How To Win the Race God’s Way (Scripture)


Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Romans 12:11 – 12 NIV


Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.

I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.

Ecclesiastes 9:10-11 NIV


23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand. 25 I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread. 28 For the Lord loves justice and does not forsake His saints; They are preserved forever, But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off.

29 The righteous shall inherit the land, And dwell in it forever. 30 The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, And his tongue talks of justice. 31 The law of his God is in his heart; None of his steps shall slide.

Psalm 37 NKJV


66 Assurance Way

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Walter Hawkins / “What Is This?”

What is this
That makes me want to run on in Jesus’ name


Folks, this is Walter Hawkins (1949 – 2010) using his gift of song oh so well.  He, Shontelle Norman, and Stefanie Bolton -with a great supporting choir- are able to fervently convey that God-pleasing, peace-driven mindset that abiding Christians are blessed to enjoy.

Hawkins, a Pastor and a singer, knew the word and sang the word!  Well-recorded, this video captures gospel at it’s best.  What is this . . . “that makes me do right when I would do wrong . . . when I’m down low, it gives me a song.”  To God be the glory!


It makes me love all my enemies
And it makes me love my friends
And it won’t let me be ashamed
To tell the world that I’ve been born again
Ooh! What is this!
What is this
That makes me do right when I would do wrong
What is this
When I’m down low, it gives me a song
Whatever it is
Whatever it is
Whatever it is
It won’t let me
Hold my peace

66 Assurance Way

Abiding By the ‘Wisdom from Above’ (Scripture)

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.” James 3:17 NAS


Wisdom from Above / James 3 (NAS)

13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.

17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.


66 Assurance Way

Photo credit: Sharon Tate Soberon/flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Love Letters Sent to God: Patience

Above all, Trust in the slow work of God

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin


By Juarlyn Gaiter

Beloved is there something that you have been praying for, wishing for, and waiting for with all your heart and still it tarries?  Perhaps the healing of an almost unbearable grief has robbed you of your peace?  It may be that the comfort of knowing that your dear one will remain in remission from an illness remains elusive.  Whatever the matter that you have waited on the Lord for, an answer to your problem has not yet come.  And the good book says: “Ask and you will be given what you ask for. Seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7 (The Living Bible)

What if, during all of your time of praying and waiting, that the Lord of all creation has been waiting for you?  The Lord may be waiting to see that you trust that He will work things out in His time.  We, of course, want big problems to be solved on our time table – that is, without delay.

God’s delays are often mysteriously frustrating.  We can, however, rest with the assurance that our prayers have been heard.  God always answers the prayers of those who earnestly seek Him.  Even when it gets difficult, let us strive to keep the faith and always be thankful!  The answer we seek will usually find its way to us right on time!

“For Jehovah God is our light and our protector. He gives us grace and glory.  No good thing will He withhold from those who walk along his path.”

Psalm 84:11 (The Living Bible)

And, we have hope because the good Lord has promised us.

“I want you to trust me in your times of trouble, so I can rescue you, and you can give me glory.”

Psalm 52:15 (The Living Bible)

Remember that we are God’s only representatives here on earth.  We are God’s children, so that when the going gets rough, we must stay focused on thanking God for His goodness.  In and out of season, when life for us is wonderful, and also when shadows come and rain falls too, we praise the Lord!


Dear Lord Jesus,
We trust your timing in moving our lives forward,
Help us to be patient.
Thank you for knowing the answers
to all of our problems.
Your goodness and grace assure us of victory.
We give You all glory and praise.
AMEN


Photo credit: Two Women Teaching a Child to Walk, Rembrandt

He Rose, He Rose (Easter)

But early, I said early
Sunday morning He rose
He rose


I can’t forget the day
When I heard the preacher say:

Stayed there, Friday night
Stayed there, Saturday night
But early, I said early
Sunday morning He rose
He rose

(Altos) He didn’t stay too long
(Tenors) He rose, He rose, He rose, He rose, Yes He did!
(Sops) He got up, He got up!

But early, I said early
Sunday morning He rose
He rose



SCRIPTURE: John 20

  • The Empty Tomb
  • Mary: The first person to realize that ‘He Rose’
  • Jesus and the Disciples

Happy Easter from 66 Assurance Way

Love Letters Sent to God: Peace

 “I am leaving you with a gift— peace of mind and heart!

And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives.

So don’t be troubled or afraid.”  John 14:27  (The Living Bible Paraphrased)

“Peace is not the absence of war, Peace is a virtue, a state of mind,

a disposition for love, honesty and trustworthiness.”

Heart of a Buddha, 2003


By Juarlyn Gaiter

It is always a pleasure to read Max Erhmann’s beautiful poem, “Desiderata” (1952), because the opening lines are an invitation to slow down, meditate, and be at peace:

“ Go placidly amid the noise and haste,

and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible be on good terms with all persons.”

These wise words bring a reality and timeliness to the experiences of many of us very busy people.  And sometimes it is easy to forget how wonderful it is to truly experience silence, given the familiar rhythm of our daily routines. The late Nan Merrill, author of Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness, co-founded a monthly newsletter of spiritual meditations which heralds the mantra – “Is there enough Silence in the World for the Word to be Heard?

  • Can we make time in our active lives to pause in silence, to listen, and be at peace with the One who is our Source for everything?  It is the Lord’s “still, small voice” that persists in speaking to us all of the time.  We, in turn, continually have the choice to decide to be silent, so that we can hear what God wants to say.  After all, this Lenten Season reminds us that the story of Jesus is where we all started from.  It shows us that we have been blessed to come through thus far by our faith.

I want to suggest that we pause to reflect on the fact that we know -somewhere deep down inside of us- that our peace depends upon our willingness to forgive.  And we can go further during this season to be on good terms with others, even those who have hurt us.  Just as Jesus said on the Cross: “Father forgive them; for they do not know not what they are doing.”(Luke 23:34)

Everyone makes mistakes and we are going to be angered and hurt by friends and strangers alike.  We need the intention and the strength to forgive, because we have been forgiven.  A glorious purpose of our lives is to live in a peaceful community where we can be a blessing to each other, because we are all one.



Dear Jesus Christ,

Be by our side today as we seek You in silence.

Quiet our busy minds and guide us to the truth that

You are our source of peace and all that we can ever need.

AMEN


  • This Series, Love Letters Sent to God, will address all the fruits of the spirit.  How I met Juarlyn in Providence, R.I., waiting for the same plane at the local airport, is a story (link) you may enjoy.
  • Having written already on Love and Joy, her next post will explore Patience.  She is the blog’s first guest blogger.

Juarlyn L. Gaiter, Ph.D., a life long Presbyterian and the oldest of three daughters, grew up in a strong Christian family.  Her parents were co-founders with others of a small, community church in Florida; she joined the church when she was twelve years old.

Juarlyn graduated from Eckerd College with a degree in Psychology and later earned a Masters and Doctoral degree in Experimental Child Psychology from Brown University. She spent 2 years in Divinity school, first at the Interdenominational Theological Center and then at Candler School of Theology (Emory University).  She has been a member and leader of prayer groups for over 35 years and is a veteran of silent retreats. This year she will be a student of spiritual direction at The Shalem Institute of Spiritual Guidance in Washington, D.C.


66 Assurance Way

Love Letters Sent to God: Joy

“The joy of the Lord is your strength”

Nehemiah 8:10


“We already have perfect compassion, wisdom and joy.

We only need to settle our minds so they can arise from deep within us”.

Heart of a Buddha, 2003

By Juarlyn Gaiter

There are times when the Spirit speaks to us so clearly that it is impossible to miss the message. I imagine that you have experienced an awareness of times like that in your life. Think of when your much too ambitious “To Do List” got done with little effort, or when what seemed to you to be a problem was accomplished with ease and everything just worked out. These are examples of every day miracles. God makes these good outcomes happen for us because God delights in bringing us joy.

Sometimes we can genuinely feel joyous, but we identify joy as all about being happy. Are we aware that happiness can walk into a room, suck out all of the oxygen, and leave joy over in a corner?  Why is it that we have an easy going, warm comfort level with being happy while giving joy the cold shoulder?  I think that happiness has become our default setting, even though it comes and goes at the feeling level.  For example, we say that we are happy to finally get rid of cable television.  We are happy for a clean bill of health -after a long and dangerous illness- and we are very happy to go on a long vacation.

Happy tends to get all of the mention while joy stands close by waiting to be acknowledged. The truth is that Joy is our spiritual birthright.  It is ever present in all of us.  Joy resides deep inside our hearts and stays with us always and forever.

“These things have I spoken unto you,

that my joy may remain in you,

and that your joy might be full.”

John 15:11

We can endorse this truth, no matter that in our daily round we hear reports of cheating scandals, acts of senseless violence, and tragedy.  Remarkably, we can still find the joy in our lives despite all that we may experience as children of God.  A scripture verse, Psalm 30:5b, is a faithful rock for some of us, who have heard it recited time and time again: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”  I cannot recall how many times that I have quoted this verse to myself and to my friends.  We can realize how blessed we are to express joy, because as children of God we are assured that: “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)


A Christian author talks about joy in this way:

“To be joyful in the universe is a brave and reckless act. The courage for joy springs not from the certainty of human experience, but the surprise. Our astonishment at being loved, our bold willingness to love in return— these wonders promise the possibility of joyfulness, no matter how often and how harshly love seems to be lost. Therefore, despite the world’s sorrows, we give thanks for our loves, for our joys and for the continued courage to be happily surprised.”

Molly Fumia, 1994 from A Grateful Heart by M.J. Ryan

In this Lenten season, as we pray and seek God’s guidance and forgiveness, let’s bypass “happy” and show up for joy because we know the truth — Easter is coming!


Dear Precious Lord,

Thank you for joy that You have placed deep down in our hearts.

We remember your faithful promise to keep watch over us no matter

what is going on in our lives. Thank You for assuring us that You are our

ever present help in every need.  Let it be so.

AMEN


Photo credit: markuso/FreeDigitalPhotos.net