Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What's in A Name?

When our children were little, we gave them little fun nicknames...such as Beegee (B.J.) or Todd-a-Rod (Todd). They always knew when they were in trouble when their real names were called and really bad trouble when their full, first and middle, names were used. It just never seemed right getting on to them using a nickname! I am sure you all can remember when your full names were used by a parent, grandparent or teacher, it was never good.  

I love it, where in scriptures, even Jesus corrected Peter by using either Simon or Simon Peter.

Then, as they grew older and started going off with their friends, their dad would always remind them, "Remember who you are!" This meant you are a Sanders and do not embarrass or ruin our name. When they became Christians, this meant that they were not only Sanders, but a child of God. 

When our daughter married, she accepted the name of her husband. Our daughter was adopted from S. Korea and had been given a Korean name at the orphanage of Kung Hee Park. Park was the President of S. Korea at that time (he was later assassinated.) When we brought her to our home, our little gift from God, we called her Kara. She then became an American citizen and her last name was changed to Sanders. Now she has taken another name for the man she loves. 

We realize that the last name carries a 'brand' or 'trade' with it from earlier times. If your last name is 'Carpenter' for instance, your grandparents, way back, were probably carpenters. The 'Cook' family were probably chefs and so on..

We know that God has many names for His many characteristics and His nature. We know many names for Jesus are used for different prayers at different stages in our lives. But I guess my personal favorite of all His names would be 'I Am', for that says it all. 

Exodus 3:14 
 God said to Moses, ‘I AM who I AM.’ And he said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel, I AM has sent me to you’

"Very truly I tell you," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" John 8:58

Looking at our world today, the news about the beheading of Christians, makes me think of what our future holds for names. Will it someday be required to add the tag 'Christian' to our names? Hmmm..... Ginger Sanders, Christian. Who knows what the future holds for us, except Christ will return someday and our 'tag/name' better be there. 

The names on this earth have little meaning actually. They are all nicknames or whatever we are called. The name that will be important will be the name in the Book of Life. I have a 'legal' name and then the nickname that my husband and friends call me. It does not matter to me which name Jesus has in that book, as long as He sees it was written there the very night I accepted Him as my Savior.

What about you? What is your name and where is it written? Are you ready to be called out by Him? 

Signing off today with 
gsanders 'Christian'

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Where is GOD?

Remember the days of lying in the grass, looking at the sky and 'seeing' things in the clouds? Oooo, there is a dog, a rabbit, and sometimes, if we looked close enough, there would be a face! Could it be the face of Jesus or even God Himself? 

We seek to be close to God, but be real....do we just seek Him when times are hard, when we are going through the troubles and valleys of this life? It is so easy to talk to Him when we are hurting and searching for answers. Why, I bet many of you reading this, have already laid your burdens at His feet this day. 

Once, I heard a little boy answer his grandmother, in the innocent voice of a child, about what was in his pocket. He told her it was a biscuit for God that was tucked inside his pants pocket. When she questioned him further, he answered, "But, Grammy, you said God was everywhere and He may get hungry today!"

The scriptures say He is with us always.  

Zephaniah 3:16-17 " In that day it will be said to Jerusalem: "Do not be afraid, O Zion; Do not let your hands fall limp. The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy."

We are His people. He cares for us in the good times as well as the bad times. Have you ever sat in perfect stillness in the mountains, or along the waters, just listening to nature? He is with us no matter what emotions we may be filled with: sadness, grief, joy, peace, or contentment. He loves us unconditional, without any respect to our personal feelings. Why can we not understand that He never leaves us? He walks with us continually, to be our guide, comforter and friend. 

We get so caught up in our own emotions, do we forget He is there? He is the peace in times of turmoil, the joy in the time of sadness, the peace in the time of grief, He is there. He knows what is in our minds, the scrambling of the thoughts running rampant. He even said "Be still and know that I AM GOD" Psalm 46:10. We need to 'be still' sometimes to find Him. 

He is there for you in all circumstances. Let us just pause a moment today and 'be still' and remember Him as He is....The Great I AM. Let's all just look to the heavens and see what we can see, there and in our hearts. Look to the clouds and the sky, look at the stillness and the peace He gives us. 

Doing all of this, maybe we will see His face, maybe we can keep Him in our pocket (heart)! 



Friday, September 12, 2014

Questions About God

God has blessed me with friends that love to share the gospel and we love to dig deeper in His Word. Often someone comes up with a question or two about the bible or God or heaven. We put the option for our College and Career class to come up with questions they have about those things. We have ended up having some very interesting conversations in that class. 

This past week I heard several questions and the discussions were great. I love to talk about the scriptures and God's character. 

One of the questions today, (some of you may have read it on my facebook page 'Ginger Sanders') was "How do we know for sure if it was God we heard speaking? It has not come to past and it has been a long time."

Several times we have all wondered, "Is this what I want or is this really God speaking?" Is it truely His Will for us or we just hoping that He wants us to have that new job/house/car or whatever it is we are wanting.  How do we know? 

When we are in a close and right relationship with Christ, I think He does speak to us. I think there needs to be several factors in play to enable this. We must be ready to hear and receive what He is saying is the first. We must stay in His Word and be in prayer about all things. 

Second, we know that He speaks through His Word, through His teachings and examples and all the scriptures. We also know that our relationship with other Christians is important, to aid and encourage us along in life. He uses other Christians and often speaks through them. It is easier to live a faith filled lifestyle, when surrounded by others that are like minded. 

Third, I believe it is important for Christians to grow in Him, to be nurtured in their Christian walk. We must start living the walk. Christians should actively seek opportunities to tell others about what they are learning from and about God. By sharing your thoughts about God, the internal becomes external, and the lessons learned in private become part of an outward lifestyle that is changing toward God’s purposes.This helps us and others grow more in Him as we seek answers about Him. 

God does not want to be a mystery to us, but to be our Father. We cannot comprehend all He is, but we can continue to learn.

Ecclesiastes 8:17 ' then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning. Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it.'

Ecclesiastes 11:5 ' As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.'

Let us not grow weary in learning about Him! Let's think more about Him and learn together! Yearn for Him and His Word! 

I welcome all comments!! 


Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Leap

This weekend we had some friends come by to spend the night, as they were driving through our town. We all had met several years ago on a disaster site while serving with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. However, due to life changes and God's calling them into another ministry, we had not seen each other in quite some time. 

When the doorbell rang and they entered our home, it was as if time evaporated. The friendship did not have to be renewed, it was 'the leap' that existed! 

Let me stop right there and explain what I am talking about. I am sure several of you have experienced 'the leap' and was not even aware of it. After you read this today, may you never wonder anymore (if you ever did!) about it and be more sensitive to it in your life. 

Luke 1:39-45 "
39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby 'leaped' in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

This is exactly 'the leap' of the Spirit inside us that I am talking about and it causes the Holy Spirit to be filled. Personally, I think when Christian brothers and sisters come together in one accord, the Spirit of God recognizes and connects in some spiritual way. 

There surely has been a time in your life where you have reconnected with an old church buddy or christian brother or sister and it seems you pick by up right where you left off years ago. This is the connection here that I speak of....'the leap' inside us. 

This scripture of Elizabeth and Mary is more than just a stop by, spend the night, hello and goodbye visit. Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting and was filled with the Holy Spirit and the baby inside her womb leaped (probably for joy!) Then Elizabeth responded that she was honored that the 'mother of her Lord' would come to visit. Do you see the walls of communication tumbling down here? There was a revealing of the Christ Child and Elizabeth knew it!

When our guests came through our door, the revealing of the Spirit told the story. Here is a man and woman of God, coming to rest and renew in our home. There was no expectation from them, just the Spirit of God renewing and revealing Himself. 

Can we make sure we are open to the Spirits call? Can we be aware when another brother or sister in Christ is present? Do they recognize us and are filled with the Spirit? How can this happen?

First let me share this, so no one is confused: The moment you received Christ, the Holy Spirit not only came to indwell you, but He imparted to you spiritual life, causing you to be born anew as a child of God. The Holy Spirit also baptized you into the body of Christ. In I Corinthians 12:13, Paul explains, "We were all baptized by one Spirit into one body."

Now to continue.....how can we be filled with the Holy Spirit?

The Spirit-Filled Life is an obedient and abiding life. It can be experienced daily as you:

  • Love God with all of your heart
  • Spend time daily in prayer and Bible study
  • Obey God's commands
  • Witness for Christ
 Let us begin today and when we meet, we will know because of 'the leap!'



Thursday, August 28, 2014

Baby Steps

I have waited a whole year to write this note to you. It is my birthday again and as I sit and think of this past year, I remember mother saying, "Time goes faster the older you get!" Well, that sure seems true, but the clock hands click by at the same rate and I have found that time stands still for no one! 

As I have looked back and reminisced, I see the good, bad and ugly of this past year. God blessed in every situation, but there are some memories that I don't want to deal with (husbands tragic wreck) and some memories I would like to be repeated (playing with grandchildren). But, like the television show, time is like sand quickly running through the hourglass...hence 'the sands of time.'

Aging is a process that begins when we are born and it never slows or stops. It is the process where we learn our first steps, how to read and eventually set free by learning to drive! Then, when you reach a certain time in life, those things tend to reverse on us. My pace seems to be slower, the reading glasses are needed and leaving home is an effort now, and by all means lets be home by dark!! 

In looking at this past year particularly, I have found that I can travel, but God does not mandate it for me to be able to share His love. He can use us right where we are, whether traveling in a State Park and a ranger accepting Christ or a local neighbor critically ill needing someone to care.

When we retired, I wondered what would we do with our time! But, now I wonder how did we have time to work! If you let people know you are available and are willing to help, especially for free, you will stay busy. This gives us opportunity to share the love and hope only Christ gives. 

There is a fellow who volunteers with Samaritan's Purse. His name is Bruce and he is a humble man. Bruce volunteers to help wherever God leads him, but the reason he does is to share the love that Christ gives him. Bruce is like an overflowing cup that spills over and you just can't walk by him without it getting on you!

Did Bruce just all of a sudden realize that Jesus loved him enough that he could share it? No, I have personally watched Bruce start with the baby steps, then reading the Word and studying it, then being set free to 'share' the love of Christ! Since the first time I met Bruce, I knew God had a special plan for him. Bruce first tried to get ahead of God, but like a babe trying to 'run' those first steps, he fell down. But Bruce picked himself up and tried again, holding on to the hand of the Father this time. Step by step, he became stronger in Him until one day, I saw Bruce 'drive' and lead someone to Christ! 

When I get  to see someone like this, never giving up, but keeping on for Jesus, it encourages me. The 'sands of time' may pass, but if we are Christians knowing where we are going, the sands will never run out. So, my birthday today, is just my earthly birthday, a day to celebrate when I came into this world. My real birthday was the day I accepted Christ, in August of 1965. Since that day, I have been taking baby steps and learning to read about Jesus, learning more everyday.

Where are you? Are you like me and Bruce, growing everyday in Him? We all have to figure out where we are to 'serve,' but just holding on to the Hand helps us take those steps. Reach up to Him and hold on! It may be the best steps you have ever taken!! 

Jeremiah 29:11-12New International Version (NIV)

11 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. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Bus is Coming!

Early this morning, as I sat on our screened porch having my coffee, I could hear the children down the street playing and calling out to each other as they waited on the school bus. Some were laughing, others were bickering with each other about the game they were playing. Girls were singing a silly song and giggling. It was then I heard the hum of the motor as the bus came by and then, there was silence in the street. No more sounds of the children would be heard in our neighborhood until the end of the day. Happy silence....peace....sighs in some homes, as the bus pulled away, loneliness, sorrow, mixed emotions.

This early morning scene played in my mind as I continued to imagine the children, now with their friends, happily on their way to school for the day.

I have been seeing the news on every station, over and over about the Christians being chased out of, or killed, in their home country. My heart grieves for them, my prayers go up for them. 

Then we read all the comments in social media about the end of time. Are we seeing the End Time events unfolding before our eyes?

2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV 

"But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people." 

This is certainly what we see and hear on the news! However, we have peace in knowing that God is in control. My personal opinion: 'God gives man a choice to choose Him or deny Him. However, at the same time, God knows mans heart and knows all things. He knows who will choose Him and He knows who will deny Him.' Because of this belief, I believe there will come a day when someone shares the gospel or a person reads God's Word and the Holy Spirit speaks to that heart and that lost soul will accept Jesus Christ as their Savior....then God will say to the Son, "That's the last one, go bring the children home." Then, the skies will open up and the Son of God will come to gather the children home. 

When...in time will this happen? The scriptures say 

Matthew 24:36 ESV 

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only."

But, the secure part, for those of us who believe, is that day is coming. We can be assured of it, because it is promised over and over in the Bible. 

Matthew 24:44 ESV

"Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."

Matthew 24:42 

"Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming."

It reminds me of the children, waiting on the school bus. Some were laughing, others were singing and then we had some bickering over foolish things.Isn't that the same way our world is today as we await the Savior? 

The same as the children, our 'bus' will come to pick us up and then the streets will be quiet. There will be silence? No, confusion....because the Christians will have gone to their final destination...they will not be coming home that afternoon. 

What do we need to do? Just as the children prepared to go to school, we need to prepare ourselves. We need to prepare our hearts, making sure we will be singing when He arrives, not bickering. 
The children packed their backpacks with books and papers. We need to pack our hearts with scripture and love. 

Listen, do I heard the bus cranking up? The motor may be humming our way soon, only the Father knows, but be ready! Don't miss the bus! 


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Stained and Sealed

We have been to the paint store looking at stain for our boat dock. I had no idea that marine seal was not all that was needed. In talking to the professionals, we found out that the wood needed 'restore' to bring it back to life before the stain or seal should be applied. The wood needs to be kept wet while the 'restore' is on the wood, so many details.

Then I moved on to the counter with the stains and sealers. You can get matte, gloss, semi-gloss and on and on. The clean up is either soap and water or solvent. What was next was the vast array of colors. Now it is time you understand that I hate making decisions. Starting with the light colors of the Color Gallery (I had no idea white came in so many hues!), I swiftly moved to the darker side of the spectrum. It was suggested we stay away from the reds, since they fade in the sun to various shades of pink or orange. 

Thinking and dreaming for days on the stains and repair, the word 'stain' itself kept lingering in my mind.  The cross then appeared in my mind, the blood that had dried and stained the wood. The wood that had not had been 'restored' and was now stained in red. 

Do you get this picture? Let's look at this a bit deeper:
The blood of Christ was (1) sacred blood. It was the blood of perfect man - the God Man. (Jn. 1:1,14), the lamb of God (Jn. 1:29). Since Christ alone was perfect God and perfect Man (Phil. 2:5-8), He alone was qualified to give His blood as the atonement for sin.

Christ's blood was also (2) sinless blood. His blood was like a lamb without spot or blemish (I Pet. 1:18-19). All other human blood has been tainted by the corruption of sin resulting from Adam's fall (Rom. 5:12, I Cor. 15:22), but the blood of Christ contained none of the sinful corruption which permeated all other humanity. When Judas Iscariot betrayed the Lord Jesus he knew that he was betraying "innocent blood" (Matt. 27:4). 

The wood of the cross had not been 'restored' and the blood was sinless. The wood was probably weathered and worn, like me, but the blood had no imperfections in it, no sin. It was the perfect blood of Christ and Him alone. He made a decision a long, long time ago, in the beginning of time to die for me. He did not hesitate like I have on staining a plain, old boat dock. My stain is imperfect, it has to be mixed and the wood needs to be restored and ready to receive it. 

This dock is so like my life, needing to be restored and made ready. I keep letting this battered world 'weather' me and have to be made 'new' in Him everyday. 

Thank you Lord for providing the 'stain' that is called the Blood of Christ that was shed for me. It will never need redoing in 5-8 years, it will last throughout eternity! Thank You for making that decision for me, so that all I needed to do was to say yes to You. 

Thank You for the renewing 'restore' that is always on standby when I mess up! Thank You for sealing me with the Blood!