The Joys of Bible Study

The Joys of Bible Study… If you have ever participated in a vibrant, spirit-filled Bible study, you know first-hand what I mean when I say that the joyous experiences can last a life-time.

Currently, I have joined a new weekly ladies Bible study at our church.  We are studying Beth Moore’s “Breaking Free” series.  After only three weeks, I can already tell that God is going to show-up and show-out!  Don’t you just love it when God shows-up, and especially when He shows-out by doing all kinds of amazing things in people’s lives!  I know I do.

I can still vividly recall attending my first ladies Bible study back in 1979.  The title was, “What Happens When Women Pray,” written by Evelyn Christenson. To this day, when the ladies who participated in that particular study see one another, we still shake our head and rejoice over the numerous prayers that were answered and the wonderful things God did in our lives.  Souls were saved; lives were restored; and shortly after the study my husband announced his call into the ministry.  W0w! I was glad that I had attended that particular study on “prayer,” because I was surely going to need it!

The greatest thing about Bible study is getting to search through the Scriptures and learn more about God and His plans and desires for our individual lives.  Even though a group of ladies might be reading and studying the same lesson and scriptures, the Holy Spirit targets in on each person’s individual needs and place in life.

In a Bible study, there are typically women of all ages in attendance.  Some are young wives; some are young mothers; some are middle-aged wives and grandmothers; and some are even reaching their senior years and having the joys of being great-grandmothers.  Each precious lady bringing their own personal experiences, personalities, and needs to the meetings.  Each lady having the opportunity to learn more about one another and how to effectively pray for one another.

Yes; one can find powerful results in learning how to fervently and effectively pray.  And, I believe there is no better way to learn how to pray than to read and study the Scriptures (“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” II Timothy 2:15). It is by reading and studying the scriptures that we learn how to pray and how to find Hope, Assurance, and even more Faith knowing that God hears and answers prayers according to His Soverign will and promises.

I am always amazed at different people’s testimonies and the trials they have faced.  Someone that you only saw on occasion or barely knew suddenly touches your life and heart when you hear of a devastating trial they have faced and endured.  Testimonies of hope and faith; all giving honor, glory, and praise unto God for His ever-sufficient mercies, grace, and Love.  We really do serve a Great God!

I am looking forward to seeing the end results of our Bible study.  I am looking forward to making new acquaintances and friends who all share a common hope and faith in Jesus Christ.

Today, you might need a good cooperate Bible study in your own life.  I know there are times when we can study the Scriptures on our own, but there’s just something extra-special when we share in God’s experiences and study together…”For where two or three are gathered in my name; so shall I be in the midst.” (Matthew 18:2 KJV).  It’s also nice to feel a part of a group and a sense of belonging.  I encourage you to get involved in a good Bible study.  You will never regret it, and the joys are innumerable!

Perhaps, you feel lead to start a Bible study in your home, church, or community.  Don’t hesitate; there are tons of good literature out there to help prepare you along the way.  God has supplied us with very good published authors and teachers such as Beth Moore, Evelyn Christenson, Kay Author, Dr. Dorothy Patterson, and many others whose hard work and hours of dedication to God’s word can help to enlighten and encourage our walk in Faith with the Lord.

Oh, the Joys of Bible Study…It’s like a breath of fresh air to our hearts, minds, and spirit. I have had the pleasure on several occasions to not only facilitate a Bible study but to teach and write lessons as well.  I consider these times some of the most precious in my life.  At all three of my husband’s former churches where he served as Pastor, God allowed me the joyous opportunities to lead and teach the Scriptures through regular Bible studies; including hosting a yearly ladies’ conference.  Attending ladies conferences and Bible studies with others tends to form a bond of fellowship and lasting friendships that are not easily broken.  I know…I still hold very dear in my heart my first prayer partners from over thirty years ago.

I have seen first-hand what God can do in the lives of those who dedicate themselves to fervent, effective Bible study.  The Bible is an ever-thriving, alive, life-changing resource that has been given to us by God.  With that in mind, wouldn’t it make sense for us to read it, know it, and learn it even more and more with each passing day?!!

Oh, The Joys of Bible Study….They are so, so many….

Well, for now I need to close…I want to complete today’s Bible lesson and see what God has in store for me!

Remember, God’s Loves You!

Lin T. Rollins, Author

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Take Another Deep Breath!

Take Another Deep Breath!  If taking a deep breath could be measured in money, I’d be a millionaire!  I’m pretty certain many of you feel the same way…

Why is it that a particular day can start out just right, even taking the time to perform a couple of kind deeds for others, when suddenly you are hit smack in the face, like a lightning bolt, by opposition?!!  Unfortunately, this form of opposition usually comes in human form! It happens to all of us.  I know; it happened to me recently  As the Bible clearly teaches, Satan is always trying to rob us of our joy.  We have to stand firm and…Take Another Deep Breath!

At first, when I met up with this recent opposition,” I couldn’t breath…then, I had to catch my breath…then, I had to take a thousand deep breaths!  Most…to no avail.  By the time I reached my car, I ended up needing to call my oldest daughter to “vent” my internal frustrations.  Oh, how I thank God for my oldest daughter!  Poor thing; she’s a wonderful listener and over the years we have become one another’s sounding board when needed. I am very grateful for both her being my daughter and for her support.

Fortunately, she was raised in a pastor’s home (our home) and knows, first hand, the many challenges faced in the ministry.  I so hope to write a nonfiction novel one day regarding the sometimes “not mentioned” side in the role of being a pastor’s wife.  The book will either be liked for its honesty or tossed out on its binder!  But, the overall basis of the book will be the demonstration of God’s Love, Mercy, and Grace while facing adversities and oppositions within the ministry.  That fact I can testify to from a primary source’s position.

It’s hard at times to not let people get under your skin who have a unwarrented personal vindictiveness against you.  It’s a challenge to not allow them to rob you of your joy and peace of mind; if only temporarily.  I’m like Beth Moore who stated in one of her conferences (I’ll paraphrased), “I try to handle my life with a meek and quiet spirit, but there are times when I am a STORM and I just carry my STORM everywhere I go!”  Personally, when I heard her admit this…I wanted to jump up from my seat in front of fifty women and shout, “Praise God; Praise God; Praise God!” I think there are days when we all wish we could carry our Storm around with us and kick up a little dust!! Take Another Deep Breath!

Maybe you can relate; maybe you cannot.  But, if you have ever served God in the role of a pastor’s wife for any length of time (it typically takes around two to three years for the honeymoon period to end!), you have, no doubt, been personally attacked (mentally, emotionally, and spiritually) in one way or the other; or you have been attacked in so many different ways that you never realized there were so many ways of being attacked!  I am the latter!

I know there are other professions and other vocations in life where one can get hurt and suffer emotional and mental abuse by other people’s taunts, mannerisms, and harsh opinions…but I am more familiar with it happening in the role of a pastor’s wife; so, if it’s alright…I’ll stick to what I know best.

Sadly, as many other pastor’s wives can relate, I have been judged and ripped apart, no more like shredded, so  many times that the blade marks on my back are connected like tiny little dots! I don’t believe there’s a place on my back (figuratively speaking) that one could put their finger that doesn’t possess an invisible, yet very real, emotional scar!

This shouldn’t be; but actually, it’s a part of the territory.  Satan tries to get to the husband (Pastor) through attacks targeted at his wife or his children.  If he (Satan) can get up enough momentum and support, he can do quite a bit of damage.  You really have to learn to stand strong in the midst of adversities and… Take Another Deep Breath!.

But, on the other hand (thank God for the “other” hand), a pastor’s wife can be surrounded by some of the most giving, caring, and kind people found anywhere on earth.  These people become a true treasure in the life and heart of the pastor’s wife.  I only wish there were more of these type of people!  AND, fortunately in many, many churches….it seems they are abundantly blessed with kind and caring people.  What a treasure!

However; there have been a few times when I felt, honestly felt, as if I could feel the hot blood flowing as it oozed out from another inflicted sworn of criticism, harsh words, or someone’s right out lies being rumored!  I have come to the firm conclusion that one of our most haunting sins within our churches is plain out old-fashioned tongue-waggling lying!!!!  Some people would rather speak a lie and believe a lie than a thousand truths!!  So sad, but so true…Take Another Deep Breath!

Like others, I have been judged by a variety of different people; even some who live a rather “eventful,” often times shameful life style…Yet; they somehow feel “spiritual” enough to oppose  those entrusted by God to hold certain leadership positions and roles within the church!

The Bible clearly states, “JUDGE not that ye be not judged..And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considereth not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Matthew 7 KJV).  Openly speaking, if I lived the life-style that some of my former attackers live…I don’t think I would try to be such a BIG fish in a little pond!  I would sit quietly and WAIT on God’s maturity in my life…Lord, have mercy and… Take Another Deep Breath!

Both my husband and I have been judged by people who have failed in their personal lives and walk with the Lord many times and in so many different ways.  I am referring to those who live a life style demonstrating a lack of discipline on their part to be faithful to their service of God and commitments both within and without the doors of the church.

I was once questioned by some people (actually a “committee” at a smaller church) who literally stood outside the door smoking cigarettes before coming back inside to ask me why I wore pants instead of dresses; claiming that “my” wearing a dress would “aide” my husband’s ministry and help their church’s reputation!  While the whole time, I’m trying to take a breath WITHOUT choking on second-hand cigarette smoke!!…People, this is how crazy and insane some things really are!  It’s hard…but a pastor’s wife has to get used to this sort of “crazy.”  I’m just thankful that God did not send my husband to that particular church at that particular time!  Take Another Deep Breath!

As a young pastor’s wife, I once had a precious older woman come to our home to speak with me.  She felt “lead” to tell me what was expected of me as their “new” pastor’s wife…only to have her sadly end up several years later in a very compromizing position.  adulterous affair with another church member.  But, pastors’ wives… KEEP the FAITH…God knows all, and He keeps mighty good records!!  Take Another Deep Breath!

Once, I even had a deacon’s wife cry uncontrollably on my shoulder that she couldn’t perform the responsibilities she had volunteered for in the church and needed my assistance.  Yet, a few days later she called several families within the church to tell that I had “stolen” her jobs away from her!  (True stuff people; I promise!)  Take Another Deep Breath!

Amazing, isn’t it…some people actually believe the pastor’s wife has no intelligence about her at all!  Or, when she tries to “pitch-in” and help…she is often times accused of “trying to run things!” Take Another Deep Breath!

Another sad fact is that there are some women who desire and “want” the role of the pastor’s wife.  To help achieve their goal…they seek out ways to undermine and manipulate the pastor’s true, authentic, and bona-fide wife!  Honestly, to be the pastor’s wife, and to carry out the role of the pastor’s wife in an effective manner……it helps to be married to the Pastor!! Probably the most important factor in the entire matter!…(End of story!)

I used to love (being flippant here!) when certain “caring” women in the church would privately seek me out to see how “things” were really, truly going.  Believe me, you have to be very careful when dealing with some people.  A pastor’s wife usually can “discern” whom she feels comfortable to share certain aspects of her life.  After all, one of the greatest roles as a pastor’s wife is to help support and protect her husband’s ministry from lurking attackers.  Even though we have to keep a low profile on such matters….our eyes see and our ears hear more than we can often admit out loud!  Take Another Deep Breath!

One thing I discovered down through the years is that it offends “some”people who are trying to bring harm to the church (local assembly) when they discover that their pastor’s wife has been “blessed” to have a discerning spirit…it just robs them of their joy…and often times exposes their tricks, antics, and hidden motives….Thank you God for Your Discerning Spirit…I know many pastor’s wives who are blessed to have a discerning Spirit…What a valuable Gift of the Spirit.

Somehow, I believe over the past thirty-five years of active service, the Devil has managed to send just about every “trick of the trade” to test and to try us!  But, on the other hand God has sent some of the most wonderful, spirit-filled workers for the Lord that any pastor or pastor’s wife could ever hope to serve….it’s just that those few “bad” apples really do try to spoil the whole enchilada!  But, don’t let them!  Keep the Faith and Take Another Deep Breath!

Typically, when I have been brutally attacked… and after taking the 1000th deep breath…I hear a tender, calm voice speak to my heart…”I, too, know of being rejected, mistreated, and viciously talked about.”  God lovingly and gently reminds me that I am not above my Master, and if He endured such persecutions…so shall  I.  For even the Bible teaches, “Those who live godly lives in the Lord shall suffer persecutions.”  Take Another Deep Breath!

Don’t misunderstand;  I’m not saying I am a perfect person; quite the opposite…I’m saying that my personal weaknesses and spiritual battles are opportunities for God to show His Strength to me and within my life, thus allowing me to have an indescribable personal relationship with Jesus Christ; my Savior.  I wouldn’t want to trade that for anything!

When I have been hurt and wounded, it is then that Jesus comes on the scene and applies the Balm of Gilead to my wounded soul.  Truthfully, if certain people did not “attack” us so brutually…we might not know the intensive abundant Grace given to sustain in such matters and situations.  So, here’s thanks unto the Lord for  the many adversities faced in my life…I can truly state with the Psalmist,  “The LORD is my rock and my shield…whom shall I fear…”

Over the years, I have written over twenty-five songs of testimony during  times of Spiritual warfare. I have also kept journals and notations of incidents and “attacks” that I feel have helped me to be more compassionate towards others in like situations and to also counsel those who are hurting and afflicted.  It’s like my husband once told me, “Linda, you can’t have a testimony without going through the TEST!”

Well, dear friend…like many of you….I’ve been through the raging waters and across the burning deserts and through some pretty rough tests!  And, I’m glad to say that Jesus has never once forsaken or left me in these times of trials, oppositions, and persecutions…Many, many times I just have to leave matters in His hands and…Take Another Deep Breath!

So, even though I ran into someone recently whom Satan tried to use to steal my joy and rob me of my peace of mind (temporarily), I can now take a deep breath and feel the soothing waters of joy and peace flooding my soul and reminding me that I am one of His own…A handmaiden of the Lord’s….A child of the King…Rejoice…Amen.

Closure:  It’s hard to know how to react successfully when people attack you or a loved one…but I have learned to first, (after I have vented to my daughter and taken several deep breaths!) “Give Thanks” in all situations and to pray for those who seek to harm me and persecute me or my family.  After all, God is and will be the final judge.  God have mercy upon us all and Take Another Deep Breath!

May you have a blessed day…one absent of adversities.

Remember, God Loves You!

Lin T. Rollins, Author

He Loves All

He Loves All…The Bible teaches in the Book of Romans,

5:7 ..Scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet perhaps for a good man some would even dare to die.
5:8  But God commendeth (demonstrated or brought forth) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  He Loves All… Sometimes, it is hard for us, as believers possibly since childhood, to imagine the absolute harshness and reality of sin and the effects it has upon one’s own life.  Especially, for those of us who are church attenders and fortunate and blessed enough to surround ourselves with other believers who follow Christ’s teachings and principles set forth in the Bible.  We form a bond of fellowship with other believers and feel very comfortable and secure within our environment.

But, that wasn’t the case with Jesus Christ, God manifested in the flesh.  Jesus came to “seek and to save that which was lost.”  And, since the entire human race had been plummeted into “sin” through the disobedience of Adam and Eve…the entire human race was lost…So, He came for the entire human race.

When we describe the general term, “the human race,” it takes into account both genders, nationalities, ethnicities, and race.  But, it also takes into account ALL the acts, both good and evil, carried out by ALL humans, as well.

You might say, “Wait a minute. I don’t behave myself in an evil manner as some people do.  I’m not some pervert out there trying to harm others or harm myself!”

No, thanks be unto God, many of us are NOT out there living vicarious lives, breaking the law, or endangering the lives of others or ourselves.  Many of us try our very best to live well-disciplined lives within the boundaries of the laws of the land and those outlined in Scripture.  And, with that in mind, it is easy to accept that God Loved us and died for us, since we are willing and wish to return Love and obedience back to Him…

Yet, God not only died for those of us who wish to achieve a disciplined life through Christ Jesus, but he died for those who live and carry out daily acts of wrong behaviors, sins, crimes, and misconduct.  Sometimes, it is easier for us to comprehend a Savior loving those who will favorably love Him back…but He Loves All…from the guttermost to the uttermost! 

Recently, I was engaged in a brief conversation with a person who chooses to live in an alternative life style.  The person was very courteous, clean-cut, and polite.  They (not wishing to use a singular gender pronoun) appeared very confident, mature, and well-rounded.  Yet, their parents are distraught over the choices they have made in their lives.  This person faces great and harmful consequences in their future.

After my husband and I returned home that night, I prayed for this person and their family.  I prayed for this person’s eyes to be open to their sinful choices, the strong-hold in their life, and to repent and seek God’s forgiveness.

As I pondered God’s Love, Mercies, and Grace, I thought about how if this person had been the only person living on earth…Christ would have died for that one person…including their life style choice and all.  God wants to set all of mankind “free” from sin and harmful, hurtful choices we make in life.  He Loves All.

I thought of others who have chosen pathways that lead to destruction and harm.  Murderers, robbers and thieves, molestors…all too shameful to even mention….Yet, God sent His Son to die for their lives just as much as He sent his son to die for mine.  I don’t think we, as humans, can ever truly comprehend the overwhelming Love of the Father…

For God so LOVED the world that he gave His only begotten Son that whosoever shall call upon His name shall be Saved…For God sent His Son not into the world to condemn the world but through Him might be Saved.  (John 3:16-17).

Today, I pray for those who have made harmful choices in their lives and bring shame upon themselves, their families, and God’s word to come to the knowledge that God loves them and is ready to forgive and accept them into the authentic life of a believer and the family of God (one who follows Jesus and His teachings).

Yet, no matter what they, or I, do or ever could do we are not exempted from God’s Love and Grace… and HIS WAY to Salvation…(Romans chapter 10).

Scarcely for a righteous man…one perhaps would die…Yet, while We were YET sinners…Christ died for us….He Loves All and wishes to set All free…For in Christ Jesus we can be free…free indeed.

Remember, God Loves You!

Lin T. Rollins, Author

 

What Holds You Back?

What Holds You Back?  To be able to answer the question correctly you must first know what IT is that you are holding back from?

There are things within our lives that we “need” to hold back from in order to protect our lives and the lives of others.  Example:  When driving a vehicle we must “hold back” from speeding in order to maintain the vehicle correctly.  Another example being people who are dieting for various reasons must “hold back” from eating certain foods or too much food in order to reach their goal or to prevent disease and other illnesses.  There are many “good” reasons in life for “holding back.”

Then, there is the element of “fear” that sometimes holds us back.  This can be a good thing as well as a negative thing in our lives.  Hopefully, it is a healthy fear that keeps us from reaching the edge of a tall mountain and not jumping off.  But, sometimes people lose a “healthy” fear and the voice of reason no longer “holds” them back from things that might endanger their lives or the lives of others.  God forbid.

Then, there is the paralyzing type of “fear” that keeps us from reaching our potential in life…fear of failure, fear of success, fear of rejection, or simply a gripping fear of an unknown future.

So, as we see, there are good and bad things in this life that “hold” us back.  Some that protect us and others that keep us from soaring to uncharted heights of achievements.

In the Bible, in the Book of Psalms, King David uses the phrase, “Wait on the Lord” numerous times throughout his prayers.  David wants none other than God to instruct him when to move and when to “hold back.”  In Psalm 25:21, David writes, “Let integrity and uprightness preserve (hold) me; for I WAIT on thee.

I love that; don’t you?  Let integrity and uprightness hold me back from all wrong and let integrity and uprightness show me when to act and react and how to act and react.  What a powerful prayer.

Aren’t you glad that we, as believers in Jesus Christ,  can possess a moral compass of integrity and uprightness that “holds us back” from committing grave sins against God and others?

Oh, today, that the “CONSTRAINING” hand of God would hold us back from presumptuous sins.  What a difference there would be within our lives if we only allowed the “Constraining” hand of God to hold us back…and to WAIT upon the Lord.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our “tongue” could be held back before we spoke a harsh word to someone?  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a sensor went off in our head every time we had a bad thought, wrong motive, or was tempted to lie or exaggerate about something?

Actually, we do have a compass and a sensor of integrity and uprightness within our lives that can “hold us back” in times of temptation…First, we have the Word of God (the Bible) to instruct us.  Second, as Believers, we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

So, to correctly answer the question, “What Holds You Back?”  Hopefully, we need NOT to search any further than these two sources; the Bible and the Holy Spirit…for in Them we find…integrity and uprightness.  Amen.

Today, “What Holds You Back?”  I hope it is the constraining Hand of God who holds us back from the evil and wrong that can so easily invade our daily lives and cause us to stumble and fall.  If so, our duty and responsibility is to “heed” to the warnings of God and to follow His leadership in all matters; rather than choosing our own ways.

I am so thankful for God who holds me back and teaches me to WAIT upon Him. Today, I hope you and I both are being held back by the “integrity and uprightness” of God (Psalm 25:21).  I hope we are ever learning to “wait” on the Lord before we speak or take action in any matter or situation.

If we are being held back by the Power of God through integrity and uprightness…then, like King David, we can say, “Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity; I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not (can not and will not) slide (Psalm 26:1).   After all, none of us want to “slide” down the mountain side!!  We all wish to stop at the edge…Yet; better than that…let God hold us back from ever reaching the edge!

Oh, that it will always be God and His integrity and uprightness who holds me (and you) back….holds us back from all wrong.  Amen.

Remember, God Loves You,

Lin T. Rollins, Author

The Power of the Hypocrite

HypocriteOne who professes or claims certain characteristics, traits, or beliefs, but does NOT live, behave, possess, or demonstrate such mannerisms or beliefs as claimed.

The word, hypocrite, is often used within the realms of church-goers to describe a person who “claims” to be a Christian who follows the teachings of Christ Jesus as outlined in the Bible, but in actuality lives a very “Christ-opposed,” or opposite life-style from Biblical principles and teachings.

Another definition for a “hypocrite” is simply,  “An actor or actress PRETENDING to be someone they are not; playing a role.”

Whichever definition best describes the term, hypocrite, one fundamental truth is definite…Don’t ever underestimate The Power of the Hypocrite and the negative influence(s) they can have on another person’s life or the body of true believers and followers of Christ.

Recently, my husband and I spent a significant amount of time counseling with a man regarding his reason for not submitting his life to Christ and the principles of Christian living.  Over, and over, and over, this person continued to return to his main defense for not submitting his life to Christ….Hypocrites… People, down through the years, who professed they knew Jesus as their personal Savior and even attended church but lead dangerously sinful lives on their jobs and in the front of non-church goers.  In other words, they lived like a saint on Sunday and like the Devil Monday through Saturday.

Oh, how Satan loves to use this tactic to help build his case against becoming an authentic servant of the Lord’s.  It finally became apparent that this particular person was engulfed in a strong-hold against submitting his life to Christ and felt quite justified in his decision due to “all the hypocrites” he had worked with over the many years.

Truthfully, in some ways you understand what the guy is talking about.  How many of us have not been disappointed and discouraged by another person claiming to live a particular, separated, life unto Christ to only find out they are deeply engaged in all kinds of Bible-related sinful activities, such as stealing, lying, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, abuse, murder, drugs, excessive alcohol (even though both my husband and I personally prefer to abstain from any form of alcohol), and a whole lists of other harmful and wrong acts of crime or violence.  As the Bible states…We, ALL, fall short of the Glory of God…there is none righteous…no, not one.  Yet, we should strive to live our lives unto Christ on a day by day basis; both within and without.

When such ungodly acts are carried out in the lives of people we know and once trusted, it can quite often shake our faith somewhat in the system; so to speak.  But, I want to share something that took place in my own life over thirty-five years ago.

Some of you know, that while I was expecting my first babies (twins), I dedicated my life to the Lord.  They turned thirty-six this past July, and GOD has always been faithful.  It was during my second pregnancy that God used a terrible situation in our church to show me a very valuable, sustaining, and life-long lesson.

Mind you, there are only seventeen and one-half months between our twin- daughters and our youngest daughter.  Before the twins were born, my husband and I joined a local church, and I had become somewhat active in Sunday school, teaching Vacation Bible School, and singing in the choir.  At the time, I was a very happy twenty-one year old wife and mother who was about to give birth to my third child.

On the day of our second daughter’s birth, as it is accustomed in the area where we live, our pastor came to the hospital to see our new baby and to congratulate us on her arrival.  However, when our pastor entered the room, I noticed that he didn’t have his usual warm smile on his face.  Actually, he was barely looking up from the floor.  He pulled up a chair very close to my bedside and told me he had stopped by the nursery (We didn’t have birthing rooms in those days!) to see our new baby girl and she was beautiful, and he was very happy for us.

Then, he turned rather serious and told me that he had something to tell me. He informed me that over the next several days, weeks, and months, I would be hearing all kinds of stories about him; some true, some lies, some made-up, and some exaggerated.  He told me to NOT let this shake my faith.  He knew that I was a young mother who was wishing to learn more about the Lord and to serve Him well.  He then told me the saddest news.  He told me that he was resigning the church.  I was shocked.  He told me that he could not go into details with me about the situation but to just remember what he had told me.

He then asked if he could have prayer with me before he left.  We both bowed our heads and he prayed one of the sweetest prayers of protection over me and my family and for our faith to continue to grow.

When my husband arrived at the hospital a little later, I shared with him what had taken place.  He, too, was sad.  We both truly loved our pastor and we knew that with his leaving the church that things would not ever be the same.

I went home that afternoon.  Two weeks later, my husband and I drove our twins and our new little bundle of joy to church.  Immediately, we could sense something was wrong.  As we entered the church there was a coldness that had not been present before.  People who were usually up walking around greeting others were sitting silently in their pews not engaging in any type of conversation.

The choir members were not in their places in the choir, but rather sitting throughout the church with their families.  It was actually eerie.  Instead of the usual service, our Pastor stood and walked to the pulpit area where he announced that this would be his last service. He would not preach that morning, but instead hand the services over to the deacon in charge.  He stepped down, took his wife by the hand, and walked out the back door.

I was devastated in more ways than one.  Usually, when new babies came into the church they were recognized and celebrated.  I held my new little baby in my arms with tears streaming down my face as our pastor walked out the door.  The deacon asked for the “elders” to meet around the altar for prayer and then the church would be dismissed.  Services that night would be conducted by the interim pastor that had been called earlier in the week.

We left and drove home.  What should have been a wonderful time in our lives of celebration was hampered and overshadowed by whatever it was going on in our church.

Early the next morning I received a telephone call from one of the deacon’s wives.  She wanted to apologize for our little daughter not being recognized, and she commented on how sad the service had been.  Then, she went on to share with me what had happened.  It seemed that some families in the church had brought ALLEGED charges of infidelity against our Pastor.  The entire matter had split the church in half;  and the events that would happen over the next several weeks were practically unimaginable.

When I finished the telephone call, I went to the nursery and picked up my little girl and knelt down beside the rocking chair.  I don’t know that I had ever cried so hard and for so long over such a matter in my entire life.  I was crushed and devastated that so many people to whom I trusted and held confidence were now behaving worse than any lost, unchurced, person I knew.

Somewhere in the midst of my tears and heart-pouring prayer to God, a voice (God’s voice) spoke to my heart as plainly as I am typing this blog to you now.  He said, “Linda, do not put your eyes on man. Put your eyes on Me and follow me for I am the only one that Satan cannot tempt and cause to fall.”

As those words were sounding in my heart and mind, my tears just stopped and my entire demeanor changed.  I was suddenly filled with Hope and Joy.  I got up from my knees and rocked my little girl while Praising God for His mercy and grace.

Today, that same little girl is a Pastor’s wife herself.  Her dad and I taught both her and her sisters to put their trust, faith, and eyes ONLY upon God, because anyone else could, and often would…let them down.  Many, many times my husband preached from the pulpit that man, any man, can fall and let you down…but God never will.

Sadly, so many people, like the man we counseled, have their eyes on the wrong source.  To believe in God, to know God, to be a witness for God…you must look higher than your current environment…You must first look BACK at the Cross and by faith to see a suffering, dying Savior for our sins.  Then, you must look UP to a risen Savior for redemption and salvation….Then, you must look FORWARD to one day seeing face to face the ONLY ONE who has never sinned or fallen short of the Glory of God, Jesus Christ.

Oh, yes, hypocrites and those who have fallen over and over in their testimonies have a huge impact on those who are struggling between the choice of life and death; to receive or reject God’s mercies found in Christ Jesus.  Don’t ever underestimate the Power of the Hypocrite for in their lives are found the souls of innocent men, women, boys, and girls who “use” them as an excuse to “reject” Christ….  God, help us all.

Today, you might be discouraged by the acts of someone you once revered and held in high esteeem…Let it go…move on…and rejoice in the fact that there is only ONE who is above Satan’s snares.

You also might be the “one” who is living one way on Sunday and another way during the week.  Please know that you are hurting the lives of those who are watching you. No man is an island unto himself…we all interact in one form or another.  Our lives and our choices do influence and impact others.  “Live” who you say you are.

I ask that you help me to pray about the man we counseled.  Pray that God will open his own eyes and allow him to forgive those who have sinned so badly in front of him all of these years; yet, stood in a choir somewhere and sang, “Oh, How I Love Jesus” with the voice like an angel.  God, have mercy.  Pray, he will submit his own life unto Jesus and stop using “The Power of the Hypocrite” to defend his own sinful choices.  He needs Christ, and so does his entire family.

There may be others that you know who are using this same “excuse” to support their ungodly choices; if so…pray that their blindness will be lifted in Christ.  “Greater is He (Jesus) who is within..than he (Satan) who is in the world.”

Thank you for your prayers.  I know God is working in this person’s life.

Remember, God Loves You,

Lin T. Rollins, Author

The Great Physician

The Great Physician…I have always said that if I know my Lord and Savior as anything, I know him as the Great Physician….all the way from having open heart surgery at the age of ten for a blocked aorta artery to surviving a brain aneurysm at the age of fifty and a recent cerebral bilateral vertebral artery dissection with hemorrhage at the age of fifty-five.

Many Christians believe that it is God who heals, and it is God who has given doctors and nurses (and other health-related professions) their abilities, knowledge, and wisdom to medically treat lives. I, too, possess this belief.  For, I know, all too well, that Dr. Jesus, The Great Physician, can and does come on the scene to heal our bodies, minds, and spirits.

Clinical studies have been conducted that conclude that patients who possess “Faith” tend to recover better, quicker, and have less complications than those who possess no faith.  Based upon these studies and their findings, there are physicians, clinics, and hospitals all across the globe that provide care, support, and attention to man’s spiritual needs as well as their physical, emotional, and mental needs.

My own personal life has been no exception.  As long as I can remember, even as a child, it seemed that I held an understanding that God was and is in control of our daily physical lives.  I have a great love and respect for the medical field and once aspired to become a registered nurse.  Even though my life eventually took me in another direction, I did spend the first twelve to fourteen years after graduating high school working in the medical field; first as a medical receptionist and insurance clerk to eventually holding the positions of  supervisor and coordinator of emergency room and in-patient admissions at two different hospitals.

(Personal Note…I left the medical field in 1989 to work in the school system as a teacher’s aide and administrative secretary.  This decision eventually lead me, at the age of forty, to attend college to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in middle-grades education and later a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Supervision. So, I have basically known two different careers in my lifetime; the first one in the medical field and the second in education.  I have great respect for both.)

I can truly testify that I have experienced God’s healing powers and protection throughout my life.  One case in particular.  At the age of thirty, while working at a hospital in downtown Atlanta, Georgia as the Emergency Room Admissions Coordinator, I took very ill.  For weeks, I had noticed a general malaise feeling that seemed to be getting worse.  I started running fever and sweating throughout the day. One afternoon as I was stepping out of the elevator to walk towards my office, which was located across from the Trauma Center, I simply started passing out.  One of the emergency room attendees saw me and ran over to catch me.  I was wheeled to one of the examing rooms.  I’m not exactly certain what all took place while in the emergency room, I only know that hours later I awoke in a hospital room as an in-patient.

Tests revealed fluid around the heart, blood in the urine, swollen lymph nodes, and elevated T- levels…all pointing to Chronic Epstein-Barr Virus or possible Lupus.  Added tests pointed towards Lupus.  I knew all too well about the devastating diagnosis of Lupus.  My grandmother, on my father’s side, died at thirty-nine from complications associated with Lupus.  I feared for my life.  I just knew that I couldn’t die or become too ill to carry out my duties as a wife and mother.  My daughters were only eight and ten years old at the time. I had too much to do and too much of life ahead of me to get this sick.

In addition to blood work, MRI’s revealed a small mass in my pancreas, and studies of my kidneys showed decrease in functions.  My entire body was havoc with pain and malaise. For the next year, I underwent a battery of tests, doctor visits, and medications geared towards reducing the inflammations throughout my body.  Doctors wanted to do a biopsy on both my kidneys and pancreas.  But, I was determined that God would heal me, so I declined both biopsies.

Fortunately, I worked around several good doctors who believed in God’s healings as well.  Daily I would take the prescribed meds.  Night after night after night, I would place my hands, one on my back across the kidney region and the other on my abdomen, and pray for God’s healing energies to enter into my body and heal these areas.  I continued to work my job at the hospital, take long naps in the evenings after I got home, care for my family’s needs as best as I could, and conduct my duties as a new pastor’s wife (My husband had just taken his first church as pastor).

I continued this routine (of placing my hands over the two areas of my body and prayer) for one complete year.  Day after day, morning after morning, I would awaken in such bodily pain.  Yet, one morning as my eyes opened, there was NO pain anywhere in my body.  My throat wasn’t sore, my stomach wasn’t swollen, there was no nausea, and my arms and legs didn’t ache.  No pain.  I rushed to the bathroom where my husband was getting ready for his day to announce, “God’s healed me! I’m not hurting anywhere!”

I made an appointment with my doctor who ordered another MRI of the abdomen and kidney function tests….They both came back NORMAL!  I passed both with flying colors!  The bulging mass located in the pancreas one year earlier was gone, and the kidney function tests came back normal.  Lymph nodes throughout my body were once again normal size.  It was concluded that I was suddenly and miraculously in remission.  But, I knew I was healed! I had touched the hem of His garment and He had been made whole! Praise be unto God!

To this day, my blood work stills shows evidence of the disease “once” being active in my body.  Yet, Praise be unto God, it remains dormant.  God has not only allowed me to see healing from this illness, but He has also allowed me to live through a brain aneurysm repair and a cerebral bilateral vertebral artery dissection.  Today, even though I am now medically retired, I am still able to carry out many of my daily functions with only minimum restrictions and limitations.  I can only give God the Honor and Praise for these physical healings and blessings in my life.

I know that God chooses several different ways to heal people’s bodies and lives.  Some, he touches directly and they are healed without medical intervention.  Others, He, along with doctors and medicines, brings healing into our lives.  Still others, He chooses to bring about eternal healing.  This is often the hardest for those of us left behind to accept.  Yet, as believers, we shall all one day receive our own eternal healing when we pass from this life to live forevermore in the presence of our Lord and Savior…The Great Physician…

Today, I know of several friends who are battling cancer and other life-threatening conditions in their lives.  I am sometimes amazed and awed by their faith and determination.  I can only pray that through God’s grace and mercy each of these will find God’s healings while here on earth and be able to continue their lives as desired.  Yet, I also know that God is Sovereign in His will and we do not always fully understand His path of healing.  But, no matter the path He chooses, The Great Physician can and will bring healing into our lives by faith.

Want you pray this prayer of Faith with me, “Father God, Creator of all Heaven and Earth, we bow before thy presence this morning asking you by Faith to always be the Great Physician in our lives.  We pray for those who are suffering today from cancers and other diseases to be comforted and physically healed while living on this earth; if it be thy blessed will.  Grant those who are suffering the strength and courage to make it through another day. We know that you are the Great Physician who can be touched by the feelings of our infirmities.  We thank you Oh, God, for your tender mercies and continuous care and provisions for our lives.  Be with thy servants, your doctors and nurses, as they carry out their talents, gifts, skills, and abilities to minister to our physical, mental, and emotional needs. We thank you and Praise you for your Creative and Healing powers over our lives.  And, we thank you that one day we shall all receive our eternal healings when we pass from this life to live with you forever more.  We pray also for You to be with the family members and friends of those who are suffering today.  Grant them peace, acceptance, and courage to face each and every day in Thy power.  For the joy of the Lord is our strength.  We thank you for what you have already done and for what you are going to do.  Thank you for the miracle that lies just around the bend.  Yes, thank you for that wonderful miracle in the making.  In the name of Christ Jesus we do pray.  Amen.”  

Remember, God Loves You…

Lin T. Rollins, Author

Spiritual Disturbances

Spiritual Disturbances.  This morning while reflecting upon a matter, a new concept entered into my mind.  I honestly don’t think I have ever applied this term to any given situation in my life.  Suddenly, within my thoughts, I heard the words, “Spiritual Disturbances.” How strange; I thought.  So, as accustomed, I began to research exactly what it meant.

I was somewhat in awe when I ran across the phrase, “Spirit of Disturbance.”  I decided to dig deeper.  There it was…”A spirit of disturbance”…meaning a troubled heart or a disturbed heart.  The article went on to say, “Stress is a disturbance of the heart.”

Wow!  I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that everywhere we turn, we are bombarded by the word, “stress.” We are constantly being told that “stress” is killing us and robbing us of our daily peace of mind… If stress is actually a disturbance of the heart…then our nation, our churches, our families, our homes, and our personal lives are filled with disturbances.  No wonder the pharmaceutical industry is making a fortune off meds to help reduce, “disturbances of the heart.”  But, meds can’t and won’t cure a disturbance of the heart…that is a Spiritual issues…and only God can heal Spiritual matters of the heart.  Only a totally-sold-out life to Christ Jesus can cure Disturbances of the Heart.

So, it nearly goes without saying that “A spirit of disturbance,” a troubled heart, a stressed-filled life…is by far a spiritual matter rather than a political or circumstantial matter.  It isn’t our physical circumstances that brings “stress” into our lives, but rather our diminished-measure of faith in our personal relationship and daily walk with God.  And, since our society has been taught for several generations that “man” can “fix” his own problems through education, government, philosophies, or personal acquired skills rather than dependence upon God…we have created an environment of  “perplexities” on every side…In other words…We are being lead by a spirit of disturbance.  But, the Bible clearly teaches us to live soberly and righteously…discerning and trying the Spirits…whether they be of God or not…

Since our nation and media resources have tried so desperately to move God out of our lives, we are now a people wide open to Satan’s attacks to rob and to steal from us our joy, happiness, and assurances in God that “All” things happen according to His purpose for our lives (good and bad).  “And we know that ALL things work Together for good to them who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 KJV)

I don’t know about you, but this concept of Spiritual Disturbances struck a chord with me.  I’m tired of being “spiritually disturbed.” I’m tired of Satan robbing me of my peace of mind and joys of life.  I’m tired of being concerned about the future of our nation, the future of our lives, and our futures in general.  The Bible clearly teaches that a man cannot add one cubit to his height.  Over three hundred times, it is written in the Word of God, “Fret not,” and “Fear not.”  God does not reside in us through a spirit of fear.  We are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus!  Shout for glory!

Yet, the Bible also teaches that “man everywhere should pray.”  Pray for what?  How about praying to overcome the Spirit of Disturbances within our lives!  How about praying for Greater amounts of Faith and added faith each day!  How about praying that our hearts and minds won’t be caught off guard when Satan bombards our thoughts with doubts and fears?  How about praying for the faith to know that we are “more than conquerors through him (God) that loved us?” (Romans 8:37).

The Apostle Paul wasn’t possessed with a spirit of disturbance.  Rather, he wrote, “For I am PERSUADED that neither death, nor life (did you see that…LIFE!), nor angels, nor principalities (leaders and governments), nor powers (man’s militaries), nor things present (today), nor things to come (the future!), nor height, nor depth (the valleys of life), nor any other creature (that old serpent the Devil!) shall be able to separate us (you and me!) from the LOVE of GOD, which is in CHRIST JESUS our LORD!”  (Romans 8:38-39 KJV)…Now, there’s an example of a heart that is NOT filled with disturbances.

I don’t know about you….But, Oh, how I try to “fix” things in my life…Oh, how I let Satan bombard my thoughts and mind with His tactics to rob me of the peace and joys found in Christ Jesus.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, I have really never thought about the concept of Spiritual Disturbances before.  As most of us, I usually “blame” aggravating things on circumstances rather than placing the blame on the one who has made it his speciality in life to rob and to steal…”The thief (Satan) cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I (Jesus) am come that they (you and I) might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10 KJV).

Did you see that?  Satan wants to “kill” us…He wants to “destroy” us…And, every physician in the land will tell you that “stress” kills and destroys.  Satan is using “spiritual disturbances” to defeat our lives…It’s time we take a stand against this attack.

Today, let us stand boldly in Faith against the wiles of Satan and denounce a Spirit of Disturbance that is trying to destroy our homes, our jobs, our churches, our families, and our lives.  Rather, let’s pray for the Spirit of Peace that passes all understandings and grants us life…and life more abundantly.  Oh, the joys of the Lord…Amen.

Prayer:  “Lord Jesus, I come unto you this morning thanking you for the gift of life and for the breath of life. I ask you today, in thy sweet and precious name, to remove any and all spirits of disturbances that are at work in my life to rob and to destroy my life.  I not only pray for me, but for all those who are also being bombarded with spiritual disturbances in their lives as well.  I pray for Faith, greater Faith, abundant Faith, to overcome any and all attacks upon my life and those of my family.  Grant this prayer request Father in the name of they precious Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.”

I hope today’s blog will be a source of encouragement to you.

Remember God Loves You…Stand Strong in the Lord.

Lin T. Rollins, Author