his disciples. 36 As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” 37 When John’s two disciples heard this, they followed Jesus.

38 Jesus looked around and saw them following. “What do you want?” he asked them.

They replied, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

39 “Come and see,” he said. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon when they went with him to the place where he was staying, and they remained with him the rest of the day.

40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of these men who heard what John said and then followed Jesus. 41 Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means “Christ”).

42 Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, “Your name is Simon, son of John—but you will be called Cephas” (which means “Peter”).

     

      I remember the first time I saw my husband.  I did not know his name.  I did not know his father’s name.  I saw him knowing nothing about him, yet I felt something very strong.  I felt this deep longing to speak with him.  

    God see’s us and knows our parents, and absolutely every detail about us.  Our whole past and future yet lived, is laid bare before His eyes.  He alone truly gets us, for He is the One who designed us for His purposes.  He put unique qualities in each of us and alone knows what is best for us.  

     I also remember  the state I was in, the first time I saw my husband..  I was grieving a broken relationship.  I thought I would marry this person, and I was devastated that he chose someone else.  I had no idea, God was showing me His choice for my future.  I was seeing my true love.  My heart did leap at just the sight of Art, even in my intense grief and pain.

     God sees us, and calls us by name.  He shows up when He wants to, and it may not seem like the best timing.  He speaks in the midst of storms, war, and chaos.  He shows you things to come, when you don’t even ask for it!  

     When we see Him, and hear Him, it is like nothing on earth we have ever experienced.   No one loves us like God!   He is that person we have been looking for our entire life.  His gaze, and His voice leave us undone.  It is that still small voice we have always heard even before we knew that it was His voice.  He is God, and He deals with us on a level that is difficult to explain.  

     The earth trembles, the wind blows, and we are filled with wonder and peace that only comes from having a moment with Him.  When He calls, respond.  When He looks upon you with intent, do not look away.  When He speaks, listen with your heart wide open.

    Take note the next time He speaks or shows you something that rocks your world.   He is up to something.  I assure you, it is beyond good and beyond what you need.  It is His best!

 

Pastor Wendy

Roots

  A tree in balboa park

A tree in Balboa Park

 

Psalm 92:12-15 AMPC

12 The [uncompromisingly] righteous shall flourish like the palm tree [be long-lived, stately, upright, useful, and fruitful]; they shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon [majestic, stable, durable, and incorruptible].

13 Planted in the house of the Lord, they shall flourish in the courts of our God.

14 [Growing in grace] they shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap [of spiritual vitality] and [rich in the] verdure [of trust, love, and contentment].

15 [They are living memorials] to show that the Lord is upright and faithful to His promises; He is my Rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

     Mortality begins to dawn upon our radar as we age, and seems to freak some people out.   What has become or not become of our lives can be sobering and disturbing all at the same time.   We live in a society that glorifies what is on the outside, but God looks beneath our skin into our hearts.  You know our bodies are made of dirt, and return to just a bit of dust.  But our spirits live forever.  

     Who we are on the inside can bear fruit that is admirable, gracious, and inspiring in our latter years.  No longer are our roots in spiritual death, but we as believers have roots in God. His life runs through our lives.  

     No need for the believer to come apart at the seams as we age.  We can grow in grace as the above scripture describes and be a living memorial that serving God does pay off.  

     We have many faithful elderly I admire rooted in our church.  They are in our midst throughout the church as a reminder that living for God is worth all the battles, won and lost.  We can be full of strength, purpose and peace in or latter years and complete our race with joy. 

     The key is being planted in the house of  Lord and serving Him with gladness.  The enemy does not care if you casually visit a number of churches,  just don’t commit to that place Jesus reveals is your place in the body of Christ.  There you find a true supply of power coming into your life, and flowing from your life to bring supernatural growth.  There you graze in a safe place in this dark world that truly nourishes your soul and causes your purpose to remain strong. 

blessings,

Pastor Wendy

Just Bloom.......it's easy

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     Do you ever feel like you are literally between a rock and a hard place?  This world can be tough at times!  If you wait to enjoy life when circumstances seem more favorable, you may just miss the divine opportunity to be the the testimony of beauty that God intended you to be.

     I always stop when I see plants like the one above growing in a small crack of concrete.  Obviously the concrete was not designed to give life to plants, but somehow that beautiful flower found everything it needed to grow and bloom.  

     We are made to bloom in difficult places because of who we are, and more important who lives in us!  God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit live in us giving us life and all we need to grow and display God's beauty.  We don't have to force anything, we just bloom.  

     Despite all that is around us, we remain under His care, His yoke of life and blessing fits us perfectly.  We just have to trust God is at work and let Him care for us wherever we are and whatever we are surrounded by.  His life will not be contained or snuffed out of this world.  He puts us on display in the midst of the ugly, we shine beautiful.  In the midst of the bitter, we are sweet.  In the midst of the skeptic, we give hope.  In the midst of death, we display life. 

                                                   Matthew 11:28-30 (AMPC)

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will [a]ease and relieve and [b]refresh [c]your souls.]

29 Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest ([d]relief and ease and refreshment and [e]recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.

30 For My yoke is wholesome (useful, [f]good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.

                                                  Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)

28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

blooming,

Pastor Wendy

 

...waiting all year for Christmas!

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     Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year.  I remember special dresses my mom made for me and all my sisters to wear to church and Christmas festivities. One year she made our Christmas dresses out of dark purple velvet, and I felt like a princess.   Decorating our home, which included hanging lights outside and our Christmas tree inside, were two of my favorite traditions that came never early enough for my liking.  I especially enjoyed the times when my mom would flock our tree, and how it glowed with the big colored bulbs.

     Christmas Eve was our big night to celebrate at the Wasson home.  My mom would give us cookies and milk to leave out for Santa, as my dad would pile us all in our station wagon to ride around town looking at lights.  When we would return, the cookies and milk were gone and Santa had mysteriously left all our presents under the tree.  Our parents let us open them all on Christmas Eve.  Christmas Day we would have a huge dinner and play all day with our new toys.  

     Whatever your traditions are, remember they will remain in the hearts of loved ones for many years to come.  Keep Jesus in the center of all your festivities, and spread all the cheer and expressions of love you can, for this time of year comes only once and never too soon for children.  As you make mention of the true meaning of Christmas to your friends and family, you will be giving the greatest gift there is to give.....Jesus.

love in Him,

Pastor Wendy

Here is my moms cornbread dressing recipe....simple but delicious!  Make sure to also make giblet gravy!

                                      Mama Wasson’s Cornbread Dressing

Ingredients:

Pan of hot chicken broth 

4 packages of cornbread mix (baked, and then crumbled into a large bowl or roasting pan for mixing)

¾ sticks butter (melted)

5 slices white bread (soaked in water)

4 raw eggs

1 white onion (chopped)

5 green onions (chopped)

4oz jar of pimentos (drained)

5 boiled eggs (roughly chopped or quartered)

Salt and pepper and poultry seasoning to taste

Instructions:

In large bowl or roasting pan, mash up cornbread, butter, and white bread…….make a hole in the middle and add the raw eggs, white onion and about 4 to 6 cups of hot broth and then mix well.  Add green onions, pimentos, salt and pepper and poultry seasoning and about 3 cups more of hot broth and mix well.  This should now be at a good baking consistency……you may add more broth if you need.  Lastly gently stir in boiled eggs (I don’t like them broken up too much!).  Pour into large baking dish and bake at 350 till’ lightly golden on top and you know center has firmed up and is done……about 45 minutes.  If you have added too much broth, it will take longer to bake!

Extras

I usually do a traditional pan of Mom’s recipe and then divide some of the traditional into another pan and add sausage and rosemary for a yummy twist on the traditional recipe!

  

Thanksgiving

   

THE EVANS FAMILY

 

     Regardless of her flaws, I am thankful to be an American.  I don’t take lightly my national heritage, and the high price paid for freedom. 

     I have so many wonderful memories of celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends.  I am thankful for many of the cultural celebrations that led us to our national holiday, Thanksgiving.  I believe many of the celebrations originate truly with God's blessing and influence.   They are celebrations spawned from a variety of colonist throughout our history celebrating bountiful harvest, rain ending droughts, battles won on America’s soil, and religious days set aside by the Puritans for fasting, prayer, and giving of thanks.  I thank God for this nation and especially that our founding father’s honored the principles found in God’s holy word.  I know they were flawed men, but they feared God and loved His word.

     True thanksgiving is of the spirit or heart of man.  I believe a truly grateful heart begins with the new birth.  Only God through His mercy and grace in the redemptive work of His son Jesus Christ can truly open our eyes to see all His mercy, goodness, promise, and blessing.    

     Here in Isaiah, we find the origin of our spiritual heritage through Abraham and Sarah who experienced the first true “Thanksgiving!”    Without coming into the family of God, any attempt at being thankful will be short live.  Man’s sinful heart does not hold the capacity to remain thankful with out the life of God.  We are Abraham’s seed, now the people of God, who can truly celebrate God’s bounty experienced through all who will humbly receive.

 

Isaiah 51:1-3 (niv)

1 "Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD : 

       Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; 

 2 look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. 

       When I called him he was but one, and I blessed him and made him many. 

 3 The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; 

       he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. 

       Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.

Galatians 3:26-29 (niv)

26You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 

27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 

28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 

29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise

   

      Below is one of my favorite Thanksgiving Day recipes for you to enjoy with your family and friends this year!

Love in Him,

Pastor Wendy

Sweet Potato Crunch

* preheat oven to 400 degrees

Ingredients:

1-1lb.13oz can of sweet potatoes (drained)

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

2 eggs (beaten)

¼ c. butter (melted)

Mix the above with a hand mixer and pour into a buttered dish.

Ingredients for topping:

1 1/4 c. brown sugar

little less than 1/2 c. butter (softened)

4 T. flour

¾ c. chopped pecans

Mix the above well with a large spoon and spread on the top of sweet potato mixture, and bake at 400 degrees till’ top is a dark caramel color, about 35 - 40 minutes.

Holding Hands

 
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Isaiah 41:10-13 (AMPC)

10 Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.

11 Behold, all they who are enraged and inflamed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; they who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish.

12 You shall seek those who contend with you but shall not find them; they who war against you shall be as nothing, as nothing at all.

13 For I the Lord your God hold your right hand; I am the Lord, Who says to you, Fear not; I will help you!

     Have you ever been in a place where you were  surrounded by opposition and possible collapse at every angle of your life?  Every other relationship seems tested and challenged, full of mixed messages.  One day you feel loved, the next day you feel  forgotten.   You do not know who you can truly trust.  

    It is in those seasons, you must make sure you are walking so close to God, you can feel His hand holding yours.  You hear His footsteps guiding you, and you can hear the faintest whisper of His voice.

     He alone is fully for you at all times, in all ways.  Don’t expect this type of loyalty from fallen/redeemed humanity.  It's just not fair to expect others to be fully like God!

     Misplaced expectation is such a roller coaster of highs and lows.  People can be what you want and need some of the time, but never all the time.  We all have our demons to slay, and our minds to renew.  Only God will travel with you with constant unconditional love and affectionate affirmation.  He alone fully gets you, and still fully loves you!

     Overtime, you will learn how to face difficulties with realistic expectations that are full of grace for yourself and others.  Acknowledging, you don’t fully see the whole picture, only God does.  He is in everybody's corner, doing all that He can to get them to a place of victory and triumph! 

Holding God’s Hand,

Pastor Wendy

Born this way

 
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15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.  1 John 2:15-17 NIV

I was at a meal with a few people which included a person my husband and I did not know.  I was looking forward to becoming more acquainted with possibly a new friend.  This person took their liberty to in my view try and pick a fight with two local pastors who happened to be setting at this table.   This person began to explain to my husband and I how homosexuals are born that way, and its a completely natural way of life for them.  It is good and should be supported and celebrated was the overall tone of their comments.  

I did not have the opportunity to share my conviction.  It seems I am being thrust into these conversations everywhere whether it is the issue of homosexuals, gay marriage or fluid sexual identity.  I guess you sense I am kind of ready to move on from these issues being what feels like shoved down my throat.  I feel that I have been honest and tolerant.  Yet as a Christian, I am beginning to feel that I am the one not being tolerated.  I have been, what feels like, ganged up on at times from those trying to change my beliefs.  Would you just pass the bread please?  

I met Jesus when I was 9 years old.  I have been loving truth found in scripture and studying and ministering God’s word for decades.  I will never call sin good, and truth evil.  That would be a lie, and that would be sin for me.  Never let anyone bully you in this respect.  Stand firm in listening to and following your heart that is imprinted with God's beautiful Word.

20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20 AMPC

First off, I agree we are all born with a natural bent we can not change.  We are born that way, dead in sin according to my understanding of the scripture.  

The real core issue is what do you believe is sin?  And what is righteous?  Or what is darkness and what is light? 

You see if God says in His Word that anything is sin, then I must as a believer agree with Him and resist the temptation to sin, which is best.  Or,  agree with Him and choose to still live in sin, convicted and miserable.   In this case, after I acknowledge I have sinned and asked Him to forgive me, He is released to cleanse and restore me once again to right standing with Him as not only my Savior but my Lord.  I belong to Him spirit, soul (mind, will, emotions), and body.

The root issue is not what sin you are naturally drawn to and fond of, but will you be cleansed? Will you reject the truth of the Word or will you receive the gift of Jesus?  He takes out your heart of stone and gives you a new heart.  He gives you a new desire to allow Him to govern your life, and not continue to be led by your carnal nature that is hostile to God.

5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. 7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature,you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.  Romans 8:5-14 NLT

I thought it very bold of this person to try and convince Pastor Art and I that being gay is not sin.  We have given ourselves to the love of scripture, and it is written on our hearts and forever in our minds.  We are lovers of Truth.  We hate no one, and truly love all humans for we are all created in His image.  But we are all born dead in sin, in need of a way back to God’s life.  In fact, we love people so much, we will bear the reproach of standing misunderstood and misjudged time and time again to herald the truth of God’s Word to all who are lost.  

I have noticed there are two principle areas that seem to be the hardest for humans to give over to the control of God.   The pride of a self ruled life has such a hard time surrendering these two areas to God for cleansing and sanctification (setting apart for His glory).

They are your sexuality and your money.  We do not like being told what we can't do or what we can't keep for ourselves.  We like to be in control, especially of our sexual appetites and resources.

Our sexuality is a part of our lives, but it is not our identity. Our identity is in the spirit and our spirits are alive unto God and full of light and life, or dead in sin and full of darkness and death. Alive in God through Jesus, or dead in sin through the natural state we are born in.  We must be born again.

The boundaries given us in the Word for our sexuality and money are not to grieve and harm us, but actually to bless us.  Surrendering you heart and all areas of your life including your money to God, will only cause favor and blessings to flow.  Holding onto to any area of your life, will only cause you grief, harm and decay. 

13 No servant is able to serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (riches, or anything in which you trust and on which you rely).  Luke 16:13 AMPC

Whether you struggle with temptation to lie, steal, cheat, hate or have sex outside of marriage (fornication), or sex with someone else’s spouse (adultery), or sex with the same sex (homosexual), it is all sin! (btw this list is not complete)  These and all sins must be resisted and surrendered to God’s higher laws that bring peace and blessing.

Live to Please God

4 Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more. 2 For you remember what we taught you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.

3 God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. 4 Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor— 5 not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways. 6 Never harm or cheat a fellow believer in this matter by violating his wife, for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before. 7 God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. 8 Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.  1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 (NLT)

living to please Him,

Pastor Wendy

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Let us go to the House of the Lord!"

 
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Psalm 122:1 (The Message)

When they said, "Let's go to the house of God," my heart leaped for joy.

Psalm 92:12 -15 (Amp)

12The [uncompromisingly] righteous shall flourish like the palm tree [be long-lived, stately, upright, useful, and fruitful]; they shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon [majestic, stable, durable, and incorruptible].   
13Planted in the house of the Lord, they shall flourish in the courts of our God. 
14[Growing in grace] they shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap [of spiritual vitality] and [rich in the] verdure [of trust, love, and contentment]. 
15[They are living memorials] to show that the Lord is upright and faithful to His promises; He is my Rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

Leaping or Grieving?

I remember as a little girl racing to get ready for church because “my heart leaped for joy” as I anticipated going to the house of God!  I still experience the same joy as I continue to serve the Lord with gladness.

That joy has been challenged at times with different situations, but I protect what is sacred knowing the enemy would love nothing more than to spoil what is holy.  So many burdens have been removed in the house of the Lord, so many symptoms have dissolved under the anointing in worship, so many questions answered as the word has been ministered, and so many relationships have been made in church that have truly enhanced my life for the better.   

I remember in particular one Sunday when I was just a child, the pastor’s wife looking at me and saying, “You are going to make a great pastor’s wife one day.”  I remember her pink dress, pink shoes, and pink lipstick!  She was beautiful to me, and I always admired her sweet spirit.  Her name was Mrs. Patsy and she taught me Sunday school for one year.  I had no idea, God was using this small Baptist Church pastor’s wife to prophesy the will of God to me at that moment.  But I do remember receiving those words as precious from a godly woman who always showed me joy, acceptance and love.  That my friend is eternal, that is holy, and that is worth fighting to protect.  

You may ask, “How can the enemy spoil my joy when it comes to belonging to a local church?”  He infiltrates and divides the body through people who are not celebrating the work of God, but tolerating it with their list of grievances.  Selfishly spreading their grief to all who are vulnerable to take it in.  The enemy is not so concerned with just spoiling your joy, but weakening the church at large.  If he spoils the joy of you serving God in a local church, and then proceeds to convince you to leave the church where God has planted you and intends for you to thrive, that gives him a bit of pleasure.  But multiply that same strategy by the hundreds of thousands, and imagine the great joy it gives the devil causing such damage, division and grief to the body of Christ at large.  Do you see the greater evil? 

 Just imagine the greater good accomplished when you keep your joy, and remain in your place serving Him with faith filled gladness.  

In Him,

Pastor Wendy