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Spiritual Warfare

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on April 23, 2014

John 1:17 – For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

In the Old TestAmen.t, the nature and will of God was revealed through Moses and the law. But in the New TestAmen.t, Jesus Christ embodied that same will and nature of God. He said of Himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” People can know truth, God, and have life by knowing Jesus Christ.

A dear friend went home to be with the Lord today. How do I know this? I know what and in whom the man believed front cover smaller size copyand because he believed in the person of Jesus Christ, who was Himself resurrected from the dead, I know that my friend no longer exists on earth but in heaven, walking in the garden with His Lord and Savior. What a comfort that is.

This man learned truth from Jesus Christ and, a long time ago, committed his life to following the example set by Jesus when Jesus walked among us. Now history does not dispute that Jesus existed and walked among men. There were too many witnesses for that. Many other religions acknowledge His existence as well. My friend discovered that there was a better way to live and lived it, so today, we know, he is in heaven.

But what if my belief is wrong? What if Jesus was not the Son of God, the long awaited Messiah? What if my friend’s belief was wrong? The worse we can say is that he lived a good life and built into other people’s lives in a very positive way. He will still be remembered well.

But…and this is for those skeptics out there, who choose to turn their back on the truth that the Bible offers. They choose instead to follow their own path, striving for material possessions, building a self-satisfying life, maybe even contributing when they are paid to do so, but never admitting they need anyone but themselves. If they are right, life here is all there is and they live it to the fullest.

But…if they are wrong, if the God of the Bible is their judge when they die, He will say He never knew them. The Bible says they will live on but in a lake of fire with the enemy of this world…for all eternity tortured and screaming. Not a pretty picture. If we believers are wrong, we simply cease to exist. If they are wrong…

I leave it to you. Gird yourself with the truth from the Bible. Walk in Jesus’ footsteps and you will discover that you will live life more content, more loving, and more fruitful while building treasures in heaven as my friend did. It’s never too late to decide that Jesus has all the answers for the situations that life throws your way, whether health issues, financial, or just relationships. His truth protects us from the enemy’s attempts to take us with him to that place of eternal torment.

Father, I love you and I know that my friend is with you today in Your garden. He walks beside You and talks with You face to face. Thank You for His life.  I pray that all those who have had a hard time reconciling You with the world around them and all the false information they’ve been fed over the years, will just make a choice to follow You, to study Your Word, and to discover the truth at last…in that order.  Amen.

What side of the fence do you sit on? There are only two sides to any fence and no place to sit in the middle. Let me know if you have any questions or if you think that what I have written makes sense. Have a great day.

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CrossReads Book Blast featuring Amy von Borstel

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on April 22, 2014

 

ebook-3d-small
Prayers of a Mother’s Heart: For a Chosen Generation
By Amy von Borstel

About the Book:

If you knew that your prayers could change the lives and futures of your children or grandchildren, would you pray regularly? Prayers of a Mother’s Heart: For a Chosen Generation is a hope-filled resource for those desiring a life of prayer and for those seeking God for miracles.

In the Prayers of a Mother’s Heart eBook, there are several personal stories that reveal the power of prayer, a collection of heartfelt prayers that address a wide range of concerns many mothers have for their children, along with over ninety-five Scriptures, simple guidelines for preparing the heart for prayer, a chapter on prayer journals, and a chapter on the importance of generational blessings.

Be inspired by Prayers of a Mother’s Heart to begin trusting that Jesus truly holds the answers to the challenges in your children’s lives. Jesus promised He would do the impossible if only we would believe (Mark 9:23).

LINK to KINDLE

Amy 2014Amy von Borstel is a passionate follower of Christ, a wife and mother of two—one adult child and one teen. She attributes her twenty-eight year marriage and happy home to the love of God and living a life of faith-filled prayer. She’s been a writer since she was a little girl, writing poetry and keeping journals as a way to find peace and rest in her soul. Her first published short story, A Divine Hair Appointment, was released in the 2013 Thomas Nelson book, When God Makes Lemonade. She is passionate about helping orphans and seeing people find abundance through an intimate relationship with Christ.

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Protection for the Road

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on April 21, 2014

John 1:14 – The Word became flesh, and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

Jesus Christ was not part God and part man. He came to us completely human and fully God with all the divine nature of God, complete with the grace and truth that embodies our Holy God. Jesus came prepared to extend God’s grace to us and to provide us with His truth, the things we need to know in order to become part of His family. Because of God’s visit to earth as Jesus, we can know truth and use it to arm ourselves against the attacks from the enemy.

Josh strapped on his chaps, laced up his boots, slipped his arms into the sleeves of his leather jacket and zipped it all the way up. This road trip would last for a couple of weeks and he wanted to be prepared. His helmet was strapped to the back of his motorcycle. He unhooked it, slid it over his long ponytail, and buckled it into place.

Josh’s leathers, helmet and gloves protected him as he rode down the highway. His helmet shielded his face from flying debris such as insects, stones, rain, and anything that became airborne from the wheels of passing vehicles. His leather jacket and chaps as well as his boots and gloves did the same for the rest of his body. If, and he shivered at the thought, he went down, his body would be less likely to get road rash because of his leather gear.

God’s truth is like that. It protects us, not from all the dangers, but from deceivers, and tempters who would drag us into danger. His truth allows us to discern right from wrong so we can make wise choices. When we walk closely to God and His truth, we are less likely to deviate from His chosen path for us.

Josh made a wise choice to protect his body while he rode his motorcycle. Did he expect never to go down? He certainly hoped not. But…if he did, he’d still have some protection making the damage to his body less than it would be if he wore shorts and a t-shirt. God’s truth does not promise that we won’t have trials (danger) but He does promise to walk with us through it, giving us His perspective to guide us to the other side.

When was the last time you considered what God’s answer to your situation would be? When was the last time you turned to His word to discover His answers before you made a decision? God has answers…and the consequences of following God’s direction (wearing leathers) is less damage to us in the long run. Think about it seriously today.

Father, You are the answer to life’s issues. Your word tells us how to handle any given situation and yet we so often ignore You, and just barge ahead making the same stupid mistakes over and over again. Guide us. Give us Your truth and help us to listen on a regular basis to Your counsel. Amen.

 

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Freedom in Truth

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on April 19, 2014

Matt. 22:16b – “Teacher,” they said, “we know You are a man of integrity and that You teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.”

In an attempt to trap Jesus, the Pharisees and Herodians ask Jesus questions. Here they say they know He is a man of integrity but really don’t believe it. They say Jesus teaches the way of God IMG_9490but again do not believe it. Muslims today say Jesus was a great prophet but do not believe in His sovereignty as do most other world religions. They acknowledge Him but do not really believe He’s relevant to their lives.

Maggie placed her hand on Jigger’s arm. “You know my parents go to church every Christmas Eve. They will be pleased if we go with them. It’s only for an hour. We don’t believe that stuff but…I love my parents. I don’t want to hurt them. Can we go?”

“I’ll feel like a hypocrite but if that’s what you want. All this Jesus stuff is just so much garbage.” Jigger scratched an itchy patch of beard. He grabbed their bags and walked behind Maggie up the front steps to the door that led into her parent’s home.

The evening went really well. Dinner was tasty and Jigger seemed to get along with her father really well. At least he’s trying, she thought. She began to relax. This home had always seemed like a refuge to her. Peace seemed to reign here. Maggie breathed deeply, curled her feet up under her on the sofa and leaned her head back. There was nowhere else where she felt this sense that all was right with her world.

Soon it was time to head out to the service that celebrated the coming of Jesus. Another Christmas season. Maggie walked beside her mother down the block toward the large edifice that had been as familiar to her as her own home for many years. Her heart skipped a beat. Anticipation flowed through her veins.

The service was everything she expected. It’s like coming home, Maggie reflected and then wondered at her reflection. She’d been taught this story was true. Maybe… She looked at Jigger. He was listening, really listening. She’d never been able to get him to consider any religion, never mind this one.

Jigger listened intently. He wanted to find a flaw in what the preacher said but…somehow it all made sense. He’d never felt such peace before. It was as if this Jesus wanted him to…what? Believe? How do I? Jigger felt his heart grow warm, the ice that always seemed to permeate his soul disappeared and it was as if a warm hand cradled the organ and caused it to beat once more. Whoa!

Jigger and Maggie were confronted with the truth of the Gospel message as never before. They didn’t wonder how all this fit into their lives. They just accepted and let the rest fall into place. Years later, they would look back on this night and see the very hand of God and the truth of His gospel at work.

Skeptics, over the years, have done whatever they could to prove the Bible is a collection of stories and nothing more. Many have instead been confronted by truth that changed their lives forever. Have you been confronted by God’s truth? If you have, you have one of two choices to make. One – you accept and walk into a new life as a believing Christian. The other choice is to reject this truth and face the consequences of that choice in your life. And there are always consequences.

Father thank you for providing us with a truth that can make a difference in our lives. Walking with You opens our eyes to all the attempts of the enemy to blind us and lead us down the wrong path. Place Your hedge of angels around those who choose to follow You. Amen.

(Excerpt from Chaps)

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Faith Girded

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on April 16, 2014

Isaiah 45:19 – I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob’s descendants, “Seek me in vain.’ I, the Lord, speak the truth; I declare what is right.

God does not speak to us in riddles so we can’t understand Him. He does not whisper secrets to a select few whom He takes into His confidence. He does not require us to take an oath of secrecy so we can appropriate the information He has for us. God speaks publicly. He declares His truths openly and gives us free access to all that will declare us righteous and holy, to His honor and photo 2glory.

Jade walked home slowly, fear, like tangible droplets, streaked across her face as she contemplated the scene she’d encounter when she walked through the door. The club was meeting. She’d be banished to the bedroom while everyone else, including a few women, rested comfortably in every chair and on every sofa. Her refusal to take the oath placed a wall between her and her husband as well as the rest of the club.

Jade shivered. She wanted to be part of them. The atmosphere seemed to thicken when club members walked into a room, as if the devil himself walked through the doorway with them. She hadn’t heard a word about the oath, knew nothing of what was asked of her. She only knew the fear that seeped into her soul whenever she thought about the secrecy.

If it was a secret, then something must be wrong with it, she reasoned. But then, she had an ally in her corner. She had the creator of truth on her side so when asked to swear allegiance to another, she hesitated, just long enough for truth to surface. Fear vanished.

She’d encountered God, for the first time in her life, just three months before. She’d attended her friend’s church to support that woman’s limited acting ability. Deana participated in a short drama depicting Mary Magdalene. Jade was blown away…not by the acting but by the story. She could relate. In fact it spoke directly to her heart as nothing had ever done in the past.

Jade lifted her head, squared her shoulders, and marched up the stairs to her front door. If God was for her, she remembered reading a couple of days ago, who could be against her. She was protected and God walked by her side. She opened the door, walked confidently into her home, smiled, spoke her greeting and then walked up the stairs. Nothing had changed as far as the club was concerned but the fear was gone.

God openly, in public, does business with all of us, anyone who cares to listen. He does not require an oath, a secret meeting, or anything else. All we need do is invite Him to step into our lives, to take control, as we admit that we fall short of His perfect standard. His Word, the Bible, is our instruction manual, easily understood and readily available in most countries in the western hemisphere. Open it regularly. Read it intensely. Meditate on the words with clarity of mind. Allow God to gird you with His truth so you, too, can walk without fear, but with confidence.

Father You are the giver of all things including truth. Thank You for loving us so much that You’ve made Your word accessible, understandable, and applicable. Give me the confidence to memorize, meditate, and appropriate all that Your word has to offer so I can walk through life reflecting Your Glory to those I meet. Amen.  

(Excerpt from Chaps)

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Source of Truth

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on April 14, 2014

Psalm 145:18 – The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.

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King David’s theme throughout this Psalm tells of a time when all people will join together in recognizing and wors

hipping God. Because God is full of love, He satisfies all who trust in Him, who call on Him in truth. Where does that truth come from?

Barbara opened the book she’d discovered that morning lying beside her son’s bed. His rebelliousness was driving her crazy, yet she knew deep down, this boy of hers had a heart of gold. Where was he hiding it, she mused, as she began to read. This definitely wasn’t the Bible.

Each passage seemed to contradict everything she knew about God and His love for His people, His creation. The lies leapt off the pages. What was this? She turned the book over and read the Title. Satanic Bible. Her son had opened his heart to Satan’s lies and …She had to stop this. But how?

Barbara lay the book down exactly where she’d found it. She cringed and wiped her hands on the legs of her jeans in an attempt to wipe away some dirt. How could he have brought such a book into their house, a house she and her husband had dedicated to God so long ago? And what about the house of her son, his temple? She remembered when he wanted nothing more than to be at church, learn Bible verses and quizzes, and hang out with his Christian friends. Now…

Barbara began to pray. She knew her God was in control, the all-powerful, omniscient, omnipresent. He could guide her with His truth to help her son see truth from the lies he was buying into now. She knew God promised to be near all who came to Him in truth, a truth she wore like a mantle now, as she girded herself for battle with the enemy. He would not take her son.

Have you ever faced a battle, an impossible situation in and of itself until you realized that God saw, knew, and also wanted the same outcome you did? He had the situation in control all along but until you went to Him, you only saw the problem looming large and unconquerable.

God’s truth brings everything into perspective, His perspective. We can see tasks as manageable when we look at them through His magnificent eyes but we can’t do that if we are not spending quality…and I mean the best part of the day…time with Him. Give Him the best part of your day when you can meditate on His word and allow His truth to penetrate your soul.

Father, I love you. I want to place You first in all things, to give You the best part of my day, not the leftovers when I am so tired I can’t concentrate on Your voice. Help me see any situation whether good or bad from Your perspective and give me Your truth to walk in so that I can battle when I need to. Amen. (Excerpt from Chaps)

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God’s Classroom

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on April 12, 2014

Psalm 86:11a – Teach me Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth.

King David, a devoted man after God’s own heart, asks God to teach him His ways. David demonstrates that no matter how well we know and follow God, we can always ask Him to increase our awareness and improve our obedience.

Jonathan slumped his body in front of the television. He took a long pull from the liquid in the dark brown bottle, and swallowed, the burn giving him a satisfying sensation in the pit of his stomach. His new wife watched as she grabbed her coat from the front hall closet.

“Why don’t you come with me, Jon?” She slipped her arm into one sleeve.

“Wha for?” His speech had already begun to slur. “I know that stuff. I know where to go when I need help and it isn’t to that place you call a church. Nothin’ but a bunch of hypocrites.” Jonathan took another drink to accent his intent to stay home. “Besides, I wanna watch the game.”

“Believers need to gather with other believers. We strengthen each other. We pray for each other, and we study the Lord’s words together. You need to be there. When we got married, you said…”

“Yeah well, that was before I knew it wasn’t necessary. I can do church anytime, anyplace. I don’t need those people to worship God.”

“But I don’t see you in the word at all anymore.”

“Quit judgin’ me woman. That’s between God and me.”

Jonathan was right. His faith was between him and God but his armor was not in place. He spent no time protecting his mind by absorbing God’s words and guidance. Jonathan was steeped in the sin of independence from God and the people God had raised up in the community to strengthen this young couple. Unlike King David, Jonathan made the mistake of thinking he had arrived at the place where he was untouchable.

Other verses in the Bible describe Satan as a prowling lion, seeking to steal, kill, and destroy. Jonathan was ripe for the plucking.

Are there days when you feel that you know all that the Bible could possibly offer you? Are you tempted to walk away from God’s teaching because it’s boring or it’s not exciting anymore…like it was in the beginning? The enemy would like nothing better than to see all Christians put their quiet time with God on hold as they make decisions without God’s beneficial counsel. King David knew better and deep in your heart, so do you.

Father, I need you, all day every day. Keep me close to Your side so the lies of the enemy bounces off You and never reach me. Protect me with Your Holy Armor as I walk in Your paths for me. Amen. (Excerpt from Chaps)

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The Bible, in Ephesians, says to put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, again

st the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

This book is designed to help you do just that and in so doing understand how God uses His armor to protect, strengthen and shield us so we can minister to the people he places in our paths. Purchase at http://amzn.to/15vrRK2

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Pathway of Truth

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on April 9, 2014

Psalm 43:3a- Send forth Your light and Your truth, let them guide me…

Today we look at another verse from the Psalms. These verses were written by the sons of Korah, temple assistants, who plead with God for His truth, and His light to guide them. They know that God’s truth provides the right path to follow and God’s light provides the clear vision to follow it.

Gail stuck her head out the door. Quiet. Finally. Bodies were stretched over every conceivable piece of furniture, loud snores emanating from half open mouths, heads thrown back in drunken stupor. The air smelled foul but more daunting than that was the bone crunching chill that filled her as she stepped over prone figures in her path. It was as if Satan himself wafted through the air around her, clinging, clawing, trying to consume her.

How had she gotten here? Oh, she remembered the large, good-looking man who had sat down beside her in the booth earlier that evening. He seemed so nice. When he had asked her if she wanted to come to this party, she’d thrown all those stuffy feelings to the back of her mind, the things her parents were always harping about, and her church…what did those people know about being young anyway.

But now. She was so ashamed. It had been awful. She shivered, tears sliding down her mascara stained cheeks.  She’d felt the darkness as soon as she stepped into the loud raucous mass of humanity. Drugs and booze flowed freely. She knew better. After only a short few minutes, she’d realized her mistake and sought a place of refuge until she could think of a way out. She prayed for a clear vision and thanked God that His truth gave her direction.

Gail tried to ignore God. She almost succeeded in making some life changing poor choices. God was her lighthouse. His teaching surfaced just when she needed and His light did not allow the enemy’s plans for her to succeed.

Have you ever been in a situation where you tried to walk away from the Christian upbringing you had, only to discover that, rather than happiness, the people around you reeked of inner turmoil, unrest, soul wrenching discontent. The only way they could feel better about themselves was by bringing another down to their level. But God’s Word, the things you knew in your heart to be true, rescued you. Like Gail, you escape; fresh air surrounds you and you thank God.

Father, thank You for Your belt of truth. Thank You for rescuing this foolish, imperfect human being. I love You Lord, and only wish to walk under Your arm of protection. As these sons of Korah said, guide me, Father, today and every day. Amen. (Excerpt from Chaps)

front cover smaller size copy

The Bible, in Ephesians, says to put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, again

st the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

This book is designed to help you do just that and in so doing understand how God uses His armor to protect, strengthen and shield us so we can minister to the people he places in our paths. Purchase at http://amzn.to/15vrRK2

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CrossReads Book Blast With Lillian Duncan

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on April 8, 2014

 

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BETRAYED

By Lillian Duncan

About the Book

Witness Protection Program claims they can keep anyone safe if only they follow the rules so Maria follows the rules–every rule. She’s given up everything–her friends, her family, her past, even her name to ensure her daughter has a future.

Reborn as Veronica Minor in the sleepy little town of Sunberry, Ohio, she struggles to rebuild their life amid the beauty of her flower shop. A life where her daughter can have a happy normal childhood. A life where her daughter will never know that her father was a monster.

When a child disappears, Veronica prays it has nothing to do with her past, but what if she’s wrong? Not knowing who to trust, she trusts no one…and that’s her first mistake

LINK to KINDLE | LINK to PAPERBACK

lil2011dLillian Duncan

Stories of faith mingled… with murder & mayhem.

Lillian is a multi-published writer who writes the type of books she loves to read—suspense with a touch of romance. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillianduncan.net. She also has a devotional blog at: www.PowerUpWithGod.com as well as her personal blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes at www.lillian-duncan.com

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What a Difference a Truth Makes

Posted by Barbara Ann Derksen on April 7, 2014

Psalm 40:11 – Do not withhold Your mercy from me, O Lord; may Your love and Your truth always protect me.

King David, with all the wealth of his kingdom at his disposal, all the power he had and the large army that he commanded, still understood that he would be consumed by his sinful nature if God’s truth did not protect him. In The Message, the second part of this verse is translated, “Your love and truth is all that keeps me together.”

Gordo stumbled toward his campsite. He watched as his buddies partied around the fire pit, their shadows weaving as high as the tree tops in grotesque shapes. Gordo blinked. It was as if he were being pulled toward them. One woman shrieked, her laughter a distortion to his ears. Gordo tipped the bottle he carried, taking a long drink. The bitter liquid burned all the way down his throat.

Just then, his attention was captured by laughter from another campsite; its tinkle sounded like little bells. He watched these people and noticed the drinks they held in their hands. Pop. Nothing but pop. Their faces seemed softer somehow, genuinely enjoying the companionship around the fire. There was nothing harsh or grotesque about their shadows either. Huh?

Gordo was given a glimpse of the difference between a life steeped in sin and lives filled with the truth of God. While his friends campsite seemed to claw him towards their location, the warmth emanating from this other campsite felt so refreshing, freer somehow. Gordo decided to find out why.

Even the most devout of all the saints in the bible, knew that sin was just around the corner waiting to consume them. They needed the protection of God’s Word, His truth. Do you expect that one hour in church on Sunday morning will protect you as you walk in this world all week? How is that working for you? By week’s end, have you failed miserably, once again, to reflect the Savior’s love to those you come in contact with?

What makes us think that today is any better than in the times of King David? Are we stronger than this man who was considered a man after God’s heart? Even more important, Jesus, in the form of man, sought His Father’s council on a regular basis. Take a few minutes, each day, to place yourself in partnership with God as you walk under his protecting arm, side by side, step by step.

Father, remind me often that, without You, I am a frail sinful mass of humanity. All that I accomplish, all that I produce, is nothing when it is not seasoned with Your truth. Protect my sight with Your truth. Protect my mind and my heart with Your insights so that the enemy cannot gain a foothold. Amen. (Excerpt from Chaps)

front cover smaller size copy

The Bible, in Ephesians, says to put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, again

st the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

This book is designed to help you do just that and in so doing understand how God uses His armor to protect, strengthen and shield us so we can minister to the people he places in our paths. Purchase at http://amzn.to/15vrRK2

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