Category: <span>thoughts by Ashlea Massie</span>


“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” 1 John 5:14

I didn’t tWhat went through your mind when you first realized the pandemic was a legitimate concern? Was it fear? Anxiety? Courage? Strength? Perhaps you even wanted to help out.hink much about the pandemic until I read the stories of the Italians filling up beds in hospitals, many not recovering. When I heard they were dying alone, I was mortified. Imagine being alone and lost in your final moments on earth. How horrific.

I wanted to do something to help out and felt like my only option was to volunteer. Obviously I couldn’t go overseas to help out. The voice of reason, from a friend, reminded me that there was another and just as equally effective choice. The best way to serve when I can’t physically be there is through prayer.

We tend to want to act first when crises come. We hurriedly run into saving the day with our actions. But that’s not how Christians should react. Our first reaction should be to pray. We often forget just how powerful prayer is.

Prayer can change everything. Our God can move mountains with our prayers, which are just as important as anything we can do. God wants us to take the time to pray for those out there on the frontlines, mostly lost individuals with no hope of eternal life. Would you join me in praying for these people? After all, it’s the best way to serve!

Dear Lord, please help me to recognize the importance of prayer as service to you. Let my prayers be acceptable to you. Amen.

By Ashlea Massie
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“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.”  Luke 6:35

We have all been around that one person who verbally attacks us with their words or berates us for no reason. Perhaps you work with someone like that or even live with someone like that. Maybe the cruel words are subtly spoken after church as you mingle with others you would consider to be friends. Malicious people will always be with us. Instead of worrying how to best avoid them or thinking of ways to reciprocate their unkind actions, we are to respond in a loving manner, as Christ would.

But why do we need to make this a habit, despite the fact that these individuals don’t deserve our mercy? Jesus mentions that God treats ungrateful and evil people with kindness. Loving one’s enemy is tough, but Jesus gives us practical ways to do so. He tells us to be good to them, and to respond with calmness towards them. Then pray for them. It doesn’t matter if we don’t feel like it. The more we pray for that individual, the more our initial feelings of bitterness or anger will disappear.

And who are these people exactly? They are just like you and me — people who were once categorized as ungrateful and evil until God washed our sins away. We used to be hostile to God, but he changed us. And if he can change us, he can change them. We must always keep that thought at the forefront of our minds.

Dear Lord, please give me a soft and tender heart towards those who are against me. Give me the strength to care for them as you do. Amen.

By Ashlea Massie
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And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”  John 14:16-17

Living in this world can be difficult. The stressors of life and the unexpected turn of events can be hard to handle at times. And if we’re being honest, it sometimes feels as if no one cares for us or has our back. Those friends and family members we relied upon so heavily are suddenly gone when things turn sour. And if we do have family or friends we can rely on, that won’t always be the case. So where should we turn to first?

Fortunately, as disciples of Christ, we have someone to run to all the time. No matter what the circumstances may be, we have access to God through the Holy Spirit. And God has promised to be with us by sending the Holy Spirit to live within us at all times — the good and the bad. We are never abandoned by God. Though outward circumstances might give us that impression, God has designed it so that we don’t have to fall for that lie.

When we seek out the Lord through prayer, the Holy Spirit intervenes on our behalf. He intercedes for us even when we don’t know what to say.

God is a better source of comfort to turn to than any friends or family members. He will never let us down, and that is seen through the promise to give us with the Holy Spirit while we are here on earth apart from him. And isn’t it wonderful knowing that we are never, nor will we ever be, alone?

Dear Lord, please help me to turn to you first in all circumstances. Thank you for giving us the Holy Spirit so that we are not alone. Amen.

By Ashlea Massie
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The word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, behold, I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you at a stroke; yet you shall not mourn or weep, nor shall your tears run down.’ …. at evening my wife died. And on the next morning I did as I was commanded.” Ezekiel 24:16,18

Imagine being told that the one thing you cherished the most on this earth would be taken from you, and not only that, but you would not be allowed to even mourn and heal over the loss of this particular person.

Ezekiel had done nothing wrong to elicit the death of his wife. There was also nothing wrong with mourning the death of a loved one. But, God needed Ezekiel to be an example to the Israelites by showing them that what they loved most would be taken away from them. It would happen so quickly they wouldn’t have time to mourn.

Because Ezekiel obeyed God, his decision to follow through with such an extremely hard task revealed his dedication to God. It proved that God was the number one priority in his life.

Would we be able to act like Ezekiel though? Or would we despair if our most loved human on this earth was taken away from us? God set Ezekiel as an example not only for the Israelites but for future believers to be reminded that we must cherish God first above all else in life. God wants us to make him our first priority because only his love is eternal. All else will fade.

We must prepare for the hard times to come and be willing to let God take back what he generously lent to us. Our only way of putting God first is through prayer, and God will grant us the ability to love him more than anything else in this life, making the tough times bearable.

Dear Lord, thank you for giving us our loved ones, no matter how long of a time we have with them. cc

By Ashlea Massie
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“ . . . for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5b

Abandonment is a common issue in this world. Maybe you have experienced it yourself.

Your spouse may have decided to leave you when life became tough, but God says he will stick with you no matter how hard it gets. Your family members may have been pushed to the limit and have had enough of you, but God doesn’t feel that way about his children.

Regardless of whether you feel abandoned or not, take time to develop your relationship with the Lord. When you take baby steps toward relying on him as your source of comfort, you will find that the comfort provided by people pales in comparison.

Even for those who have ever experienced abandonment, developing your relationship with God will help you be well equipped if the time comes. You won’t act as disappointed and hurt as one who has not known the unending love of God.

His love is unconditional and the deepest love you will ever experience. You can’t compare it to the love that your family members, spouse, or anyone else has given you. In fact, it exceeds any human love you’ve ever experienced.

God reminds us that he will always be with us both in good times and bad times. We may try his patience with our sinful selves on a daily basis, but he is patient and faithful, continuing to care for us anyway.

Why not take comfort in this promise of God to never leave you or forsake you? Love others and let them love you, but love God first and embrace his eternal love as your joy.

Dear Lord, please give me the ability to rely on you as my sole source of joy and comfort. Thank you for not abandoning me. Amen.

By Ashlea Massie
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“But he said to me,My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.2 Corinthians 12:9

I looked at the healing scar. Once hideous, it was now a very long and perfectly straight diagonal line, quite different from its initial appearance. Although the doctor seemed to feel a bit sorry that the scar ended up so long, it did not bother me then because it was a reminder of God’s grace to me during that time. It continues to be so today.

That reminder pushes me to serve God continuously. I want to give my all to someone who not only gave his all for me on the cross but also continues to keep on giving. We have a God that continues to care for us in spite of our sin. Such love should draw us to him!

Perhaps you have important scars too. Scars that marked a time in your life when your health was failing or when a sudden accident occurred. Perhaps your scars are not physical like mine are, but emotional. You have memories of difficult moments in the past that have shaped your life.

These scars are meant to draw us closer to the Lord, not further from Him. They shape us into better servants for his kingdom. When God’s grace is extended to us in the form of healing, we are able to reflect on who we are and what we can become as his sons and daughters. We have a God that continues to care for us in spite of our scarred past. Doesn’t that make the scars beautiful?

Dear Lord, please give me the strength to know how to serve you each day and follow through with it by making the most of the time you have graciously given to me. Let the trials in my life remind me of your goodness. Amen.

By Ashlea Massie
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“And they said to her, No, we will return with you to your people.’Ruth 1:10

Imagine never leaving your hometown. The only people you know are the ones who live there. It’s your whole life and contains all of your memories. You can’t imagine ever moving.

Now imagine unforeseeable circumstances render you unable to stay. You’re now moving to a completely foreign city filled with new people. Technology isn’t available to communicate with anyone you know. That’s exactly what Ruth did, not because she was forced to, but because she loved her mother-in-law and God more than her home.

The Christian life is full of dying to self for our God. Ruth is a prime example of that. Instead of doing her own thing, Ruth decided to care for her mother-in-law and bear the burden of loneliness and of widowhood, even if it lasted until her own demise. She chose to step out of her comfort zone, trusting that God would provide.

The happy ending to this sacrifice is that God honored her for her ability to let go and give him control. God gave her a spouse who would ease her financial woes, as well as a child, and he allowed Ruth to be an ancestor to the great king David.

Has there been a time in your life where you didn’t want to do what God commanded you to do? What if the best is yet to come, just like Ruth’s journey? Don’t settle for the familiar. Take up your cross and follow God’s leading. No matter what comes, you won’t regret it.

Dear Lord, please give me the ability to make sacrifices for your glory knowing that you will always do what’s best for me and guide me through all obstacles. Amen.

By Ashlea Massie
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“The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful.” 2 Timothy 2:11-13

Have you ever had a friend abandon you after a terrible rumour was spread around about you? Or what about a friend who often dumped you for something better if they were invited to a more exciting event? What about a friend who used you to relieve their boredom or to improve their status?

Once you have been around long enough, you will come to the realization that many of your “friends” are a disappointment. They can let you down when you least expect it. Perhaps, like others, you’ve had so many let downs that you wonder if anyone will faithfully stand with you until the end.

Too many times, people will betray us for no justifiable reason. Sometimes, even after we offer a justifiable reason, they still let us down. People may disappoint us; however God promises that he will always remain with us, no matter what, if we accept Jesus as our Savior.

God will not forsake us. As Jesus ascended into heaven in Matthew 28:20, he said that he’d still be with us until the very end of the age. He remains steadfast in his friendship towards us. He is our example whom we look to for true friendship. What a comfort.

Instead of wondering if you will ever have friends or find faithful ones, make God your best friend. Spend more time in the Word and in prayer, drawing closer to him because he has promised never to forsake you!

Dear Lord, please help me to understand that you are the only true friend I need. Let me recognize that if I have you, I have everything. Make me desire you alone, and satisfy my longing for a friend through you. Amen.

By Ashlea Massie
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“By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.”  Hebrews 11:4

In Hebrew, Abel, or Habal, means vapour or vanity, in the sense that it is of little substance and brief. Therefore, based upon the context of the passage in Genesis, scholars assume Abel died young, before he and his brother, Cain, both married and had children.

We tend to think of the death of someone young more mournfully than others. And in reading the story of Cain and Abel, we see Abel’s death at Cain’s jealous hands as a life unfairly cut off. Abel seemed to have so much potential!

Even though Abel apparently died young, we are reminded in Hebrews that outward appearances don’t always dictate the circumstances. His righteous lifestyle echoed throughout the ages and is still discussed today. His humble and reverent attitude serves as a reminder to us that no life, no matter how short, is vapour in God’s eyes when we are walking with him.

God has the ability to take the tragedy of a short-lived life like Abel’s and turn it into a household story, an eternal way to glorify God. Abel is our reminder that what others see on the outside isn’t necessarily what God sees. Serving God all of our days, no matter how short or long they are, is eternally impactful, and to God, such a life is never wasted.

Think about your life, no matter how short or long it’s been so far. Have your actions glorified God? If not, now is the time to walk closer to his ways so, like Abel, you can glorify him.

Dear Lord, please give me the ability to glorify you to the best of my ability. Show me the ways I can serve you better and guide me in spreading your name to the nations. Amen.

By Ashlea Massie
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“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” 1 Peter 2:16

When you think of “freedom,” what do you think of? Emancipation from slavery? Getting out of jail? Leaving work? Moving out of the house? Freedom is associated with all of those thoughts and more.

Today, many tend to associate freedom to mean “free to do as I please.” This concept applies to all of the categories mentioned above. A slave becomes free from his master’s commands. An ex-con can now do things without being guarded all the time. An employee is now free to relax outside of work. A young adult can abide by his or her own wishes instead of his or her parents’ wishes.

The Bible mentions the word “free” or “freedom” many times throughout the New Testament. But the Bible associates freedom with something else entirely.

Being free in Christ means a different kind of freedom. It is the freedom from being enslaved to sin.

Nonbelievers don’t have the means to be freed from their habitual sins apart from Christ. They hopelessly continue to fight and struggle without any resolution.

We have been redeemed! We are freed from the vicious sin cycle that ensnares nonbelievers. Although we may struggle in this life, our struggle is not in vain. We have eternal freedom.

We don’t have to worry about sin entangling us to the point where we cannot be delivered. We don’t have to live in hopelessness. Yes, we will still sin, but sin doesn’t have us beat. We can conquer whatever sin comes our way through Christ.

Dear Lord, please give me the ability to conquer sin in my life. Give me the strength that I need, which will give me the hope of victory. Amen.

Think about an area in life that may be enslaving you. Have a problem with lying incessantly? Negative attitude? Harsh words? Whatever it may be, honestly ask Christ to help you defeat these sins so you can be free.

By Ashlea Massie

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“For God sometimes uses sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from sin and seek eternal life. We should never regret his sending it. But the sorrow of the man who is not a Christian is not the sorrow of true repentance and does not prevent eternal death.”
2 Corinthians 7:10

Frank often referred to himself proudly as a self-made man. He bragged that in his youth he had been so poor he didn’t have two nickels to rub together. Now his real estate holdings and various business enterprises were worth tens of millions of dollars. He was a pillar in the community, able to give generously to civic and philanthropic causes.  His philosophy was that there was no God, and every man had to make it on his own. He laughed at the weaklings who needed the crutch of church.

Then his world began to fall apart. His only son was sent to prison for pushing drugs. His daughter had an automobile accident that left her partially paralyzed for life; and his wife, whom he had largely ignored for years, announced she was in love with someone else and demanded a divorce. Meanwhile, because he had become lax in his business dealings, one of his partners embezzled several million dollars from him.

By this time, he was devastated, and, therefore, was open to spiritual counsel. After the Holy Spirit showed him his spirit of pride and selfishness, he opened his heart to Christ and the miracle took place. Now, he frequently quotes this passage: “God sometimes uses sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from sin and seek eternal life.

Though his son is still in prison, and his daughter still paralyzed, he and his wife are reconciling, and his heart is filled with joy and thanksgiving to God. He is no longer a proud, “successful” businessman, but a humble child of God, a servant who discovered the hard way that everyone needs God.

For every Frank there are hundreds of others experiencing heartache and tragedy who have not repented. Yet, God offers to all men and women the priceless gift of abundant and supernatural life.

Bible Reading: Proverbs 28:12-14

Thought: I shall seek to live the full, abundant, supernatural life, walking in faith and obedience, so that God will not find it necessary to discipline me in order to bless me.

By Dr. Bill Bright
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“And they say, ‘The LORD does not see; the God of Jacob does not perceive….’ He who planted the ear, does he not hear? He who formed the eye, does he not see? … For the LORD will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage.” Psalm 94:7, 9, 14

Are you praying for the salvation of a loved one? That new job you so desperately want?
A spouse? Children? Do you feel as if your prayers go unanswered, seemingly to fall on deaf ears — possibly for years on end?

The psalmist noticed this was a common feeling among his people. Many of those around him truly believed God paid no attention to their oppressive situation. They were obviously in distress, but God wasn’t intervening to fix their circumstances. It seemed like He was oblivious to their pain and suffering.

The psalmist reminded them of a basic truth: how could the Creator forget what He created? God wasn’t blind to their pain or their situation. God did hear. He would save them, in time. Further in Psalm 94 he pointed out to the Israelites all the times God had personally delivered him out of dire situations. The psalmist’s testimony revealed that since God was able to save him from painful circumstances, the Lord would surely deliver His people from unjust situations.

This is a reminder for us too.

God may not deliver you from your situation in the way that you want, but He certainly hears your pleas. He will give you the strength to either endure your current situation, find joy in an unexpectedly different outcome, or eventually grant your desired outcome. Rest in God’s promise that He hears and saves!

Lord God, help me to believe that you truly do hear and care. Give me the hope that you will act in the best timing possible, and faith in knowing that, in the meantime, you will walk with me through this pain. Amen.

Thought — Is there perhaps an alternative to your desired outcome that could surprise you into realizing it’s better than your wildest dreams? Go to God to ask for guidance, pleading for contentment in the waiting.

By Ashlea Massie

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And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”  Philippians 1:6

When I first began track in high school, I remember how daunting running seemed. I hoped to compete in sprints. I felt that was much easier than running longer distances, because I ran out of breath each time I attempted it.

To my shock, the coach told me she wanted me to compete in the longer distances, hoping I’d say yes to running the 2400-meter. She’d observed me long enough to recognize that I had endurance, something many others on my team did not. I couldn’t believe her though because I was sure I wouldn’t be able to run a mile. Although I initially disbelieved my coach’s faith in my abilities, I found out that I was able to run a mile without quitting. She was right!

The Christian life is a lot like that as well. We worry that the journey to where we need to be will become long and difficult. It feels like we won’t make it. It’s easier just to give in and not push ourselves. But God has given us all the gift of endurance through His Spirit that indwells us — something we often forget we have so we end up not using it.

Since God has graciously granted us endurance, we do have the ability to complete our race on earth. We may struggle to get there, but we shouldn’t ever quit. As Paul states later in his letter to the church in Philippi, we have the strength to continue on in Christ: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).

Dear Father in Heaven, we have everything we need in Christ. It’s up to us to use it! Help us to believe that what you are calling us to do is achievable, and that you will give us the endurance to accomplish it as long as we trust in you. Train us up Lord in your ways. Amen.

By Ashlea Massie
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By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.Hebrews 11:9

Do you ever stop to think about your sin? Maybe you feel overwhelmed, tired of the daily struggle against sin. Perhaps you wonder why God continues to guide you, to love you, to keep you in the faith. If anyone had reason to wonder that, it would have been Jacob.

Jacob wasn’t the most righteous man on earth. He definitely wasn’t mentioned as righteous like Job was. He wasn’t taken up to heaven like Enoch. Jacob deceived his father to get what he wanted. He had children with four women. His family was a mess as well. In fact, Jacob didn’t have a spiritual awakening until later in his life.

Jacob was a train wreck, and yet what do we see in Hebrews? He’s in the hall of faith. He received the same promise Abraham and Isaac received: part temporal and part eternal. Jacob received the promise his descendants would be a great nation and the eternal gift they would be children of God.

God doesn’t give up on His children, even when they fall short. Just look at Jacob. God continued to guide him, bless him, and even allowed Jacob to die with all of his children near him, including his long lost son, Joseph. We need not constantly worry about all of our shortcomings and how we miss the mark. Instead, we should focus on becoming righteous, with the help of the Holy Spirit, by having faith that God will continue to carry us, come what may.

Dear Lord, thank you for saving us despite our inadequacy and failures. Please give me the grace to fight sin in light of your love. Amen.

Read Hebrews 11

By Ashlea Massie
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Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.”  John 4:35-36

How would you feel if a loved one was dying, and the only person on earth who could save them was the doctor in the emergency room — but this specific doctor chose to not do it? Instead, he let your loved one die. You would be furious, wouldn’t you?

Jesus’s words are a constant reminder to us, as believers, that there are many struggling people in the world who are literally dying to hear the Gospel — but there’s no one willing to tell them. They are lost and on their way to hell. We have the ability to give them the good news that could save their lives, but do we chose to tell them? Or do we go about our own agenda instead?

We can choose to be the people at the end of the passage who obey Christ’s command and share the good news, impacting others for Christ and leading them into the kingdom.

Both you and I can share the joy of salvation with someone else, but only when we remember God’s call is for us to die to our fears and selfish ambitions and witness to those around us. Their eternal end doesn’t have to be miserable if we muster up the courage to share the Gospel. It can be rewarding for us, and for them, so that both are rejoicing, just as the passage states.

So what are you waiting for? Go out there and share! There are people who need saving and are dying to hear it.

Dear Lord, please grant me the courage to fulfill your calling for me, pushing aside fear to help the lost. Provide people my way who are ripe and ready to receive your Word, and let me not neglect them. Amen.

By Ashlea Massie
Used by Permission

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