Circulating Jesus’ Love

13892189_10208765354150021_528678173187263753_nMy church recently had Circulation Day!Members brought household items that they no longer needed and we basically had a huge, free yard sale. People were excited to receive many nice items such as…a washer and dryer, tread mill, books, pictures, kitchen tools, etc. The goal was to show love to our community.  As the people came, we gave them some Bible verses and invited them to visit our church. There were no price tags so when someone was interested in something and ask how much it cost, we would tell them it was theirs for the taking. It was really neat to see the responses.  Some just couldn’t believe it.

To entice people to come, we held large signs and waved to the people as they passed on the  busy highway in front of our church.  As I stood there and witnessed the many people drive pass, I wondered how many knew Jesus personally and had peace in their hearts as only He can give.  Also, here we were offering nice, free, needed items, but many would not stop to check it out.  I wondered why.

love-of-god-jesus

Maybe they were skeptical.  Maybe they didn’t think they needed anything we had. Maybe they were distracted by other things. Maybe they had more important places to go.

Then I thought about how it is similar with the gospel. Here we have a message of Good News that costs us nothing (but Jesus His life), that is a positive life changer to those who will believe, yet many will not accept it for some of the same reasons as above.  It’s hard for them to imagine a God that would love them enough to give His life for them. They think they are fine the way they are and don’t need Jesus.  Or maybe they are so distracted by what this world has to offer there is no room left for Jesus.

BIBLE-QUOTES--HD-WALLPAPERS-Salvation-Acts-4_12--spreadjesus_org

It made me sad to think about people living their lives not even realizing what they are missing by not having a personal relationship with this Jesus who loves them so very much.  Jesus calls us to give the gospel out. We aren’t responsible for who believes it or rejects it.

Today I was driving about 15 mph on a lone, back street looking for a business. There was an oncoming car approaching.  I drifted across the center line as I was looking for the building. I realized what I was doing and quickly got back into my lane.  The oncoming car was several car lengths away and it wasn’t even close, but she let me know in no uncertain terms that she was very upset with me. I was definitely in the wrong.  I made a sad face, hunched my shoulders, and mouthed, I’m sorry! I wish she had extended more grace. And this reminded me that I need to extend grace to other people because I often don’t know what they are going through.

LoveThyNeighborAsThyselfI’m SO glad that, as believers, we experience God’s grace and mercy every day and will for all eternity.  We don’t deserve it. And because Jesus has given us love and mercy, we need to be quick to share that with others.

Last night I  heard this….God formed us, sin deformed us, and Jesus transforms us.

preach-the-gospel-at-all-times-and-when-necessary-use-words-10

I would like to leave these lyrics with you from, I Saw Jesus in You by Ron Hamilton.

When I enter Heaven’s glory, And I see the Savior’s face,

I will offer Him ten thousand years of praise.

Then I’ll find that special one, In whose life I saw God’s Son,

And thru tears of joy with trembling lips these words, I’ll say:

Chorus:

I saw Jesus in you, I saw Jesus in you.

I could hear His voice in the words you said–

I saw Jesus in you.

In your eyes I saw His care, I could see His love was there.

You were faithful, And I saw Jesus in you.

Verse 2

When I stand before my Father, To receive my life’s reward,

And my soul is bathed in God’s eternal day,

When this race on earth is run, And God sees the works I’ve done,

More than anything I long to hear my Father say:

Chorus:

I saw Jesus in you.  I saw Jesus in you.

I could hear His voice in the words you said–

I saw Jesus in you.

In your eyes I saw His care, I could see His love was there.

You were faithful, And I saw Jesus in you.

 

May we let Jesus’ light and love shine through us,

Gaye Hughes

 

 

Closing the Cancer Chapter!

Below are some pictures from a fun visit to the The Wig Shoppe in January 2014.  My sweet friends, Kathy Burnett and Melissa Rigney, and my daughter, Anna, went with me before I started chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer.

DSC08424

I tried the “Kathy Burnett” look. She rocks it. I did not.

 

DSC08443

Kathy and Melissa were such sweet supporters for me on this day!

DSC08452

Anna checking out the blonde look. She could swing it for sure, but she wasn’t convinced!

DSC08429

I feel like I’m closing the cancer chapter in my life today. I had the port that was used for my chemotherapy treatments removed this morning.  My surgeon said it was a day of celebration because the port is no longer needed!

With tears of gratitude, I heartily agreed with her.  I completed my treatments 19 months ago and it is still hard for me to believe there is no sign of that aggressive cancer.  I’m still in awe that I wasn’t nearly as sick as I could have or should have been taking the “Red Devil” chemotherapy.  Nor, did I experience the extreme fatigue that is so common with thirty-five radiation treatments.

Yet, I still have so many unanswered questions.  Did I learn all the lessons I needed to from my cancer journey? I feel happy and relieved it is over, yet cautious.  This is why…

  • I am humbled that my story has ended so well when so many times it does not for others.

Why am I so blessed to be basically done with the seemingly endless doctor appointments, treatments, and scans? Was it because I was a tough cookie?  No.  Was it due to my good diet and exercise? Although I did what I could, the answer would be, “No.” Is it because I had the most intelligent doctor who chose the best treatment? She was a good doctor, but I don’t think that is the answer either. Is it because I had faith to overcome? No. What little faith I have has been provided by God Himself because of His amazing grace.

Many others have had these same advantages and have had much different outcomes.  I believe there are two reasons.

1) There were many precious saints of God, many who are reading this right now, who prayed for me. THANK YOU!!!!

2) Because my God, the creator of the universe, has work for me to do. Thank you, God, for giving purpose to my life!

In my mind, there are no other explanations.

  • Once there is a cancer diagnosis, there is a chance of recurrence.

People ask me if I worry about the cancer recurring. I don’t worry about it, but every time I have a new ache I wonder if the cancer is back. I haven’t figured out a way around that one. Once there has been a cancer diagnosis, I wonder if one can ever completely not think about it. The doctor said as I get older I will naturally have more aches and pains, but pay attention to the ones that persist or worsen.

Pleanuts-worry-cartoon

When I’m tempted to worry, I remind myself that my times are in God’s hands. (Psalm 31:15) At best, Job said in Job 8:9, we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow. God planned my days before I was born. Psalm 139:13-16 from The Message says it beautifully,

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God– you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration–what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,  how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.

My husband, David used to say, People feel sorry for you when you have cancer.  But what they don’t seem to realize is, they could die before I do.  Any of us could die suddenly in a car accident, with a stroke, massive heart attack, etc. at any time. No one is promised the next breath.

I don’t mean to be morbid, but it’s just a fact…. we aren’t getting out of this world alive, unless Jesus comes back to get us in our lifetime…which is very possible!  Either way, wise is the person who plans for eternity. Everyone will live forever somewhere. Those who have placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone will live forever in heaven with Him. Those who have not, will have to spend eternity in the lake of fire…a place where God never wanted or intended for His creation to go.

john_14_1-3

As I celebrate life today as a cancer survivor, I pray you can celebrate life as a child of God as you live out His plans and purpose for your life!

Keep seeking Him,

Gaye Hughes

 

 

What’s the Bottom Line?

 

free natural wallpapers

Where is your path of life leading you?

What’s the bottom line in this life? We know there is a lot of uncertainty in this life, but we don’t know how many days we have. So to me, having confidence in what will happen after this life is the bottom line. This determines how we live our lives, what choices we make, how we spend our time, and what is most important to us.

We can say we believe a lot of things, but the way we live proves what we really believe…..unless we are side tracked and distracted by this world and the devil.  We can say our family is one of the most important things in our lives, but are we living in a way that validates that? It’s easy to get busy doing things that really don’t matter at all and neglecting the people who matter most.

Have you ever thought about what you are going to think about on your death bed? As you realize your opportunities to have a positive influence, serve God,  and love others are coming to an end, how will you feel? Will you feel good about how you’ve spent your precious time here and the things you’ve accomplished?

The first Scripture we taught our children to memorize was John 14: 6.

John 14_6_kjvwallpapers

Why? We wanted to make sure our children would be with us in heaven for eternity.

 

 

 

Ephesians 6:1 was another memory verse early on.

ephesians 6

 

We knew if our children didn’t honor and respect us as their parents, they wouldn’t honor or respect God as their heavenly father.

 

John 3:16-18 soon followed…

133bce6efc5c3f53afb40f446b1391e3

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

The other day I was with a lady who knows she probably doesn’t have much time left here. I wanted to make sure she was placing her faith in Jesus Christ and was at peace about dying.

As we talked, she said, I don’t know my Bible as well as you do, but I’ve been taught… Then she asked me what denomination I belonged to. I said, I am a follower of Jesus Christ and I believe the Bible. I am placing my faith in Jesus and the truth in this book. Denominations don’t mean much to me.

It is easy to live our lives believing what we’ve been taught, but is our faith good enough to die by? I don’t want to risk my eternal well-being on what someone else has taught me! When I repented of my sin and placed my faith and trust in Jesus, the Holy Spirit came to live inside of me.  He is the one who convicts me of sin, confirms to me what is right and wrong, teaches and comforts me.

I recently went away for a few days to visit my family in NC. I left my son with some specific instructions before I left. When I came home I found that he had followed most of them, but had left a few undone.  The To Do list was lying in front of us. When I confronted him about it, he didn’t have a good reason for not following my requests and apologized.

IMG_20160216_183026053

Some of my NC family…from left to right, Cordell (dad), Mary (mom), Nick (nephew) John (brother-in-law) Faye (twin sister), Faith (niece) Bethany (daughter), Wesley (son-in-law) 2-16-2016

I said, Nathan, this is what it’s going to be like when we face Jesus and give an account of how we’ve lived. I imagine God will say something like this, I left you instructions. They are right there in the Bible. I told you what I expected. We won’t have a leg to stand on. There will be no good excuse for disobeying Him.

Will you please take some time to think about what the bottom line is in your life? What really matters? Should it matter?  Your faith may be good enough to live by, but will it be good enough to die by?

This song reflects my faith,

The Solid Rock

My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;

I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

When He shall come with trumpet sound, O may I then in Him be found;

Dressed in His righteousness alone, Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand,

All other ground is sinking sand.

Standing on the Rock,

Gaye Hughes

IMG_20160216_190349408

My sister, Faye, and me and the big fish we caught….NOT! 🙂

 

 

P.S.  If you would like to receive emails when I post a new blog, please hit the Follow button.  You will be asked to insert your email address and a password. For your security, you will be sent an email you will need to Confirm before you will be notified of new blogs.

 

When Your World Falls Apart

15 - 1

What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning? What or who do you think you cannot live without? What makes life worth living for you?

Now that you’ve answered those questions, what if that thing or person was taken away? What then? What would then motivate you to keep on living?

Would your remaining family be enough? Would your favorite hobby be enough? Would your church family be enough? Would your health and money be enough? How about your work, sports, shopping?

That’s a difficult question to answer if you haven’t had that thing or person taken from you. It’s hard to imagine life without them or it. But personally, I don’t think any of those things are enough to keep us going when it feels like our world has fallen apart.

hope blog pic 20140129-182338

And this hope and strength comes from Jesus!

Allow me to share Haratio Spafford’s (1828-1888)  story and how his world fell apart. He was a successful lawyer in Chicago.  He was a devout Christian man who enjoyed the friendships of Dwight L. Moody and Ira Sanky. He and his wife had a lovely home, one son, and four daughters.

Spafford and his wife, Anna, lost their young son and soon afterwards lost most of their real estate investments in the Great Chicago Fires on October 8, 1871. To help he and his family to cope with the tragedies, a family trip to Europe was planned.  Having some unexpected last minute business to take care of, Spafford sent his wife and daughters on the boat ahead of him.

The_sinking_of_the_Steamship_Ville_du_Havre

 

There was a boat collision and several days later he got word from his wife, Saved alone. When he came to the spot in the ocean where it was believed his daughters perished, he penned the words to, It is Well With My Soul. That was the bottom line for him.

3128408200_0e81994873

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:26)

Could you say that, if you were in that situation?  If you don’t know Jesus or have a good relationship with Him, will you please make that a priority today? None of us know how many days we have left in this life. Life is short and unsure.

john316

But we can have peace and hope even in these uncertain times if we know Jesus as our Savior. He is willing and waiting for you with open arms. You can’t be too bad for Him to not accept you and you can’t be good enough without Him.

 

 

c8fba35ed045ae4001cc232bb0b56729-9222

I believe with all my heart that the ONLY thing or person that is truly enough in this life is Jesus Christ!  We can be lulled into thinking things or people in this life is all we need. But we all have a deep seated spot in our hearts that only Jesus can fill and satisfy.  He wants to be there for us. The question is, “Do we want Him?” If every last comfort and security is taken from the believer,  God is enough! He gives and is enough.. strength, hope, and love to be all we need in this life.

Paul told the Corinthians, Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; (2 Cor. 3:5)

51e9fd1bf83e5372a2c90b165104477f

This is what I found when I looked up the definition of sufficient in the Webster’s Dictionary.

sufficient– enough to meet the needs of a situation or a proposed end.  ENOUGH, ADEQUATE, COMPETENT mean being what is necessary or desirable, SUFFICIENT suggests a close meeting of a need; ENOUGH is less exact in suggestion than SUFFICIENT;  ADEQUATE may imply barely meeting a requirement; COMPETENT suggests measuring up to all requirements without question or being adequately adapted to an end.

During the most difficult days of my life, the one thing that has kept me going is to believe God has a reason and purpose for giving me breath. I want to use that breath and life to fulfill His purpose for me.  I try to do something, anything to help someone every single day because I know that is what God calls every believer to do…to love others. That will last for eternity! Love never fails. It always works. It is always a good thing.

There you have it folks! God is more than adequate to meet us where we are. He made us and only He knows what we need.  And only He can fill those needs in our lives. Won’t you trust Him to do that for you today?

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes

blog pic keep walking d60aa41afaada531cdb35a9535384476

 

 

 

 

Do You Have What it Takes?

IMG_20150808_155237

I heard a sobering message Sunday about how to determine if you have what God requires for entry into heaven. It was a powerful message with a loving and bold delivery.  I would like to share the notes I took while Ken Freeman spoke.

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. (II Corinthian 13:5a)

I’m going to give you a faith test. God doesn’t grade on a curve. He grades on the cross. You can give your time, tithe, talents, etc., but God wants you….your heart. If I am behaving like an unbeliever, maybe I am an unbeliever. If I have been redeemed, then I need to act like it. Failed means disqualified. When it comes to going to heaven, you either are or you are not.

Matthew 7:21-23 is a scary passage. Jesus said,

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then shall I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

What is missing in these people’s lives? It is clear that they thought they knew Jesus and would go to heaven. It is obvious that they believed in God. But James 2:19 says,

Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

So just believing there is a God isn’t enough. But they were trying to work for God. They even cast out demons and did many good works. That is note worthy. What was missing?

If I claim to know God and be a Christ follower then 5 things must have happened.

1- The Holy Spirit should have initiated my salvation.

The Holy Spirit has to be involved in the saving of a soul. Jesus said in John 6:44,

No man come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

In John 16:1-8 Jesus said it was necessary that He leave so that He could send the Holy Spirit to the believers. Jesus said the Holy Spirit would reprove (convict) the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. Many people later begin to doubt their salvation because they stop obeying God’s word or quit working for God. But we can’t effectively “do” for God without the Holy Spirit’s help.

2- You have to realize you are lost.

Being lost means without a Saviour, unable to help myself, and spiritually ruined. There are a lot of unbelievers who are better people than Christians. They are moral. But Romans 3:10, 23 says,

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

3- You have to have saving faith.

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. (Romans 8:16)

If we make sin a habit and regularly practice sin and aren’t convicted of that, we are not saved.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

God gives us faith to believe.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

When there is true saving faith, there will be…

  1. A change of mind.   We will think differently.
  2. A change of direction. We won’t walk (live) as the world does.
  3. A change of purpose. Our reason for living will be for God…not ourselves.

4- Without repentance there is no salvation.

If there ain’t no fruit, there ain’t no root. Jesus said we would be able to know who the believers are by their fruit. (Matthew 7:16) Paul told the Corinthians in 7:10

DSC07736

For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

A worldly sorrow is when we are just sad or ashamed of getting caught in our sin. When there is a godly sorrow, it will cause us to ask forgiveness and we will hate that sin and turn from it.

5- Not guilty. Forgiven forever.

He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:10-12)

Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins, (Acts 5:31)

Did you pass the test? Did you get 4 out of 5? If you don’t have all 5, you fail. Most people get hung up on 1 and 4. They make a decision to accept Christ, but the Holy Spirit is not involved. They know the truth in their head, but they aren’t convicted in their heart. Or they are convicted in their heart of their sin and need for a Savior while they believe Jesus came and died for them, but there is no repentance. There is no turning from their sin and self-will to an act of obedience to God and His will.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:3)

We can’t trust our gut feelings. We must obey the rules of the One who is doing the judging.  Let us examine ourselves to see where we truly stand with God.

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes

What a sacrificial gift!

gift-image

I was in church recently trying to prepare my heart for communion when someone mentioned how special it is when someone gives you a gift as a result of great personal sacrifice. How does it make you feel? Special and loved right? He went on to say that Jesus’ gift of salvation cost Him the ultimate sacrifice…His life. And if that wasn’t enough, along with that sacrifice He gave us the opportunity to become joint heirs with Him.

When we repent of our sin, ask God to forgive us, fully put our trust in Jesus who paid for our sin, and confess Him before others, Jesus becomes our Savior. We are clothed in Jesus’ righteousness.

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12)

His father becomes our father. That father in heaven owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10) and the world is His (Psalm 50:10). His provisions are unlimited! The Holy Spirit comes to dwell inside us. (I Corinthians 6:19) Along with that privilege, comes a responsibility for us to glorify God in our bodies because they have been bought with the blood of Jesus and are now the temple of the Holy Spirit.

He has given us all we need to live abundantly in this life. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice we can now enjoy the heavenly gifts of love, joy, peace, contentment, etc. in this life.

Just thinking about Jesus’ great sacrifice and what all that means, humbled me and filled my heart with gratitude. I couldn’t help but wonder, “Why?” It is so hard to comprehend such love and not just for beautiful, innocent babies, but for all of us! We were all guilty before God. While we were Jesus’ enemy, dead in our trespasses and sin, Christ died for us. (Ephesians 2:1)

But God demonstrated his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled , we shall be saved by his life. (Romans 5:10)

If we ever doubt Jesus’ love for us, all we have to do is think about Calvary and the great sacrifice Jesus made there on the cross. He died for the sins of the whole world and He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)