Behold, in the Heavenlies!

... and then the meditations of my heart, and the affirmations of my mouth come to elevate the entirety of my person, and in consummated glory I but barely glean the countenance of beauty unspeakable and love unfathomable!! ... Yes indeed Your mystery will continue till the day we come face to face forever more; but consistently Your rescue and aid out of the "mist and darkness", and dis-ease in this earthly suit, is a showing of Your tenderest and Most loving heart! The turn for good is sharp and quick, when we stand, take stock and declare the truth we know and speak the authority of His Word ...to remain and possess what is rightly our promises. The Lord has brought us up and out of the

Grow in Faith

Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:5 The first lesson in the “Growing Up in Christ” series is growing in faith. Faith is the cornerstone of our Christian lives. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him, Hebrews 11:6. Faith is required before we can begin this Christian walk. We must first believe that God is God; Jesus is His Son, died on the cross for our sins and rose again. If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us. He is preparing a place for us and is coming back for us someday. It is by faith that we believe

Grow Up

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18 We are starting a new 13-week series with the children called “Grow Up in Christ”. As I was studying these Bible lessons and seeking guidance on how to present this information to the children, I was quickened in my Spirit that as an adult I need to be reminded and encouraged to “grow up” also. The table of contents in this lesson book lists 12 area of study in the growing process. Grow in faith, obedience, attitude, worship, discipleship, prayer, goodness, love for Christ, devotion to the church, grace, confidence and hope. I began to realize tha

Rejection Flipped

An amazing story unfolds in 2 Kings 7 about four lepers. Although I have read this account many times, thanks to Pastor Dan Willis, another truth was shared. Leprosy is a horrible disease that affects not only physically, but socially, relationally and emotionally due to the contagious nature of the illness. This was the plight of the four lepers found in this passage. They were outcasts and located outside the city walls, rejected by those that were inside the city gates. At that time, great famine had hit the land with the death toll raising daily. So these four lepers (the outcasts) said to one another, “Why are we sitting here...” Yes, we are outcasts, yes we are starving so what do we h

Jesus Said

Jesus said to her, “Mary!” John 10:16 One morning in my devotions I read where Jesus called to Mary by name. she recognized her Lord. As I thought about that, I put my name in there and read it out loud. Jesus said to her, “Bonnie!” The sensation of His Spirit came over me and tears began to flow as I kept saying, “Jesus said to her, Bonnie!’” What an awesome feeling it gave me to be that close to Jesus and hear Him call my name. I have called you by name; you are mine! Isaiah 43:1 In your quiet time with Lord say the verse above and put your name in there and see what happens. Thank you, sweet Jesus for call my name. Bonnie Castleberry

Invisible vs Visible

He put a new song in my mouth-Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord. Psalm 40:3 As I read my Scripture I find that singing is important to God. Revelation 5:9-10 talks about the new song we will be singing in Heaven. Revelation 15:3 names two songs we will sing-The song of Moses (Exodus 15:1-18) and the song of the Lamb. We might have time to practice them here on earth-lyrics are in the book! Don’t you think those on the platform, using their talents, would like to think we sing also! They pray, they select music, they put it together (they don’t do a program and they aren’t appearing as a “great” choir) they sing for their Lord! It would be nice if other

Invisible vs Visible (Part 1)

The title seems strange for a devotional but it is the only one given me. I want to preface this devotion with a “dab” of personal testimony. When I found the Holy Spirit and His gifts, my Christian walk changed tremendously! If you have been satisfied with “less” then you need to question WHY? I attended one church for over 20 years; from day one my seat was usually third row center. I didn’t want to miss anything-testimonies, prayer, songs, sermons, miracles, etc. I took. Notes and still take. Notes for almost every service I am in- it isn’t easy (every preacher is different) but something goes in my notebooks. In all those years, I can’t recall missing any services- revivals, VBS, women’s

Tranquil Waters

Lord; as a spillover of yesterday and all it's goodness, today I exercise a love fest unto You, of words that are praiseful, loving, uplifting, depicting the majestic and O so sweet nature of our King on high! For in You love, safety, peace, kindness, tender mercies, acceptance, PARDON...all are found in Your Lording Presence. In my mind I rethink and remember, the lengths of effort made-to see, to please, to pamper...in the season of courtship and young budding love! I have a mood of song and praise in my heart for you, Lord...joy and thanksgiving of the abundant kind! ...even living without much company or friendly notice can't rob me of my sense of Your mindfulness for me, and mine! So in

Seek the Holy Spirit

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27 Have you ever been in complete heartache and doubt and not know what to say or even pray? In Roman 8:26 we are reminded the Spirit helps in our weakness. When we have no clue what to pray or how to pray the Spirit intercedes for us. I don’t know about you but that gives me a big sigh of relief. In complete heartache, the Spirit intercedes for me. If you go on to read verse

Don't Just Sit on What You Know

“Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24 NIV) Receiving, reading, researching, remembering, and reflecting on the Word of God are all useless if we fail to put them into practice. We must become doers of the word (James 1:22). I understand this is a hard step, because Satan fights it so intensely. He doesn’t mind you going to Bible studies as long as you don’t do anything with what you learn. We fool ourselves when we assume that just because we have heard or read or studied a truth, we have internalized it. Actually, you can be so busy going to the next class or seminar or Bible conference that you

Forgiveness

Part of my breakthrough that I was seeking God for in my life, forgiveness was the key to unlocking it. The only thing is I had no idea. We are always taught from a young age that God forgives us of our sins when we ask Jesus into our hearts. That is true, I just didn't realize there was more. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 NASB God also says that we must forgive others of their transgressions against us and then He will forgive us of our transgressions. For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:14 NASB. God knows that unforgivene

God Cares

One of the battles I am fighting is insomnia so I grab whatever time I can to rest. This morning I went back to bed after my husband left for work and was sleeping pretty good when a knock woke me up. I looked at the clock and saw it was about time for my grandkids to come for the day. I jumped (as fast as I can “jump out of bed”) and went to unlock the door. There wasn’t anyone there. I looked to see if they had gone to another door but no one was there. I thanked the Lord for waking me up. It was just a few minutes later they came bouncing through the door. I’m not sure what they would have done if they had been locked out and I hadn’t been able to wake up. The events this morning brought

Check it Out

“Come on, you’ll like it,” I told the hesitant horses. I had stopped my walk to pick the tall green grass that grew along the road and held it across the top of the fence. Three of the farmer’s six horses decided to walk across the field toward me. They stretched out their necks to sniff the grass and then took it from my outstretched hand. Aha, I now could rub their silky necks. At other times, they had refused the grass and turned their heads away from me. I wondered why. Were there nettles in with the grass? Did they smell my hand lotion? Had the grass been sprayed with insect spray? Maybe they weren’t hungry or did they figure out my motive? As Christians, we also need to be careful abou

Longing

I stretch out my hands to You; My soul longs for You, as a parched land. Selah. Psalm 143:6 We recently added some new “block out” curtains to try and keep the bedroom a little cooler during this summer heat. I woke up that first night and had the strangest feeling. Even in the night, the room was darker. It was so dark that I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. I couldn’t make out any object in the room. The feeling that overcame me was one of searching. My mind began to “search” for light. It was so strange that there was nothing. No light from within the house, no light from the moon or stars out the window, no light at all. As I searched for light I began to meditate on the things

Prayer

And he spent the night in prayer to God. —Luke 6:12 Under the silence of the stars, hid from the light of the sun and the freneticism of the day, there is the possibility of slipping into the holy place and pouring out the contents of our hearts with honesty and authenticity. Sleep is always a mighty temptation, as it was for the disciples who could not resist it though Jesus asked that they stay awake for but one hour. Something about the solitude of the night makes prayer difficult, but it is that very solitude in blackness that can become the most sacred time for prayer. It can become the time when the human heart meets heaven without any sham, pretense, or superficiality. The darkness de

Touching the Hard Places

Something that has really been soaking into my spirit lately is how the Lord longs to touch our pain. It seems so simple but it's really so profound to me. It's as if I really had not understood or been awakened to His rich compassion. How He, the Lord, in all His majesty longs to touch the hard places. He longs to touch the places we try to hide, the places we are ashamed of. Memories that haunt us of things we wished we had done differently. Places of Sadness or anxiety. Worries of the future, failures, lost hopes, sickness, depression, things we just don't understand. Our perfect Savior longs to come with his wave of mercy and peace, and touch you. To stand in those moments of fear, weari

Love Abounding

Dear Lord, I thank you for the diversity of the human form, the uniqueness of our spirit, and how in people we get to experience the abundance of facets of our majestic Creator. So mindful are you, Lord, that exquisite peculiarities even, are part of the sum of our fearful and wondrous composition! Most of all, thou, it is the "expressed", spoken, made known, and intentional love language, and all it's expressions about Your feelings for us- thru Your own marvelous creation- Your children- that we are brought back again and again, to a place of utter thankfulness, appreciation, full contentment of the heart and a bigger and deeper understanding of the profoundness of Your consideration, and

Tending Your Garden

“Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyard, our vineyard that are in bloom.” Song of Solomon 2:15 Spring and summer are my favorite season of the year. There are several reasons including a warmer temperature and seeing green again with new life springing forth in God’s beautiful world. My dad was a wonderful gardener and mandatory service in the garden was required of his children. My favorite task was planting—carefully laying out straight rows, tenderly placing plants or seeds in the ground, covering, fertilizing and watering methodically. Anxiously we would await growth! In the meantime, however, something always happened to our “Garden of Eden” we had so excitedly

A Silly Idea (Part 2)

Caroline writes that she finally gave up computer solitaire; she just replaced it with computer "scrabble". I still play solitaire but I often think it improves my relationship with God. It sure brings forth many questions. For example, why can I sit here for two hours, on a hard chair, and find it difficult to sit in church for two hours on a soft pew? Why do I get excited when I win a game but I can't get a shout out of my mouth in church? If you allow something or someone to come before Christ then you are losing control. I want to be "addicted" to Christ! I want to be like the woman who searched until she found the lost coin; like the woman who pressed through the crowd for the hem of Hi

A Silly Idea (Part 1)

Several months ago, I came up with the idea of writing about playing computer solitaire. As I thought about it I decided it was a silly idea and put it in the file of ideas. Then, several weeks ago I came across a book that brought it back out. The book is entitled "The Merry Recluse: A Life in Essays" by Caroline Knapp. She had written four books, multiple freelance articles, and for ten years did a regular column for the Boston Phoenix newspaper. She dealt with alcoholism, a food disorder, fear and died at age 42. I had never heard of her and selected the book by an interesting cover and title. As I browsed it, I came across an essay "Satan deals the cards". She writes about how she is str

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