GOING THE WRONG WAY? TURN AROUND!

by Tammy Phillips
May 13, 2021

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:7 KJV)

How safe do you feel driving down a one-way street, the wrong way?  When the mistake is discovered, what is the first thought?  Find a way to turn around to avoid running into an oncoming vehicle.   We innately know right from wrong.  I have known for a long time that I needed to get off the backroads of wrong food choices and align my thoughts about eating the right way.  It is only when I return to God and surrender going my own way that I make gains in the weight loss area. Thank God for good directions that help us reach our destiny. 

When we forsake the one-way, wrong way, road of ultimate destruction and change our thoughts, God is not there waiting with a ticket and a fine.  Yes, there are consequences for going the wrong direction and for thinking the wrong way, BUT GOD…

When we finally turn around and choose the right way, we find His mercy and abundant pardon. 

Do you hear the Lord’s heart?  “Turn around.  Turn to me.”   The thoughts of “I can do it all by myself or I am going to do it my own way” are what lead us into troubled territory.  The Lord says: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9 KJV)

When we turn God’s way, He shows us the way.  He directs us onto His Highway and into His way of righteous thinking.  Our lives literally turn around when we choose His way. The word “Higher” in Isaiah 55:8-9 literally means to soar.   

Isaiah 40:31 (NLT) explains it like this: “But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”   I don’t know about you, but I would rather soar than fearfully continue going the wrong way.

I enCOURAGE you to turn around.  Turn to God in every area of your life.  If you saw a friend going down a one-way street, the wrong way, wouldn’t you do everything in your power to get them to turn around?  I am on that street with you.  I am jumping up and down trying to get your attention.  Can you hear me yelling, “TURN AROUND?”  Can you hear the Lord begging you to turn to Him?  If you don’t like the direction your life, your marriage, your relationship, your job, or weight is going, I encourage you to turn to God.  Mercy is waiting for you. A soaring life is waiting for you.

 

RESORT TO THE LORD

by Tammy Phillips
May 12, 2021

Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. (Isaiah 55:6 NKJV)

Have you ever visited a place and you did not want to leave? I confess.  If Kris and I did not have children, we would probably still be on Bora Bora somewhere chasing chickens off the road and selling coconut drinks to tourist.  I cannot describe in words how beautiful the sea and sand were.  The peace we felt was unimaginable.  We just came back from beaches along 30A in Florida.  I emphatically told a friend that I was not coming back.  I was beach happy and did not want to leave.   

Beach happy is a temporary state of mind.  It is when we resort to the seaside and leave all cares behind.  Time does not matter.  Sorrows and worry easily flee.  Family, friends, and foes slide to the back of the mind.   The beach is my happy place.

However, the happiness provided by seeking out the sea is only temporary.   In Matthew 6, Jesus asks why do we worry about clothes, food, or drink?  He declares in verse 25, “Do not worry about your life.”  What does He tell us to DO? 

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day [is] its own trouble. (Matthew 6:33-34 NKJV)

Isaiah gives us the same advice, “Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. (Isaiah 55:6 NKJV) However, the Hebrew meaning of seek is a bit richer than that of the Greek word used in Matthew 6.  The Greek word is zēteō and it means to look to find, to inquire and require.  The Hebrew word for seek is daras. The idea intended is also to seek with care, enquire, require, but also to resort to; go to a place; to tread or frequent a place; to beat a path to.

It is ok to go to a resort and get away for a while. However, the Lord wants to be our go to.   He wants us to seek Him out.  He wants to be our First Resort and not our last.  He wants to be the place we frequent.  He wants us to beat a path to Him. 

As I have stated repeatedly, I love the beach.  I am not too picky.  I like any beach.   My very favorite place is in the presence of the Lord each morning.  He is my Resort.  He is your Resort.  He is where we can find…

Love incomprehensible
Peace that passes understanding,
Healing when we are hurt
Rest when we are weary
Guidance when we do not know which way to go and
So much more.

Now, if I can hang out with the Lord at the beach, I cannot imagine heaven being any better, but I know it will be.  One of my sisters and I joke about having our places in heaven, beside each other on the sea of glass, like crystal.  I cannot wait to see what John tried to  describe in Revelations 4:6.

I enCOURAGE you to resort to the Lord.  I guarantee that you will find what you are looking for because He is everything.  He is patient, kind, full of mercy and long suffering.  Call on Him.  He will answer.  Don’t wait too long.  He gives us chance after chance to come to Him.  However, one day we will either die or He will come back and then there are no more second chances.   Resort to Him.  It will be the best trip of your life.  Most of us cannot frequent the sea every day, but we can come to the Lord, the Living Water and experience all that He is.   Resort to the Lord.

 

“HO!  IT’S FREE! COME AND GET IT.”

by Tammy Phillips
May 11, 2021

Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy, and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price. 2 Why do you spend money for [what is] not bread, and your wages for [what] does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat [what is] good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. 3Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live.  (Isaiah 55:1-3 NKJV)

We love to hear the words, “It’s free.”   We like free samples at the grocery store. We like free breakfast at hotels.  We like free gifts with purchase.  Last night, I went to a hockey game.  We were offered a free signed poster and bobble head.  Then when we left, we were handed a bag full of free stuff.  One very wise woman said, “What do I need with another bobble head?” I laughed and thought, “but it’s a free gift.  I am taking it.”

How often do we pass up what Jesus so freely paid for?  Why should God Almighty, King of Kings, Creator of All, have to even utter the word, “HO,” to us?   Yet, He does.  Why should he have to remind us what He freely gives to everyone?  Yet, He does.  Why should He have to ask us to hear and come to Him?  Yet, He does…over and over and over again.

How many times do we thirst, hunger, and desperately ask others to pray for us?  Do we even know we are thirsty?  Do we know that we are hungry for what food will not supply?  The Lord has every answer to our thirst and hunger. 

He says in Isaiah 55, COME! 

Come!  Everyone who is thirsty.  You have your choice, water, wine, or milk. 
It is free.
Come!  Everyone who is hungry.  Eat what is good!  
It is free. 

Why do we spend money on a myriad of water and have five different types of bread in our pantry?  They will not satisfy that emptiness we feel in our life.  They will not fulfil us.   God provides all that we need, but we have to come to Him to receive it.  He says, “Come to Me.  Listen to Me.  Incline your ear to Me. Turn to me.   Eat what is good.  I am Good.  Let your soul delight itself in the abundance I provide.”

In Isaiah 55:3, the Lord says, “Hear Me and your soul shall live.”

Do you hear Him?

Hear Me!  Your soul shall live.
Come to Me.  Your soul shall be revived.
Hear Me!  Your soul shall recover.
Come to Me.  Your soul will be repaired.
Hear Me!  Your soul shall be restored.
Come to Me!   Your soul will flourish.
Hear Me!  Your soul will heal.
Come to Me!  Your soul will breathe again.

I enCOURAGE you to come to Him when your soul is so thirsty that you feel like you cannot continue.  Listen to Him.  Get into His word and be fed the Bread of Life and drink from the Living Water.   Heller?  Ho!  It is free.  It is life.  Come.  There is no catch.

FAULTY WEAPONS WILL NOT FINISH WELL

by Tammy Phillips
May 10, 2021

No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This [is] the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness [is] from Me,” Says the LORD. (Isaiah 54:17 NKJV)

A dream may end abruptly.
A superior may pass down unfair judgment and a job may be lost.
A stranger may cause bodily harm.
A friend or family member may be unkind in word or deeds.
A spouse may be unfaithful.
A partner may move to heaven before you.
A parent may pass from cancer or c-19.
A child may unexpectantly be taken.

I could go on and on, BUT my Bible says, “No weapon formed against you will prosper.”

According to Websters 1828 Dictionary, a weapon is “any instrument of offense; anything used or designed to be used in destroying or annoying an enemy.” 

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have [it] more abundantly. (John 10:10 NKJV)

Satan is the liar, the accuser, and the thief.  He has a plan.  He will do anything or use anybody to bring destruction to our lives.  His mission is to steal and kill and destroy.  He will do anything to get us to turn our back on God and blame Him for the accomplishments of the enemy of our soul.  

Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to [His] purpose.”  From this word, we learn that the Lord will take Satan’s anything and make it an “all thing” to work together for good to those who love God…

Like Joseph in Genesis 50:20, we can fearlessly and boldly say: “But as for you, you meant evil against me; [but] God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as [it is] this day, to save many people alive.

It is painful when so called friends, family members and even our enemies slander our characters.  Half-truths hurt!

BUT GOD…

He always has the overcoming plan. His weapons are not faulty and will not fail.  The Lord says in Isaiah, “Every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn.”  Words and actions sometimes take longer to heal than an actual blow to the body. We can rest assured that He will heal our brokenness and that the wagging, lying, slanderous tongues will be dealt with.   I love how Isaiah 54 ends.  The Lord declares that the weapons and the words will not succeed, finish well, go over or through.  We are encouraged to remember it is God that created all who made the weapons and spoke the words against us, His children.  This mama would do anything to protect her babies.  How much more will God defend His kids?  It is our inheritance in Him, as His children, that no weapon formed against us shall prosper, nor any tongue.  God is our righteousness alone.  No man, no word, no weapon, no, not anything will prosper against us, His kiddos.  He is our salvation.  We can be confident in Him and know all the plans of the enemy to steal our eternity will fail.

I enCOURAGE you to fear not.  When the enemy raises his hand or mouth against you, remember that his enemies faulty weapons will not finish well. Remember,  WHOSE you are and to WHOM you belong to.   With all faith boldly say, “My righteousness is from the Lord.  My justification is in the Lord.  My inheritance is from my Father, God Almighty.  Back up enemy!  No weapon formed against me will prosper and tongue that rises against me…you will be condemned in Jesus’ name.  AMEN!”  

REJOICE MAMAS

by Tammy Phillips
May 9, 2021

Let your father and your mother be glad and let her who bore you rejoice. (Proverbs 23:25 NKJV)

How can the greatest pain bring the greatest joy? It does and it is so worth it.

I overheard a mother tell my expectant niece about the excruciating pain of birth.   She described it as attempting to push a bowling ball through a straw.  It looks impossible.  When I was in labor and my doctor decided to let the drugs wear off, I told my sweet nurse that if she tried to comfort me one more time by wiping the sweat from my brow with a cool washcloth that I would find a gun and shoot her.  The pain was indescribable.  Most any reasonable man would deem it impossible for the extra-large human that grows and grows in our womb for nine months to possibly find an exit from our bodies. God in His great design planned for us women to simply break apart, split wide open and produce an offspring.

The pain does not go away after birth.  It becomes a little less piecing.  However, it comes flooding back with every hurt, disappointment, failure, or struggle that our children experience.

But God…

Like many things in life, after great pain comes great joy and great reward.   He says that

“Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.” (Psalm 127:3 NLT).   There is no greater reward.  Children are worth every rip, hurt, and tear.  The pain is so worth it and soon disappears in the mind.  It is replaced with the joy of watching our children grow, dive out of the nest, fly high and thrive.   The blessing of being a mother is beyond any pain ever experienced.  It is pure joy. 

God tells us to “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12 NKJV).   I believe He tells us this because of the pains of parenthood.  I also know that God says to be fruitful and multiply.  Each generation should honor their parentals so they can also experience the joy and reward of children and so on and so on and so on.

I enCOURAGE you to join me  and honor your mother and all the mothers in your life.  Today, I honor my mother, my mother-in-law, all the old mothers, all the new mothers and all the expectant mothers.    Mamas be glad and rejoice in your precious gifts!  You know it was worth it all and you would do it all again for the joy.  This Mom could not be more proud nor more joyful.  My heart is full. 

 

My beautiful Mother and Mother in law

GOD IS NOT MAD AT YOU

by Marvin Posey, 1991

by Tammy Phillips
May 8, 2021

For this is like the days of Noah to Me; as I swore that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I will not be angry with you or rebuke you. (Isaiah 54:9 AMPC)

When I read this verse and began writing this encouragement, I did not see Mother or Mother’s Day anywhere in it.  Holy Spirit led me in a different direction.  Come see.

Have you ever failed a test?  I have…many times.  Have your kids ever failed a test?  Mine have not; they are perfect –said no one ever.  I wish that I had known more about God’s mercy and grace when my boys were growing up.  I was too busy trying to help them be perfect in all things than showing them the grace and mercy that Father God extends us.  I tried to help them be good and stay out of hell.  Little did I know that all I needed to share with them was the overwhelming love of God and all else would eventually fall in line.   I had heard about how much God loves us all my life, but I did not really start to get it until about ten years ago.  I did not know about merciful God.  I know now.  My picture of God has changed.  I hope yours does.

Listen!  God loves us more than we can imagine.  We cannot do anything to make Him love us anymore than He does and that includes striving for perfection.  Of course, the Lord loves excellence, righteousness, and goodness, but those things do not make Him love us more.  Listen.  God loves us right where we are.  God loves us in the middle of our mess and sin. 

Romans 5:8-10 proves my point:

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Romans 5:8-10 NKJV) 

Listen!

God is not angry with you.
God is not mad at you. 
God is not displeased with you.
God is not going to burst out in rage at you.
God is not going to break or crack.

We break and we crack.  We rage unnecessarily.   God forgives.  I know most of the time that He sits in heaven and laughs at us.  I can hear His chuckling, loving voice now, “You have ready my word.  You have studied.  You know what to do.  Be kind and merciful.  Love well.  Follow my lead.”  And then…like every other child, who has life lessons to learn while traveling in the ways of the Lord, up and down hills, and around obstacles, we make a wrong turn.  In Isaiah 54:9, the Lord swears never to be angry nor to rebuke us. He just loves us back to the “right” way, His way.   One of my sisters in the Lord said it like this, “God will love us into something better!”  

As mother’s, we do the very best that we can with the knowledge we have at the time. I personally never loved my boys to better by yelling at them.  Forgive me boys?

I enCOURAGE you to see and receive the mercy, kindness, and great love of Father God. He sits in heaven and laughs at you.  He is not mad at you.  In return of His mercy and grace, remember to breathe before you speak. (Sadly, these are words of wisdom that I receive often from my husband and son.  I know that following this wisdom is easier said than done.  Follow the example of our loving Father. Do not break.  Do not crack.  Love well.  Sit back and enjoy life.  Enjoy your children.  They will be gone soon with their own babies. Remember…

“For though the mountains should depart, and the hills be shaken or removed, yet My love and kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace and completeness be removed, says the Lord, Who has compassion on you.”

 

NO SHAME: THE LORD IS YOUR HUSBAND

by Tammy Phillips
May 7, 2021

“Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; For you will forget the shame of your youth and will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore. (Isaiah 54:4 NKJV)

Have any of these thoughts ever ran through your head?  “I am not…good enough, kind enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, smart enough, strong enough or rich enough.  I am just not enough.   I am not worthy of love.  I have done a lot of bad things. I wish that I had made better financial decisions.  I wish that I had loved better.  I am too mean, ugly, and fat. I am a weakling. I am a failure.  I just don’t get it.  I am never going to get it.”

All these fearful thoughts have crossed my mind at one time or another.  If you are truthful, you have probably danced with a few of these thoughts yourself.

BUT GOD…as He continues to love us back to Himself…

The Lord says in Isaiah 54:4…

DO NOT FEAR!
You will not be ashamed. (confounded, put to silence, delayed, fail in hope and expectations no confused by guilt or inferiority)
You will not be disgraced. (confounded, disappointed, humiliated, wounded, hurt nor injured)
You will not be put to shame. (to display shame, demonstrate shame, caused embarrassment.)
You will forget the shame and reproach!

I heard the Lord saying through Isaiah 54:4-5, it does not matter who you were or who you are.  Do you KNOW WHO YOUR HUSBAND IS?

For your Maker is your husband, The LORD of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth. (Isaiah 54:5 NKJV) 

The Lord has called YOU!  You are important.  You are special.  You are loved.  You are His.  He has a lot more to say about you and me than those silly lying voices that want to keep us imprisoned in shame, guilt, disappointment, and embarrassment.  The Lord, our Husband, tells us, “Do not fear!  You will not, you will not, you will not be ashamed.”  Anytime the Lord says something three times in a row, we should pay attention.  We should listen the first time, but by the third time we should know that He emphatically means what He said.

For the LORD has called you Like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, like a youthful wife when you were refused,” Says your God. (Isaiah 54:6 NKJV)

Have you felt abandoned or forsaken  by a parent? A former boyfriend or girlfriend? A fiancé’ or spouse?  Did that person cheat on you with another?  I know you heard the voice of “Why was I not good enough?”

Listen, no earthly spouse, no matter how wonderful, can ever fulfil the needs that our heavenly husband can.  We are good enough because of WHOSE we are.  He has redeemed us.  He has called us.  He has loved us with an everlasting love and “with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you, says the LORD, your Redeemer.” (Isaiah 54:8)

I enCOURAGE you with the words of our loving Husband.  “Fear not.  You will not be shamed.”  Let it go into His loving arms. 

 

TURN MY DISGUST INTO YOUR MERCY

by Tammy Phillips
May 6, 2021

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. (Psalm 107:1 NKJV)

Ever since the end of January beginning of February, my prayer has been: 
“TURN MY DISGUST INTO YOUR MERCY!” I know my close friends are so tired of hearing those words from me. 

Where does disgust come from?
Current or past leadership?
Vaccine or no vaccine?
Unmet expectations?
Unkept promises?
Unforgiveness?
Selfishness?
You?
Me?

According to Webster’s 1828 dictionary, disgust means to displease; to offend the mind or moral taste. Based on Strong’s concordance, mercy means to be kind and good.    

What disgusts, displeases, or offends? 

Remember, we are not supposed to take offense according to Acts 24:16:  And herein do I exercise myself, to always have a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men.  If we are to exercise to be void of offense, we must choose to fill that hole with something, and I believe that the goodness and kindness of God will always work.

Over 41 times in the Old Testament, we are told that God’s mercy endures forever.  I do not know about you. I am trying to become more like my Father.  I would love for it to be said of me that my mercy is endless. I can attest that it is not.  My mercy lasts until I take the offense thrown at me or people exhibit plain ignorance and ungratefulness.  I hate stupid and ungratefulness.  However, God loves us right in the center of our foolishness and thanklessness.  Hence, that is why he dropped the prayer, “Turn my disgust into His mercy” right in the middle of a big pile of my antipathy.

This was such a big problem for me that this phrase is STILL the wallpaper on my phone.   It looks just like the picture above.

I enCOURAGE you to adapt my prayer if you are having problems with offense and disgust in your life.  It is so easy to say be merciful, be kind, and be good.  I am telling you outside the power of God this is impossible for me.  I will also tell you that the transformation is not fun either because it is quite literally crucifying the flesh that tries to rise above. Ouch.

Dear Lord:  When I so quickly and easily forget, please, turn my disgust into your mercy?  Help be good.  Help me be kind. Help me to love well like You do.  In Jesus name, I pray. AMEN.

THANK YOU FOR YESTERDAY

by Tammy Phillips
May 5, 2021

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV) 

Have you every thanked God for yesterday? I heard this simple phrase rise in my spirit a couple of months ago.  We get so caught up in life that we forget that being thankful is the will of God.  I do not do things for the thanks, but it sure does make a difference when others are grateful for what you do.  How is God different?  He is our Father.  He wants His children to be appreciative just like we do.  Do not take God’s graciousness for granted.  We can do all things with Him and nothing without Him.  We should be thankful to Him for every little and big thing in our lives. It is his will.  Remember to be thankful for every little thing that others do for you, too, not just the big things.

Thank God for your today.
Thank God for your tomorrow.
Thank God for your yesterday.
Thank God for the day before that and the day before that and the day before that…

I enCOURAGE you to freely give thanks to God.  We are nothing and have nothing without Him.

 

 

 

LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE GARBAGE MAN

by Tammy Phillips
May 4, 2021

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. … And whatsoever ye do, do [it] heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; (Colossians 3:18, 23 KJV)

My husband ask me at least twice in one day before we left our beach cottage, “when do we need to put the garbage to the curb?” If I had “submitted” to his question,  my mother and I would not have had to run out the door, across the front porch and wave down the garbage men.  “Submit” in Colossians 3:18 is not a bad word.   It is the Greek word, hypotassō, meaning “to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader.” In non-military use, it was “a voluntary attitude of cooperating, giving in, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden.”  Kris and I have almost been married twenty-eight years.  I know he is wise, maybe just maybe, I will cooperate with his wisdom when he questions me and I will not have to chase down the next garbage man, mail man, or anyone else.

The Waste Management man was so gracious and kind.  He thought nothing of two old women chasing him down in their gowns.  He apologized for not seeing us in the darkness of the early morning.  It was 5:30 AM on a Monday morning and pitch-black outside.  I expressed my gratitude for taking pause and not driving away.  I told him that I should have listened to my husband.   He laughed and happily said  that it was his job, and he would take anything but my husband.  I was brought to tears by his sincere  kindness and willingness to help us.  Then and there,  I thanked God for the  young man.  I prayed for Lord to honor his great attitude and that he would receive favor and promotion.

I enCOURAGE you to submit to your spouse and whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not to men.    Twenty-eight years and I am still learning to submit to Kris.  I have been with the Lord longer than that and I still  have to be reminded that ever action, reaction, all I say and  do need to be done for the Lord. 

P.S.  Thank you, Kris for the loving, gentle, admonition on the beach.  I heard you and will make every effort to really practice what I preach.