Cheerful

A glad heart makes a face happy, but heartache breaks the spirit. -Proverbs 15:13 (CJB)

Cheerful! Trying times we live in. Many cannot leave their homes. Businesses suffering. Stock Market plummeting. We have all read articles and watched videos in hopes of understanding what is happening. To be honest, I don’t know what to believe. I don’t know what is TRUTH about the virus that has shut down the world. Is this virus a conspiracy theory that the government is behind to clean up evil? Was this virus started by humans, or did it evolve from animals that humans ate? Will this all blow over soon, or last for months? I don’t know! Some days it is difficult to be cheerful.

What I do know is, we are called to be DIFFERENT. If we claim to follow the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob we are supposed to act different. We are supposed to understand we are a CHOSEN people. We are supposed to LEAD THE WAY in our response to this situation. Unfortunately, as I read posts, most of my friends who follow Christ are freaking out more than my friends who do not believe God’s Word. My friends who are relaxed and soaking it all in are those who choose to have no care in the world. These friends are also the most cheerful.

Why do we carry a load? Why do we worry about tomorrow? Why do those of us who say we TRUST the Word of God respond with heaviness? As I read the posts I see people trying to figure out what God is saying. There are Words of prophecy that contradict each other. One “prophet” says one thing, another has a different word. As we try to “figure things out” we become so engrossed in hearing from God that we lose track of the JOY He brings.

Prophets are needed, don’t get me wrong. We need others to encourage us and correct us. We need the community to come together and work as a body for HIS purpose. However, we also need to be a LIGHT to those around us and LOVE those He sends our way. Too often we let what we think is HIS work get in the way of DOING. We become hearers, not doers.

I believe we need to laugh. I believe we need to focus on being cheerful. This is a challenge to myself. I know I do not do this often enough. Laughter brings health to our soul. If our soul is strong, than we are stronger. During these times we need inner strength. That comes from focusing on WHO God is FOR US and WHO God is in our life.

Today I challenge you to focus on the JOY in your life. Think about what is GOOD, TRUE and right. Rejoice in EVERYTHING that God has brought your way. Then let that JOY bring comfort to those around you.

Psalm 118:24 This is the day Adonai has made, a day for us to rejoice and be glad.

Love and blessings.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rose Horton

Image

by Lidya Nada on Unsplash

Security

If you looked at the title, I’m sure you know where my thoughts are headed in this blog. It isn’t difficult to realize that in the days we are facing, security is important.

Our family is facing interesting moments because of living overseas, and the travel my husband and I have done. I am thankful I believe in a God Who is in control of all things and knows all things!

Exodus 19:5 Now if you will pay careful attention to what I say and keep my covenant, then you will be my own treasure from among all the peoples, for all the earth is mine;

This verse is SECURITY! “YOU will be my own treasure…” IF you PAY CAREFUL attention to what I say and KEEP my covenant!

There is something we must DO in order to find security!

Romans 8:35-37 Who will separate us from the love of the Messiah? Trouble? Hardship? Persecution? Hunger? Poverty? Danger? War? As the Tanakh puts it, “For your sake we are being put to death all day long, we are considered sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are superconquerors, through the one who has loved us.

These verses should also help us have security. The troubles of this world are NEVER going to separate us from HIS LOVE! YOU are a CONQUEROR because HE LOVES YOU!

On March 1 I traveled to Ukraine for some meetings about the work we are beginning with youth who are in transition. Our flight landed and someone came on the plane and required that we all have our temperature taken in case we might be “infected.” The gentleman next to me and I struck up a conversation. My thought was, “It’s a little late now! If someone has a temperature, we have all been exposed and will all go into quarantine! They should have done this before we left the airport in Cyprus.” The gentleman next to me said, “A step before that, they should have checked everyone entering the airport in Cyprus and not allowed anyone in that had a temperature. That would have prevented even more possible scenarios.”

Did I feel secure after they shot a thermometer at my forehead? No, not really. I knew that if someone was a carrier on the flight I would have already been exposed to the virus. Did I feel secure walking around Ukraine, or even since I have returned to Cyprus? No, not really. At this point I have been in so many places that anything could have happened. Cyprus is now “shut down.” Only “essential stores” (supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations…) are open. All malls, sports venues, coffee shops etc… are closed for four weeks. They are limiting who enters the country and require everyone (even citizens) to have a certificate stating they are not infected with the virus.

Living in Israel as long as we did, people always asked me if I felt secure. They wanted to know if it was safe to visit. Knowing that rockets could fly over, or a suicide bombing attempt could occur, was always something friends and family were concerned about for us. I learned to respond that I always felt safest when I knew that God wanted me somewhere. If He wanted me in Israel, than I was safe no matter what happened. If He wanted me in the US, than I was safer to be there.

I also know, because of my faith in HIM, that no matter what happens, life or death, I am SAFE and SECURE because HE is in control.

We live in days and times that safety and security seem to be non-existent. We never truly know what will happen next. It is definitely time that we find our security and safety in the One Who created us and watches over us. It is definitely time that we SEEK what HE wants from us and we ACT as HE wants us to act. It is TIME for us to LISTEN to His Spirit and follow HIS leading, no matter what it is that He asks us to do.

A friend of mine told me today that she and her husband made some choices this year others questioned, but they knew God had asked them to do these things. She felt like Noah because of it. I have felt the same way so many times. Noah was so mis-understood and laughed at. We don’t know anything about his wife, but I’m sure she was ridiculed as well. And yet, his family was the one that was kept safe when the flood came.

In these days and times, what are you WILLING to DO in order to FOLLOW God’s commands? What ridicule are you willing to face in order to OBEY what God requires of you?

According to ALL the verses in the Bible about finding security and being kept safe, we MUST TRUST Him and OBEY Him. Not always the easiest to do when everyone around you is in panic mode. Not always the easiest to do when the world is going a little bit crazy and you “go against the flow.”

The one thing I am certain of, IF we are listening to HIS SPIRIT, than we have no reason to fear and we can find SECURITY. IF we are doing our best to OBEY HIS commands, than HE is our security. It all requires FAITH, HOPE, and then we LOVE with HIS love and bring security to those around us.

I urge you today to find your security in HIM and bring that security to those around you.

 — Rose Horton

Photo by Rayner Simpson on Unsplash

Facing Change

Change… Last week I wrote about running and how challenging that is for me. Well, change can be the same way. It’s easy to get into a routine and just get comfortable. I would rather have comfort over the pain of change. Pain isn’t fun…

And yet, change moves us forward. Change pushes us to our limit and actually makes us stronger (remember what the refining fire does????). Change causes us to think outside the box. Change actually blesses us with the opportunity to do better.

What I am thankful for, as I face change, is that God never changes. This verse from Malachi says it all:

Malachi 3:6 “But because I, Adonai, do not change, you sons of Ya‘akov will not be destroyed. (CJB)

God was not exactly thrilled with the way the Israelites were acting. They were not following the instructions He had given them. He had made it clear that if they followed His teachings they would have LIFE. If they did not, there would be death.

The verse above shows His grace and mercy in the midst of their disobedience. He chose several times not to destroy them even though they walked away from His commands.

Today, as change is a constant in our world, walk it out with HIS teachings in your heart and on your mind. Hold them close to you and let HIS Words bring you LIFE. Walk out change, knowing in your heart that HE LOVES YOU. Change doesn’t have to be difficult when HE is in charge.

Find peace in the midst of the storm by TRUSTING deeply in the God Who created you in HIS image. HE NEVER CHANGES!

Love and blessings,

Rose Horton

(I chose the picture I did because to me a tree always has change. The wind, temperatures, lack of rain, or too much rain, all affect the tree. This woman dancing shows the freedom one can have in the midst of the change. The sun streaming through shows HIS love and warmth.)

Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash

Keep Running

Run… I really dislike running. In high school when I had to, I did well. I wasn’t great, but I wasn’t terrible. I have friends who run. Friends who are running marathons. My husband enjoys running. My son has started to enjoy it as well. I want to like running. I want to enjoy it. I really wish I could. But I don’t.

And yet, the main concept in life is that we have to keep running. We have to keep moving forward, and “run the race.” To be honest, this makes it a struggle for me. Since I don’t like running, the thought of pushing through the tough times and to keep running is difficult. Perseverance is not a strong point for me. I often “give up.”

The Word makes it clear that we must continue on… We must persevere through the hard times. When the trials come we have to keep on going. Let the cloud of witnesses cheer us on. Be thankful in the hard times.

My encouragement to you today is to keep on going. Keep on trusting. Keep the faith. Don’t lose heart. At some point there will be a line to cross to say you have completed the tasks and finished the race. You might not be the first one to cross the finish line, but you completed the race. You endured.

Keep running friends. Keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Hebrews 12:1 So then, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us, too, put aside every impediment — that is, the sin which easily hampers our forward movement — and keep running with endurance in the contest set before us,

Roman’s 5:3 But not only that, let us also boast in our troubles; because we know that trouble produces endurance,

2 Chronicles 15:7 But you, be strong, and don’t slack off; for your work will be rewarded.”

~ Rose Horton

Keep Running

Photo by Josh Gordon on Unsplash

Hot Or Cold

Cold… this weekend was one of the coldest we have experienced. I woke up this morning and it said 3, feels like 0, on my temperature app. Once again, I’m just thankful for the SUN! Being cold isn’t fun, but after reading this verse again I realize that being “warm” is really not ideal.

We have all heard the verse from Revelation 3:15-16:

“I know what you are doing: you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth!

If we stop and think about it, lukewarm weather is when the germs breed. They don’t like the cold and they don’t like the heat. There are some that thrive in hot and cold, but most like a warm environment.

That is something to consider and think about. We might get sick when it is cold out, but then we go inside where it is warm and often the “warm” environment can keep the germs alive. Usually you sweat it out with a temperature. You “kill” the germs with heat.

If this is the case, why do we want to live lukewarm lives? If we live around lukewarm people than it will cause us to get “sick.”  Knowing that lukewarm is where the germs thrive should make us want to be hot or cold. And yet, that is when we complain the most. “It’s too hot!” Or “it’s too cold!” are common phrases. Being “just the right temperature” seems to be so ideal.

Maybe “being the right temperature” is not so ideal. I’m wondering if maybe being “too hot” or “too cold” might actually be a positive thing. If we transfer this to the realm of being spiritually hot or cold, we definitely understand that extremes are better. We need to be in or out. And yet, so much of what those in communities of faith are living is “lukewarm.” More and more are caving and walking away from the Words of Truth.

The Words above make it clear that God dislikes those who are lukewarm. He will vomit them out. God does not want germs in His family! Vomiting gets rid of the virus.

It is time we think about our actions. Are we reading the Word desiring NEW insight? Are we reading the Word with excitement? Are we reading the Word with the desire to share the Truth with those around us?  

We have choices. We need to decide if we want to be HOT or cold. It’s time to stop being sick. Today, I will enjoy the cold knowing that HE brings the heat and I can trust HIM to take care of everything. Today I will choose to LISTEN to Him and be HIS fire to those around me.

Love and blessings,

Rose Horton

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Sun And Son

Here in Cyprus they say that the sun shines 300-340 days a year. An average is around 326. Having lived here 3 1/2 years I would say that 320 is probably a pretty good estimation. Some days it might be just partially sunny, but the sun still shines! This is a draw for those who come from the United Kingdom. Russia and China are not far behind. It is one aspect of the country that I appreciate. Sunshine really does do a body good.

January is usually the roughest month. February can be similar, but only until the middle of the month. Although it does not reach freezing temperatures where we live, we have seen sleet and lots of strong winds. The Troodos Mountain actually has enough snow to ski some years. Houses that are concrete are great in the summer when you are trying to stay cool, however in the winter they can be quite cold. Rain and clouds can make a day/week miserable. Israel, where we lived before this, was quite similar with weather.

As I am writing this, Monday is ending and we had a beautiful sunny day. It was so nice after a week of rain and clouds. Unfortunately, tomorrow the rains come again and the rest of the week is supposed to be dreary.

I enjoyed the sunshine today. It was wonderful to just sit and be covered in the warmth it brings. It reminded me of the following verse:

John 8:36 So if the Son frees you, you will really be free! (CJB)

I often think of this verse when I am in the sunshine. I feel free in the sun and knowing that I have FREEDOM in the SON makes everything better.

Reflecting on whether or not I am really free sometimes is a reality check. There are days I struggle with freedom. I feel trapped in my world. I feel like I am stuck. But verses like this make me stop and ask myself, “What is real?” You believe in the Son, so you truly do have FREEDOM in HIM!

I pray that this verse is a reminder to all of us that we are truly FREE in HIM. That when we are listening to the Holy Spirit HE is leading and guiding us in paths of righteousness for His name sake. HE will protect us and inspire us. Those promises bring us freedom.

Turn to Him today. Just as you enjoy the sun and the warmth it brings, look to the SON and let Him bring you warmth. His LIGHT is better than anything else. Take heart and know that you are FREE.

Love and blessings,

Rose Horton

Image by Jude Beck / Unsplash

Keep Asking

What happens when pain hits? What happens when disappointments continue to (what you feel) plague your life? There are days it is easy to want to give up and give in. There are days it is easier to think that we can just walk through life and be remote. 

Matthew 7:7 tells us something different:

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (NIV)

This is the version of the verse I grew up memorizing and hearing over and over. When one reads it in the Complete Jewish Bible it says:

Keep asking, and it will be given to you; keep seeking, and you will find; keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. (CJB)

This is a completely different concept. To just “ask, seek or knock” is one thing. According to the Complete Jewish Bible we are too, “keep asking, keep seeking and keep knocking…”

I do not claim to understand why there is a difference in these translations. I have not gone back to the Greek to understand the word used, or the tense that is supposed to be translated. What I do know is, I don’t believe it is a one time question. I don’t believe we should just “give up” on seeking. We need to “keep knocking” on doors to find answers.

This isn’t an easy concept in todays world. We have all of technology available to us, but in many ways that has dumbed us down and caused us to be overwhelmed by the information. It puts us in a place of not wanting to ask, not wanting to seek, and not wanting to knock on doors available. If there isn’t an easy answer to the question, we don’t want to take the time to search. If it isn’t available instantly, we give up. 

I’m watching this in my pre-teens and teens. It is almost easier to just give up than it is to actually search for something. The desire to find an answer has gone away because most answers are at their fingertips. All they have to do is use Google and there it is! So, when there isn’t a “Google answer” for something, they don’t know what to do. 

We all know that the difficult questions are the ones we really need in order to live LIFE to the fullest. We all know that finding answers to WHO God is and how He is relevant to us today is the key to living a LIFE of abundance and JOY. And yet, those are the ones we give up on because there is no “easy answer.” We can’t “Google God” and make Him relevant to our lives today. We can’t “Google God” and have an experience that brings the Holy Spirit to us.

I’m not saying that God can’t use technology to help us understand Him. We can read His Word on the computer. We can search and find testimonies of others who have found answers. Reality is, we have to use our inner STRENGTH and rely on HIM to help us find the answers. We have to have FAITH that HE will show us. We have to BELIEVE that HE LOVES US and cares.

 

Take time today to KEEP ASKING, KEEP SEEKING, and KEEP KNOCKING. He is faithful and will bring the answer. 

Love and blessings,

Rose Horton

 

Thanks to @emmorter for making this photo available freely on @unsplash

Pain And Change

Pain… another word that is not something a person wants to speak about. Last week I shared about mistreatment. Why would I want to write about pain? Today a verse popped up and it was:

2 Corinthians 7:10 Pain handled in God’s way produces a turning from sin to God which leads to salvation, and there is nothing to regret in that! But pain handled in the world’s way produces only death.

Earlier in the chapter Paul shared that he knew his first letter to the Corinthians caused them pain. He knew it caused them distress. He did regret that, but only “for a short time.” He realized that the painful letter he wrote caused them to move back to God. 

Pain in our life should be handled in a way that “moves us back to God.” If it is harsh words from others, physical pain from an illness or accident, or life not going the way we planned – all circumstances should cause us to “turn from sin to God.” Walking with God often means we must CHANGE!

When others cause pain in our life it is difficult. False accusations and words hurt. Often we want to act out in anger or frustration, but those are ways of the world. When we act out with those emotions, those produce death. We end up hurting those around us instead of bringing the fruits of the Spirit.

So often we want to run from pain. We don’t want it to be part of our life. And often, the pain causes me to react inappropriately. It causes me to be frustrated. Edgy. Worried. 

Since reading this verse, I had to ask myself, what will “turn me to God?” What will “move me closer?” It seems so obvious to those of us who grew up reading the Bible and attending church. However, have we continued to follow through with staying close to Him? Have we chosen to follow His Words and share HIS Truth with those around us in-spite of pain or mis-treatment?

A goal for me in 2020 is learning to respond to pain with TRUST and forgiveness. This year I need to learn how to show LOVE, JOY, PEACE… in the middle of ALL circumstances and situations. These are CHANGES I need to make. 

What are you choosing to do when pain enters your life? What choices do you need to make to turn “back to God?” What CHANGES do you need to make?

When others challenge you, stop and think about what they are saying. If it is true, than change! “Turning back to God” means we need to CHANGE something! 

Use the pain to change… Use the pain to “turn back to God.”

Love and blessings,

Rose Horton

Thanks to @Nate_Dumlao for making this photo available freely on @unsplash