Old Garments??

Old Garments…New Garments….

16No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment ….Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved. (Matthew 9:16-17 KJV).

For the past several days, I have been pondering the above scriptures.  I have been thinking that one of the reasons some “believers” in Christ might continue to fall “too” short in their Christian walk is that they are  trying to “patch” up their old lives instead of being a “new” creature in Christ Jesus!  As the above scriptures teach…It is foolish to put a “patch” on a new garment and foolish to pour new wine into old bottles…The “patch” will stick-out like a sore thumb (as we say in the South!) making the entire piece of cloth look bad, and the new wine poured into old bottles will cause the bottles to break…What a message!  We simply can’t mixed our past lives lived without Christ with our new lives being lived through Christ!

How do we avoid this type of disaster?  “Behold…all things are new…old things are passed away.”  After receiving and professing our faith in Jesus Christ, we can no longer nurture, pamper, and maintain many of our old ideas, ways, philosophies, or personal agendas…It just won’t work…When walking in the “new” ways of the Lord…the old and the new won’t mix.  Eventually, we will have to decide which way is going to guide our lives; the new or the old. The “new” being the Bible and the “old” being our fleshly nature…. Sadly, many new believers choose to “go back” to many of their “old” ways resulting in being pulled away from their new walk in the Lord…This decision will always pull one away from growing, maturing, and thriving in Christ…

If you we choose to keep our old life style (before receiving Christ into our heart) with a little “patch” here and a little “patch” there…our entire life will eventually show it!  The old patch  (old life style) will start pulling away from the new cloth (new life in Jesus)…and the new will start pulling way from the patch….Can you imagine the inward conflict that will result??

In the New Testament book of Ephesians. chapter six, it tells the truly born-again Christian what “new” garments to wear…Put on the whole armor of God…not just a piece here and piece there.  There are “no” patches in Christian Armor!!! It is only after we have completely suited up in God’s spiritual garments that we can  truly live a growing, maturing, thriving, and victorious life in Christ…

I don’t know about you…but I don’t like to wear old “patchy” clothing….Do you?  I am a NEW creature clothed in NEW garments in Christ Jesus!

Remember, God Loves You.

Lin T. Rollins, Author.

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What is Biblical Hope?

What is Biblical Hope?

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning; that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have HOPE  (Romans 15:4)

Oh, my friend, are you in need of Biblical Hope today?  As Christians, we can be filled with a sense of Hope at all times and in all things…A Christian’s perspective and understanding of Hope is NOT what the world defines as hope…”I hope I get a new bicycle.”  “I hope I can get a new purse to go with my new outfit.”  “I hope my team will win this weekend.”  “I hope I get an “A” on my test.”

Hope from a worldly perspective means “A confident expectation” that “something” will end or result in a “positive,” “satisfying” manner.   Naturally, no one “hopes” for  a negative, disappointing outcome!!

Biblical Hope is the assurance that IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN….Guaranteed Success!  How?

Psalm 46:  GOD is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof…There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the City of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved…God shall help her, and that right early…The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved; he uttered his voice, the earth melted.  The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge…Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath me in the earth…He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in fire…BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD:  I will be exalted among the heathen…I will be exalted in the earth…The LORD of hosts is with us…The GOD of Jacob is our Refuge.”

Wow!  Now, there’s Biblical Hope!!!  What assured promises of HOPE….Today, you and I can possess a Biblical Hope in God through Jesus Christ.  The Bible teaches us to “Rejoice in HOPE of the Glory of God.” (Romans 5:2)….The Glory of God is Jesus Christ; a Guaranteed Success!  BIBLICAL HOPE IS HAPPENING ALL AROUND US AND WILL NEVER CEASE!

When we put our HOPE in the GLORY of GOD, then we can have HOPE that “ALL things really do work for His Purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Our Biblical HOPE is possessing a CONFIDENT ASSURANCE that GOD IS IN CONTROL…

“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose HOPE is the LORD, for he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green, and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding her fruit.”  Jeremiah 17: 7-9

This morning, I pray for you to delight thyself in Biblical Hope….

Remember, God Loves You!

Lin T Rollins, Author

“Let’s Just Praise the Lord!”

“Let’s Just Praise the Lord!’

The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be Praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.  Psalm 18:2 KJV

Let’s just Praise the Lord today! And, every other day as well!  He is worthy of our Praise, Adoration, Honor, and Respect…He is our GOD; the GOD of all creation….

I love those special times within my life when my spirit wishes to cry out and sing out Praises unto my God…Of course, we honor God in all that we say and do…But, there are those special times when you feel your spirit soaring high with the eagles enjoying the uplifting power of the “high tower.” (Spirit!).

Perhaps, one reason I am in such a “praise” mood this morning is because I have not been able to talk in the past five days.  Acute case of laryngitis with an URI…Not fun…But, as they say, “You’ll make it.”  And, I will.  This is the longest amount of time that I can recall not being able to talk…sometimes there’s a very hint of a whisper that comes forth; sometimes just silent air…But, in ways I have enjoyed the silence myself!  And, no doubt so has my husband! LOL!

But, even though my mouth cannot utter Praises aloud unto my Heavenly Father, my heart can still sing within and my fingers, Praise God, can still type!  My husband has often said that if the Apostle Paul had a computer back in his days to get the Word of God out into the world…he’d burned that thing up!!  I tend to agree.

As I was typing just now,  I was humming inside my mind the words to the song, “God Walks the Dark Hills, the highways and byways…”  Oh, my friend, yes He does…He walks the pathway along the side of you and me guiding our footsteps along life’s way…As I get older, I see that more and more and more.

Today, you may be facing a temporary bout of sickness or even a steeper hill or darker valley in your life…but God is the same God as he was yesterday, today, and forever more…Please don’t despair because you are not alone…Our LORD is our buckler, our safety, and our strength…He’ll see you through.

Let’s Just Praise the Lord!

Remember, God Loves You!

Lin T Rollins, Author

When Things Just Aren’t Right…

“When Things Just Aren’t Right…”

“Be of Good Courage, and He (God) Shall Strengthen Your Heart, and All Ye That Hope in the LORD.”

Psalm 31:24

There are times in your life when certain things just don’t seem to be working out the way you had wished or hoped.  As a result you may feel a little “down” for a while.  But, being the resilient person you are, you perk back up after a few days or so and move forward with your life…But, what if the feelings of being “down” begin to appear more often and last longer; even when things around you return to being fine?

It is something that you believe will never happen to you…Something that you hear happening to “others,” but not to you; never….Yet;  without warning, it does happen… For weeks, maybe even months, you’ve watched  TV commercials and read magazine articles giving the warning signs for “depression,” but you keep dismissing it because you are not a depressive type person…

While at school (college), church, or work, your friends and co-workers “joke” about “all” those poor people who walk around taking depression meds to get them through the day…But, you know that’s not for you….You are a Christian and Christians don’t get depressed, and if they do, it’s only situational and temporary…

Then, day by day, you start to realize that the uninvited symptoms are creeping into your life much like a hazy midst descending over a dark lake… Then, Boom! You wake up one morning to find your Joy is gone…And, with your Joy being gone…so is your Strength….In its place are fears, uncertainties, and a sense of hopelessness and helplessness… All this time, you are still trying to hide it from those closest to you…You tell your friends and family, “Oh, I’m just tired; not feeling well today.”  But, you know it is much more than that….And, slowly “it” begins to manifest itself outwardly;  people start to  notice.

Perhaps, as you stood in the shower getting ready this morning you watched the hot water from the shower-head mixing with the uncontrollable tears falling from your eyes… Unsure and frighten of what is happening, you stand in dismay watching the  water and your tears mix together becoming one combined stream before reaching the drain pipe below…You realize that you are now bathing in both hot water and hot tears…And, the episodes are becoming far too familiar with more frequency and intensity…

What do you do?  How did it happen?  Where can you go?  And, Who do you tell? 

First, for the record, I am not a doctor, psychiatrist, nurse, health care provider, or licensed therapist or counselor….I am a retired pastor’s wife, mother, grandmother, Sunday school teacher, and retired public school teacher.  However, over the past thirty-seven years I have witnessed in others as well as endured myself the agonizing steps of depression.  Being a Christian believer, I feel blessed that I have never faced one symptom of depression alone; my God was always there to see me through and Praise be unto Him…He brought me through!

What do you do?  First, realize and accept that “depression” and the symptoms of depression can happen to any one living on planet Earth; including yourself.  Symptoms of depression can be found throughout the Bible.  Many of God’s most faithful servants suffered from periods of depression including the prophet Jeremiah, known as the “Weeping Prophet.” King David often wrote of his soul being “cast down” (depressed), Jonah sat down under a tree and cried out to God to let him die (suicidal thoughts), and Elijah once hid in a cave wishing to die from the fears he was experiencing over his enemies.  God is NOT unfamiliar with the ways in which you are feeling….There are numerous scriptures throughout the Bible containing various degrees, stages,  and symptoms of depression. I would suggest that you type the words, “Scriptures on Depression” into a search engine…You might just be surprised to see how many scriptures are available.  In Google alone, there were over two million sites listed.  I suggest you read these scriptures over and over from the BIBLE to help give you strength as you get through your time or season of depression; no matter its causes.

How did it happen? Depression and symptoms of depression can be brought into our lives through a plethora of causes. They can either be temporary or situational depending upon the circumstances, such as a loss of a loved one, or loss of job, or loss of other life-supporting or life-sustaining factors.  Illnesses and sicknesses can bring about depression or symptoms of depression.  Certain medicines have side-effects that can cause depressive type symptoms. Depression can be brought about through societal issues or uncontrolled external factors.  I once heard depression described as, “Any time reality does not measure up to our physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual standards, needs, or desires; no matter its catalyst.”  With that definition in place, one can certainly see why “any” human can face signs and symptoms of depression throughout various stages of life!

Where can you go? Next, seek out medical assistance; if necessary.  Talk to your primary care physician.  If you feel uncomfortable speaking with him or her, ask who they might recommend.  With my being a Christian, I would also recommend seeking out a Christian counselor; one who supports and shares in your beliefs in God through Jesus Christ.  Some churches even have counselors on staff.  As Christians, we tend to believe that “medicines” for depression should be one of our last venues towards healing; but don’t delay taking meds if your doctor(s) feel it is the right course of treatment for you.  And, always follow your doctor’s prescribed recommended doses…They are not antibiotics; the “faster” they get into your system the quicker you’ll feel better…I have a friend who was facing a situational period of depression in her life and when “things” didn’t seem any different after a few days she wanted to stop taking the medicine her doctor had prescribed. When she called his office, she was told that it could take up to three to four weeks before she could feel or sense a difference…After a few more weeks, she began to sense a more “stabled” balance- of- mind returning.

Who do you tell?  Depression can be a very private matter just between you and God.  Always tell God how you are feeling about any and every situation, circumstance, or issue within your life.  Remember, He plainly states, “Come unto me all who are heavy burdened (depressed/oppressed) and I will give you rest.” Satan might have you believing that God doesn’t care when you are depressed, or that God is “ashamed” or “mad” at you because you aren’t “soaring with eagles” over a matter…Remember, Satan is a liar from the start, and God already knows how you are feeling, what you are thinking, and what is in your heart…He (God) sticks closer than a brother!  If you feel that it will help your situation better, you may wish to share with your closest family members or friends that you are going through a time of depression in your life.  Be wise…Use wisdom…Don’t be surprised if “some” people might NOT understand and would want to “judge” you as NOT being as “spiritual” as you should be! Honestly, some people look at every aspect possible to judge others without first judging themselves!  As my Granny used to say, “It rains or pours on everyone at one time or another!”  But, most people, especially those who really love and care about you,  will only want to share in supporting you through your most difficult time either by lending a supporting ear or through acts of kindness and prayer support.

With time, support (medical & spiritual), and prayer, most people survive moments, seasons, and occasions of depression within their lives and some return to even a healthier life style.  It is for those who have no “hope;” no personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, that I feel the most sorry for…Truly, these are the ones who suffer the fullest effects of deep depression, gloom, and sadness.  I’m not saying that a Christian cannot suffer deep valleys of depression as well, but as they “walk through” their valley of depression God is with them (Psalm 23)….Those without Christ are walking its darkened path all alone… God have mercy on the lost.

Today, you may be suffering from symptoms of depression or know someone who is…Remember, depression can come into anyone’s life and stay there longer than wanted or expected. But, there are ways and means in seeking out help for times and seasons of depression.  And, most importantly know that GOD LOVES YOU and He will never leave nor forsake you….He will always be there with you….You are never truly alone no matter the circumstance with Christ in your heart…Let your spirit cuddle up with God’s Spirit (The Holy Spirit) today and pour out your heart unto him…He careth for you.

Remember, God Loves You!

Lin T. Rollins, Author

A Love Letter from Prison

A Love Letter from Prison

Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord….Philippians 3:1

While chained in a Roman prison, the Apostle Paul wrote words of comfort to his beloved church at Philippi.  One can read his love letter in the book of Philippians found in the Bible.

Bible scholars estimate that Paul spent somewhere between five 1/2 to six years of his evangelistic life in prison before finally being martyred for his strong faith and dedicated preaching of the Good News of Jesus Christ.  However, prison bars did NOT stop the Apostle from spreading the Good News of Faith nor did it stop him from sharing the JOY  within his heart for serving the Lord.

It was an eventful time for Paul when he established the first church at Philippi during his second missionary journey.  After receiving a vision of a man saying, “Come over into Macedonia, and help us,” (Acts 16:9) Paul perceived God was now opening the door for him to carry the Gospel westward to the Gentiles.  So he set travel for Macedonia.

After he arrived, he visited the thriving city of Philippi.  There he met Lydia, a business woman who sold fine cloths of purple. Lydia accepted Paul’s message of Christ and both she and her family were baptized.  Then, Paul delivered a damsel from a spirit of divination only to be cast into prison along with his fellow evangelist Silas who had accompanied him on his journey.

But, as customary with Paul, he used any situation, opportunity, and circumstance for the furtherance of the Gospel.   While in prison both he and Silas sang praises unto God at midnight.  God intervened with an earthquake that resulted in the conversion of the Philippian jailer and his whole household…. Thus, the church at Philippi was established.

Paul writes often of the faithfulness that the converted Philippians showed to him throughout the rest of his life with their financial support, gifts, and prayers.  But, now in a Roman prison awaiting execution, he wishes to “comfort” his followers.  He assures them that every seemingly “bad” thing that had happened to him was divinely orchestrated for the continuance and furtherance of the Gospel…Good or Bad, Paul rejoiced in the Lord…”Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.” (Phil. 3:1)

The book of Philippians is packed with promises for the Christian, including his famous words, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).  It takes the Love of God for a man to show more compassion and concern toward those who will be grieving his death than being anxious that his own life is about to be taken!  (For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  (Phil. 1:21)  And, Paul was truly filled with the Love of God for both God and the people of God.

Today, you may be in need of strength and encouragement; we are indeed living in difficult times.  If so, I encourage you to read Paul’s love letter to the Philippians in Philippi and know that each promise he shared with them is also a promise that God is sharing with you; right now this very second…

Remember, God Love You!

Lin T. Rollins, Author

Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper…

God is our refuge (safe hiding place) and strength

Psalm 46:1

For the past several weeks, I have been deeply engaged and engulfed in studying God’s word and writing lessons for a 10-weeks Bible study for a group of wonderful ladies in my area.

I was very thankful when they called asking me to come and teach for them. Almost immediately, I sat down at my lap top with Bible in hand to seek out God’s guidance.  Within minutes, I felt the Lord had placed the foundational scripture for the study upon my heart, “The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10).  Truly, one of my favorite verses.

Before I knew it, God had given me topics for the entire ten weeks. Next, it was my time to study and study deeper.  While studying for week-two’s lesson, I discovered some hidden truths in the Apostle Paul’s words of comfort to his blessed church in Philippi.  I don’t think I will ever be able to read the book of Philippians in the same manner again after “digging deeper” into the scriptures.

Scholars tend to differ which imprisonment Paul was when he wrote to Philippi, but I tend to support and agree that he was in Rome facing the last days of his life.  His words of encouragement to his beloved friends are a testimony of his great Faith in God and in God’s sovereignty at a time when he was facing death.

When we “dig deeper” into God’s words, the Bible, along with commentaries and other resources surrounding the Bible and the Good News of Jesus Christ, we can receive a much-needed and renewed sense of faith within our heart and spirit.  Nothing can compare to “digging deeper” into God’s word.

Today, you may be in need of strength to face a certain situation, circumstance; something that you were not prepared to deal with…If so, take time to meet with God in prayer and ask Him to show you what scriptures can be applied to your situation.  In today’s mass media world, God’s Words are as close as your finger tip.  Try to find time to read the Apostle Paul’s words found in the four chapters of Philippians.  What heart-felt words of encouragement for all types of situations and circumstances.

“Dig Deeper” in God’s word, for in it you will find strength and rest for your mind, soul, and body.

Remember, God Loves You

Lin T. Rollins, Author

The Joy of the Lord

The Joy of the Lord

The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength…Nehemiah 8:10 

Nehemiah was an amazing servant of the Lord’s.  Because of his outstanding character, he had reached the prestigious position of being the King of Persia’s cup-bearer…a position requiring a man to be both trustworthy and loyalty; and Nehemiah was just that… trustworthy and loyal.  However, even though he was loyal to the King, his heart grieved for his people, the Jews, and for his beloved city of Jerusalem.

Even though the Jews had been returning to Jerusalem for nearly 30 years since their 70 year captivity in Babylon, the city’s walls continued to lie in waste and ruin.  The Jews had proudly rebuilt their sacred temple, but had failed to rebuild the city’s damaged walls.  Why were the walls so important?  In that day and time, people lived within the city’s walls for protection from their enemies and intruders.  Also, the newly rebuilt temple needed protection…Much like a “gated communities” today.

Even though a remnant of God’s chosen people were returning to Jerusalem, they were scattered throughout the region living in various villages and other nearby cities.  Nehemiah knew that God wanted his people to return to Jerusalem to live within its city’s walls.

Nehemiah sought permission from the King of Persia to travel to Jerusalem in hopes of rebuilding the walls.  Not only did the King grant Nehemiah permission to go; he also gave him permission to use his own forest (The King’s Forest)  for timbers needed to restore the destroyed and burned down wooden gates.

When Nehemiah finally reached Jerusalem, he waited for three days before touring the city at night.  As he surveyed the walls, he discovered gaps as large as 100 yards long and massive piles of fallen stones and broken down gates.  What a task for one man to supervise…but Nehemiah knew that he had God on his side and that God would direct him.  Nehemiah was  also a great man of much praying; a true prayer-warrior!

Within fifty-two days after Nehemiah arrived on the scene in Jerusalem, he organized labor parties, worked to rebuild the walls with one hand while holding his sword in the other to fend off his enemies, and encouraged the people to stay strong in the Lord.  In only 52 days, Nehemiah completed his task; a labor of love.

It wasn’t until after the walls had been completed and had been dedicated unto the Lord, that Nehemiah comforted his people with these famous promised-filled words, “The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

Nehemiah wanted the people to never forget where their strength lies; in the Joy of the Lord.  The same is true today for those of us who are Christians; our strength to make it through each passing day is found in Jesus Christ; our Lord.

Today, you may be in need of strength to complete a task in your own life…If so, pause for a moment and give Praise and Thanks unto God for His son Jesus dying on the Cross to save us from our sins and from our enemies as well.  Like Nehemiah, you, too can say, “The Joy of the Lord is MY Your Strength.”

Remember, God Loves You!

Lin T. Rollins, Author