Sometimes I Wonder…

JOB



“Why do the wicked prosper, growing old and powerful?”

-Job 21:7 NLT


“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; Do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.”

-Psalm 37:7-9 NLT


“I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.”

-Isaiah 48:10 NLT



Sometimes I wonder why it always looks like the wicked succeed, then I’m reminded that the wicked are not succeeding because they are perishing. One can be wealthy and successful by every worldly standard and yet be spiritually bankrupt. Success in the eyes of God is vastly different from how the world sees it. God takes you to heights unknown when you are following Him and He blesses those who are walking in obedience to Him.

There may be trials along the way to get to the destination God has for you, but those trials teach you endurance and perseverance. You are not refined in the times of good, but you are refined in the furnace of suffering. God is the one who will make you come out as gold. Just remember to keep your eyes and your mind fixed on the Author and Finisher of your faith, and He will be the One who gives you perfect peace as you keep trusting in Him.



REFLECTIVE PRAYER Heavenly Father, You, O God, are the Author and the Finisher of my faith.  I will continue to keep my eyes and my mind fixed on You because in You alone there is hope and peace.  You are the True Joy Giver.  You are the One who upholds me with Your victorious right hand, and You have made me more than a conqueror.  Lord, help me to always remember that no matter what comes my way, no matter what circumstances I find myself in, You will be the One who shapes and refines me and brings me forth like gold.  Guide me as I walk along this narrow way for Your grace is the wall of protection around me, the netting that catches me when I’m falling, and Your grace is my covering.  Lead me to the destination You have for me.  Help me to carry out the tasks You have assigned me, and may my spirit always yield to You alone.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



Much love to you all,

Linda A. Knowles

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Let God Handle Your Enemies

EXODUS



“Huddle together, you nations, and be terrified. Listen, all you distant lands. Prepare for battle, but you will be crushed! Yes, prepare for battle, but you will be crushed! Call your councils of war, but they will be worthless. Develop your strategies, but they will not succeed. For God is with us!” -Isaiah 8:9-10


Your enemies can devise all the schemes and plans they want to try to take you down. They have one major problem; they have to get through the blood of Christ in order to get to you. They can come up with clever word games and other manipulative tactics, but they can never thwart the plans of God for your life. The Word of God is not chained, and when the Word of God goes out, the Word of God will accomplish the purposes for which it was sent. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies cannot be stopped by any mortal. Immanuel (God With Us) is a declarative name, and because God is with you, you are made victorious. The Lord Your God is your Immanuel, and God being with you rescues you from the clutches of the enemy.  “What shall we say about such wonderful things as these?  If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”  Keep standing on the promises of God and obeying His commandments as He is fighting your battles and as He is taking care of your enemies.  Always remember the battle belongs to the Lord.



REFLECTION:  “If you love me, obey my commandments,” (John 14:15) Christ said, “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.”  In dealing with your enemies, you do not deal with them as the world does.  You don’t pray for their demise or for something bad to happen to them.  Vengeance belongs to God alone.  As a child of the Most High God, you are to continue walking in obedience to the teaching of Christ and to know, as well as to keep at the front of your mind, that your responsibility is to love your enemies and do good to those that hate you.  If you love the Lord, you will obey Him and His teachings and keep trusting in Him to take care of those who are against you.  Let God be God, and you remain blessed by loving your enemies, praying for them, and doing good to those who hate you.



PRAYER Heavenly Father, to You be all the glory.  You alone are God, and You said vengeance belongs to You.  Bless my enemies by meeting their deepest need to know You and who You are.  Lord, teach me how to do good to my enemies and show me ways to bless them.  Forgive me for the times, I have desired revenge, and help me to remember Your ways are not my ways.  Help me to remember you work all things out for good.  Father, fill me with your Holy Spirit and strengthen me as I continue to do Your will and obey Your teachings.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



“Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be put to shame.” -Isaiah 50:7

Linda A. Knowles

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: The Whistleblowers, Part 1, “Those Horrific Moments”

OPEN DOOR

THOSE HORRIFIC MOMENTS…

By Linda A. Knowles

“There are times where words escape you, those horrific moments of realization that you are living your nightmare, staring at you in the face and saying, ‘Yeah, this is your reality.’  There is not a thing anyone can say to wash away the excruciating amount of emotional or mental anguish you’re experiencing.  You know one thing, and that is you have never felt more alone in your life. The church world abandons you because let’s face it, the Christian world isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. So you plug away each day, and you find yourself clutching onto God more tightly than you ever have been.  You find yourself saying, ‘God, don’t ever let me go, but God, please let me never stumble into anything that displeases you.’  You find yourself screaming out only to realize you’re screaming on the inside, but nothing is actually coming out of your mouth.  You find yourself horrified when you come close to falling away or even realize how vulnerable you are, and when you think you are standing strong, you find you are more cautious than any other time because you may not be standing as strong as you think.  Moments, those horrific moments, when you hear rumors about yourself, learning information about yourself you never knew, but the gossipers and slanderers have all been too eager to share speculation and hearsay, yet no one has bothered to find out the other side of the story.  Hi, my name is Emily, and my brother, Xavier, and I have a story, a story of heartache, frustration, vengeance, hope, and transformation, something we have kept silent for far too long.  Just call us ‘The Whistleblowers.’” (To Be Continued…) 

 Published in Everyday Life E-Magazine, Page 52, Copyright © 2018 at https://www.threadofhope.org/everyday-life

Jealousy And Selfish Ambition Bring Disorder.

JEALOUS 1

“For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.” -James 5:16 (NLT)

Jealousy comes about when you don’t appreciate what you have.  When you lack gratitude for what you already have and allow yourself to covet what your fellow brother or sister in Christ have, you are being ungrateful and selfish, and you are sinning against God.  When jealousy takes root and you covet what others have, you put yourself in competition with others who aren’t even competing with you, others who may not even know you’re jealous of them.  When you allow yourself to be jealous of someone else’s talents and abilities, you are comparing yourself to another.  Instead of allowing yourself to be jealous, focus on being grateful for what God has given you and how He designed you.  Use what He gave you to bless others, and allow your talents and abilities to progress in growth by using them for His glory and for the furtherance of His Kingdom…  If you allow yourself to be jealous and covet what another has, you will not have peace of mind, and you will end up miserable, “A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones,” (Proverbs 14:30 NLT).  

Godliness with contentment is great gain, and when you mix godliness and contentment with thanksgiving for what you have, jealousy will be squashed.  Don’t even give it a little room.  Like any other sin, jealousy needs to be confessed and repented of to God.  Renew your mind by the reading of His Word, and apply the Word when jealousy arises.

Remember you were designed to be unique, created with purpose and design by God.  You are fearfully and wonderfully made complex.  Be thankful for what you have which has been given to you by God -talents, abilities, food, shelter, and the like.  See yourself as God sees you -worthy and valuable and costly, all because of what Christ did for you at Calvary. 

Don’t give the devil a foothold.

Linda A. Knowles 

The Problem With Masks & Costumes

MASK 3Every Halloween, it’s a mad dash to get out of the house as fast as possible by exactly 4:30 p.m. to avoid Trick or Treaters.  I am one who absolutely loathes Halloween as does my husband.  We don’t celebrate Halloween, and the idea of passing out candy every two minutes for four and a half hours doesn’t sound appealing at all… EVER.

The first year we were at our current residence, we were leaving the house, and I caught a glimpse of a parent with his child in his arms.  Something about seeing a child dressed as a vampire was highly disturbing, and the fake blood on the fangs just made it worse until I saw a newborn dressed as an ax murderer and found myself shuddering.

Figuratively speaking, people wear masks and costumes all the time.  The masks conceal what the person’s face actually looks like versus how the person shows him/herself to others.  For instance, when someone is wearing a mask/costume, he can portray himself as if he is an angel.   When in actuality, he lacks compassion, has the intrusive nature of a cockroach, and has the character of a shark and alligator combined.  If someone is shy, she may not be shy when wearing a mask.  She can feel free to be outgoing and speak her mind because no one knows it’s her, allowing her not to fear rejection, and being able to share her thoughts and ideas without anyone trying to stop her from talking, and there’s no one to stop her from meeting other people who are wearing masks and costumes just like her.

WOLF 2HOWEVER, THE PROBLEM WITH MASKS AND COSTUMES is eventually they have to be taken off.  When masks and costumes are stripped off, be careful because you may find the person was a wolf for the entire time you knew them.  At that point, you have to decide what you will do.  You will either stick around and be devoured by the wolf until there is nothing left of you except a skeleton, or you will run and get away from the ravenous wolf who is staring at you like you are dinner with its fangs exposed and ready to pounce on you.

If you choose the second option, you, at least, have a chance of survival.

 

Linda A. Knowles

 

 

 

Fallen Redwood & Ash

FALLEN REDWOOD & MOUNTAIN ASH

By Linda A. Knowles

March 2018

REDWOOD 1

O Mighty Redwood and Mountain Ash,

whose girth of trunk and superlative height none

could, at one time, compare!

Nevertheless, you have fallen!

And Jezebel and Ahab suffocate you;

and the vultures fly overhead, 

to seek out where the carcass lies,

as the Ara Macaos,

perched upon your branches,

cackle and call out,

and they shriek wildly,

sending out their cries

and flailing their wings all about.

ARA MACAOS 1

 

 

 

 

 

Let God Fight Your Battles For You

LION 1That’s right:  Let GOD fight your battles for you.  Our GOD is THE GOD of JUSTICE, and it is difficult to let go of whatever is going on around us that we’re facing.  However, letting go and letting GOD do what HE has to do is something we won’t regret.  I learned many years ago, never to repay evil with evil because the WORD OF GOD states, “And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile,” (1 Peter 1:17 ESV).  We conduct ourselves as GOD would have us to conduct ourselves.  GOD has set the standards of morality and ethics.  GOD has set the standard of holiness, and therefore, we need to conduct ourselves knowing GOD sees all we do and hears all we say.  Eventually, we will have to give an account to HIM for every idle word spoken (Matthew 12:36) and everything we have done (2 Corinthians 5:10).  “And he said, ‘Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the Lord to you, Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s.'” (2 Chronicles 20:15 ESV)

We simply need to take our position and stand our ground, fix our eyes on GOD, giving HIM glory and honor and obeying whatever command HE gives us.

DO NOT DEBATE your enemies and DO NOT ENGAGE your enemies.  The WORD OF GOD states clearly, “Not defending yourselves, dearly beloved; but rather give place unto the wrath of God, for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord,” (Jubilee Bible 2000).  The wicked will perish, and GOD scoffs at the wicked (Proverbs 1:26);  and “However, the one who receives instruction in the word must share in all good things with his instructor.  Do not be deceived:  God cannot be mocked.  Whatever a man sows, he will reap in return. The one who sows to please his flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; but the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life,” (Galatians 6:6-8 BSB)

ALWAYS REMEMBER:  THE LORD is your SHIELD and your DEFENSE, and He is the GOD WHO UPHOLDS YOU.  It is better to be a friend of GOD than to be HIS enemy (James 4:4), and GOD always takes care of HIS own children (Psalm 16:5).

“The LORD is my strength and my shield, In Him hath my heart trusted, And I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth, And with my song will I praise Him,” (Psalm 28:7 JPS Tanakh 1917).  “I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust,” (Psalm 91:2 KJV).

Much Love To You All,

L.A. Knowles