Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Glory Bound

Romans 8:18 – “ I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
      “Push”, “Push”, “Bear Down, Breath and Push”.. It has been 33 years, but I can still hear the doctor, nurses and attendances coaching me through the final stages of the birthing of my first son.  The contractions were unrelenting, the pressure and pain indescribable but ohhhhh the joy of hearing my baby draw his first breath and let out a cooing cry was undeniable.  When they placed his warm, big (nearly 9 pound) body on my chest, I forgot all about the months of nausea, leg cramps, back aches and the other irritables that plague pregnant women. 
      Whatever we go through in this present age; whether we believe we were given the ‘short end the stick’ or dealt a hand of horrible life cards; it is no comparison to the blessed glory that God had set for us.  Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see the brighter side that is to come and focus on that joy.  Remember in the end…WE WIN!!!
      Every day is a good day; it is up to us to make it a GREAT day!  Be blessed!  Rev. Dr. JoAnn

Monday, March 11, 2019

Hang in There

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.”
     Are you participating in activities that do altruistic services?  Some civic, local 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 GREAT day! Be blessed.   Rev. Dr. JoAnn

Friday, March 8, 2019

Mediocre Won't Do

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) – “ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
     We need to start dreaming and thinking bigger. We should want to extend our faith to challenge the promises of God given through the words found in today’s scripture. It states that God has a predetermined set of goals for us. He isn’t just leading us rough-shod through life with minute by minute emotionally-guided directions. Know that he had long thought-out and designed the plans he has for us. And those plans are great plans for our benefit and his glory. We are not operating with a road map with a hole in the middle of the page or a compass with a broken spring. No, if we are wise, we are following the path laid out for us by a creative and loving God. In these plans he tells us that we will have great benefits and that no harm is to befall us. Yes, we will have challenges and yes, there will probably be some uphill battles and some downward slippery slopes; but all of those are a part of the process.
     So we need to open our minds and clear out the limitations. We need to think big and far-reaching. If we can get there on our own, what is the need for a miracle-working God? God wants to show us his magnificent glory; bathe us in his awesome love; support us with his unyielding favor and provide for us with the splendor and majesty of his kingdom. Think BIG!! Go for it and watch as God puts the things you need in your path; the people you need in your presence and the advice you need in your ear.
     Every day is a good day; it is up to us to make it a GREAT day! Be blessed! Rev. Dr. JoAnn

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Just Right!

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 GREAT day!  Be blessed - Rev. Dr. JoAnn

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Righteous Desires

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten Season:

Romans 8:5 – “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”
       My mom and aunts often spoke about wise words from my maternal grandmother. Among her favorite wisdom quotes was for her children to ‘never desire for something so badly that it causes you to deny your character’. In essence if we think or dwell on anything so profusely that it consumes us to the point where we will do anything to have or get it…it becomes an idol and separates us from our true source, which is God. Conversely, as we think on and abide in the things of the spirit, we are drawn into closer relationship with God. The bottom line is… what do we have our minds set on?
       Do we spend too much time wrestling with earthly concerns and not on kingdom aspirations? Do we tend to worry about the here and now so much we forget God is the author and finisher of everything? The time we waste dwelling on temporal problems, tangible goods and things that will rust or rot away, we could and should be spending perfecting our love relationship with our Creator. As we do this, He provides for all of our daily needs and grants the peace that will allow us the freedom to wait and not fret.
       Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven; but to do that our minds must be set on what the Spirit desires. What are your chief desires? Do you need a mind ‘re’-set? We all do from time to time. Our minds must continually be trained to focus on what is good, and lovely and not succumb to the world’s desires.
      Every day is a good day; it is up to us to make it a GREAT day! Be blessed! Rev. Dr. JoAnn

Tuesday, March 5, 2019


Joshua 24: 27 – “Then Joshua said to all the people, “This stone will help you remember what we said today. This stone was here when the Lord was speaking to us today. So this stone will be something that helps you remember what happened today.”
     We all have occasions to look briefly back at things we long forgot and for a few fleeting moments we reminisce and even cherish the thoughts of those items, people, events and circumstances that were so special at the time. God knew that the mind of man was fleeting and that if it were not for the practice of providing mementoes we would allow too many important things to ‘fade to black”. In the scripture for today, Joshua had a large stone placed by an oak tree near the Lord’s Holy tent so that they would remember the promise they had made to serve the Lord. 
      God will provide similar tokens or keepsakes to help us remember our ultimate purpose and to stay on track. We can hear a certain song and be thrown immediately into praise. Our souls will leap and our spirits soar just at the mention of a certain scripture. Nothing takes me quicker down memory lane of my own decision to accept Jesus as my personal Savior than to hear the melody of “How Great Thou Art”.
     As we travel through life it is important to place a few ‘stones’ along the way to help us remember the valuable things that God has done for, through, because and in spite of us. It is needed that our souls be reminded of where we have come from and how far God has brought us. Let us never be too busy or too important to put up a ‘marker’ as God provides miracles in our lives; so that when time and distance separates us from them we can see these reminders and have a ‘flash back’ of how good our God has always been, is and will always be.
     Every day is a good day; it is up to us to make it a GREAT day! Be blessed! Rev. Dr. JoAnn

Monday, March 4, 2019

Back to the Familiar

Genesis 31:3 - “Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your ancestors and to your kindred, and I will be with you.”
     Welllllll .....holidays, celebrations and just plain ole greediness slid into the picture over the past few months and I found myself adding on unwanted pounds. I decided to listen to the ‘talk’ and try the “Keto” diet craze. It was great at first but like anything that is extreme it was not sustainable and definitely not for me.
    Well I am back at what is familiar and successful for me. I made a conscientious (adult) decision to return to the common sense pattern of healthy eating regimen that led to my having a successful weight loss and maintenance for the past few years. I didn’t follow any wild, flash-in-the-pan “lose 20 pounds in a week” scheme; I prayed and asked God to help me make the right choices for the body he had created for me. Who knows better how something works than the designer; so I did what was best for me and it worked. So today marks the beginning of returning to the familiar.
       Pray for my resolve and I will pray that whatever things you have strayed from (that you know work) will become revitalized in your life. Ignore the get-rich-quick- things; stay away from the ‘no-money-needed’ real estate deals; run from the ‘win-a-free-trip-by-listening- to-a-1-hour-presentation’ trick. Some new adventures are great and may work for others; but be weary of things that aren’t right for you.
     Every day is a good day; it is up to us to make it a GREAT day! Be blessed! Rev. Dr. JoAnn