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Squelch the Gossip!

Posted on March 20, 2014 at 12:23 AM Comments comments (1)
Today’s power scripture comes from Proverbs 16:28:  “A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.” ESV)
     Be aware and beware of people who constantly dabble in gossip.  If they are sharing information with you about others chances are very likely that they will share your conversations with others.  There is no confidentiality among gossipers. When given the opportunity some so-called friends will use what they know about you to their advantage.  Even if they may not plan to use things against you; in trying to elevate themselves they will trample on you, your good name and your reputation.
    Many of us have some volatile relationships (even long term) that at some point we need to sever.  If lifelong friends are exhibiting behaviors that are immature - we need to separate ourselves from the madness of trying to hold on to what we have outgrown.  As Christians we are to emulate Christ and strive to be good stewards over what God provides.  As representatives of God’s kingdom we cannot have an effective witness if our reputation for truth and confidentially are questionable.  When people want to talk about the lives and livelihoods of others, politely  remind them that ‘all have fallen” and that each of us has a right to privacy as God works on and through us.          Every day is a good day it is up to us to make it a GREAT power-filled day. Have a great weekend.  Be blessed! Dr. JoAnn

 
Please consider supporting my ministry by visiting the “Lenten Calendar” page on my website and check out how you can share in the sacrifice of this lent period

Hang In There!

Posted on March 19, 2014 at 12:16 AM Comments comments (4)
Good morning! Today's power scripture comes from 1 Peter 2:20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.”  
        Today we reach the milestone of entering into the third week of Lent since its beginning on Ash Wednesday. Traditionally during the Lenten season believers abstain from various indulgences, habits or desires in order to subdue and chasten the physical body as it conforms to the rigors of submission. Usually fasting, prayer and sacrificial giving highlight the 40 days of consecration.  As with most projects, we all start off strong with great intentions for our heroic and uncompromised completion of our scripted sacrifices. But also, as with many great intentions, we need booster shots of encouragement to stay the course. 
        Some churches and religious organizations foster outreach programs during Lent for their members to participate in reaching out and ministering to the masses.  During these activities it is easy to get sideswiped by ungrateful attitudes, hurriedly organized or executed plans; changing agendas; or just plain old fatigue from operating on a restricted fasting diet. Regardless of the outer influences let me encourage you to stay the course; endure to the end. Keep the promises and covenants that you have ushered before the Lord.  Pray for strength to complete your fast; your Bible reading; and physical challenges.
        The devil wishes for us to grow weary and abandon our causes; but we will not be dismayed by his prodding nor shall we give into the temptation to postpone or delay activities that God wants us to complete during this Lent preparation time.  You have what it takes to make it all the way.  Pull upon the grace and mercy of the Holy Spirit to empower you to stay on course.  I believe in you and more important to your success is the fact that God believes in and loves you and he has your back. If you have had some struggles and may have fallen off of the wagon don’t let that discourage you.  Maybe you gave up your favorite indulgence - chocolate-  and just the other day you slipped and had that crafty Snickers candy bar that kept calling your name.  Don’t worry; all is not lost. You are not a failure.  Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back on track.  Failure only occurs when you give up – not when you fall.  You are a winner and this week will be the best week ever!  
      Every day is a good day; it is up to us to make it a power-packed GREAT day!    Dr. JoAnn

Showers of Blessings

Posted on March 18, 2014 at 1:19 AM Comments comments (0)
Today’s power scripture comes from Leviticus 26:3-4(ESV): “If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them, then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.”
      It has been raining intermittently here in Georgia for a few days and it reminds me of the lyric line of the song Rainy Night in Georgia which says that “it feels like it is raining all over the world”.  In essence, the continual, gloomy times we are having here makes it hard to believe that there is fair or even sunny weather anywhere else.  In our Christian walk, when we are bombarded with ‘rainy’ days, dismal forecasts and gloomy outcomes, we must not be burdened to believe that these melancholy times are going to last indefinitely or that there isn’t hope somewhere.  Our situations may not be that cheery for the moment, but we must not let our own misgivings or the influence of the evil one convince us that things will not get better.  If we do, anxiety and potential depression are right around the corner.
      In the midst of a torrential downpour I received a phone call from my brother in southern California who could not resist the temptation to inform me that while raindrops kept falling on my head, he was basking in 90 degree weather.  No one can doubt that the past few months have demonstrated how weather, climate, environment…whatever you want to call it…is not a respecter of what we hope, think or plan.  Many travels have been interrupted or cancelled; many events have been postponed or terminated; many companies have lost business and the list goes on.  We can look at the downside to weather related calamities all day, but remember there is a silver lining in each cloud and that the rains bring showers of blessings.
     God promises to provide for those who obey him and walk in his statues. These provisions come in many fashions and the rainy times in our lives are merely conduction pathways for some of the blessings that God is bestowing upon us.  Flood waters may seem haphazard to some, but to the fisherman whose favorite catching spot is experiencing drought; this could save this business. Cloud filled skies block the drying rays of the sun and poorly draining streets can wreak havoc with traffic but these so called issues give evidence to small nuisance problems that can be corrected before sink-hole sized disasters surface. God provides the rain to quench our dry areas and he permits heavy downpours to give us opportunities to see the glory of his blessings. Take a few moments today to thank God for the rainstorms in your life.  They have made you who you are and they are crafting you into the masterpiece God wants you to be.   

Every day is a good day it is up to us to make it a GREAT power-filled day. Have a great weekend.  See you on Monday.  Be blessed! Dr. JoAnn Please consider supporting my ministry by visiting the “Lenten Calendar” page on my website and check out how you can share in the sacrifice of this lent period

Shine!

Posted on March 17, 2014 at 12:03 AM Comments comments (1)
Shine!   Good morning! Today's power scripture comes from Luke 8:16 (LEB):  “And no one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand, so that those who come in can see the light..”         
      You are wonderfully and fearfully made and there is divine purpose for your life.  God is so proud of his creation and you are special to him in so many ways.  You are made in his image and therefore reflect his glory.  Don't be ashamed to let the world know that you are a true believer; and since God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him, anticipate special treatment from God.      
      In each of us is a special light that shows our connection to our Creator.  Because a single candle can dispel the darkness it is only fitting that our lights be placed in darkened areas to allow the glow of God from within us to shine forth.  If you wonder why you are stationed at your particular work site under an unnecessarily uncouth boss; or why your spouse’s family might be a little abrasive; or how you still seem to stick out a bit even among your friends; it could be that you are the light stationed there.  God is depending on you to make those opaque areas clearer.  He expects you to not put your light under a basket to be of use just for yourself, but he urges you to place yourself in situations where you will stand out and be luminous.
        Lamps require oil for refilling, wicks to burn cleanly and an ignition source. Keep yourself under the anointing of the Holy Spirit so that your oil never runs dry.  Daily pray in the spirit for renewal and refilling of your strength and courage to complete the task assigned to you.  Seek the refiner’s fire which burns away impurities and assures that your work is pleasing to God.  Do not shun, ignore or complain about areas in your life that are uncomfortable  or unseemly; these very places might be areas where God is using the strength of your resolve and the brightness of your light to chase away uncanny and evil issues that could envelope the lives of those not strong enough to chase away the darkness themselves.  Be that light .You have in you what it takes.  If God did not trust you with the assignment, he never would have placed you there.
      Every day is a good day, it is up to us to make it a power-packed GREAT day! Dr. JoAnn

Own Up!

Posted on March 14, 2014 at 12:06 AM Comments comments (3)
Today’s power scripture comes from Genesis 3:12:  “The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.”(ESV)
    When questioned by God about his whereabouts and whether he had eaten of the fruit of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam quickly threw Eve under the Eden bus.  Although he was the head of the household and responsible for the dwelling place that God had provided for him, Adam did not step up to the plate in many ways.  In my opinion he first failed in that he should have been more in tune with his wife and stopped all that unnecessary banter between her and the cunning snake.  Not that she couldn’t have her own space and quiet reflection time in the garden, but even now in our sin-state, many of us pick up on vibes of when our loved ones are in trouble.  So I am sure that before the ‘fall’ of Adam, he should have been keenly aware of Eve and her well-being.
      Secondly the text tells us that Eve ate of the fruit first and then gave it to Adam.  Adam could have nipped this whole ‘fall-of-man’ thing in the bud if he had ‘manned up’ and put his foot down and not taken the bait.  He might have been able to take Eve before God for forgiveness and we could all now be running through the Emerald City naked as jaybirds with no worries or cares. But nooooooooo! Adam not only ate but then he tried to hide.  He lost his head. How could he so foolishly think that he could hide from the all-mighty, all-seeing and all-knowing God?
    Finally, when asked about his situation he pushed the blame onto Eve, the one who only a few verses back he was to cleave to and become as one. He even had the nerve to hint that God was at fault for giving him this woman.  Instead of stepping forward and owning up to his mistake he took two steps back and left her standing there with her fig leaves blowing in the wind.   Let us take a lesson from this example and take responsibility for our actions.  I wonder if God, who is so apt to forgive us of all of our sins, was more disappointed in Adam’s failure to keep his commandment about the consumption of the fruit or about Adam’s betrayal by his lying and scheming?   Let us be upfront and honest with ourselves, with others and most of all with God.  When we have fallen short; messed up; bitten off more than we can chew; or just plain blown it – ‘fess up and own up. 
      The mature Christian knows that mistakes happen and can only be rectified when we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us.  Don’t dig a deeper hole by lying or trying to cover it up. There is no shame in failing only in blaming others and not owning up to the process.  We often learn best and remember the  most from the things we don’t get quite right.
Every day is a good day it is up to us to make it a GREAT power-filled day. Have a great weekend.  See you on Monday.  Be blessed! Dr. JoAnn
Please consider supporting my ministry by visiting the “Lenten Calendar” page on my website and check out how you can share in the sacrifice of this lent period.

Yield Not!

Posted on March 13, 2014 at 12:13 AM Comments comments (1)
Today’s power scripture comes from James 1:12 :  Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life which the Lord hath promised to those who love Him.”
      God always keeps his promises and the Holy Scriptures are replete with promise after promise of blessings that God wants to bestow upon those faithful to him.  Life will present different challenges, many designed to develop us into stronger, more God-fearing followers; others mask the evil one’s attempt to thwart the destinies that God has pre-ordained for us; and some challenges are temptations that test our resolve to do the right thing.
      I encourage you today to closely check out the things that are bombarding you and see the real cause for the frustrations and challenges you are suffering.  It could be that temptations are lurking at your door but disguised in ways that are subtle and often undetected.  For example a sure fire way to throw someone off of their game is to use the art of distraction.  When we are distracted we lose our focus and can waste valuable time trying to make up lost ground.  Some distractions seem so harmless and often can on the surface be ‘good’ things to do; but if they are not a part of your walk, then even good intentions will turn out to be time-wasting, blessing-delaying temptations.    Staying in touch with friends and keeping in the know can be important gestures, but if you can’t manage to stay off of Facebook or Twitter for more than 30 minutes before you feel the need to update your status, you could be the victim of distraction.  If you are really not one of the primary persons involved in a conversation yet you feel the need to put in your two cents; you have fallen prey to the temptation of needing to be heard.
      Notice that the power scripture tells us to endure temptation – not rebuke, reprove or cast it away– but endure it.  In essence, it is not going away, but you don’t have to succumb to it.  Know what it is and treat it accordingly.  If God says endure, then it means it can be done and we just need to hang in there.  During this Lenten sacrificial season let us be mindful that the temptations around us will escalate as we get closer to reaffirming our faith in God and the power of the resurrection of his son and our Savior, Jesus Christ.
     Every day is a good day it is up to us to make it a GREAT power-filled day.  Be blessed! Dr. JoAnn                     Please consider supporting my ministry by visiting the “Lenten Calendar” page on my website(http://www.smarttchoice.org/Lenten-Calendar.html) and check out how you can share in the sacrifice of this lent period

Just Right!

Posted on March 11, 2014 at 10:26 PM Comments comments (4)
Good morning! Today's power scripture comes from Genesis 2:18: Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”
 
      Don't be in a rush to unite with someone just because you don't want to be alone. Being lonely and alone are two different realities. You can be in the midst of a bustling crowd or in an intimate gathering of people and yet be lonely. You can also be isolated by yourself and be in the best of company. I love my quiet time with myself; I often say that if others like your company you ought to love your own company; and I surely do. Nobody can make me laugh about silly stuff quite like me. Does this mean that I prefer to be alone? - Well yeah, sometimes, but I anticipate with great joy the day that God unites me with a life companion whom I can continue to grow older with. But one thing is for sure, I am not going to rush into any situation just because others have someone and I am by myself.
      Some couples are mis-matched because they rushed into situations and now they are just too locked in to even want to do anything but complain, grumble and unfortunately- cheat. The scripture says that God is fashioning someone just right for me and perfecting me just right for someone special. Will he be perfect? Not in the sense that most might evaluate, but he will be perfect for me, with all of my idiosyncrasies and foibles; and I will be perfect for him. My idea of a perfect companion is too tainted by my carnality; so I am looking forward to enjoying what my Creator is preparing for me. Some might think it is a long time coming. And that might be true... nobody but a hermit wants to be alone, but as a famous saying pronounces - "[Good] things come to those who wait ...as long as they know what they are waiting for". (Ralph Waldo Emerson). And I am waiting for a sure thing - God!
       God has already planned the perfect companion just for you. So whether you are a teen new to the dating scene or divorced and jumping back on the merri-go-round again, remember to enjoy life to the fullest as God prepares you and your soul mate to meet. Jesus came that you would have life and life more abundantly - not for you to put your life on hold while kissing every frog that jumps in your path.
 
Every day is a good day, it is up to us to make it a power-packed GREAT day!
Dr. JoAnn

All Have Sinned

Posted on March 10, 2014 at 11:43 PM Comments comments (1)
Today’s power scripture comes from Mark 2: 17  “When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (NKJV)
     The other day I was listening to NPR (National Public Radio) and a commentator spoke about the sinful nature of what was transpiring in the Ukraine.  Yes, there are atrocities occurring worldwide but his comments struck me oddly because he spoke as if our nation was so on the side of right that we could unashamedly point fingers.  There are no big “I”s and little ‘u’s or big or little sins.  We have all sinned and fallen short.  If it were not for the gap which Jesus fills for us, we would all fall away.   It is true that some nations oppress their citizens and what seems like moral decay afflicts areas because of greed, lasciviousness and corruption. But do not let the main stream media fool us into believing that our noses are all that clean.  We don’t’ have to look afar into foreign countries to actuate blame; let us be careful about pointing fingers in our own families.
        Many of us have family members or close friends who are not saved or who are for the sake of a better term  - “backslidden”.  When we interact with members of our family who are struggling to see the love of Jesus in their lives, we must treat them gently and usher them into the presence of God through compassion.  Our God does not want hostages or anyone who feels they have been railroaded or taken by force.  God does not need coercion or strong-arm tactics to further his Kingdom building.  Nothing wrong with being radical for Christ; just make sure we are rational.
         A prominent comedian often tells others when their actions are less than savory - .”You need Jesus”.  Yes, we all need Jesus but we don’t need to get him by shame or trickery or by force.  Jesus comes to our door and knocks…never with a battering ram…just his own nail scarred hand.  When we witness, remember all have fallen short, including us…we are just saved by Grace.
        Every day is a good day it is up to us to make it a GREAT power-filled day.  Be blessed! Dr. JoAnn

Please consider supporting my ministry by visiting the “Lenten Calendar” page on my website(http://www.smarttchoice.org/Lenten-Calendar.html) and check out how you can share in the sacrifice of this lent period

Right Timing

Posted on March 9, 2014 at 8:59 PM Comments comments (0)
Today’s power scripture comes from Esther 4:14 :For if you remain completely silent at thistime, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom forsuchatimeas this?” .” (NKJV)     
      Saturday I was in the library doing some Bible study. I have been in the library since a little after it opened and I had just finished my sermon notes and was preparing to move on to study for a test; when an inspiring turn of events occurred.  I had been seated at a table that had power outlets for my computer, but the chairs were straight-back and I had grown weary of being in the seat.  I had decided since I no longer was using my computer and the rest of my study was reading, I would move to another lounging area of the library for more comfort. 
      For some reason I just delayed. Finally after about 10 minutes I got up, stretched and started to pack my computer bag when one of the library helpers, who was shelving books, came into my section.  We made eye contact and I quietly spoke and she responded.  I delayed again for another 5 minutes and started again to pack up…this time the helper came and asked if I had completed a project I was working on.  I was puzzled because I had not been in this library in almost 5 months.  She had mistaken me for another visitor whom she had helped.  Then she noticed my Bible and made mention of it.  I told her I was studying for a sermon that I was to deliver on Sunday morning.  She apologized for disturbing me and departed…that ended our second encounter.
      Well I was starting to pack up a third time and she came back around the corner and with slight tears in her eyes she asked me questions about how to remain faithful when you have prayed and God does not seem to answer.  She talked candidly about her daughter and new grand-baby and the ills that surrounded them; so I referred her to Psalm 103 and  then I took her hand and prayed with her.  I gave her my business card; and because I had delayed in packing my computer, it was open and still logged into the internet. I went to my website and showed her how to access my daily blogs and told her to have her daughter call me.    She thanked me and in leaving she said…”you came here today for this reason, thank you.” – then she disappeared back behind the shelves.  I stayed about another hour, I never made it to the lounging area… but in the distance I could hear the squeaky wheel of her cart and knew that this day I made a difference .
       Make a difference in someone’s life today.  It does not require that you do anything awesomely significant…it could be just the simple acts of waiting…smiling….listening….and praying when the timing is right.  The Holy Spirit shall guide you.

       Please consider supporting my ministry by visiting the “Lenten Calendar” page on my website and check out how you can share in the sacrifice of this lent period.  Every day is a good day it is up to us to make it a GREAT power-filled day.  Be blessed! Dr. JoAnn  

Showed Up and Showed Out!

Posted on March 7, 2014 at 12:41 AM Comments comments (2)
       Today’s power scripture comes from 1 Kings 18:38:   “Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench.” (NKJV)      
     You may or may not be familiar with the Old Testament scripture reading of Elijah and his encounter with the 450 prophets of Baal; but to summarize it quickly let’s just get to the final scene of the encounter.  After much wailing, chanting, cutting of themselves and calling upon their pagan god to respond to their requests; the many prophets could only sit back and watch as the God of all creation answered the humble prayer of his servant.  It seemed like an easy task for the boastful gestures of the prophets to have their god come and partake of the offering that was placed before him; but he couldn’t.
     Our God not only sent down a consuming fire; but the altar, the wood, the sacrifice and the surrounding ground was soaked with water.  Our God showed up and showed out.  There were almost 500 of them and Elijah stood alone. But with you and God on your side - you are the majority.  Where do you feel isolated, alone or abandoned? Don’t’ worry, God will show up and he truly can show out. Let those who want to brag about themselves and their accomplishments have their heyday. It is easy for some to forget who is really in charge of the universe.  They think that they have life on a string and are in control of their own destinies. No man can rise any higher than God will lift him and we must always remember the source of our success.         As we begin this Lenten Season continue to focus on the grace and mercy of our Lord. He was the ultimate sacrifice. Consider how much God must love us and how hard it was for him to consume that which he loved so dearly; his only begotten son.
       Visit the “Lenten Calendar” page on my website and check out how you can share in the sacrifice of this lent period.  Every day is a good day it is up to us to make it a GREAT power-filled day.  Be blessed! Dr. JoAnn

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