ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE..

“What this adds up to, then, is this.  No more lies, no more pretense.  Tell your neighbor the truth.  In Christ’s body we are all connected to each other, after all.  When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.”

All Things Are Possible

“What this adds up to, then, is this.  No more lies, no more pretense.  Tell your neighbor the truth.  In Christ’s body we are all connected to each other, after all.  When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.”

“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents.”(The Message)

The question is, am I a part of the body of Christ?

 I attend church (somewhat regularly). I pray, (sometimes), but maybe not as often as I could or should.  I joined the church, sing songs in the church, give some of my money to the church.  I’ve been baptized.  Do these things I have done make me a part of the body of Christ?

 Are my sins forgiven?  How do I know if I have the Holy Spirit?

 These were the questions the gathered brothers asked Peter in the book of Acts.2:37.  So now what do we do?  

Peter said, “Change your life.  Turn to God and be baptized.  Do this each of you in the name of Jesus Christ, so your sins are forgiven.  Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The promise is targeted to you and your children. (The Message)

I admit there are times when I’m tired of being me.  I’m tired of experiencing defeat.  I’m tired of feeling guilty and alone.  I wonder if I’ll ever reach the point of trusting Jesus Christ so much that I want Him to take control of me?  Am I ready to live that kind of life?  

If I am ready, what happens then?

My Utmost For His Highest says this “I must know Jesus Christ as my lord and Savior before His teaching has any meaning for me.  Other than that (it’s just) a lofty ideal which only leads to despair.  But when I am born again by the Holy Spirit of God, I know that Jesus Christ did not come only to teach.  He came to make me what he teaches me to be. Jesus says…”Then you’re in a wonderful place, let me show you how it’s done”.  

 It is good to work against racism even if one should fail.  It’s good to work against poverty even though the poor will always be with us.  This is so because a moral choice and moral actions reflecting God’s nature are good in themselves, whether or not they are successful.

 Chambers tells us this; “No one can make himself pure by obeying laws.  Jesus Christ does not give us rules and regulations.  He gives us His teachings, which are truths that can only be interpreted by His nature, which He places within us.  This comes from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.” Chambers continues; “The great wonder of Jesus Christ’s salvation is that He changes our heredity.  he does not change our human nature.  He changes its source.  He doesn’t change our natural instincts.  He replaces them. Our new instincts come from Him.  And with these new instincts He changes our motives as well.” (My Utmost For His Highest)

 When we’ve accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, the source becomes the Holy Spirit within us.

 Chambers continues;Beware of thinking of our Lord as only a teacher.  If Jesus Christ is only a teacher, then all He can do is frustrate me by setting a standard before me I cannot attain.  What is the point of presenting me with such a lofty ideal if I cannot possible come close to reaching it? (My Utmost For His Highest)

 The answer is, I must commit my life to Him and receive His Spirit.

Chambers reminds us;

There is only one master of the human heart.

 God.  Not religion.”

 Have we ever considered the business of being religious might get in our way of having a relationship with God?  In a way, religion can become our God.  Who or perhaps what, is the master of my heart?”

 In Matthew 6:24, Jesus reminded us of this;

“You cannot serve two gods at once.  Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other”. (The Message)

 This isn’t the end of my quest.  It doesn’t end with asking Jesus Christ to become my own personal Lord and Savior.  It doesn’t end with the repenting of my sins and the committing of my life to Christ.  

It doesn’t end at all.  It begins.

 Who, or perhaps what, is the master of my heart?  So what’s the point?

 We have not arrived at this place solely to develop a spiritual life of our own. We are here to take part and to be a part in the building of Christ’s body, the church.  We are joined to one another in Him.  As the scripture reminds us, we are all connected to each other.

 One step at a time and one day at a time, God reveals to us His purpose for each of us in His Body.  Absolute obedience to His spirit is required.  We are to be used to complete His plan, His purpose, and not our own.  In the process, the fruits of our obedience will be revealed within his perfect plan.

 God has given us free will.  We can choose to be obedient or we can choose to follow our own inclinations and desires.

In effect, we can choose to be our own God.

 In Mark 8, Jesus says; ” Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead.  You’re not in the driver’s seat, I am.  What good would it do to get everything you want and lose (yourself), the real you?  What could you ever trade your soul for?” (The Message)

We are quite familiar with the concept of obedience.  We’ve known since childhood the results of both obedience and disobedience.  We are familiar with the rules and regulations of the highway, the state, and the country.  We know the price to be paid for disobedience to those rules and regulations.  In America, we are free to challenge our government’s laws.

 We can appeal the decisions of the courts when we disagree with their judgements.  Sometimes we can get a law changed. We can question the meaning of our laws and hire an attorney to argue our position for us if necessary.

 It is the duty of the Court to interpret the meaning of the laws which the founders had in mind when they penned the Constitution of the United States.

 Currently there are many questions revolving around our government’s constitution and its original intent.

 Was the United States of America founded on Christian principles? Were the writers of the constitution Christians?  Was the United States of America founded as a Christian state?  If it was, does that mean all other religions were to  be excluded?

I suggest to you the Holy Spirit, which abides in us, will lead us through the discourses of today as well as the discourses of the scriptures.

 The Bible is a living book with revelations of life on every page waiting for us to discover its meanings to us and to our world.  The Spirit is our guide.

 The sermon on the mount dealt with all aspects of living the Christian life.  Among them were being and doing.

Matthew 7: (The Message)  “Don’t look for shortcuts to God.  The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time.” “Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do…..The way of life to God is vigorous and requires total attention.” “Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity.  Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other.  Don’t be impressed with charisma, look for character.  Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say.  A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook.”

 “These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.  Knowing the correct password and saying Master Master, for instance, isn’t going to get you anywhere with God.  What is required is serious obedience, doing what my Father wills.”

 “I can see it now at the final judgment.  Thousands will be strutting up to me and saying, Master we preached the message, we bashed the demons, our God sponsored projects had everyone talking.  And do you know what I am going to say?  You missed the boat.  All you did was use me to make yourselves important.  You don’t impress me one bit.”

 “These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life.  They are not homeowner improvements to your standard of living.  You’re out of here.  These are foundational words to build a life on.”

  “If you work these words into your life, you’re like a smart carpenter who built his house on a solid Rock.  Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit.  But nothing moved that house.  It was fixed to the rock.  But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach.  When a storm rolled in and the waves came up it collapsed like a house of cards.”

 Continuing Matthew 5:33-37 (The Message)..

“And don’t say anything you don’t mean.  This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions.  You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying “I’ll pray for you,” and never doing it.  Or saying, “God be with you” and not meaning it.”

  You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace.  In making your speech sound more religious it becomes less true.  When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.”

 And again in Matthew: (The Message)
 “Be especially careful when you’re trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it.  It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.  And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either.  All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, are hoping for stardom.” (The Message)
 “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth.  If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness?  You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.  Here’s another way to put it.  You’re here to be light, bringing out the God colors in the world.  God is not a secret to be kept.”  (The Message)

You and I are here to BE the body of Christ.

 John Wesley put it quite simply, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

  Watching what God does and trying to do the same is a full time endeavor.  Through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, through the church the body of Christ,

ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.

Photography By Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck

memoriesaremadefromthis.com

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE, by Eugene H. Peterson-The Bible in contemporary language.

Copyright 1993, 1994,1995,1996,2000,2001,2002 – “Used by permission of NavPress Publishing group”

Eugene Peterson is a longtime pastor and teacher, and the guy who paraphrased this Bible from Greek and Hebrew (The languages in which the Bible was originally written) into contemporary language that sounds a lot like the language that we use on a daily basis.
MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST by Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)-First published in 1935. Copyright renewed 1963

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CHERISHED POSSESSIONS

Was it a cherished possession
 you have always dreamed of owning 
and handing down to your children?

 

Where Is Your Heart?

 

Did you offer to release something for the Lenten season this year?

  Do you remember what it was? 

 Was it a cherished possession
 you have always dreamed of owning 
and handing down to your children?

 Perhaps it was a particular item you needed 
in order to complete a collection. Now you were giving it away.

Was it an object you’ve desired to own for years?

Could it have been an item

in which you’d lost interest?

In the Gospel of Mark, a man comes running to Jesus,
 kneels down before Him and asks, 

“What must I do to get to heaven? Jesus answers, “You know the commandments, don’t kill, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie,

always respect your Father and your Mother.”

The man replies, “Teacher, I’ve never broken a single one of those laws.”

Scripture tells us that Jesus felt genuine love for the man.

He said to him, 

“You only lack one thing, go and sell all that you have

and give the money to the poor,

 and you shall have TREASURE in heaven.”

A difficult thing was required of the man. 

A difficult thing is also required of you and me.

So then what is required?

Would we give up our home 
in order for a poor family to have a place to live?

Would we give up our annual vacation
 in order to give our employer 
the opportunity to give
vacation pay
  to a person who has no employment?

Would we transfer our civil rights 
to someone who has none,

 such as an illegal immigrant?

Jesus told his disciples

“It is easier, easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle 
than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven?

The disciple, in turn, exclaimed,
“Then who can enter and be saved

if a rich man cannot?” 

Who is a rich man? What makes him rich?

Jesus suggests that the things we TREASURE most 
are the things that make us rich. 
Those things are our homes,
 our parents, our brothers and sisters,

 our children and our property.

Are we willing to give up those things 
for the privilege of entering heaven?

Jesus tells us we will be rewarded one hundred times over 
with the same things we willingly gave away.

 We do this for the love of God

 and for the privilege 
of being able to share with others

 the Good News of the Gospel.

In addition to receiving such abundant rewards,

 we will also receive persecutions.

In spite of them, in the world to come
 we shall have eternal life.

The Christian walk has many twists and turns.

What things then, are to be desired?

God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, as a burnt offering.

 Abraham was willing to obey.

 In Genesis 22 the angel of the Lord told Abraham

 to stop and not hurt the boy.

 “For I know that God is first in your life.

 You have not even withheld your beloved son.”

Is God first in my life? 
Is He first in yours?

Will God wait for us 
as we take these faltering steps 
to become closer to Him?

How many times will God forgive us
 when we don’t quite measure up?

I should have made that phone call.

You should have stopped to visit that person.

Why didn’t I send that card?

Why did you refuse when you were asked to serve
on a committee at church?

You said, “Ask someone else”.

 Someone else was asked

 and someone served God 
in the place that had been offered to you.

Do you sometimes wonder 
if that person will take your place
at the gates of heaven?

Years ago I had a small hobby business, 
photographing objects of nature 
and creating note cards, greeting cards, 
and pictures for framing.

I love to take pictures.

 

 Willing subjects are everywhere.

…. sunsets, rivers, trees and birds.

Old barns tell a story of their own. 

Wonderful TREASURES are all around us

everywhere we look

every day of our lives.

In searching for a name for my business, 
the name  “TREASURES” came to mind. 

From Scripture, 
a line in the Gospel of Matthew seemed appropriate.

 “Where your TREASURE is,

there will your heart be also.”
(Matthew 6:21)

Where is your TREASURE?

Did you know that your heart is there also?

Your heart is the very thing that gives you life.

Is your heart and TREASURE with Jesus?

copyright©2019

Photographs By Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck

memoriesaremadefromthis.com

HE'S WAITING FOR YOU

Today, the television brings the world into my living room.
The good news, the bad news and news that isn’t news at all
invades my life
every day. 

(That night, Paul had a dream. A Macedonian stood on the far shore and called across the sea. “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” The dream gave Paul his map…we knew now for sure that God had called us to preach the good news to the Europeans.)    Acts 16.9( The Message )

The world of Paul seems far from mine.

Today, the television brings the world into my living room.

The good news, the bad news and news that isn’t news at all

invades my life

every day. 

Paul believed God was sending him to preach in Macedonia.

God was calling him.

The planet earth can now be seen from cameras on a satellite

revolving through space. 

Through the lens of a camera

carried by a robot,

I can watch as the moon is explored.

With a computer,

a phone line, a connection to the Internet,

I can visit with someone who lives in France or Greece,

send them a picture of myself,

communicate with them.

I will never meet them.

However, it is possible to maintain a friendship with these persons

in far off lands.

One may inhabit an operating room in Australia

through a camera fixed in position

as a human heart is removed,

repaired and replaced

in fine condition,

into the body of a man

who’s name we will never know.

Why would we pay any attention to a dream or a vision

when life in the 21st century

has so much to offer?

As a child I was warned,

“Don’t let your imagination run away with you.”

Learn to be sensible and realistic.

 “Keep your feet on the ground”.

Could the God of the Bible become a real part of my life?

The Apostle Paul believed the Holy Spirit could speak to him
through Paul’s own affliction,
his thorn in the flesh.
That was Paul, not me.
Then God’s message began to come to me 
through the timely witness of a friend,
the words of a song,
a recommended book,
an inner urge
to learn and experience
this thing call Christianity.
There were new opportunities to serve Him in the church.
There were continuing revelations of an elusive “something more”.
The God of the universe became personal to me.
The good news is that He cares for me. 
He knows my name and all about my life. 
He knows my deepest and most private thoughts.
He knows the unspoken desires of my heart.
In John 5:1-9 (The Message)
“While Jesus was visiting Jerusalem for one of the Jewish religious holidays,
He came to the Sheep Gate near the Bethesda Pool.
It was here where crowds of sick people waited for a miraculous healing
by entering the stirring waters of the pool. 
One of the men by the pool, who had been sick for 38 years,
came into Jesus’ view. 
Jesus asked him, “Would you like to get well?”
 What an interesting question for Jesus to ask the man. 
Hadn’t he been coming to this pool every day
in order to be made whole? 
He had been crippled for 38 years;
of course he wanted to be healed.
The man responded that he couldn’t be healed
since he had no one to help him into the pool.
He believed that it was the fault of his friends
who hadn’t helped him,
that he had been unable to be healed.
Jesus said to the man,
“Stand up, roll up you’re sleeping mat and go home.”
Instantly the man was healed.
The word of God became personal and real to him.

The moment comes

when it’s time to move

from where I am

to where He wants me to be.

The Holy Spirit speaks to me in my condition

while living in my home, my church and my world. 

The move must be made unassisted.

Are you where He wants you to be? 

Have you experienced the vision?

Is the Holy Spirit using a time in your life

to call you to witness for Him?

Have you heard the message from God?

You there,

get up, pick up your sleeping mat.

Step into the stirring, healing waters of life

in Jesus Christ.

HE’S WAITING FOR YOU

It was a time when I felt that God was calling me to share.

I studied and became a lay speaker

in our United Methodist Church.

The meaning of the scripture became steadily clear.

I wanted to share my personal walk.

I want to invite others to travel with me.

Searching for meaning,

He showed me The Way.

He really does know me!

Copyright©2018

Photography By Mary Anne Tuck

memoriesaremadefromthis.com

I WONDER IF HE KNEW

I wonder if He knew that I would question the little things that happen in my day..

Just WONDERING

How difficult to think of Him

As merely man.

Did He have cabin fever

In mid-winter too?

 

Was He reflective,

After spending time with folks

Because of things He said

Or didn’t say?

Did someone need to talk with Him

While He hurried on His way?

Was He discouraged by the weather?

 

Was He tempted to make bread from stones?

The Bible says He was.

Does that mean

When I’m tempted

I am not alone?

Will God be in my heart and head?

If I listen well to Him

And learn His teachings

Starting now,

Is there still time?

Was time His enemy

Is it mine?

Did He finish all His daily chores

And wake at night

Wishing He’d accomplished more?

If I could gain acclaim

With talents given me by God,

Would I, as He

Refuse the moment’s gain

For certain pain?

I WONDER IF HE KNEW

That I would question

If He really understood

The little things

That happen in my day.

He said He would.

Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck

1995

copyright/©2018

Photography By Mary Anne Tuck

A GIFT TO BE SHARED

Ann was healed and she was in heaven!
The Holy Spirit was giving to me the knowledge of her healing.
I received the confirmation of her new life 
as a gift.
It is a gift I will remember and cherish all the days of my life.

 
 
 

Remembering  Ann

A gift to  cherish….

Ann lived a short distance from our house.  
 She and her husband moved to the neighborhood
 from the southern part of the state 
where she had worked in a factory and he had been employed
 as a heavy equipment operator.
 Now retired, they spent their time caring for their home.
 They had no children and were deeply devoted to each other.

Plain looking and soft spoken,
 Ann had the proverbial heart of gold. 
Her graying hair was not stylishly fixed
 in the fashion of the day.

 

Each year she raised a beautiful circular flower garden 
with a birdbath in the center
 surrounded by colorful flowers.
The garden prospered under Ann’s tender care.

 

Ann and her husband were always nearby,  lending a helping hand
 when one was needed. 
 Appearing on a summer’s evening to visit for a time,
 there was always encouragement for us in planning our young lives,
 with an offer to help in any way they could.

 

Ann unwittingly helped me to acquire a taste for sauerkraut. 
I could never abide the bitter taste no matter how I tried. 
 One day, I stopped by her house. 
The wonderful aroma in her kitchen caused me to inquire
 about what she was cooking.
 Her answer was sauerkraut. 
I shared with her my utter dislike for it.
Ann suggested I should add brown sugar 
and a couple of quartered apples to the sauerkraut as it cooked.
 What a difference that combination made.

 

Perhaps there’s a lesson here. 
It may be the LACK of seasoning that causes bitterness
But the ADDITION of something sweet
 changes bitterness to joy
 and gives us a new appetite for life.

 

One day I was told Ann was in the hospital for stomach surgery.
 The results were not good. 
She had cancer and nothing could be done.

 

Ann came home to spend her remaining days
 in her own bed in her own home,
 surrounded by things and people she loved.
 By this time, Ann was in her late sixties.

 

Life for me, at that time, 
had been completely turned around
 by the joy and knowledge of the Holy Spirit. 

The Bible was exciting. 
Scripture was leaping off the pages of the Bible, to me,
 as it had never done before.  
I prayed incessantly for Ann’s healing. 
 I had faith and prayed for more faith 
and more understanding 
and always
 for the complete healing of Ann’s body.

 

Time passed and healing was not evident.
 I searched scripture for more information.
  There were many passages for guidance.
 1Thess.5: 27 “pray without ceasing”.

 

The disciples asked Jesus
 why they had not had a healing for someone
 by praying for them.
 Jesus responded; Matthew 17:21 
“this kind does not go out
 except by prayer and fasting.”
Further (in Mark) it is noted He said to them.,
“This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting”.

 

For the first and only time in my life, I fasted.
 I prayed without ceasing for 24 hours. 
The fasting directed my complete attention to the prayer,
 to Ann, 
and to the Spirit of God.

I was confident that Ann would be healed. 
She was not.
 A few weeks later, Ann died. 

I questioned God, my faith, and myself.

Ann was a devout Catholic.
 Her funeral was held in the local Catholic Church.
 Our family sat in the back of the church 
quietly observing the unfamiliar funeral rituals.

 

I was sad for the loss of my friend, Ann. 
The words of the service fell on closed ears and a heavy heart.

Suddenly I was amazed.
  I felt a great feeling of joy welling up within me.
 I was overwhelmed with the knowledge being given to me. 
 Ann was healed.
 She was in heaven.
 The promises of God were fulfilled. 
“I go to prepare a place for you. Where I am you will be also.”

 

Ann was healed and she was in heaven!

The Holy Spirit was giving to me the knowledge of her healing.

I received the confirmation of her new life 
as a gift.

It is a gift I will remember and cherish all the days of my life.

 

A Gift To Be Shared

One treasures the people in life who made a difference 
in the way we lived then and now.

I would not have identified Ann as such an important person,
 until my experience at the time of her death.

 

I now believe that God called me to Ann’s friendship
 so He could show me

His Way.

It’s hard to explain my experience the day of Ann’s funeral.

The feeling was instant, intense and oh so joyful.

I’ve shared my feelings of the experience
 with friends and family.
There is no way to convey 
the intensity of the joy I felt 
as I sat quietly in the back row of an unfamiliar church 
during an equally unfamiliar funeral service. 

 Maybe that was part of God’s plan too.

 

Belief in Ann’s healing 
and belief in life after life
 in a perfect state of being
 will never change for me.

 

It truly is A GIFT TO BE SHARED

 

copyright©2017

Photograph By Mary Anne Tuck

memoriesaremadefromthis.com