Category Archives: Following in Faith

Peace

There is much to be said about the word Peace.  The dictionary gives the following definition for peace:  freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility.  Or, freedom from or the cessation of war or violence.  There is a third however that is not written in the dictionary, and that is the kind of peace that only Christ can bestow upon his beloved.  This peace is tranquil and quiet, yet it is also something else that I have yet to find the word for.  It’s the kind of quiet that goes beyond just the noise around us.  It’s a calming of the body, calming of the mind and calming of the soul.

Having peace in situations that are difficult, can be difficult in and of themselves, however, through prayer and scripture we see that peace is attainable when one has that relationship with our Lord and Savior.  He gives that peace of knowledge that all will be well and all will be dealt with.  That He and He alone can settle the most vile of offenses, most obnoxious behavior, and the results of such in observers.

As I have looked around the last year, it seems that the world has gone crazy.  There is so much violence, there is so much heartache and people are just well….not behaving appropriately.  It is very discouraging and could be very depressing.  Knowing the Lord has helped me to focus more on Him and not so much on that which the world would like to throw at us and at me.  Having some perspective and knowing that I cannot control people, their behavior or the world in which I live has given me peace.  Why?  Because it is a burden that is lifted when I read scripture and when I pray.  A burden of feeling like I have to hold people accountable to their sin, or that I need to help the weak by taking on their troubles.   God has a plan for each of us.  He knows that which we are able to handle and that which will make us stronger in our faith and relationship with Him.  He makes us stronger in the valley’s so that we can look up and see his glory at the top of the mountain.  Waiting on Him to give us that peace is what I think is the most difficult.  Sometimes, we feel that if there is not peace at that moment then we have to do something.  Sometimes, we just need to sit back and watch, wait and listen.  Allow God to be all that He is and let Him take over that which we are not capable.

Friends, I ask you to pray with me this day on the burdens that are around us.  Pray that we can do what we can without feeling the burden of making “everything all right”.  We are here to assist with what we can, love those who seek our love and learn to accept the peace from our everlasting Father.

The Whole Armor of God

Ephesians 6:10-18 (ESV)

The Whole Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

The Unleavening

Unknown

What is the leaven in our lives?  What holds us back from seeing the glory of the Lord and the blessings we have?  What keeps us from moving forward?  What is it that makes us stop and be fearful?  Can we do better?  Can we change our perspective from fear, anger, hatred and bitterness to security, love and thankfulness?

Thinking of these questions and doing some soul searching is not a negative, it’s a positive.  Many times over I ponder these questions in my own life.  I like to think of it as an accountability test.  By evaluating that in my life that causes me to stumble, I am able to move forward with hard work, one step at a time.  Searching the true notions of the mind and the desires of the heart I can reach a different perspective than that which tries to rule over me.   I am flawed through sin.  I know it, I recognize it, I act upon it to try and change it.  I am not perfect, yet I am conscious of the failure within self,  driven by the power of this earth.

Acknowledging that there is yeast in my life and that it  is thick enough to hold me back,  allows me to seek out the truth behind what drives me.   Sometimes, I find that anger and bitterness are the ingredients in which the yeast grows and has progressed to a point that needs clean up.  I equate it to making bread.  If ever you have worked with yeast you know what I’m talking about.  If not, let me explain.  When you take a mixing bowl of warm water, add a little bit of honey and then add in a tablespoon of yeast you get the pleasure of watching it foam.  The yeast begins to grow in the water, yet when you add it to flour and baking powder it takes off and is what makes baked goods rise.  If you use too much, a loaf of bread can ooze right out of the pan before it is baked.  The warmth of baking allows the yeast to rise even more before it stops.  My great grandmother used to say that the yeast in bread is still active for a full day after baking.  (I thank my mom for remembering that and sharing that story all these years.)  Yeast is not in one small part of the loaf, it grows throughout, making the entire loaf rise.  They call it the  leavening of the bread.

I imagine Satan kneading that sin throughout.  Just like kneading the bread to make sure that the yeast is spread throughout the impending loaf, Satan does the same thing.   He tries to make sure that every aspect of life is covered in sin, allowing it grow within so that one is unable to see through the over growth.  So now what?  How does one remove the yeast?

1Corinthians 5:7-13
7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

First off, recognition.   Secondly,  repentance.  Thirdly, change.  Only through the Lord Jesus Christ can this happen. There is no one else that can do this.  Unfortunately, being the humans that we are, we are led by either the ruler of this world or by the creator of all things.  If we are chosen by God, we are led by Him, if not we are led by the ruler of this world, Satan.  More recently, I have been given privilege to see just how awful the yeast of deceit is.  Through hatred, bitterness and anger two occasions have had me realizing that I myself am also experiencing the beginning stages of that which holds me back from the blessing of knowing the fullness of the Lord Jesus Christ.  First step, recognition.

Second, repentance.  I have been praying that the Lord show me my sinfulness, the nature of my own self, and the lies that Satan is trying to make me believe.  I have been asking for forgiveness and for restoration of my soul and for the Lord to take away that which Satan is trying to grow within my being.

Third, change.  This is by far the hardest part.  To flatten the leavening process, to clean it out of my life and to make sure that I remember my life is unleavened through the death of Jesus Christ.  To change means to do things of which make the human psyche nervous, uncomfortable, and seemingly  fearful.  However, with the power of prayer and the strength of the Lord, peace, calmness and perseverance are active within the search for a life unleavened.

1 Corinthians 5:6-7                                                                                            6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

Sin has no stronghold on my life.  Yes I am still a sinner.  Yes I still have a sinful nature, however, it is not a stronghold that can overcome the good in which the Lord has within me.  I am renewed, I am restored and I am strong with him as the one who kneads me.  There is not room for the yeast that Satan tries to throw into the mix.

There is no room for hatred, bitterness and anger.  There is however, more room for truth.  Truth in who I am to be with the Lord leading.  If I trust in the desires of the heart and notions of mind more than that which He  instills in me, than I am wasted away with rot from the yeast that continues to grow.  So, although difficult, perseverance to change is the key to the restoration of my soul.  That of which I do not take lightly.

Reader, I hope that you will benefit from my own learning experience and that you will evaluate the yeast in your life.  Cleansing out that which holds you back from a thankful heart, a steadiness ready to take on the sin within, and a mind that tries to remind of that which is of no use moving forward.  Guard yourself from the sprinkling of the yeast.  Do not let the ingredients blend together and through prayer keep yourself unleavened.

 

Eternal Life

John 3 (ESV)

You Must Be Born Again

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you  do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.  14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

Eternal life.  Can it be imagined? With the difficulties on this earth it seems at times unhealthy to consider eternal life.   Who wants to continue living with such sorrows and desperate situations.  Who would want to live an eternity?

Well, with the Lord Jesus Christ we have in Him the desire to want more.  More than this life on earth.  There is a desire to live a life serving a most holy God.  The eternity Christ is talking about is not like that which we observe today, it’s quite the opposite.

Revelation 21 (ESV)

The New Heaven and the New Earth

21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place  of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,  and God himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”…….

Revelation 22 (ESV)

The River of Life

22 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever……

We get a glimpse of what is yet to come in Revelation.  Just a tad bit of info to wet the soul of his saints, to cling to his Word, wanting more, wanting that eternal life with Him.  Very different than that which we have today.  Something more.  Something not yet seen.

Dear friends, it pains me to know that so many do not yet call upon His name.   Please know that there is so much more.  So much more to this world.  Knowing God and seeing his providential care over your life gathers strength to get through the sorrows and the difficulties.  Without Him beside us, we wither away into a depressive state of wandering.  Wandering through the thicket of a forest which encapsulates it’s visitor, not allowing for an exit.  Only through He that gives life does one find a way out.  Only through time studying His word does one find hope.

It is with great prayer that this finds you well with your soul. If not, I pray that you may be inspired to learn more about the almighty who gave you life and who offers so much more.

To See

Luke 18:35-43
35 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging.
36 When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening.
37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”
38 He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
39Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
40 Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him,
41 “What do you want me to do for you?”“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.
42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.”
43Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.
How many call out to the Lord and ask to see?  Not as many as there should be.  So many walk around in blindness to the glory of the Lord.  Oh, to see….
Dear follower, it is with great hope that you find the strength and will to call out to the Lord with a voice to be heard, asking to see.   To see the abundance in life everlasting with a sovereign God.  To see the glory of His hand that wraps around his saints with an unconditional love everlasting.
Through hope we find peace.  Through love we find grace.  Through trust we find the almighty standing by, ready to catch us when we fall.  Call out to Him today, he is waiting to hear you.

Finding Hope in the midst of Fear and Despair

It seems that the world is falling apart.  People are rioting in the streets due to the freedom of an election, there is death for the lost, friends that are ill, persecution of the saints and it’s getting colder with winter on it’s way.  I know that last part isn’t a reflection of the world falling apart, yet it reflects the desperation of my prayers.  For warmth and for my hope to become attainable!   Warmth in the kindness people could show one another, warmth in healing, warmth in the sun and warmth in the gentle arms of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Hope  in the protection of His wing when the wind blows fierce enough to try to knock me or those whom I love over.

Finding hope in a lost world can be a daunting task.  Looking around, there is so much more to be in despair about.  Hope seems to be something one has to convince himself/herself of,  not knowing if  hope is that which is to be attained.   Hope in healing, hope in kindness, hope in warmth, hope in love and hope in freedom.  Is it to be?  How can one be sure that  hope is going to become  reality?  Truth of the matter is one cannot be sure of a great deal.   For many, uncertainty becomes an unknown reality of which doesn’t deserve the time or effort of hope.   Hope seems too far in the reaching in a world which thrives in strife.   Sometimes it seems that by getting  hopes up, one will only have a dashed spirit when the outcome is not what was hoped for.  Completely understandable since disappointment is the human natural reaction to a  crushing blow .   Yet, for a Christian, this thought process seems unacceptable or improbable.   Is it really?  Unacceptable?  Improbable?  That sounds a bit irrational!   After all, human nature and the human spirit do not differentiate between that of a Christian and non Christian.   Right?

Wrong!  The definition of human nature tells us it’s the nature of humans; especially : the fundamental dispositions and traits of humans  (Websters).  Yet, for a Christian, there is something else to consider.  The indwelling of the Holy Spirit, hence the reaction of the human spirit.  The human spirit that experiences a knowledge in which human nature cannot compete with.  It’s the truth and knowledge that there is something much greater than ourselves at work.  Something revealed by the grace of the Lord which  is more powerful than that of human nature.  For a Christian, this knowledge is the understanding and acceptance that the will of man and the will of God are not always in sync.  That God always has a plan, that His will is perfect and that His timing is exactly that…His!  Knowing that although we are living in a world of continual unholy drama, we have trust and faith in that which we cannot control.  During illness, a Christian has hope that healing will come.  If healing is not to come, a Christian has the hope of eternal salvation that is yet to come.  If persecuted, a Christian knows that God’s plan is perfect and there is hope in knowing that all things work for His Glory!   In watching the destruction of the fallen world, a Christian has the knowledge that this is not the end, only the beginning.

(I need to pause here with a sidebar…I stopped at this point to take care of some family needs.  While I was waiting at an appointment I was unable to find my phone, which I usually take a look at during such times, so I picked up the book I had also brought.  It was my book that was to be finished by tonights book study with a friend.  As I was reading, I was once again struck with praise to the Lord for His care over my spiritual life.  Here I was, writing my blog prior to leaving the house and then I was reading the chapter that fit so well with the above.  I did not know this was going to be the case when I started writing, God knew.  He knew I would not need my phone as much as I needed to read that next chapter before continuing on.   Praises of Thanksgiving!)

Does this mean that we as Christians just have hope and go along in our daily lives not worrying about anything or doing anything about concerns that creep up?  Not at all.  What we do however,  through the grace of the Holy Spirit, is become driven to find resolve in the Word and through prayer.  We don’t sit by and say “there’s so much more, God has this covered, I just need to sit by and watch”.  Christians actively seek out and try to stay focused.  It’s not an easy thing for many.

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13)

I mentioned how my reading of my book study was so compelling as an argument for what I’m trying to say here, that I just have to share the following notes from the book.  (Book: The Hole in Our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung; my notes and some of the quotes below are in italics.)

A question in the book asks, “how does the spirit work in us to make us to make us holy?”  Through various paragraphs my notes are such:

Prayer for Spiritual Strength

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,   (Ephesians 3:14-16 ESV)

Wisdom from the Spirit

6 Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. 7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.  ( 1 Cor. 2:6-16)

The Spirit is power and light!  

We can try to say all the right things to ourselves about how it will work out, yet are we going further to directly and actively seek the gospel truth in order to obtain the hope needed in persecution, illness, and fear?  

“But in the pursuit of holiness we need to look at  more than the past acts of redemption.  We have to look forward and trust in future grace.”

Because of the future promises of blessings, our passion for hope is fueled by the power and light of the Holy spirit.  

In closing, I may look crazy, sound like I’m not a realist (which happens quite often) , yet I am hopeful for a future blessing amongst the chaos that goes on around me.  I am not always happy, I am not always positive, yet I strive to do my best in such times of despair to seek the council of the Lord and to trust in the wisdom that He chooses to impart my way.  Am I always naturally secure in my hope?  In all honesty no.  However, that being said, my hope does not come through my own power of will, but through that of the Holy Spirit which gives me the strength to be secure.  To locate the hope of the future blessings that He has yet to reveal.  I pray that any and all adversities that I experience will be used for the greater good of sharing the gospel truth with those who may be in need.  In closing, the book mentioned a quote from Martyn Lloyd -Jones which I want to share:

The New Testament calls upon us to take action; it does not tell us that the work of sanctification is going to be done for us…We are in the ‘good fight of faith’, and we have to do the fighting.  But, thank God, we are enabled to do it; for the moment we believed and are justified by faith, and are born again of the Spirit of God, we have the ability.  So the New Testament method of sanctification is to remind us of that; and having reminded us of it, it says, ‘Now then, go and do it’.   (Marty Lloyd-Jones, Romans: Exposition of Chapter 6: The new Man)

Be well dear reader and go forth seeking hope for that which is yet to come.

Who Are You?

I can remember in my younger years so desiring to be someone else.  I remember trying on several occasions to change my look, whether it was a new hair cut, new makeup, new clothes style, making friends with those I wouldn’t ordinarily choose to be friends  with or doing things and acting in ways that went beyond my personality.  I longed to have more friends and to be “popular”.  I was not very comfortable in my own skin so to speak.  In middle school I was taller than most of the other girls, and I did not spend the majority of my time in the bathroom doing my hair as the other girls did.  That being said, I remember the day I suddenly drew the attention of my classmates.  At the time I thought it was fabulous and I felt like I finally fit in.  Only in adulthood have I acknowledged that  I was becoming someone that I was not intended to be.  It was a long journey of trying to figure out who I truly was, yet thirty five years after that day,  I can say that I know who I am and I embrace it all.

Yes, even through illness, loss, grief, and often times loneliness, I embrace knowing that I can just be myself.  It’s rather freeing to not have to try to live by todays standards.  I don’t need a lot of friends to define who I am, and at times, I even leave the house without any makeup not caring about impressing anyone.  I find that the most important things in life are not found in the joys of earthly pleasures and in the view of those who subject themselves to secular viewpoints. I take joy in the fact that I am a wife, mother, sister in Christ to a great many who are like minded, and I am most of all a child of God.   I have hope in something greater than this world and a confidence in knowing that grace is promised to those whom have been called out of this life of sin.

As my daughter and I stayed home today due to her upcoming surgery and not wanting to subject her body to germs that she wouldn’t be exposed to if she stayed at home, we listened to the sermon from last week that we missed.  I was struck at God’s providential care in our walk with him and his encouragement in arranging this quiet time with Him, the message spoken and the tie in with my book study that I did  with a friend yesterday.

The message was based on 1Peter 1:13-16 and entitled Just Be Yourself.   (crbc.us sermons 9/18/2016)

“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

In obedience, we are to be who we are called to be, leaving behind the passions of our old selves (“Ephesians 4:21-24  assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.)  so that we will have the hope (confidence) in grace (salvation)”.  What a wonderful, freeing, feeling it is to know that God has chosen for me who I am supposed to be.  I do not need to try to be someone else.  I do not need to fit into this world because I am not of this world.  (John 15:16   “You did not choose me, but I chose you… John 15:19   …because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world….”)  I accept that I am a child of God’s, destined to live a holy life before him, with contentment and thanksgiving.

Our study yesterday discussed the motivation of how to stay obedient in holiness, tying in nicely with the sermon.  Every child needs instruction and direction.  I am no different and neither are those who are predestined to serve in holiness.  (Ephesians 1:11   “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will”)

Our book (The Hole In Our Holiness) gave us a few ways the Bible motivates us to continue in our pursuit of holiness.  One of the questions asked us to identify which of them was meaningful to our individual needs living in a world of sin.  Mine were the following:

God knows all and sees all.  (Eccles. 12:14  “For God will bring every deed into judgement, with every secret thing, whether good or evil”)

If every child knew that their parent was watching, would they try to do the opposite of what they were instructed to do?  My guess is that they would not and if they did, they would know that there would be a punishment waiting them.  Maybe they would think that the sin of disobedience would be worth the punishment.  Knowing that God’s punishment is death should make all christians reconsider that which they think they do in secret is actually in secret.

Assurance.  (2Peter 1:10  “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm you calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall”)

Knowing with surety that God has called me out of a life of sin keeps me humbled in obedience to his word.  For not everyone has been blessed with the knowledge of their own salvation as we know that there is no double predestination. Due to the fall of man through the sin of Adam, we are all at birth destined for death, yet through the calling of the Lord Jesus Christ there are those who are predestined  to be a part of life everlasting with him.

The world is not our home.  (1Peter 2:11  “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul”)

Pilgrims in a world  that does not understand.  Our time here is temporary.  Our permanent home is with the Lord.  An eternity serving a God who took mercy on his people to give them life.   Abstaining from the passions of the flesh is not easy as temptation today is far greater with technology, yet preparing our minds and hearts through the studying of the Word is our short leash to staying on the right path.

For the sake of our prayers. (1Peter 3:7  “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered”)

Living a hopeful life, following the words of a gracious God so that He may be glorified and we may be made righteous in his sight.  Marriage is not easy and life in this world is not easy.  However, by staying the course with love and understanding we are reminded of the joyful blessings that are shared.  Just as a couple becomes one in marriage, they become one with Christ.

The futility of sin.  (Matthew 6:27  “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”)

Do we really need to worry about that which we cannot control.  Our time should be spent in grateful prayers of thanksgiving for that which we have been blessed, leaving all of the “stuff” behind.

The folly of sin.  (Matthew 7:26-27  “And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”)

The fall is not temporal.  The fall is eternal and is spent in the flames of hell rather than an eternal life of glory with the Lord.

The promise of future judgment.  (Romans 12:19  “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord'”)

God’s wrath is much greater than that which we could ever dream.  He gives the ultimate judgment over the sin abiding in this world.

The fear of future judgment.  (Hebrews 10:26-27  “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.”)

This does not need any explanation!

The fear of the Lord.  (2Corinthians 5:11a  “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others.”)

We witness to those whom we love in hopes that they too will be called unto the Lord.  We know that the loving God so many talk about today is also a god of judgment and wrath.  Believers should not tempt the will of the Lord with gross misconduct in backslidden behavior just to appease the world we live in.  We should be the witness to the light that shines from following Him.

The love of the Lord.  (1John 4:11  “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another”)

Loving our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ is not just a suggestion but a command.

For the glory of God.  (1 Corinthians 6:19-20  “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?  You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.  So glorify god in your body.”)

Taking care to not sin and to praise the Lord of whom gave much to give us life.

Fullness of joy.  (John 15:10-11  “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full”)

JOY….to have joy in the Lord, in prayer and in ALL circumstances.  No matter what!  Finding the peace within ourselves to be joyful in the blessings that are not our own.  Through pain, illness, despair, loss, and storms that rage around us.

Our union with Christ.  (Romans 6:5-6  “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.  We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”) 

Oh to not be enslaved to sin.  To not be bound by the chains that cause strife and death.  Could any blessings be better?

I pray reader that you have read through all that I have shared in my journey and that you have been blessed this day with the words of the Lord.  I pray that you will joyfully praise  the loving God who has given you life and blessed you with the following of this blog.  Thank you for joining me down this path toward salvation.

 

Clinging to the only Peace that can Sustain

During times of disbelief over things of this world, I cling to the word more than any other time.  My prayer life seems to consume more minutes of my days than anything else.  I lay awake at night in prayerful thought, consideration and more desperation for the Lord Jesus Christ to hear my prayer.  At times I feel as though I am pleading for His will to line up with my hopes.  In the end, I trust He knows what’s best and He will take care to bring me closer to Him in my thoughts, and also in my prayers.

Psalm 119: 49-56

Remember you word to your servant, in which you have made me hope.  This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise give me life.  The insolent utterly deride me, but I do not turn away from your law.  When I think of you rules from of old, I take comfort, O Lord.  Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked, who forsake your law.  Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning.  I remember your name in the night, O Lord, and keep your law.  This blessing has fallen to me that I have kept your precepts.

As a great deal has plagued my thoughts and rocked my world this past two weeks, I find peace in Him and in the promises yet to come.  I find grace in the promises already given and I find hope in a creator who is perfect in every possible way.

Where do you find peace?  Do you look for worldly wonders and human nature to give you peace?  Or do you seek Jesus and the Word to sustain and keep you?  Again I ask, Where do You find peace?

 

Sufficiency of God

God’s care for his people is sufficient!  There can be no doubt.  Joy comes from knowing who He is, what He has done for us, what he has provided for us, and what we have to look forward to in serving Him.    I sat in amazement the other night in church as the teaching was on Approaching God from Psalm 131.  It was a very nice follow up to what I had previously that morning posted on my blog.  It wrapped up my thoughts and was like a gift handed back.  I just had to share it here with you.  Hope you will take the time to listen.

What Really Matters?

coffee pic

For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.  Who is sufficient for these things?  For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.        2 Corinthians 2:15-17

Watching the news can be traumatizing these days.  It seems the world is falling apart and no one has control over anything.  There is conflict everywhere.  War overseas, tensions amongst Americans, divorce between parents, millennials not knowing when adulthood begins, sexual confusion tearing at the seams of the fabric of creation, growing numbers of cases of disease and outright moral conflict between right and wrong.  Where in the world do we find peace and hope?  Is there any?

If you haven’t noticed, I have been out of the loop lately.  My blogging has been a bit sparse.  I blame it on quite a number of things, from loss, to health, to not knowing what to say in times of constant turmoil.  I mean, what I want to say and what I should say are not in conjunction with one another and finding the right words were not coming as easily as they normally do.  That is however, until today.  Well, that’s only partially true…I started stirring with “blogger” thoughts last week, today is the first day I’ve had time to sit down and put them on the board.

A friend and I began doing a book study together.  Something that we both were excited to start for a few months.  We finally began and I have to say, I am thrilled.  Anything that can bring me closer to the Lord in study is a joy.  It gets me out of the “what is happening in this world” mentality, and takes me to the “thank you Lord for saving me out of this world” mentality.  Those little reminders to thank the Lord for life, grace, and eternal salvation bring a smile to my face, hope in my thoughts, stamina to continue on and keep me grounded in purpose.

And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.  But the one who endures to the end will be saved. Matthew 24:12-13

I often wonder what people think of when they consider their lives.  I mean, do they look at their lives and thank the Lord for what they have and for their future?  Or do they look at their lives and say, “I’m just not rich enough, happy enough, or wise enough so I need to make changes… so look out world here I come.  I don’t care who is in my way or who I destroy in the  mean time.  After all, my life is my life and I need to be happy and have it all.”  Crazy as that may sound, in my eyes, that is what I see in people when I look around.  I see it in relationships, in groups, in family, on TV and in movies.  I have wept, prayed, prayed some more and at times come close to shutting down, wanting to turn off all social media, electronics and lock the door from the world.   Right or wrong, it saddens me that the world is so brutal to human emotion.  That being said, as I write this it’s noticed that what was just said has one considering “I” and “me”.  This life isn’t about “me”, it’s about something greater than that.

The sadness I have felt over these issues however, has been overshadowed with joy in the last few weeks.  Why?  Well, its due to the simple fact that I am reminded,

For by grace you have been saved through faith.   And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.   Ephesians 2:8-10

In our study  we are reading about our purpose in this life.  Why were we created to be saved?  The answers are always present and sometimes it takes the nudge of the Lord during these times of distress to remind us of His plan for us and how we should be living.  Remembering this, takes the “me” out of living.

Am I speaking about you?  Do you have the hope needed to continue on in this life?  Consider it.  Consider where you are.  Consider how you are living.  Consider what could be holy vs. worldly.

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought  life and immortality to light through the gospel…  2 Timothy 8-11

Does suffering for the gospel mean that we are unhappy?  No.  We don’t have the need for the fancy car, the perfect spouse, the perfect house, perfect job, perfect health, etc. etc.  Looking at the fact that God called his people out of a life of sin brings joy to believers, and a peace that nothing can compare to.  Just as I said above, we may get sad over the thought of the destruction of this world that was created so beautifully by God, yet we have joy knowing that there is so much more.

Prayerfully, my thoughts will continue to swell with blog worthy writing and a sweeping message of hope will be captured for others to embrace.   Have a blessed week/weekend and enjoy the sun this summer day.