Catching Your Breath

Have you ever been outside and consciously closed your eyes, tilted your face towards the sun and taken in a deep breath? Then with the soft warmth of the sun’s rays shining on your face exhaled with a feeling of refreshed optimism in the gracious goodness of God? It is like God is shining His face down on you filling you and your life with His light, love, holiness, purity and presence renewing your faith in Him.

That’s my goal for each day. To walk in the light of His love, having been forgiven, reborn and redeemed by Jesus to live an abundant life of freedom and blessings in Him. I just have to remember to look up to the Son, put my focus on Him and receive the refreshing breaths of His life moment by moment.

So today, I decided to take a walk in hopes of regaining that fresh faith, renewed focus and catching my breath by filling my mind with the goodness and blessings of God all around.

Here are some pictures I took along the way. I hope they encourage you as the sights did me. :)

Easter is Here!

Happy Easter everyone! The big day is here when we remember and celebrate that Jesus is risen, He is a live and He has won the ultimate victory. He has conquered everything and all that remains is for us to willingly given Him our hearts and receive His free gift of complete forgiveness, forever redemption and eternal salvation.

If you know what I’m talking about then you know there is nothing sweeter, more joyous and soothingly satisfying than His gift of eternal life. If you don’t know what it’s about [and even if you do ], check out the verse with the artwork above [John 3:16]. It sums it all up pretty well.

And if you are wondering why Jesus did such a thing for you, me and every person earth, just put all the words of this verse together and see that it clearly spells out one word: LOVE. His love for each and every person is so great He gave up His very life on the cross for you and for me.

#GODISLOVE#JESUSISRISEN#JESUSISALIVE,

#GODLOVESYOU#GODWILLFIGHTFORYOU,

#HAPPYEASTER

Seek Ye First…

So, at about 3:30 pm yesterday I had visions of writing a LIFE LINK BLOG post about bowling my second “clean” game [a game with all strikes and/or spares] or even a new high score with my dynamic bowler that attaches to my wheelchair [see video for it in action]. However, as you can see from the score sheet neither one materialized. So what’s the story?

Well, the real story is frame number 5 with the small number 7 circled. You see just before that frame, I had made 4 spares in a row. I was focused, feeling good and thinking this could be my second “clean” game or even my first 200 game.  However, as I’m about to line-up for the 5th frame throw, Leanne says there is a young man in a wheelchair who has been watching and wants to talk to me. “Right now?” were the first words out of my mouth [actually the word “REALLY?” was going through my mind]. I almost told Leanne to tell him to wait. Fortunately, I did not do that but instead I took a few minutes to talk with him about my bowler and the way it works. Unfortunately, I still had it in my mind that this had ruined my concentration and in turn let my bad attitude replace my focus on bowling. What happened? I threw a 4, 7, 10 split. Not only a split but one of the tougher ones to convert.

At this point, some of you may be saying “yeah, you never should have gotten out of your groove to talk to the kid”. Others may be saying “you did the right thing: people are first”.

So what happened next, made things real interesting as well as made me think.  I MADE THE SPLIT! One of the harder shots in bowling that I had never done before, I did. Wow, was I excited. I made the split and my streak stayed alive. :)

Now you are probably saying but you did not finish with a clean game or new high score so what’s the point. The point is this: at the moment I made the difficult split, [especially for someone using a dynamic bowler that cannot even get a ball speed above 7 mph], I felt like God was saying: “I got your back”.

You see when we do the right thing sometimes it may appear to cost us but this is actually never true in God’s economy of blessings. You see God promises when we seek Him and His Kingdom all we need will be added to us and that blessing follow obedience. Now I’m not trying to say this principle means we can all be 300 bowlers but I am saying some pretty cool things happen when you follow God.

No, I did not bowl my second “clean” game or break my personal best score but I did do something amazing that I never had done before all the while honoring God by valuing people before things.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Well, the big day is almost here. The day we celebrate the greatest gift ever given to any person and yet to all persons. The day when God sent His only son, Jesus fully human and yet fully divine. The day when God showed us how much He loves each person by giving His best. The ultimate gift that ultimately gives all of us who have strayed away from God’s path and even turned our backs on Him a second chance. The opportunity for what we each need the most: forgiveness, redemption, restoration and rebirth. Not only abundant life here on earth but eternal life with Him in heaven.

We at Access-Life hope that everyone reading these words not only knows this truth but has chosen to received this greatest of gifts ever given: Jesus. He is a true friend, a faithful provider, a fierce protector and the only Savior. We pray that as we all sing Away in a Manger, Come Let Us Adore Him and even Silent Night that we will be refreshed by the breath of the Holy Spirit, renewed in our sense of holiness by Jesus’ light and  encourage by God gracious love. A matchless love that came in the form of a baby given for you, for me and the whole world. May we not only experience this supreme joy in the coming days but all year long as we realize Emmanuel has come and is with us.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, JOY TO THE WORLD, PEACE ON EARTH AND GOODWILL TOWARDS MAN FOR THE LORD HAS COME! REJOICE. :)

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Thanksgiving is almost here! The time we set a side to thank God for the many ways He has blessed us. The time we remember that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” James 1:17. The time “we praise God from whom all blessings flow…”

But aren’t these blessings poured out on us everyday and not just one day of the year? So why do we only celebrate this great truth just once a year? I honestly don’t know. I do know I take God and His goodness for granted and am rarely in awe of how much He loves and cares for me. So while I’m sure I’ll still take these inspiring things for granted again in the future, TODAY I will try to purposefully have an attitude of gratitude that carriers over to the next day, and the next day and so on by finding something new each day for which to be thankful.

Here at Access-Life, Inc., Leanne and I are so thankful for each of you who have prayed, served and/or given to the ministry over the years. TEN YEARS IN FACT! This is a long time and while the journey may seem steep at times, we truly are thankful for Jesus who has saved us, strengthens us and helps us accomplish all He asks. It is is also so encouraging to have the help and support of all of you raising the ministry higher to go onward and upward – all in Jesus name.

AGAIN THANK YOU AND HAPPY THANKSGIVING.  :)

Roaring River of Life

You know I love that Christian camp song ” I got a river of life flowing out of me”. It goes on to say “it makes the lame to walk and the blind to see. Opens captive’s doors and sets prisoners free. I got a river of life flowing out of me”! So what is this amazing miraculous river in our lives? It’s Jesus and all the joy, peace, life and other promises He brings to us. :)

This in itself is an eternal well spring  for each of us as Christians but what is even better is when the fun parts of the song start squirting “gush, gush, gush” as this river overflows to those around us spreading God love in a “wet water ride” fashion.

You know God’s blessings are gracious benefits to our lives and can bring joy in some very fun ways. So today and everyday let’s let God’s river roar through our lives spreading His joy to others with a smile on our face and bringing a smile to their’s, too :)

Growing Toward the Light

I like painting. I know I’m no Michael Angelo or Rembrant but I truly enjoy being creative and expressing myself through art. Most times I start a picture with an idea or simple plan of what I want to paint and pray that God will work through the creative process to not only help me put together a picture that glorifies and honors him but that helps me better connect to Him as He shows me glimpses of His love and light. This often happens immediately when I decide a picture is finished but sometimes the heavenly impressions and thoughts don’t surface for quite some time.

That is what God has been doing through this simple painting of a tree that I crafted about a year ago. I was always drawn to how the tree featured was not only basking in the light of the setting son but how it was almost smiling and leaning toward the source of these life giving rays. However, it was not until recently that God gave me the image comparison to us as humans being like the tree and God the life giving light that we so need and long for deep inside our hearts.

The Bible often uses trees as a metaphor for us as human and in fact one of my favorite examples of this is in the very 1st Psalm verses 1 thru 3: “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.”

The Bible is also clear that God is not only love: “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16 but that He is also only light: “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5.

However, beyond these parallels I began to see through this picture two important keys to life if we are to grow our lives towards the light.

First we must keep our heads up towards heaven and our eyes firmly fixes on the light which is Jesus. I love how in this picture the tree has a heavenward tilt looking up to the sun and the sun is shining down with a smile of love and blessing. I liken this to the first three verses of Colossians 3: “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” This sentiment is also echoed in the soothing hymn “Turn your Eyes Upon Jesus” which proclaim the truth that as you “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace”.

Secondly, we must lean on and even into the light if we are to grow above the negative, harmful, unwholesome and unholy STUFF of the world and walk in the light of Jesus’ love. Just as the tree in the picture above is leaning towards the nourishing rays of light, real trees in nature do the same thing. They most often grow high and tall to get above the canopy and closer to the light but they will if needed grow at an angle or even curved just to reach a clear opening to receive the sunlight it needs to survive and even flourish. I love how the hymn [can you tell I love hymns :) ] “Leaning on Jesus” directs us to lean on Jesus and we’ll be “safe and secure from all alarms”. Romans 12:9 puts it more directly this way: “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.”

All in all, I’ve found that when I strive to keep my mind set on the things above and rest on Jesus, my load is lighter, I experience more of His joy and His holiness is more evident. Then the sweet fragrance that is Christ can be an aroma that not only fills my life but draws others into the light of His love.

 

Do you feel called to be a leader?

Hopefully, those reading know we all have gifts, callings and work that God wants us to do and as the body of Christ no one person’s skills, talents and jobs are more important than anyone else’s. And we are all needed in order for the body of Christ to work properly and at it’s best. This includes followers and leaders both. :)

However, if you feel called by God to be a leader here are the basics of what He’s asking you to do: Go through, go through the gates, Clear the way for the people; Build up, build up the highway, Remove the stones, lift up a standard over the peoples. Isaiah 62:10.

First as a Believer having gone through the gate of Jesus, you must make it a priority to follow God and obey His commands to the best of your ability. By doing this you will not only be showing people the way but clearing the way for them to follow. If you can make good choices it will inspire others that they can do it. too.

Secondly, you must influence your environment in such a way that a road is raised up above all the yuck of the world that the people can walk on daily making it easier for them to follow Jesus. This task also includes removing tripping hazards and things that could cause people to stubble or even fall. You are to not only build up a highway but make it smooth and safe for traveling.

Lastly, you must maintain this way of walking in the light of Jesus’ love for people by setting a godly standard of following God’s commands, laws and statues. This will insure the work done continues to endure and produce fruit providing peace, hope and joy for those traveling on the way.

While this is all done for the benefit of the people you lead thru service, the strength, encouragement, comfort and joy among other things are all provided by God who continuously surrounds, protects, leads, guides and goes before you clearing and cleaning your path. If we let Him, God will do for us what He did for Joshua and the Israelites: But be assured today that the LORD your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. Deuteronomy 9:3.

So if you feel called by God to be a leader? GREAT. We need more godly leaders who will pray fervently first, obey God above the world and then see the following: I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through their iron bars. Isaiah 45:2.

And if you feel called by God to be a follower. GREAT. We need more godly followers that will prayerfully think for themselves [as Believers we are all filled and guided by the Holy Spirit and should yield to His leading first] and then set out to follow God and accomplish whatever task He sets before you. :)

Easter Blessings

Just as joyful as Christmas is in hope, encouragement and love,  Easter is in victory, power and finality.  Jesus’ journey is complete. He has risen and lives in eternal victory. The reward for His triumph is the free gift of eternal life for all people who will but choose Him. What a Savior and what a gift! Abundant, overcoming and victorious life on earth and an eternal home with Him in heaven forever.

What is even more amazing is that He continues to work everyday through the Holy Spirit seeking out His lost sheep. I love the way Jesus says it in John 12:32 “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” Wow, how glorious a Savior to pursue us moment by moment!

God is so faithful despite the fact that each of us has chosen to go our own way like it says in Isaiah 53:6 “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all.” How great it is to serve our risen Savior, Jesus.

His Victory is complete, His work is ongoing and our home in Heaven is secure. Amen!

Resting in God’s Arms of Care

Well, both the Belize outreach trip and the West Palm Beach Expo are in the books for 2019 and we are pooped. It is always a fast paced, packed and rewarding first two months of each year but afterwards Leanne and I need some down time. And yes I mean “need”. :)

Rest is not just a want and desire we have from time to time but it is a vital need we have as humans. We are finite, mortal, weak and even frail and cannot maintain a high energy work pace indefinitely. Even Jesus took time to get away and rest. And as a genuine need, God always provides for us each a time and place to rest if we will take advantage of it.

God’s provision for rest is always safe, secure, holy and wholesome to restore, refresh and rejuvenate us as only He can on every level of our being. So today take time to rest. Enjoy God’s presence, the blessings He provides and maybe even take a nap. It is a great gift He offers us everyday.

Here are a couple of verses to encourage you as you take step back, shift into a lower gear and rest in the tender caring arms of Jesus. And as the old hymn “Leaning on Jesus” says you’ll be “safe and secure from all alarms”.

My presence will go with thee, and I will give thee rest. Exodus 23:14

I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8