Monday, December 27, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Luke 2: 19 is one of my favorite verses of the CHRISTmas story. It says "....but Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart." That verse reveals to us just how human Mary was. She may have been highly favored by God, she may have been the mother of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, but she was still a MOTHER.
So today, the day after CHRISTmas, I wonder what Mary and Joseph did the day after Jesus' birth? When the shepherds were gone back to the fields, the angels were gone back to Heaven and outside the stable, life went on in Bethlehem as usual, what did Mary and Joseph do?
Scripture is silent about those immediate days following Jesus' birth. It does not pick up again til he was eight days old. I believe in my mother's heart, that God allowed them those few days to just be Mommy and Daddy...to hold Jesus close to their heart, to sing to Him, to rock Him, to drink in the sweet fragrance of that new baby skin. God knew what would lay ahead for this Son of His. He knew that Herod would seek to kill Him. He knew that some 30 years later he'd begin his public ministry. But for those few short days, I believe that God just allowed them to enjoy their baby boy before He was shown to anyone or known by anyone.
God is just sweet like that. He understands us. He cares about how we feel. He understands the deepest longings of our heart and He delights in giving good gifts to us. Mary was highly favored of God. He knew her heart and as she pondered all that had happened to her, as she thought about this miracle she was holding in her arms, He gave her the gift of time to be alone with her baby for a short time.
Has God been sweet to you lately? Maybe you haven't had the time to notice. But He is so incredibly sweet! That is not a word that is often associated with God, but I tell you it is a word that just describes Him to me. Maybe it's because that is a word we use often here in the south. When someone does something really nice for us, it is common for us to say "Oh Darling...that was so sweet of you!!" So I guess it comes naturally to me, a good old southern girl, to find myself saying often "Oh God...that was so sweet of you!! You didn't have to do that for me, but you did!! Thank you!"
Those "sweet" blessings are what I call my "truffles from God". Psalm 63: 14 says "So I will praise You as long as I live; at Your name, I will lift up my hands. You satisfy me as with rich food [what better rich food than truffles?!]; my mouth will praise You with joyful lips." That says to me that God satisfies me with lots of SWEET things, things that are rich and delightful like truffles.
God has blessed me with several dear friends from our Bible study that are just a delight to be around. They make me laugh, they encourage me and together we lift each other up and pray for each other. I have had so much fun with them this past year, that I've actually dubbed them "my Truffles"...and they are. They are a sweet blessing from the Lord and I treasure them.
But they are not my only truffles. God constantly does things for me and blesses me in so many ways. So I think I'm going to try to keep a list in 2011 of all the "sweet" things that God does for me. And, maybe at the end of the year, I'll share some of those with you! Maybe you will want to even start a list of your own. I think it would amaze you if you did!
Saturday, December 25, 2010
That's it. That's the CHRISTmas story! That is the Gospel wrapped up in one sentence, 29 words that sum up the Bible.
Genesis 3:15 first predicted the Messiah, and this verse shows the fulfillment of that. He was born to die, and even as he was laid in "swaddling clothes" which were nothing more than strips of cloth like they wrap a body in for burial, he was being pointed toward the cross, His ultimate destiny and our salvation.
He was born in poverty that we might be rich. He came clothed in humanity so that one day we would be like He is, eternal and glorified through His love and grace.
He came, knowing that some would never make room for Him in their hearts.
How about you? Have you made room?
This CHRISTmas I pray that each of you reading this will ask yourself that question. He came that YOU might have life, everlasting life...."For God so loved the world [YOU] that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever [YOU] believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16
That is HIS gift to you today. I hope you will receive it and open it and delight in all that it holds. It is truly the greatest gift you could ever receive!
Happy Birthday, Jesus!!
Friday, December 24, 2010
The manger is empty.
Yes, I know when you look at the nativity, the baby is IN the manger. And CHRISTmas is the time when we celebrate the birth of our Savior. But for many, they still see Jesus as the baby in the manger. I just want to remind you, He is no longer a baby and He is no longer in the manger.
Neither is He still on the cross. He went to that cross for you and for me. He paid our sin debt and three days later He arose. Today He is seated at the right hand of the Father, just waiting His word to return and bring time to an end. BUT...and here is the most important part....for those of us who are believers, He is not in the manger, nor on the cross, He is IN our hearts! And that's what I'm celebrating today and tomorrow and every day!!!
If you've never invited Jesus to come and take up residence in YOUR heart, you can do so today and have the best CHRISTmas you've ever had!!
Today, if you see a manger scene, where is JESUS to you?
Thursday, December 23, 2010
They were expecting pomp and circumstance. They got the lowing of cattle and baas of sheep.
They were expecting he'd come in splendor. He came in a borrowed feeding stall.
They were expecting golden trumpets to herald his coming through the streets of Jerusalem. Instead angels announced his birth to lowly shepherds on a hillside in Bethlehem, and a silent star directed the wise men to his humble home.
They were expecting him to establish an earthly kingdom, instead He offered them an eternal home in Heaven.
They expected him to hob-nob with the rich and famous....after all, he'd be a king...and they were looking to be at his right hand. He spent his time with sinners...the down and out, the misfits, the lowest of the low.
Yes, he did not come as the king they expected. But he was the Messiah, no less. And He IS the KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS.
The first time they mocked Him as King. When He returns, they will all fall at His feet, proclaiming Him King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
"Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords" I Timothy 6: 15
"These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful" Rev. 17:14
"And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." Rev. 19: 16
It is significant then that we use a crown as a CHRISTmas symbol. It should remind us that although He came as a man, born in a manger, He will return as THE KING.
As princes and princesses, heirs of the Kingdom, we also shall have crowns:
"Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." II Tim. 4:8
"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him."
"And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." I Peter 5:4
"And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold." Rev. 4:4
What then shall we do with our crowns? Shall we wear them and sit on thrones beside THE KING? No. Although we WILL rule and reign with Him, we shall cast our crowns at His feet, for He alone is worthy to be praised!
"The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,'Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.'" Rev. 4: 9-11
This CHRISTmas maybe you will want to search for a crown to hang upon your tree just to remind you that the baby did not remain in the manger, but is coming again as KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS!!! Hallelujah to the King!!
Post Script: I completed the above post, then picked up my JESUS CALLING devotional to read in today's entry:
Monday, December 13, 2010
Although HOPE is not traditionally a symbol of CHRISTmas, it has everything to do with CHRISTmas because JESUS is our hope.
He is our hope of tomorrow. He tells us in John 3:16 that "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have EVERLASTING life." Our life is hid in Him, it is eternal, everlasting. The knowledge of that gives me hope. Paul wrote that if our hope was only in Christ in THIS life only, our lives would be most miserable. (I Cor. 15: 18-20)
Our hope is also in the fact that one day, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we will be made righteous. "For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness." Although God sees us now as righteous through the blood of Christ, one day when we shed this earthly body and no longer have a sin nature, we will finally truly be righteous. I don't know about you, but that gives me a great deal of hope to know that I will not always be plagued by the sin nature.
We also have hope in knowing that one day we will see JESUS and will spend eternity with Him!! Paul again speaks of hope in Colossians 1: 4-6 when he refers to our hope as "the hope which is laid up for you in Heaven." Jesus Himself gave us this hope in John 14: 1-4 when He promised us "Let not your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house [Heaven] are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. If I go to prepare a place for you I will come back and receive you to Myself that where I am, there ye may be also."
That gives me the greatest HOPE of all...that one day I will SEE JESUS myself, face to face. He is waiting for me. He is preparing a place for me. And, it also reminds me and gives me the hope that I will see my loved ones there as well.
A year ago today, our sweet Mamaw went to be with the Lord. Oh how we have missed her!! It has been difficult for all of us to adjust to the absence of her presence. Those twinkling blue eyes, her beautiful smile, her mischievousness and her wonderful sense of humor and most of all, her great love for her family are things each of us miss. So many times this past year, I've been hit by a sudden and unexpected wave of grief as something would trigger a memory of her. As my daughter and I were at her house going through some things recently, I came across some business cards that my daughter had made her so that she could hand them out to "customers" who wanted to purchase her fried pies, banana nut bread and other goodies that she was famous for making. My eyes filled with tears and I had to choke back the emotions that flooded my heart. I was reminded of the love that went into making those cards and the joy with which they were received...a special bond between granddaughter and grandmother. Just last week I was walking into church for our granddaughter's preschool program, when out of nowhere I was slammed again as I remembered that it was just a year ago that I walked into church for a preschool program, only that day was overshadowed by tremendous grief as I knew that day that Mamaw was in the hospital and she was dying. I remembered how hard that day had been. I remembered how terribly difficult that entire week had been...probably one of the hardest of our family's life.
But today I have HOPE. Hope that I will see her again one day. Hope that tells me that although we are sad without her presence, we KNOW that she is with Jesus and that she is dancing with the angels! (She loved to dance as a young girl!) And, if there is food in Heaven, you can be assured that her mansion is filled with the smell of banana nut bread cooking in the oven and peanut butter cookies fill her cookie jar. I also have the hope that she is happy, all tears have been wiped from her eyes and there is no more pain, no more worry, and no more death. She is at the feet of her Savior, worshipping Him, and her worship has just begun because as one of her favorite songs tells " when we've been there 10,000 years, bright shining as the sun, we've no less days to sing God's praise than when we first begun". [Amazing Grace]
Today we can rejoice in our Savior JESUS CHRIST whose birth we celebrate this CHRISTmas. Because our hope is in Him, we have bright HOPE for the future...a hope that is eternal and true for all who know Him and call Him Savior.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Matthew 2:2 says "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him."
After the birth of Jesus, a star appeared in the east. For many years, the Jewish people had been waiting for the Messiah to come. Micah had prophesied that "out of you [Bethlehem] will come a leader who will shepherd My people Israel." (Micah 5:2) So they knew that something wonderful was going to happen in Bethlehem. Yet it was the wise men, Gentiles, who first saw the star and acknowledged that it was HIS star.
So what would make them take notice of a star? Stars shine in the sky most nights. What was so unique about this particular star?
First of all, this was not a literal star. That's quite a shocker, isn't it? How can that be?
The Greek word for "star" is "brilliance". So there was a "brilliance", shining much like a star in the sky. But notice that the star MOVES. Actual stars move, but only slightly over the course of years. Actually, when it appears, it is just due to the earth's rotation.
To guide the wise men from the east to Jerusalem and then on to Bethlehem, the star would have had to move from est to east, then north to south. Something that literal stars do not do.
Stars also do not hover, as many photographs portray the star doing as it hangs almost within reach of the roof of the stable where Jesus was born. (Another mistake, as the wise men did not come to the stable where Jesus was born. They came to his house when he was a toddler "It led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child was.....entering the house [not the stable or barn]]...they saw the child [not the baby] with His mother Mary." (Matt. 2: 9, 11) If the star had hovered as often pictured, the heat from it would have ignited the roof of the house.
So, it we conclude this was NOT a literal star, what was it?
It was the Shekinah glory, the visible manifestation of God, much like the pillar of cloud that led the Israelites through the Wilderness by day and the pillar of fire that led them by night. "Skeine`" in Greek means to tabernacle with, which means to come and go.
The Shekinah glory appears a number of times in the Bible. As mentioned above, it appeared to the Chilren of Israel several times. It also appeared to shepherds the night of Jesus birth when Luke tells that in Luke 2:9 that "behold the angel of the Lord stood before them and the GLORY OF THE LORD shone round about them".
The greatest manifestion of the Shekinah Glory from Adam to Christ, however, was not the star, nor the pillar of cloud or pillar of fire. It was Jesus Christ himself as He reflected His Father's glory.
From Christ to the end of time, WE, as believers, are to be the Shekinah glory to others around us. That is, we are reflect Christ in such a way that we are like a light in a dark place. Ephesians 1:6 tells us we are to "to the praise of His glory" on our way to Heaven. We are not to get the praise, we are to BE the praise. He alone is worthy of all praise, honor and glory!
So this CHRISTmas when you see the star portrayed in manger scenes, CHRISTmas cards or photographs, just remember that is just an illustration. The real star shines in your heart, if you are a believer. Jesus is the star that illuminates our darkness and we are to, in turn, be lights to a sin darkened world.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
It was a large home, beautifully decorated throughout. As you entered the home, you were in a large foyer with a winding staircase to the second floor...very elegant.
An enormous CHRISTmas tree filled the foyer. But as I looked closer I realized very quickly that this was not your ordinary CHRISTmas tree. This tree was beautifully decorated with symbols of the names of Jesus.
There were small baskets of bread, symbolizing Jesus as the Bread of Life; wooly sheep representative of His being Our Shepherd; beautiful pink roses for the Rose of Sharon; small nosegays of lilies of the valley because He is called the Lily of the Valley; shining stars for He is our Star and on and on.... It was, without a doubt, the most beautiful, most impressive tree I'd ever seen.
We often get so familiar with Bible stories that the details are overlooked. We all know the CHRISTmas story of Jesus being born in a manger in Bethlehem. We see countless nativity scenes throughout the holidays, we decorate with them. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it is a wonderful way to keep the focus on Christ during the holidays.
But, maybe we need to take a moment to really think about what the symbols of CHRISTmas are really all about. So for the next few days I want to draw your attention to the names of Jesus, to some of the very symbols we decorate our trees with.
Today let's begin with the sheep. In every nativity we see sheep. The shepherds who came to worship Jesus the night he was born may have been followed into town by a few of their sheep. In my nativity, a shepherd is carrying a lamb. Shepherds often do that if the lamb has been injured. Scripture does not tell us whether the sheep came with the shepherds, but it does tell us about the shepherds. I do believe it is significant that the angels made their first announcement of the Savior's birth to a group of lowly shepherds out on a hillside. Jesus did not come just for the rich and powerful. He came for the common man as well. He came for all.
Shepherds were held in low esteem in Jewish society. They lived out away from everyone. They lived WITH their sheep. No one lives with cows or horses. But because sheep are so dumb and require constant care, a shepherd must stay with his sheep. Interesting, isn't it, that God compares US to sheep?
Jesus is referred to in John 10:11 as the Good Shepherd, "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep" and in verse 14 He says "I am the good shepherd and know my sheep and am know of mine".
A shepherd cares for his sheep with a watchful eye. "All we like sheep have gone astray" Isaiah 53: 6. Without the constant attention of the Shepherd, the sheep will stray into dangerous territory or become pray to wild animals.
He provides for their needs. Psalm 23 says "The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. . He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul." A shepherd must constantly be moving the sheep to where there is grass. Left on their own, a sheep will just continue to graze right down to the dirt. He must be taken to clean, pure water. Drinking from a stagnant pond could mean death to a sheep. And, sheep will not drink from a moving stream. It must be still water.
Yes, sheep require a lot of care and attention....just like we do. And, the shepherd must be constantly at their side. Jesus is our Good Shepherd. He provides and protects. He leads us, He guides us, He tenderly cares for us.
This CHRISTmas as you view the sheep and shepherds in your nativity, recognize the meaning behind the symbol and thank God for your GOOD SHEPHERD.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Right now the stores are all competing for our business, and if you are like me, you are scouring the ads and the emails for the best buys on what you are searching for this CHRISTmas. I understand that they even have an app for those of you with iphones that will search out the best price on any item you are looking for!
Here are just a few of the great buys I've seen just today:
Snapfish.com has 35% off all photo books....
Coldwatercreek.com has 25% off EVERYTHING and FREE SHIPPING....
Joann.com has huge sales on everything and for TODAY (Monday) only FREE SHIPPING, no minimum purchase required...
Old Navy has Buy One Get One FREE on all sweaters for the family and if you use the coupon from Sunday's paper and spend $50, you get $10 back
Photoworks.com Get 5 photo gifts for $5 each with FREE SHIPPING
15% off EVERYTHING at Kohl's with shopping pass...today is the last day
HP All in One printer at Walmart $20 shipped (includes ink cartridges)
Walmart - Hungry Hippos game .24 with coupon from this weeks Smart Source coupon $5 off 1 game
Hope these will inspire some of you to get your shopping done while the deals last. But you know, just as the deals won't last, neither will any of these things that you are buying. All of them, even the BEST of them, will eventually wear out, come apart, be replaced by a better product, or go out of style. None of them will last forever. Some of them will not even survive CHRISTmas!!
However, there is a gift that will never wear out, never grow old, never go out of style or be replaced by a better model. It never requires batteries or chargers. It can never be outgrown. The value of it will never diminish. In fact, it grows more precious the longer you have it.
That gift is JESUS.
He is the same yesterday, today and forever more.
He is more priceless than rubies, more precious than diamonds.
He will never disappoint you, never fail you, never leave you or forsake you.
The one you purchase the above gift for may decide tomorrow that you are not good enough, not pretty enough, not rich enough or that you do not measure up in some form or fashion. But Jesus says come just the way you are and I will love you forever. In fact, He said "But God commended His love toward us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
This CHRISTmas you can have the greatest GIFT of all. You can have the gift of Jesus Christ, an eternal gift that keeps on giving forever and ever and ever. He truly is the greatest gift of all. Do you know Him? If not, please contact me. I'd love to share with you how you can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and have the best CHRISTmas you have ever had!!!!!!!!!
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
As we enter the CHRISTmas season, may we direct our eyes to the Scriptures to read of the One whose birthday we celebrate....JESUS.
Isaiah prophecied many years prior to Jesus' birth that a Savior would be coming...the Messiah. He told the people that He would be very special....WONDERFUL....MIGHTY....ETERNAL....PEACE.
They waited for Him. They watched for Him. Yet most did not recognize Him when He came. Most Jews are still waiting for Him today.
"The Old Testament books in the Bible (all of them written between 1450 BC and 430 BC) contained hundreds of prophecies about an “anointed one” (“Messiah” in Hebrew) who would arrive in their future. The Messiah would “deliver” or “save” all the Jewish people, bringing them to paradise or heaven. These prophecies also stated that the Messiah would save all the other people in the world “through the Jews.” For this reason, people who are not Jewish need to learn about the Messiah, too." (Clarifying Christianity (c) 1998)
Even with all that evidence, they still missed Him.
Today, God continually reveals Himself to us every day. He demonstrates His love for us, yet many fail to see it. He provides protection, yet many chalk it up to "coincidence" or "karma".
This CHRISTmas season, don't miss the obvious.
JESUS is the reason for the season.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
I am thankful for a wonderful husband of 37 years....for his love, his provision, his protection, his faithfulness and his love for God.
I am thankful for my precious children....both of them are my heart and I cannot imagine life without either of them. THANK YOU GOD!!!
I am thankful for my both by son-in-love and daughter-in-love....what gifts they are to our children and to our family. True blessings, indeed!
I am thankful for our two beautiful, precious, adorable granddaughters.....the very joys of my life! Thank you God they are healthy and strong. What a gift to us!!
I am thankful for my mother. She has loved me, supported me, been there for me, prayed for me and given to me in more ways than I could ever begin to count. I am blessed to be her daughter.
I am thankful for friends. God has blessed me above measure with friends....some I've known a lifetime, some I've only known a short time but will know for eternity because we are sisters in the Lord. How they've blessed me, ministered to me, prayed for me, and loved me, blessing me more than I can even begin to recount. I thank the Lord for EACH one of them.
I am thankful for our extended family....each one so special...so treasured.
I am thankful for our church. Oh what a blessing it is to us. Our pastor, our women's ministry, the heart of a church whose focus is sharing Christ with others.
I am thankful for our freedom...for our country. I am thankful to be able to speak openly about the Lord, to read my Bible, to pray openly, to meet openly, not in fear.
I am thankful for the Bible. Even though the Word is being made available on "Kindle", on iphones, and all other sorts of technology ( and I'm not knocking that. I see the benefits of that, too), there is just something so awesome, so powerful and so precious to me about just holding the Word of God in my hands. It is God breathed, it is holy and it is HIS WORDS to us!!
I am thankful for a home, a safe, comfortable place to live, with warm beds to sleep in, running water..HOT water at the turn of a faucet. I saw a 60 minutes piece last week about Haiti and the refugees who are living in makeshift tents on the median of a highway with their entire family literally feet from whizzing cars and trucks!! Cholera is at epidemic levels due to the terrible conditions and the lack of safe, clean drinking water. Yet we never give it a thought when we turn on the tap, flush the potty or take a shower. Oh God, minister to those who have so little and make us ever thankful when we have SO Much!!
I am thankful for our food....an overabundance of food. Yes, we will dive into a feast today of turkey, dressing, and all the trimmings and we will leave with overly full bellies and probaby still eat again before bedtime. Yet around the world today there are literally millions who will not have a bite to eat today, who are watching as their children waste away from hunger right before their eyes and they have no food to give them. I cannot imagine. May we be truly THANKFUL as we enjoy what we have today and pray for those who do not.
I am thankful for my health. As the years are creeping up on me, I realize more and more how precious the gift of good health is. Our bodies are decaying from the time we are born. I had a good friend who used to say "We are in the land of the dying on the way to the land of the living". Yet I look around at so many who are battling catastropic illnesses, who never live a day without pain. I thought of several this morning whose parents are in the nursing home with alzheimers. They will not be at their Thanksgiving table today and even if they were there, they would not know them. For those of you who are there, my heart goes out to you and I have prayed for each of you I know today whose mom is there.
I am thankful to be able to walk, to talk, to see, to hear, to smell and to taste....to feel, to be able to move under my own power. Oh how we take those things for granted til we can no longer do them.
I am thankful for the beauty of the fall....for how it reminds us of our GREAT GOD!!!
I am thankful for modern technology that allows us to communicate at the touch of a button and keep in touch with friends and family who live far away. For my sweet friend, Melissa, whose husband is in Afghanistan and can communicate with her husband often and be reassured that he is ok, that is HUGE!
I am thankful for all who are serving our country today and keeping us safe and for those who have gone before us and paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Protect them today Lord...each one of them and bless them. God bless the USA!
I am thankful for all of this and so much more....
I hope this has made you think a little about what YOU are thankful for today. Won't you take a moment before you dive into the turkey and tell Him what you are thankful for? Name your blessings one by one.
Because you see, as wonderful as all of these blessings are above...and I am truly THANKFUL for each of them................the greatest blessing of all, the thing I am MOST thankful for above all of these is JESUS!!
Thank you God for Jesus, for his death for me and His life in me. Thank you for loving me enough to send your only Son to die for me to pay a debt I did not owe because I owed a debt I could not pay. What love!!!!!!!!! What mercy!!!! What grace!!
THANK YOU GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Mamaw was a keeper, in more ways than one. She found it very difficult to part with things. Having grown up during the Depression era, she knew the value of finding uses for everything, even if it appeared old and worn, you might could use it for SOMETHING later on ( a trait her son - my husband - inherited from her). She also was very sentimental...a trait that I totally relate to...which meant she found it hard to let go of anything given to her by a child, grandchild, friend or acquaintance.
So for days we have priced her "treasures"....ceramic angels of every shape and size; boxes of sewing patterns and fabric and notions; boxes of craft supplies from plastic apples to pipe cleaners to doll parts; lots and lots of clothes; tablecloths, brand new kitchen towels, and tons of Christmas decorations, cookware, pots and pans....just to name a few.
We would be going along fine then suddenly we would run across some little object that would evoke a memory of the woman we loved so much. Her dented aluminum funnel that she used canning literally hundreds of jars of her delicious pickles, preserves and chili sauce brought tears to our eyes, the pain of our loss still fresh after almost a year. You could not look at that funnel without seeing Mamaw standing there in her worn apron stirring a pot on the stove. That was her favorite place in the world.
Going through her cabinets we found some serving pieces that she had made herself during her pottery phase back in the late 70's....complete with the orange and yellow mushrooms that were so popular back then. Beautifully crafted and glazed, you would not have known it was handmade had you not seen her initials on the bottom of the dish and the date. What a treasure for us to have. We also have the ceramic CHRISTmas tree that she made us during that same phase.... a gift I have treasured so much through the years and even more so, now that she is gone. I will never display it without thinking of her and how much she meant to our family. That tree is family heirloom and is priceless to me.
Yes, her house was full of lots of things and as the customers filed through her house yesterday, filling their bags with her worldly goods, I could not help but think to myself "You are buying all of her worldly goods, none of which was that valuable in monetary terms, but we, her family, got the best part of all. We got her for 95 years and her influence and love and gentleness cannot be bought or sold. When the house is empty of all her worldly possessions, and the house is finally sold, we will each have a few of her earthly treasures to keep and cherish, but she will always be a part of us and THAT is the greatest treasure of all!!"
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Another favorite of hers is the story of Esther. She has the movie of this so she is familiar with the story. I think that is great and I thank God for all that her parents are doing to point her to Jesus and to His Word. I was grown before I ever heard the story of Esther.
Yesterday we were riding in the car and she was listening to that story. She began asking questions about the story and one of her questions was "Why did Haman want to kill all the Jews?" I told her because he hated them. Then she asked "What is hate?"
That question pierced my heart because it made me realize how innocent she is and how (thankfully) protected she is. She has a wonderful Mom and Dad and extended family who love her and cherish her. She lives in a safe neighborhood. And, praise God, at the age of 4 she still does not know what HATE is!! Oh that it could always be that way!!!
The more I thought about that, the more I thought I WISH I COULD BE 4 AGAIN!!
Wouldn't it be great not to know anything about :
Yet even as I write this, I realize that there are many 4-year olds who HAVE experienced many of those things. How heartbreaking!
The good news is that just as my granddaughter's favorite story of the little children Jesus called to himself, He calls us to Himself, inviting us to bring all of those hurts, worries, and concerns to Him so that He can wrap His arms around us and show us how much He values us and how much He loves us. We can come to Him just as those little children in the Bible story did. His arms are open wide and He says "Come! Anyone who hears should say 'Come!'; and the one who is thirsty should come. Whosoever desires should take the living water as a gift". Rev. 21: 17 and He also says "Come to me all ye that are heavy laden and I will give you rest." Matt. 11: 28
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Her husband, Steve, had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and basically was given a "death sentence". However, God had other plans. By His amazing grace and mercy, He directed them to one of the top 3 brain surgeons in the world who practiced....where else but Little Rock, Arkansas. Dr. Yasargil performed the delicate surgery and Steve made a remarkable recovery.
I "friended" Kim on Facebook some time ago and today I saw a post from her that indicated that Steve was once again undergoing chemotherapy. I went to his Caring Bridge website and began to read of his latest journey which began in April of 2010.
Steve has once again had a brain tumor to develop in the exact spot of the previous one. Surgery and treatment have followed.
When I first met Kim she was beginning a ministry of encouragement and her theme was HOPE. We lost touch after a while and only re-connected through Facebook. As I ran across her post today and went to the CB site, I began to read her posts from the time of Steve's diagnosis in April. I am only into May so far, but I have been SO blessed by what I've read that I just HAD to post it and share it with you today.
I know SO many who are hurting, struggling and wondering what in the world God is up to in their lives. Maybe you are one of them. If not, you probably know someone who is and, if so, I pray that you will share this with them. I pray that Kim's words will be an encouragement to you. And Kim...if you read this...I thank you for allowing God to speak through your pain. God bless you!
"[God] gives good gifts and perfect gifts. Can we accept the blessings that come from God and refuse to embrace the times of pain and suffering that teach us lessons about His character and ours?
Psalms 16:5 says, "Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup. You have made my lot, secure."
I have meditated on that verse a lot this week. Our cup and our portion is our life, our circumstances, our relationships, our dreams, it is all that is going on in our lives right now. The verse says that it was assigned by the Lord. Personally chosen. Hand picked. Divinely assigned! That means that whatever I am going through has come straight from God's heart to mine. He has chosen what is in my cup based on what is best for me. I have 2 choices. I can fling the cup to the ground and reject the path God has allowed or I can offer the cup to Him, trusting He knows what is best. When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane, 3 times, he begged and he pleaded for the Father to "let this cup, pass from me." Then in complete surrender of His own plans and agenda, he cried, "not my will, but yours be done." God did not remove the cup of Christ's suffering. God knew the ultimate goal and plan. It was the only way of purchasing redemption for mankind. Heart wrenching? YES! Painful? Extremely! Worth it? Absolutely!
The end of the verse says, "you (God) have made my lot, secure."
"lot" as defined by Webster is: over all circumstances and conditions in life, including every thing that happens to you.
WOW! That is my "lot" and that is what Christ has made secure.
So let's think of this verse in light of these definitions.
Lord, you have carefully picked and chosen for me,(my cup and my portion) my life, my circumstances, my relationships, and my dreams and all the events taking place in my life, right now. You have made my (lot) circumstances and conditions in life, including every thing that happens to me to be secure.
One more thought-- God did not take away Christ's suffering even though, He asked. But....God did send angels to minister to Him during his darkest and most difficult hours."
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Her reaction made Noelle very sad. She loves the Lord so much and wanted her sweet friend to share in the joy of her relationship with Him. Yet she also knew that Jackie did not attend church nor had she ever heard her mention the Lord. But it was not as if she were an atheist either. On the contrary, Noelle knew that Jackie had grown up going to church, her family still attended church, and she had certainly never heard her say anything negative about church or God.
Noelle couldn't help but wonder if her friend ever read the Bible. Did she own one? It was not a question she had ever asked before.
As the two friends continued chatting over lunch, Noelle found herself wondering how Jackie had gone all these years without a relationship with the Lord. He was such a huge part of her own life, she could not imagine how anyone could truly have a life without Him. Yet obviously her friend did. How could she make her see what she was missing, Noelle silently wondered.
Are their any "Jackie's" in your life? Or maybe you are a Jackie.
God is not really on your priority list and you feel like life is OK without Him. It's not that you do not believe in God. You do. You also believe in the Bible. You believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross. You have nothing against those who go to church on a regular basis. Somehow you just never have gotten around to that or when you tried to find a church, you just never felt comfortable there. You think it's great that people like Noelle love to study the Bible, but it's not something you are really interested in. You aren't really sure WHY people choose to study it to be quite honest. Maybe it seems like a stuffy book to you or one that is too hard to comprehend. Maybe you feel like it's a book about people who lived thousands of years ago and has nothing to say to you in 2010.
May I share with you that the Bible is way, way more than that!! It is by far the most interesting, compelling book to ever be written. It has stood the test of time and has remained on the best seller list for hundreds of years despite those who would have destroyed it if they could. They cannot because it is God's Word...literally. It is the holy, inspired Word of God. God breathed. God ordained. God designed.
John 1:1 says "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word WAS God!" God IS the Living Word. It is the only book in the world like it. When you choose to read and study the Word, God blesses you. You are "ingesting" Him and His words become a part of you.
The Bible reveals the character of God. You cannot have a relationship with Him until you recognize WHO He is. His word reveals that. Just in the book of Psalms alone there are hundreds of definitions for WHO HE IS.
Strong high tower
Lifter up of our head
Just to name a few. From Genesis to Revelation He is revealed. You begin in Genesis at his feet and wind up in Revelation looking Him in the eye.
There is no other book that will so change your life as the Word of God.
It doesn't matter if you have never read it before, or studied it or even know the books of the Bible. You just have to start somewhere. There are numerous translations to choose from, too, so that you can find one that makes it easier to understand. I personally like the old King James version because that is what I've grown up on, but next to that I also like the Holman translation, the NIV (New International Version), and the New King James.
Bible studies are not for "intellectual types", as obviously Jackie seemed to think. Quite the contrary. They are a place where anyone can go and begin to learn. They usually focus on a book of the Bible or a topic and are a great way to get introduced to the Word if you have never had much exposure in the past.
The important thing is to start. So if you have not opened a Bible in a while, I encourage you to pick up one today. You have nothing to lose and whole lot to gain. If you need a recommendation for a Bible study, I'd be happy to give you a list.
"Blessed are they that keep his testimonies and that seek Him with their whole heart." Psalm 119: 2
"Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee." Psalm 119: 11
"Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy word." Psalm 119: 18
Sunday, September 26, 2010
In the past 20 years, worship styles have caused more division in church than probably any other single issue in the history of the church. Many feel that you must wear a coat and tie, sing only Hymns, have a robed choir accompanied by only a piano and/or organ. Others feel more comfortable coming to worship in tee shirts, jeans and flip flops, singing praises to the Lord as they are led in worship by a band then followed by a sermon by a preacher dressed in jeans and an untucked shirt. So what does it REALLY mean to worship?
Webster defines worship as "reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power; extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem".
When King David finally brought the Ark of the Lord into Jerusalem he "danced before the Lord with all his might....and as the Ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal Saul's daughter looked through a window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord" II Sam. 6: 14, 15 Was he worshipping?
"I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth." Psalm 34: 1. Is this worship?
"Praise the Lord with harp; sing unto him with psaltery and an instrument of 10 strings, sing unto him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise" Psalm 33: 1-3. Is this worship?
"And I behld and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice
Today, won't you worship with me. Won't you fall on your knees and MAGNIFY the Lord with me? When you do, all of your problems and worries and concerns will diminish in the light of His glory and His power and His mighty love for you.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
If I were to ask "Are you are Christian?" I would imagine the majority of people would answer "YES". But if you were to answer YES to that question, my next question I would ask is "What is your definition of a Christian?"
You see today many churches across this land will be filled with people who THINK they are Christians or who call themselves Christians. Many more will NOT be in church and have not been to church in a very long time, yet they still refer to themselves as Christians.
So I am asking the question for each of you who reads this to ponder and answer. Are YOU a Christian and if so, what are you basing that response on?
Is it because you are the member of a church? Being a member of a church is definitely important for God says that we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. But....having your name on a church roll is not enough unless it is ALSO written in the Lamb's Book of Life. "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God and the books were opened....and whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Rev. 20: 12, 15
Is it because you have lived a good life...you are a good person? No matter how good you are by man's standards, it's God's standards that count in the end. He says "For ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23. It doesn' t matter how many good deeds you do, you will still fall short. You still have a sin debt and according to God "the wages [or price] of sin is death" Romans 6:23
Is it because you believe in God? So do the devils! "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well, the devils also believe and tremble." James 2: 19
You see, my Friend, there is only one way that you can be a genuine Christian and that is by placing your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. That doesn't mean having a HEAD knowlege or acknowledging that there IS a God. It means recognizing that you are a sinner who has fallen short of God's standards and that you are in need of a Savior.
Maybe you know all this but you've thought "I'm not ready yet to make this decision. I want to live like I want to for a little while longer". Maybe you've thought "When I get a little older and I'm ready to settle down". If that has been your thinking, let me tell you about 2 of my neighbors. One was a beautiful young woman, 38, with 2 small children who would appear to have her whole life ahead of her. But in the blink of an eye it was all over when a tractor trailer collided with the car in which she was riding. Our other neighbor, an older gentleman, was out cutting his grass in his front yard one day and a couple of days later was gone...dying of a massive heart attack. You see none of us know the number of our days. We know one thing for sure and that is ALL of us have an appointment with DEATH. Your appointment COULD be today.
Maybe the reason you've never made this decision was that you've done some things in your life that you are ashamed of. Maybe you feel like that God couldn't possibly want you. Oh my friend, you are SO wrong! God loves you. "But God commended His love to us, in that while we were YET sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8 Did you catch that? Christ died for you while you were YET a sinner! He does not say 'get cleaned up first'. You can't get clean enough to come to Christ. If that were the case, none of us would ever come. He says come as you are with all your faults, all your failures, all your scars. He loves you just the way you are. His love is unconditional. There is nothing you can do to cause Him to love you more. And, there is nothing you can do to cause Him to love you less.
I hope that if you have continued reading to this point and you realize that you've carried the label "CHRISTIAN" for many years but without foundation, you will read just a few more lines....
Or if you KNOW that you are not and have thought "one day" or maybe you've even said "never", I pray you will continue to read one just a little more......
TODAY, my Friend, you can come to Christ. You can become a CHRISTIAN. John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son that WHOSOEVER [that's YOU] believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
Right now, wherever you are reading this...you can bow your head and talk to the Lord. Acknowledge you are a sinner. Repent and turn from your sin, turn TO Christ, believing that He died for YOUR sin on the cross and rose from the grave. "If you shall confess with the mouth the Lord Jesus and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteouness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation...for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10: 9-10, 13. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins. Ask Him to come into your heart and be your Savior. Then thank Him for His salvation.
Your prayer might sound something like this :
Lord Jesus....I know that I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I need your forgiveness. I believe that you died on the cross to pay for my sins. You paid a debt I could not pay even though it was a debt you did not owe. I want to turn from my sin and turn to follow you instead. I ask you to forgive me and to come into my heart and life. I ask you to be my Savior. Thank you Lord for saving me. In Jesus' name...Amen
You see salvation is a FREE gift. You cannot earn it by good works; you cannot buy it; you cannot get it by osmosis (just because your parents were Christians you do not automatically become one). The only way to receive God's salvation is to receive it from the One who purchased it for you....JESUS CHRIST. He's holding out His hand to you today..........won't you receive His gift?
If you do, the next thing you need to do is to tell someone....your pastor, your Christian friend, your parents or ME!!:) Then find a church if you are not currently attending one. Be sure it is a Bible believing church. Then get a Bible if you do not have one and begin reading it. Maybe you could start by finding the passages I've given you here. Read them and underline them. Begin reading the book of John. That is a good place to start. And finally pray. Just talk to God like you would talk to your best friend. He IS your best friend, you just didn't know it til now.
I can promise you the decision to follow Christ will be the greatest decision you ever make. He promises to never leave you or forsake you. He will walk with you every moment of every day and one day He will take you to Heaven to live with Him forever.
If you prayed that prayer or if you have questions, I hope that you will contact me through the comment section below or via email on FACEBOOK. I would love to know that every one of my FACEBOOK friends is genuinely a CHRISTIAN, knowing the Lord Jesus personally!! I will be praying to that end today............
Saturday, August 21, 2010
2 Samuel 22:50 - “Therefore I will give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto Thy name.”
DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT FROM ADRIAN ROGERS:
If we get in an automobile accident and come out alive, we typically thank God for sparing our lives. But do you ever just thank God for saving your life as you drove home from work and didn’t have an accident? Isn’t that even better? I heard a story that poignantly illustrates this. There was a family who heard that a person in their church gave a significant love offering to the memory of their son who died on the battlefield. On the way home, the wife asked her husband, “Why don’t we give an offering for our son?” He said, “Why? Our son wasn’t killed.” She said, “Don’t you think that’s a good reason?”
What things have you thanked God for lately that DIDN'T happen?
You DIDN'T get hit by a car on the way home?
You DIDN'T get a "pink slip" at work?
You DIDN'T get a call from the police that your child was in jail?
You DIDN'T find out your spouse was having an affair?
You DIDN'T get a bad diagnosis from the doctor.
You DIDN'T get a call from the bank saying your house was being foreclosed on?
You DIDN'T find out termites were devouring your house?
You DIDN'T find out your vehicle needed major, expensive repairs?
You DIDN'T find out your child had flunked out of school?
Today take time to thank God for all the things that DIDN'T happen as well as thank Him for the good things that DID!
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
I had just begun to get to know this young woman as we played Bunco together once a month. She was a working mom and had a lot on her plate. Her little boys are about 7 and 2.
The dad and the 7 year old were en route to Colorado, too, but they were driving towing their boat. This was to be a fishing trip with extended family. The mother and his parents had flown to Denver and were taking a rental car to the vacation location in Wyoming where they were all to eventually meet. The 2 year old remained at home with a nanny.
I'm sure months of planning had gone into this trip and the anticipation had probably been building and building. I can just imagine little Jimmy's excitement as he and his dad hooked up the boat Sunday morning and began their cross country journey together...father and son. What special times together.
Certainly Ashlea and Jim's parents were also relieved to have landed in Denver and be making their way through what had to be some beautiful country as they neared Wyoming. Their destination was almost in sight and Jim and Jimmy would be joining them soon.
None of them had tragedy on their radar. I'm sure when Jim and Ashlea kissed each other goodbye and when she kissed little Jimmy goodbye, none of them ever dreamed that it would be the last time they would see her alive. But....God knew. The clock was ticking and soon the last second of her life would be heard in Heaven and then the curtain would close on her life.
Today we each have our plans for the day. Maybe it's work as usual. Maybe we have a TO DO list a mile long that we are dreading, kids are back at school, lots to get done. Maybe you are planning a trip or anticipating a big event in your life like Ashlea and Jim were. None of us know when that last second on our clock will chime....but God does.
Psalm 31:15 says "My times are in thy hands..." Only God knows our appointed time of death. "It is appointed unto man once to die, and then the judgment." Heb. 9:27. It is a certainty that we will all face that day at some point. We just do not know when.
It could be today.
If today were to be YOUR day, are you ready? Do you know if you died today that you would spend eternity in Heaven with God?
Monday, August 9, 2010
Do you converse with Him throughout your day or do you occasionally yell for help when something goes wrong?
Many people believe in God....they give mental assent to the fact of His existence. They would even admit to the occasional prayer. They might own a Bible which they carry to church from time to time. But James says "You believe there is one God? You do well...the devils also believe, and tremble." James 2: 19
I know many people who profess to be Christians who have not opened their Bible in years EXCEPT on Sunday mornings, who only pray when they are in trouble and who rarely think of Jesus except on Sundays or when they or someone they know use His name in vain.
In essence, they tip their hat to Jesus and say "Thanks for dying for me on that cross. Appreciate the ticket to Heaven. See ya up there one day!" and go about their merry way. Does that describe YOU?
What does Jesus REALLY mean to you? Do you REALLY know Him at all? Do you have a RELATIONSHIP with Him? You can and I assure you that it will change your life.
Everyone must make a decision regarding Jesus. EVERYONE.
You can choose to reject Him.
You can choose to tip your hat to Him.
You can choose to call Him Savior and Lord and have a one-on-one relationship, up close and personal.
It is your choice, but it will impact you for all eternity and for every day til then.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
However, I was reading a friend's blog this morning and what he shared was SO powerful that I decided to post it. Sam Shaw, former pastor of Germantown Baptist Church and current pastor of the newly formed Orchard Fellowship wrote the following:
Did you ever wonder why things happen to you?
I’m learning that the gospel gives you glasses to help you understand.
The Apostle Paul once said… “God… set me apart from birth.” (Galatians 1:15). I believe every Christian can say that. By faith, we can often look back on our life and see God guiding, shaping, preparing.
In the Old Testament, when Joseph forgave his brothers who sold into slavery, he said, “You meant it for evil, God meant it for good.”
In other words, “I have come to see that God used the events of my life, both good and bad, to prepare me to serve people, to make me whom I am. What you did was wrong, but God was working through it.”
In other words, “the bad things that happened to me were God’s way of setting me apart.”
It was true for Paul, and Joseph – and for you!
Everything that has happened to you, even stupid things you have done – everything – is being used by God to make you able to do certain things for him.
C. S. Lewis was married to Joy Davidman. After she died, he wrote a book to help him work through his grief. In his book, A Grief Observed, Lewis wrote… “
She is in God’s hands. That gains new energy when I think of her as a sword. Perhaps the earthly life I shared with her was only part of the tempering. Perhaps he grasps the hilt, weighs the new weapon, makes lightning in the air. She is a right Jerusalem blade.”
That is what is going on in your life. God has been tempering you and sharpening you. All your life – in everything you have done, and everything that has happened to you – God is turning you into a right Jerusalem blade – something sharp, something beautiful, something great, he can use.
God’s plan for Paul, for Joseph, for C. S. Lewis – and for you – is very personal. It is to reveal Jesus to you, and then through you, so others know. That is his plan for you.
We’ll talk more about this Sunday night, August 8, at the Germantown Performing Arts Center. The Orchard Fellowship meets at 6:00pm. I hope to see you there!
(The idea behind this reflection came from a sermon in Tim Keller’s Galatians series
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Have you ever noticed that there are some people who just smell wonderful? Their cologne or perfume is just right...not overpowering or sickening, but just perfect. You long to linger in their presence because they smell so good.
Conversely, there are also those people who you wonder if they ever take a bath. You wouldn't exactly call it "fragrance"...more like stench. Or maybe they drown themselves in their perfume, thinking if a little is good, a lot would be wonderful, but alas, it is not. It is too much, too overpowering, to the point that you can't get far enough from them.
Some people also suffer from halitosis...bad breath. When they open their mouth to speak, you want to back up a few feet so as not to be seared by the aroma that proceeds from their mouth. Yet I'm sure we've all been guilty of that a few times in our life (hopefully not TOO often). Coffee breath, morning breath, garlic breath....YUK!
I do not think anyone purposely WANTS to smell bad, but many are not attentive to the fact that their "aroma" can turn people away or their "fragrance" can draw people to them.
Paul, writing to the Corinthians, says that we are to be the "fragance of Christ". What a picture that conjures up in my mind! Christ is SO sweet, so inviting, so wonderful that we WANT to be near Him. We want to linger in his presence. We want to get closer and closer to Him. So if we are to be the "fragrance of Christ", we must be just like that. Not overpowering nor a stench in the nostrils of those around us, but rather a sweet fragrance that draws others to our Savior.
In the same way, what comes out of our mouths should also be "fragrant", not vile or sharp or critical, not unkind or harsh. Maybe we need a little "Scripture Scope" to cleanse our mouths:
"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but only that which is good for edification, that you may minister grace to the hearer" Ephesians 4:29
"Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making music to the Lord in your heart, giving thanks always for everything..." Ephesians 5: 19, 20
"Heaviness in the heart of a man makes it stoop, but a good word makes it glad." Prov. 12: 25
"Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and health to the bones." Prov. 16: 24
"Set a watch O Lord before my mouth, keep the door of my lips." Psalms 141: 3
Today as we prepare for our day, may we not only be mindful of our deodorent, our cologne and our mouthwash, but may we realize that we are on display as a representative of Christ and may we be a sweet fragance in the nostrils of every person we come in contact with.
Monday, July 5, 2010
I love the way God tucks little nuggets away in His Word for just a time when we need them. Little verses of truth that somehow we have overlooked in the past.
I have read Psalm 56 many times. In fact, some of my favorite passages are contained within it.
"What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee." Psalm 56:3 This was the first verse I ever committed to memory. I was 6 years old. It is still one of my favorites.
"You, yourself have recorded my wanderings (misery), you have put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in your records?" Psalm 56: 8 To think that God keeps my tears and records each one!!! That is too awesome for words...especially considering I cry easily.
"In God I trust, I will not fear." Psalm 56:4 Wish I could say I had mastered this one, but alas I am still working to that end.
Yes, Psalm 56 is a favorite Psalm, yet how have I missed that one little phrase:
GOD IS FOR ME.
Now most of us are familiar with the verse that says "If God be for us who can be against us". We even sang it in Sunday School as children.
But this verse grabbed me this morning.
God...the creator of the Universe, the sustainer of Life, the Great I AM, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords...is for ME!! You cannot get much more personal than that. And...that verse also applies to YOU. He is for YOU as well.
If He is for me, then that means He is NOT against me! There is a song currently playing on KLOVE and the first verse of the song says "He's not mad at you". Sometimes we feel like He is though, don't we? We feel like we've failed so often, repeated the same sins again and again or failed to learn something He has tried so desperately to teach us, that He must be so tired of us, so frustrated and we wonder why He doesn't give up on us. But...He does not. He is FOR us.
When someone is FOR you, that means they are on your side, they will stand up for you, they will stand beside you, they will plead your case, they have your back. They will not turn on you, they will not forsake you when the going gets tough, they will not get angry and walk away. They are someone you can rely on and trust. Or....that's how it SHOULD be. Yet we know that in real life that is not always the case. Sometimes the very ones we thought were FOR us, turn against us. But God is different.
When God says HE is FOR you, you can take it to the bank. He is ever faithful, ever true.
He is FOR us because He loves us. He was so FOR us, that He sent His only Son to die and pay our penalty for our sin.
So when all seems to be crashing in around you, remember GOD IS FOR YOU.
When everyone else seems to be turning away from you, GOD IS FOR YOU.
When others let you down or disappoint you, GOD IS FOR YOU.
When you seem to be all alone and no else seems to care, GOD IS FOR YOU.
When the problems seem insurmountable and you wonder how you are going to make it another day, GOD IS FOR YOU.
When you've cried so many tears, you wonder how God could have enough bottles to contain them all, GOD IS FOR YOU.
Today, take this one nugget with you through your day....
Monday, June 28, 2010
Lord...make this the testimony of my life!
(Hope it blesses you as much as it has me. )
|Gateway Worship - God Of My Days .mp3|
|Found at bee mp3 search engine|
You can download this for FREE from the Gateway site:
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
O Love that wilt not let me go,
O light that followest all my way,
O Joy that seekest me through pain,
O Cross that liftest up my head,
Monday, June 14, 2010
One of the things that she loves most about the daylily is that God creates all that beauty for us to enjoy. She often reminds people that God tells us to "consider the lily.... [for] Solomon in all of his glory was not arrayed like [JUST] one of these" (Matt. 6: 28, 29).
Just look at the detail on the one above. Note the ruffled edges and the shading of pale pink toward the outside edges. Oh, I wish you could see it UP CLOSE! It is SOOO beautiful!!
But....tomorrow, this beautiful bloom will be gone just like the manna God provided in the desert for the Israelites. It is only good for ONE day. He will open up some new ones tomorrow for us to enjoy and they will be stunningly beautiful too.
Reminds me of how God says that His mercies are "new every morning" (Lamentations 3: 22, 23) He provides fresh grace every day. It is also a reminder to us that we are to live moment by moment, leaning on Him. Psalms 68:19 tells us that the Lord "daily loads us with benefits". We do not have to get all we can today because there might be a shortage tomorrow. God is not going to be too busy for us tomorrow. He is not going to forget about us tomorrow. No, just like the new lily that will bloom tomorrow, God will be there once again with new mercies, new grace, new blessings and an outpouring of His precious, redeeming love.
Wow!! Isn't it amazing that one little flower could speak to us of ALL that!? No wonder it is said "
So if you are feeling distant from God today or if you have trouble really believing that He exists or that He loves you, find yourself a garden and stop and take a walk. Take time to "smell the roses", look closely at God's handiwork. James 4:8 says "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." . "From the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is , His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what He has made." (Romans 1: 20)
Yes, you will find evidence of God all around you in a garden. He will speak to you there if you will open your eyes to SEE Him and open your ears to HEAR His still small voice. I will close with the words to one of my favorite old hymns "In the Garden"....
I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear
Falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And tells me I am His own.
And the joy we share
As we tarry there
None other has ever known.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
"Christ's life outwardly was one of the most troubled lives that ever lived; tempest and tumult, tumult and tempest, the waves breaking over it all the time until the worn body was laid in the grave. But the inner life was a sea of glass. The great calm was always there. At any moment you might have gone to Him and found rest. And even when the human bloodhounds were dogging Him through the streets of Jerusalem, He turned to His disciples and offered them, as a last legacy, "My peace" (John 14: 27).