Beside Still Waters

He leads me Beside Still Waters…  Another version of the Bible reads, “He leads me beside QUIET waters.”  (Psalm 23 NIV).  Ask yourself, would you rather walk beside a peaceful, quiet, still body of water or beside a raging, turbulent, disorderly body of water?

I think the answer is obvious.  We would much rather walk beside the peaceful shore.  However, at times our lives do not look as if we choose the restful, peaceful shores of life.  Many times, our lives look as if we choose the turbulent, disorderly shores of busyness rather than the calm and still waters that God offers.

Ask yourself  another question.  Why?  Why do we fill our lives with so much activities that we appear to be afraid to be led by the still, quiet waters of life?  Why does it appear that every waking hour of life must be used to clutter our minds and hearts with meaningless, vain runnings to and fro?  At times, we all do it.

Sadly, we are a culture teaching the next generation to be even more busier than we are!  Children now days are sent to school, many without breakfast, to learn what education they can acquire and to keep their grades up in a very costly competative society.  After they return home, without supervision, they are expected to complete their homework, make their own snack, and be ready to “GO” as soon as the adult parent arrives home.  Where do they go?  Everywhere!  Mostly, ball parks, gyms, dance and  karate studios, music lessons, or a plethora of other extra-curricular activities….including continued texting while on the GO!  Even though some families manage to attend church on top of their busy schedules, God has to be “willing” to be worked into and managed within their busy lives!  No matter the case, the word is simply…..GO….24/7… GO!!

Why is it that we are a society on the run 24/7?  Yet;  God says many times in His Word….BE STILL!!!  I don’t believe we are doing a very good job at teaching our children to BE STILL and Know God!!  Many years ago, when our children were growing up, it seemed we attended activities in moderation.  Baseball was played in the spring….not spring, fall, travel…so forth and so forth.  Football was played in the fall…not all year long.  Gym, dance, and band competitions were held during the week or on Saturdays… but not on Sundays.  And, those parents who regularly attended church on Sundays didn’t allow their children to participate in other activities that competed with God’s time!

Now days, we find a spot to stick God in and He has to stay in that spot!  It seems he doesn’t rule our lives….Our lives rule when He can be in it….or not in it!  I’m not sure that God is all that impressed with our overly busy lives and ball-park prayers!  We want Him in our overly busy lives….He just has to be willing to comply!!  I mean…don’t make us choose between giving quality time to God or quality time to our activities….In today’s society…activities win hands down!

Ask yourself this question.  What if you and your spouse never did anything or went anywhere unless it was in a group or with other couples? In other words, every time the two of you had an opportunity to be alone….one or the other chose the “group” thing over being alone.  After a while, you might start wondering how much, or if, your spouse was actually “IN LOVE” with you… Sad.  But, I see couples and families doing this more and more.  There is no intimacy between spouses…too much busyiness…always in a crowd of people…or surrounded by certain family members.  I know a family who actually uses the ball park and ball games as a regular “reunion” spot!  It may seem “grand” on the surface, but there are definitely issues involved.  No one has to be on the “road” constantly in their life or surrounded by an endless parade of activities to meet each season, week. or month….unless they are simply too afraid to sit down and face the truth about themselves or their lives!

God doesn’t always want to “share” his personal time between you and Him with others.  He loves you so much that He gave His life for you…  He deserves more than being a “part” of our busy lives.  He deserves the right to lead our lives.  He deserves being shown respect on HIS DAY!  And, we should teach our children this, as well.  In the Old Testament God chose one day of the week to solely belong to Him.  In our busy society, we can’t afford to give God barely an uninterrupted hour…any day of the week!   What if we treated our bosses at work the same way we treat God?  It wouldn’t be too long until we’d be finding a new job….over and over again!  God deserves our Best…after all He gave us His Best when He gave us His Son, Jesus Christ.

Busyness is often a sign of deeper troubles and concerns. Often times…a spiritual need.  Instead of dealing with the issue or need, a person just fills his or her life up with more and more activitites….Too many activities can also cause a financial burden on a family….nothing is done in this life for free!  There’s the gas needed to drive back and forth to all these activities, interests, and hobbies…there are fees involves…uniform and equipment costs…eating out…All just adding more burdens to an already overly busy waters of life.

My friend, examine your life today.  Are you really and truly walking beside the Still Calm Waters…the waters that God leads you beside?  Oh, but you might say you are a young busy family and all young families are busy families.  This is true.  No doubt, there are times when our lives are just naturally busier than others.  But, if the waters you are walking beside tend to be more busy than calm and quiet….then, you may not be walking beside the waters God wants to lead you beside!!  God Leads Us Beside the STILL WATERS!  God’s “leadings” will always provide the deeper needs within our lives….

It’s not always easy to face the truth about a matter or to examine our lives through the eyes of God…but, Oh, how worth the rewards are…Today, ask God to show you and your family the path beside Still Waters!  Then, be ready to follow His lead…Beside the Still Waters….

Remember, God Loves You,

Lin T. Rollins, Author

Your’s Forever

Your’s Forever… In this day and time, what woman or young lady doesn’t want to hear these precious, hope-filled words spoken from the lips of the one they love,  “Darling, I am Your’s Forever!” ??  Now, grant it, most men do not go around speaking in such Shakespearian lingo, but a simple, “Hon, I love you!” surely sounds like music to the ear!

One of the most powerfully romantic books written in the Bible can be found in the Book of Solomon, The Song of Songs.”  Oh, the expressed passion spoken between the two lovers; the bridegroom and his bride to be.  However, one quick read and you will soon discover that the words expressed in this marriage song between the two lovers are quite different in style and mannerisms!

There are actually three parts in the Song:  The words of the Beloved Bride.  The words of the Loving Bridegroom.  And, the words of the Friends in attendance.  It helps to have a Bible that labels or narrates the individual parts.

The Songs begins with the Beloved Bride telling the Bridegroom that his love is, “more delightful than wine…No wonder the maidens love you! Take me away with you!”  A few verses later, the Loving Bridegroom responds, “I liken you, my darling, to a MARE harnessed to one of the chariots of Pharaoh!”  I don’t know about you, but I’m not too sure that I’d like being compared to an old mare horse!  But, at least it was a horse worthy of the chariots of Pharaoh!

As the intoxicating love song continues, the Beloved Bride speaks words of desire and passion from her panting heart.  The Bridegroom returns words such as, “How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful!” (Chapter 4:1 NIV).  Yet; he goes on to say, “Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead.”  I’m not sure about you, but at this point when my hair is being compared to a goat I might just say, “Hold up there boys…let me think this thing through!”

But, that’s just it!  The Beloved Bride is taken away by the skillfully descriptive words of the Bridegroom.  She adores her future husband and nothing he says diminishes the love that she holds for Him within her heart.  She also knows and is fully confident that his love for her is endless, and when he compares her hair to that of a goat’s… she is thrilled!   He could have easily spoken, “I am Your’s Forever!”

And, in this most symbolic poem, the Bridegroom is indeed the Bride’s forever.  Many Bible scholars agree that this is a book describing the eternal  love that Christ Jesus has for his future bride; the church.  And, the longing of the church for its eternal redeemer, Jesus Christ!  Oh, the majestic picture of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb! (Revelation 21).

I am somewhat reminded of one of my son-in-laws who is an avid hunter and sports fanatic.  I don’t know of too many women who gets all excited when their husband brings home a new pair of running shoes for her birthday! But, my daughter does!  She knows that her husband loves her and expresses his love to her in the best way he knows how….through sports and hunting!  Now, mind you I can hear a lot of men out there cheering!  But, what I am trying to say is that people express their love one to another in their own ways, styles, and mannerisms.  And, when we truly love that person…we accept the ways that person expresses his or her love to us!

Grant it, I’m not smart enough to figure out all the symbolic meanings behind the eight chapters in The Song of Songs.  I’ll leave that up to the seminary students and theologians!  But, I do know that the number “eight” in numerology means, “A New Beginning.”  And, the life of this Bride and Bridegroom is exactly that…a new beginning that will last forever and forever…Amen!

I do enjoy reading through the beautiful words spoken between the Bridegroom and the Bride and knowing that one day I, too, will be a “Your’s Forever” Bride at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb!  Oh, thanks be unto Jesus…our Redeemer!

Today, I am blessed to be living with my only husband of thirty-seven years.  Unlike the future “perfect” symbolic union between Christ and his church, we, as most couples do, have had our ups and downs along the way.  We still do!  But, I do know that many times earthly love and earthly marriages do break-up and the love that once was thriving and alive dies and often times fades away.  Sometimes, we also lose our loved one through the experience of physical death.  Oh, how sad.

I don’t know about you, but I long and desire to see and be a very real part of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and experience the  Agape, non-failing, non-dying love found within the pages of The Book of Solomon….  “Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away: (Ch. 8:7)….Simply put…Your’s Forever!

Remember, God Loves You with an Undying, Agape Love!

Lin T. Rollins, Author

No Body Knows…

No Body Knows…There is an old spiritual song that says, “No body knows the troubles I’ve seen; no body knows but Jesus.”  That statement used to be more true long ago than today.  Today, is the Age of Information.  With Twitter, Facebook, and all the other social networks and media sources available, people share practically every thought they have as well as every happening within their lives; little left for the imagination. Everything is welcomed in the mass media market of information!

Everyone has a story; everyone has troubles; everyone has good times; everyone has a testimony of some sort.  Some choose to share their lives openly more than others.  Some share way too much! Sometimes, I’d rather NOT know some intimate detail(s) about a person’s life.  I mean…do you have to tell everything??!!

I was talking this morning to my husband about a person’s testimony that they had shared recently when he asked me a strange question followed by a statement, “Why is it that you women want to tell everything? Jesus told the woman at the well what ALL she had done; she didn’t tell him.  Then, she agreed with Him about the sin(s) in her life, accepted who He was and His forgiveness, then went back to the town saying, “Come see a man who told me all that I have done. According to the Bible; that was it.”

Now, whether or not my husband’s commentary on the matter is accurate or not, I’m not sure. But, he did make a valid point.  God, in the bodily form of Jesus Christ, “told her” all that she had done.  I believe that the Holy Spirit “tells” us when we have done wrong as well.  This is when we have the blessed opportunity to seek out forgiveness just as the Woman at the Well.  But, the question remains….Do we tell everything about ourselves to others when we have been delivered by Christ Jesus of a certain sin(s), or simply honor Christ that He told us everything and we confessed (agreed and repented) and were delivered?   I’m not really sure.

The Bible certainly describes the “sins” of King David.  The Bible tells of the murmurings of the Children of Israel, as well as the many sins of various kings and others in the Old Testament.  However, these were all committed under the Law.  But, I’m not so certain that everyone’s sins are blatantly uncovered in the New Testament of Grace and Mercy.  Why?  Perhaps, because we all “sin” and come short of the Glory of God.  Perhaps, because we all have a sinful nature and without Christ Jesus we would all be hopeless and on our way to hell; no matter what our prior lives are made of.  Yet; by His stripes we are healed and made whole in the sight of God.  Amen.

I know there is a time and a place for everything in life; even the Bible teaches this.  But, is everyone suppose to know out loud our personal thoughts, trials, and troubles; one by one?  Or, like the old song goes, “No Body Knows Like Jesus.”  Perhaps, if we told Jesus as much as we tell on Facebook and Twitter our lives would be more empowered with His strength than our own!!

My husband is a very quiet and private man who doesn’t go around sharing the many hardships, trials, and troubles he has seen and endured in his life.  The sermons he preached throughout his thirty years in the ministry mostly consisted of uplifting the Name of Jesus above all others.  I have often witnessed other men in the pulpit to talk endlessly about situations encountered within their lives knowing full well that my own husband had faced much harder issues; yet chose to disclose only the necessary points to uplift and focus upon Jesus Christ.  I admire him for this.

Me…I probably share way too much at times about my life.  Having a passion for writing, I just sit down at my laptop and type away….Of course, praying that nothing I say ever hurts or harms another soul. But, that through my words and testimony others might see and find Hope for things they might be facing in life…But, then again….perhaps it should be…”No Body Knows But Jesus…”  You decide.

What do you think?  The answer to that question could just come down to who we are individually and how God has programmed into our own personality the way we choose to share information about ourselves with others.  Some providing more information than others.

But, maybe we should stop and examine this fact and let it be our guide …”Is what we are sharing or telling to others uplifting Jesus Christ, or is it spot-lighting the many works of darkness manifested in the flesh?”

Maybe, there is a healthy balance….and, we all need to find it in this age of information…You be the judge…

Remember, God Loves You!

Lin T. Rollins, Author

The Lord Heareth…

The Lord Heareth…The righteous (believers and followers of Jesus Christ) cry, and the LORD heareth and delivereth them OUT of all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:17 KJV).

Satan would love nothing more than to cause a believer to doubt during times of troubleDoubt who?  Doubt what?  He wants us to doubt the LORD and to doubt that the Lord will hear our cries and deliver us from all of our troubles.

It’s scary when we are facing times of uncertainties in our lives.  We often do not know what lies just around the bend.  But, God does.  He knows the beginning from the end, and He already has a plan!  And, we can TRUST his plan…”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.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

Wow! Isn’t it just like God to give us such an amazing, awesome, and wonderful promise!! His plans are always to prosper us and not to harm us; plans to give us hope and a future!  In order words, like the songs says, “We’re gonna make it…We’re gonna make it…We’re gonna make it…We’re gonna make it to the other side!”  And, WE are going to make it with GOD on our side!

Nationwide Insurance has a commercial (jingle) that says, “Nationwide is on your side.”  Well, I’ve got good news for you…As believers, we have more than Nationwide on our side!!…We have God on our side, and He won’t let you or me down!

Amen.  “I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD.”  Today, let us give thanks unto our Holy Lord for already knowing the PLANS he has for you; and for me. 

Take in a good, long, deep breath and let the hope and assurance of God’s promises calm every fear of the heart and imagination.  God is Good…God is Faithful…God is on our side!

Remember, God Loves You!

Lin T. Rollins, Author

“And the Winds Blew”

And, the Winds Blew… Winds, especially stronger tornadic winds, can be destructive.  They can do little or much damage. But, the one thing that is certain…We typically know when “winds” are blowing through our lives.  The Bible uses the element of Wind as an example of God’s power over mankind.  Winds have a way of humbling us before our Maker as well as changing direction in our lives.

I can think of two very opposite scenarios recorded in the Bible concerning Wind.  In the Book of Mark, chapter Four, verse thirty-seven it reads, “And there arose a great storm of Wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.”  Think about it.  How would you like to be out on a ship in the middle of a great sea when the “winds” start blowing so strongly that they fill the ship up with water?  I imagine you would be afraid that the ship would sink! I know I would.  Yet, when Jesus’ disciples cried out, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?”  The Bible states that Jesus arose, “rebuked the Wind, and said unto the sea, Peace be still.”

Ah….Blessed, sweet Peace!  What a difference it makes when Jesus steps on board of our life and calms the raging winds and seas.

However, another story in the Bible regarding a strong, tempestuous wind is recorded in the Book of Acts, chapter 27.  The winds in this scenario must have reached hurricane force, because it was named, Euroclydon.  (Much the same way we name hurricanes even today.)  “But not long after, there arose against it (the ship) a tempestuous Wind, called Euroclydon.”   Not only was this storm intense, it lasted many days… “And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.”  Have you ever had ALL of your “hope” taken away?  I know I have…until Jesus restored my Faith and Hope!

In these two different stories we find that the first storm was divinely brought about to build up the disciples faith in God.  As soon as the disciples cast their faith towards the Master; he heard their cries and calmed the storm.  Praise the Lord!

The second storm; however, was sent for correction.  In the second storm, we read that the Apostle Paul had warned the ship’s owner not to set sail.  Yet, believing that he knew more than the Man of God, the owner and crew set sail against Paul’s wishes.  How many times do we fail to heed warnings in our lives until God has to send us through a storm of correction?

Notice, the first storm recorded in the Book of Mark ended soon after it began.  Yet, the second storm, recorded in the Book of Acts, lasted for many days.  Oh, that we would learn to heed God’s Word, Warnings, and Guidance before the tempest blows!  The Apostle Paul assured the captain and crew of the ship that they would not perish, but that they would suffer loss.  And, they did.  They loss the ship and all of its belongings. Storms of correction hurt.  God have mercy.

Today, my friend, if you are in a storm get alone with God somewhere and Pray.  Ask God to show you if the storm you are facing is to build up your faith or is it to correct something in your life?

Every one therefore that heareth these words of mine, and doeth them, shall be likened unto a wise man, who built his house upon the rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house;
and it fell not: for it was founded upon the rock. And every one that heareth
these words of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man,
who built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came,
and the winds blew, and smote upon that house; and it fell: and great was the
fall thereof” (Matt 7:24-27 ASV).

Wise men still seek God during the storms of life.  Whether they be to build up our faith or to correct our lives…God is in charge of the blowing winds in our lives.   Won’t you seek Him today? Be honest with yourself, and let Him show you what type of storm is blowing through your life.

Remember, God Loves You!

Lin T. Rollins, Author

Fruit of the Spirit Part 3

Today, we will look at the last group in the series this week on Fruit of the Spirit.  We’ve looked at Love, Joy, Peace in group one; Longsuffering, Gentleness, Kindness in group two; and today we will look at the last group, Faith, Meekness, and Temperance.

I feel that the last group in the Fruit of the Spirit reveals wisdom and gained experience in our Christian life.  Hebrews 11:1 gives the definition for FaithNow, faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things NOT yet seen.

The longer a person walks in Faith the stronger their faith grows in the Lord.  The more mature a Christian becomes in the Words of God (the Bible) the more they understand the mysteries of such Scripture as, “For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 KJV).  It requires Faith to accept and cope with devastating events and happenings within our lives.  It requires Faith to submit ourselves to God’s will for our life and the lives of our loved ones.

Meekness, in the sense that most people believe, is walking around with your head bowed down and letting the world walk all over you.  But, that is far from the Biblical definition of meekness.  Meekness is possessing a willing and humbled spirit to learn and to be teachable.  In other words, a meek person is always willing to learn more and more about God and His teachings (as well as other things in life).  They don’t feel as if they already, “know it all.”  A meek person is willing to learn from “their” own mistakes, faults, and failures and does NOT go around blaming others for their misfortunes in life.

Oh, oh, how many people do I know who think they “know it all.”  Unmeek people who have NO experience in certain areas; yet try to tell everyone how they should live, act,  and respond!! People who refuse to take responsibilities for choices made and actions they have made, but rather choose to “blame” everyone else for who they are!  There will be NO excuses in Heaven when we stand before our great King and Judge.  We won’t stand there saying, “But, God if so and so would not have done this or that…then, I wouldn’t have done this or that!  It’s their fault God!”

This is NOT a meek person’s response in life.  A meek person will say, “God, I am a sinner and no matter what others have done to me, I accept my role in the matter and ask for mercy, grace, and your forgiveness.”  Doesn’t the Bible TEACH us to “forgive as we are forgiven!”  But, a person who lacks “meekness” will always find an excuse for their actions and “judge” the actions of others more harshly.  God have mercy on “unmeek” people.

The last fruit mentioned in this group is Temperance….a well-balanced, sustaining life in Christ.  Temperance is the opposite of living from one extreme to the other.  I know people who jump up and suddenly wish to live godly lives.  They run to every revival meeting; they walk with their Bible tucked high under their arm pit; they try to talk all the “church lingo” they can manage to learn….Then, in six months to a year you can’t find them with a search warrant!!  These people pop in and out of church depending upon their circumstances and personal needs.

Then, there are those who choose the opposite end of the spectrum and say things like, “Well, you won’t find me in a church with all those hypocrites!” So, they live their lives in total opposite mannerisms of Biblical teachings; and are proud of it!  Extremes to Extremes; opposite Extremes.

I’m glad that God showed me a long time ago that I didn’t have to live in extremes to be in His will.  I have learned to have faith in HIM; to understand that I am weak and will make mistakes; to understand those around me make mistakes.  I have also set out on a course of following Christ Jesus and plan on “sticking” with it!  After all, even the old children’s fable teaches us that the slow-moving, yet ever-faithful, turtle reached the finish line while the fast-moving rabbit fizzled out!  Temperance…a well-balanced life in Christ Jesus. Amen.

I hope you have enjoyed my three parts of teaching on the Fruit of the Spirit. I hope you will be encouraged as you see these Fruits manifested in your own life.  As Christians we tend to demonstrate a different group at different times within our life, but others should always see evidence of the Fruit of the Spirit working within our lives; no matter our circumstances.

Remember, God Loves You!

Lin T. Rollins, Author

Fruit of the Spirit – Part 2

Fruit of the Spirit–On yesterday, I began a short series of writings on the Fruit of the Spirit described in the Bible in the book of Galatians, chapter five.  As outlined by the Apostle Paul, there are nine manifestations of the Fruit of the Spirit that can be evident in a Christian’s life:  Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness; Faith, Meekness, and Temperance.

Yesterday, we looked at the first three, Love, Joy, and Peace.   These three reflect our personal relationship with God.  Without these three ruling our hearts and lives, it is nearly impossible to bring forth the remaining six.

The second group, Longsuffering, Gentleness, and Goodness reflect our interactions and relationships one with another.  I don’t think it is a mistake that Paul places Longsuffering as the first fruit in the second group!  Why?  Because God demonstrated much longsuffering in his dealings with mankind in hopes that “All would come to a place of repentance.” (Despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” Romans 2:4 KJV).

Just as God commended his Love towards us that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us, the Holy Spirit wants to strengthen and empower us with the Fruit of Longsuffering so that others might see Christ in us.

There are times when it takes great longsuffering and patience in dealing with various relationships we have on planet earth.  For any relationship to endure, thrive, and become strong in the Lord one must be willing to suffer together (whether as friends, family members, spouses, or co-workers and peers) through all kinds of trials, tribulations, disappointments, and discouragements.  Without a willingness to endure, relationships will most often cease to exist.  Aren’t we glad that God never loss a “willingness” to Suffer for us!

There are plenty of Scriptures given on how we are to act and react one with another; parents and children; children and parents; husbands and wives; wives and husbands; neighbors and strangers; employers and employees; as well as leaders, powers that be, and kingdoms and citizens. God gave much attention in the Bible regarding relationships.  He knew from the start that it would take a person “willing” to endure (long-suffering) to make any relationship succeed.  Always remember,  “There is none perfect (righteous); no not one!”

When we develop and manifest the Fruit of Longsuffering, we can then reap the seeds of Gentleness and Goodness within our lives.  Oh, how sweet to be around a person who possesses a sweet, gentle, and kind spirit.  As a child, I once had a pastor’s wife who seemed to walk in the absolute presence of God at all times.  She didn’t have to “work up” a lot of “Bless your heart” dialect. Her warm, sincere, and gentle smile and mannerisms seemed as if they could vanish away the harshest of fears and worries.  She walked in a Spirit of Gentleness and Goodness and it was evident in every thing she attempted.

Oh, today that we would be willing to “Suffer” for Christ’s sake in our relationships one with another.  That we would be willing to endure until absolute victory was won over jealousies, selfishness, biases, misunderstandings, and hypocrisies.  As the “royal law” states, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself…” (James 2:8 KJV).

Our neighbor is not just the person who resides next door to us, but the very person that may be living in the same house as we do; a spouse, a friend, or a relative.  In this current life…we are all neighbors in one sense of the matter. Therefore, let us love as Christ loved us and was willing to “give” himself for us.

Today, if you are struggling with relationships with others, as we all do from time to time, ask God to manifest His Spirit within your heart and life so that you are capable of producing the Fruit of Longsuffering, Gentleness, and Goodness.  In doing so, we are exemplifying God’s love towards us and our Love towards God and others.

Remember, God Loves You!

Lin T Rollins, Author