Tag Archives: God

The Valley of Vision

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A few years ago I was blessed with spending a great deal of time with a friend who was losing her husband to an illness that he had battled for a number of years.  Through out our time together I had thought that I was being used to help her get through her difficult time, however, over the years I have realized that I was the one that was blessed and she unknowingly helped prepare me for my own future heartache.  Through those lengthy talks, prayers, and cherished moments together I learned and am able to use today the wisdom of waiting on the Lord and how to live with loss.

I thought I knew what it meant to wait upon the Lord, however, nothing in my past has prepared me for what our family has been dealing with more recently.  In the last several years I have had to accept loss of family, loss of friends, loss of health and currently loss that comes with economic changes.  Loss comes in all shapes and sizes and in all sorts of ways.  Some are permanent and some are temporary.  Looking through the loss and looking for the clearing on the other side of the fog can be difficult if you are not given the eyes to see it through.  Waiting upon the Lord gives clarity.

I have found that staying in prayer and surrounding myself with others of like mindedness in faith always carry me through.  The Lord continues to peel back the layers of scales that grow upon my eyes.  Each layer giving me new perspective and helping me to grow closer to Him.

My friend, during our time together, introduced me to a wonderful book that I quite often find solace in.  As my morning in worship came to a close, I learned of a situation which I have no control over and I felt lost.  I so wanted to be “in the know” and a part of a solution for a loved one that I lost sight of my own boundaries.  Caring with only your heart and not your head will stretch any boundary and although some of us have hearts full of  love for others, it’s the head that needs to remind self of the purpose.  If I was wanted, I would have been “in the know”, if I was needed then I would have been called.  Everyone makes decisions that are best for them and I need to respect that.  My heart may be breaking and my mind may feel the sorrow, however this was one more example of how the valley is what feeds the soul, not the mountain.  I’ve said it for years in numerous bible studies that as children of a Holy God, we are not fed at the top of the mountain, (where we typically seek to find Him) we are fed in the valley’s (where we always hear Him).  So, in this little book sweetly and ironically called The Valley of Vision I once again find clarity in my valley and once again I thank my friend for the blessing of a little book of wisdom.

The Valley of Vision

LORD, HIGH AND HOLY, MEEK AND LOWLY,                                                                   Thou has brought me to the valley of vision,                                                                                where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;                                                         hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up,                                                     that to be low is to be high,                                                                                                         that the broken heart is the healed heart,                                                                                   that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,                                                                          that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,                                                                           that to have nothing is to possess all,                                                                                          that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,                                                                               that to give is to receive,                                                                                                              that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,                                                      and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine;                                

Let me find thy light in my darkness,                                                                                         thy life in my death,                                                                                                                       thy joy in my sorrow,                                                                                                                     thy grace in my sin,                                                                                                                         thy riches in my poverty                                                                                                                thy glory in my valley.

Friends, in your valley, I pray that you not just seek but that you hear the Word of God that feeds your soul.  That you find solace in your times of sorrow and strength in times of weakness.  On this Sunday, I pray for continued wisdom and for accountability when it comes to my own sinfulness.

A Little Perspective

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Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.   2Corinthians 1:3-4

In studying JOB, I have come to understand more clearly the value of trusting God, His Word, and His mercies that are offered to His flock.  Calling out to him over the last year, whether my day was filled with pain or exhaustion, I admittedly had moments where I complained over my circumstances, yet I also knew and had faith that God had a plan.  I was comforted in knowing that He would utilize my situation to His glory and that nothing I go through in this world is too great when I have Him by my side.

I have a picture with a beautiful poem about the Lord carrying us in our times of trouble and the picture has one set of footprints walking in the sand.  Although I enjoy the concept of Him carrying us through this life, I think I would rather consider Him as a partner walking beside me like a seeing eye “friend”.  Pointing out obstacles, directing my footsteps, guiding me down the path of life leading to His narrow gate.  Nurturing me along the journey so that in the end He will be glorified.

One of our questions in our study asked whether we have ever encountered God in a way that transformed our understanding of or attitude toward Him?  We were then asked to share the experience and tell how our view of God was changed.

My answer was yes and I went on to explain.  Our move to our current location was not an easy transition.  We moved to a state that we had never stepped into, knowing absolutely no one, and to top it off it was in the winter.  We lived in a two bedroom apartment for two months while we sought out our current home.  The kids had school and were making friends, my husband had work and new relationships to nurture while I had a realtor once a week.  My days were very lonely.

I had left behind a volunteer position at the kids school that kept me working every day as the school librarian, room mom for one class, a bible study that I had been a part of for 10 years, childhood friends, college friends, family and ladies that I had befriended after our third move.  My involvement with our church included VBS, women’s ministry, fundraisers and the meal delivery service for our brothers and sisters within the church that I was in charge of.   I  was running with kids to Karate classes two days a week, baseball three days a week, dance classes 3 days a week, boy scouts  and brownies every other week and our weekends were spent at a cottage.   To say that I was busy is an understatement.  In fact, one of my friends gave me a mug for my birthday that said, “Note to self:  Stop volunteering for stuff”.

In my loneliness, I found that going to the Lord was giving me encouragement.  In my times of human weakness, however, I sought out to find purpose for myself in our new town.  I thought I needed to be a part of something, other than just looking for a house for the family.  So after a month of spending one day a week cleaning the apartment, grocery shopping and doing laundry, another day going out with the realtor, and the rest of my week spent sitting alone reading the word of God, I went in to our new church and requested a list of activities and groups that our family could be a part of.  I distinctly remember breaking down in tears in front of the secretaries.  Not sure what else to do, they presented me with a list of people to call and activities that may interest us.

One by one we reached out, seeking out purpose, more for myself than the rest of the family.  After all, they were meeting people and making friends.  I was the one who was trying to find my niche.  Each time we reached out, we hit a dead end.  Either the groups were full or after receiving information we decided that the group was not what we were interested in.  Once again, I remember finding myself in tears.  As our second month approached, we had found our house and we were waiting for it to be completed as it had been a new construction.  One more day would be added to my loneliness as I no longer had my day with the realtor.  Another moment of tears.  I remember asking God why and I also remember complaining.

One day, as I was reading His word, I was struck by the time I had to be with Him.  I’m not sure exactly what took place, however, I felt this peace that I had not known since our move.  I came to the realization that prior to our move, my time with Lord was when I could fit Him in, between projects and activities.   I scheduled my time with Him based on what worked for me.  In the two months of being in the apartment I realized that all I had was time to spend with Him.  He had become my best friend, my caretaker, and my encourager.  He was walking beside me and was giving me comfort in my times of loneliness.  I was not alone, I just didn’t have perspective.

I remember thanking Him for all that He was doing for me and my family.  For giving us all that we needed.  Even though we were in a two bedroom apartment and ate dinners at a table in the living room by the couch.  We all have said that they were the best two months we’ve ever had as a family.   As a family, we grew closer, enjoying our time together since we didn’t have any extra curricular activities vying for our time.

I would say that during that time I encountered God as I had not known him before.  The focus in my years prior to our move were spent trying to do all the good in the world, doing all that I could for my family and for others.  I spent time with him when He fit into my schedule, praying while I was driving and in my quiet time upon waking and before bed.   After our move, I had refocused my attention, turning my daily schedule into a time of continued worship of Him.  To my pleasant surprise, my Heavenly Father was there waiting for me and He met with me giving me peace, understanding and perspective.  He didn’t ask me to wait until He had time in His schedule, He was ready and willing to offer mercy, grace, and love when I needed it the most.

Rather than seeing Him as a Holy God who was too busy to notice whether or not I took time out for Him, I realized He was a Holy God who is a jealous God that needed me to take that next step in knowing Him.  I was transformed!  I don’t mean that I became a christian at that point, I knew I was a christian and had been for many years.  I was however, growing in my knowledge of Him and who He truly was.  Humbled by His time with me and my recognition of His Almighty character, I prayed that He would lead me and open doors when He was ready for me to once again serve outside of the home.  I said that prayer in church one night and at the end of the service a woman approached me asking me to be a part of a prayer group.  Timing was everything.  Once again, I thanked Him, knowing that all He wanted me to trust in Him and His plan for my life.   Each experience I have endured since the Lord called me by name has helped me to grow closer to Him and has given me new perspective.

In watching Bethany Hamilton in Soul Surfer recently with my daughter, I am reminded that sometimes we need to be in a different place, focusing on something other than ourselves to gain perspective.  Not unlike what God did with JOB.  JOB had his own thoughts and considerations in defending himself pridefully with his friends, yet it took God’s audience with JOB to show him a new perspective that included who he was in comparison to who God was.   Isn’t that so like the life of a christian?  When we stray from the herd, our shepherd uses His staff to to gently remind us of our place in the flock.

I challenge you reader to look at your current affliction and look for opportunities to give you a new perspective.  Preferably, allowing God to be a part of that process.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.  For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  2Corinthians 4:7-11

 

Rejected or Rejoicing?

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Wearily pulling myself out of self loathing yesterday, I had the opportunity to visit with a friend whom is no longer able to walk and is finishing out her young life knowing that she is fading away into the arms of her savior.  I was so blessed and refreshed by the visit, that I had to ask God’s forgiveness for the moments prior to our time together.   After all, I  had been questioning what good was going to come of such a visit when I was so tired from battling my pneumonia for the last 3 weeks.  I did not feel like smiling, I just wanted to sleep and rest in the comfort of my living room.  Venturing out into the cold was not appealing, even though I had an errand I had to run prior to the visit.  I pondered forgoing the errand and the visit.   It’s amazing how God uses times like those to touch our inner being, reminding us that there is so much to do and so little time for the joy of the Lord to be shared with others.  I came home physically tired, yet spiritually uplifted.   My original intention of visiting my friend was because I thought I was going to bless her, yet, God blessed me instead with a sustainable energy that kept me going for the rest of the night and He reminded me of the grace of humility.

There is no place for self loathing or a self serving attitude for Christians who know Him.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you , declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”      Jeremiah 29:11-14

For the last year, life has had it’s ups and downs with my diagnosis of Lyme Disease.  The loneliness of having a physical disability is only known by those who are also afflicted with such circumstances.  For this reason, I was determined that when I felt better, I was going to start weekly visits with my friend whom I had neglected prior to my own illness.   I remember having the need to visit her, however, I am embarrassed to admit that time was filled with so many other things to do that I never made the time.  I was just too busy, plain and simple.  Isn’t that so like our society today?  We spend so much time doing so many great things that have such little value.  Yet the things that mean so much, we brush aside thinking they are not of great significance.

I challenge you reader to consider your own life and ask yourself this question, “What have I done today that was not for my own gratification?”  If you ask yourself that question and find that you cannot come up with one thing, I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and give it a try.  If you are only doing for others so that you will benefit, you have not challenged yourself enough.  Try taking time out of your day to do something for someone that will not have anything to do with benefiting yourself.   Let me explain.  If you partake on a mercy mission for someone else, make sure you are not thinking that it’s for your own benefit or self glorification that you are doing it.   True acts of kindness, love and humility do not come from knowledge, they come from the heart.  Outpouring unconditionally!

Last year there were several wonderful friends who took time out of their days to sit with me or write to me.  The fact that they thought of me and prayed for me was enough, but these women actually took the time out of their busy lives to let me know.  Unconditionally!  From guilt free quilting to those friday pizza nights where I would otherwise have sat here alone.  From e-cards of inspiration to the hand written notes mailed through the post, I was blessed by the giving of their time.  I can only hope that they too felt blessed by the love they shared with this lonely Christian in her time of need for fellowship.

My friend and I sat together yesterday and began reading a book.  Although my friend can no longer read and I am actually doing the reading, our discussions during and afterward were wonderful.  We began the first week with the first two chapters of the book and studying Psalm 13.

How long, O LORD?  Will you forget me forever?  How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?  How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?  

Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep and the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.  I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.   Psalm 13

We both discussed how blessed we are knowing that we had the fellowship with one another, and the fellowship of the Lord Jesus Christ.  David, in writing this psalm, felt alone and abandoned by God, yet he trusted in His love.  He knew God was there or he would not have called out to him to begin with, but he cried out for the reassurance.   He just longed for the fellowship and comfort of the Lord to help with the loneliness  that was overtaking his physical being.  Is this any different than how we feel when we are going through trials?  As Christians we know God is ever present and we can trust in His love, yet we long for that physical fellowship.  It’s in our human nature to have that need, and yet, so many are left in their lonely state.

In both of my studies this week, the same question came up, “Why is it so important to establish a right view of God before adversity hits?”  (CBS JOB commentary)   Both my friend and I agree that in our circumstances we could not get through all that humanity and disease throws at us if we did not have trust in the Lord and trust in salvation.  In saying that, it does not mean we will not have tears and that we will not be discouraged at our current situation.  Just as David was discouraged, he still trusted in “steadfast love” which in turn allowed him to “rejoice in salvation”.   Rejoice…

Rejoicing in the everlasting love of a creator who has chosen us to be a part of his kingdom.  Rejoicing in his blessings of family and fellowship with other like minded brothers and sisters who will share in an eternal life.  Rejoicing in the blessing of vision to see that our sorrows are short lived in this world.  Rejoicing that Jesus Christ took upon himself the sins of mankind to save.  Rejoicing in the Hope and Faith of healing and God’s everlasting care in our lives on this earth.  Rejoicing in knowing Him!

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”    Romans 1:16-17

 

Waking up to Snow

 

Snow is here.
Snow is here.

The Compassion of the Lord – Isaiah 55

55 “Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
3 Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
hand I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
4 Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander for the peoples.
5 Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know,
and a nation that did not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel,
for he has glorified you.
6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
7 let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but sit shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
12 “For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the Lord,
an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

Joy Through Affliction

 

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Can I somehow relay to anyone through my words how much rejoicing has been going on in my heart the last few months and especially yesterday?  I mean, even though my Lyme symptoms have returned, my joy in Him has not subsided.

Psalm 4:7   You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.

Psalm 71:23  My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed.

My husband and I have been married for 21 years next month.  During that time we have had many trials, heart aches, and afflictions overwhelm our relationship.  Through every timely attack, we have managed to cling to one another.  Oh, it’s not always been easy, and for the first 12 years it was especially tough in our home.  I remember my early walk with the Lord, knowing and understanding fully who He was, as being a lonely venture.  Lonely in that God’s timing for my husband was not in sync with His timing with me.  I prayed for those twelve years that God would change my husbands heart, that He would show my husband His Word and Grace so that we could grow together.  At times, God likely heard my prayers to be more like begging.  Pleading for the release of my husbands hardened heart so that he would hear God’s calling and crave to know the truth as I was learning it.  Let’s just clearly say, it was a long 12 years and the support from others to continue on was at times quite at odds with scripture and felt more like worldly advice  attacks.

At the bible study I attended weekly during that time, an older, wiser Titus 2 woman who was in our leaders group reminded all of us through a devotional that sometimes we need to release our wants and desires and give it up to the Lord, for as we know all things are in His timing.  That our will was not always His will and that we needed to trust Him.

Wow!  Wait… hold the presses… I knew that!  Yet my daily prayer for 12 consistent years had been pleading my will upon the Lord’s heartstrings.  I was begging for something rather than trusting and praying for God’s will to be done in my husbands life.  Why had I not asked God for my own patience?  Why had I not prayed for acceptance of where God had my husband at that time?  I remember beating myself up about my own prayers and how selfish they were.  I wasn’t trusting God to just do as He needed.  It was that day that I went home and got on my knees and asked for God’s forgiveness in not trusting Him.  I repented for my lack of patience and asked God to give me strength to wait upon Him and His timing for my husband…. If that is what the Lord intended.  I did not know if my husband would ever accept Christ nor if God would ever even call upon my husband to be one of His flock.  I just knew that I needed to trust the plan God had for us and to stay true to Him and all that He is.

Two weeks from the day of that prayer, my husband was asked by a personal friend who he respected, if he wanted to begin a bible study with him.  My husband accepted the invitation.  We went to the store and bought him a study bible and he began studying God’s word.  I kid you not, I stood in amazement.  I have to say that for a period of time, God allowed my husband to continue serving the prince of the earth while also learning about God’s truth.  There was a true battle of good vs. evil at work.  At the final turning point,  the crushing lowest point of my husbands life, he began to see that he could not be of both worlds and the Lord began to strengthen my husbands desire for truth and soften his once hardened heart.  He admittedly prayed about hypocracy and that he no longer wanted the sinful part of his life.  He asked God for help in getting rid of the sins and continued temptations that were trying to overtake him.

John 3:5-8  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 born of the 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.”

God did not turn a blind eye.  He helped my husband see the errors of his ways, and gave him the nourishment of truth that he so desired.  The ever present Holy Spirit walked with him giving him an unknown desire for learning the scriptures.  As time went forth, the fruit of God’s work in his life was being seen and his life was reflective of a life being lived out to serve our heavenly creator.

John 15:1-11  “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in me that  does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.  Abide in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you,  unless you abide in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches.  Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.  If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.  As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.  Abide in my love.  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.

All of those years since, I and others have seen a complete transformation.  Out of darkness came a blessing of light that has touched the lives of so many.   He has over that last 9 years, become the man I prayed for him to become.  He may live in this world yet he too is not of this world.  He was called, he heard, he acted.  He has not taken the gospel for granted.  He studies, he craves the word, and he longs for truth.  All in God’s timing!

John 15:16-17   You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.  These things I command you, so that you will love one another. 

Romans 12:2  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed  by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

You may ask what in the world this has to do with my joy.  Well, yesterday my beloved husband was blessed with the induction of becoming a deacon in our church.  This is not a role to be taken lightly.  For many months our family in Christ has been praying over those being called into this position, and we have been praying that “God’s Will Be Done”.

1 Timothy 3:8-13  Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain.  They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.  And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless.  Their wives must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things.  Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their  own households well.  For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.  

I was asked by several people yesterday how I felt to be a deacons wife.  Honestly, I am not sure I should feel any different.  After all, my husband has been called to a role he is meant to serve in, and I am gladly sitting by supporting him, just as I have been supporting him our entire 21 years of marriage.

Romans 12:3  For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself  more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgement, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.  

If I have to admit to any feeling, it would be joy.  Joy over the transformation  that has carried my husband out of death and into Life.

John 20:30-31  Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Romans 6:23  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God, is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am not overly joyful about titles, yet I am overjoyed at the knowledge I have of where we have been and where we are today.  I am also overjoyed at knowing that God’s timing is perfect, in every way and that my husbands serving heart embraces God’s will.

Romans 14:16-18    So do not let what you regard as good to be spoken of as evil.  For the kingdom of God  is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved  by men.

Since I know he reads my blogs, I want to add one more thing:

Honey, I love you and am pleased to be on this journey with you.  Together,  we can support one another through all that comes our way with the strength of  Jesus Christ.  I love you!

I know that I am not alone in saying congratulations.  🙂  

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Jim would be proud that you have been a willing servant for He who rescued you out of death to give you Life and that you continue to trust in His will over all that comes your way.  I knew when I saw you helping Jim with his final walk toward everlasting peace with the Lord, that your were meant to serve your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  With this last year being so tough, you never wavered taking care of me.  

Thank you My Love, and yes, I am pleased to say I am a deacons wife!   

 

 

Faith or Works

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“But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.” Galations 4:22-24

The question in our study asked to record and explain the two images Paul uses to illustrate how the Law functions. The two images were prison and guardian. How could it be both?

My answer to the how was to consider a plane in a holding pattern. Number 3 in a line of 6 sitting on the tarmac waiting to take off. As a patron in the plane, likely having sat on that plane for about 1/2 hour already at that time, one could feel as though they are in prison. Not able to get out of the seat, not able to use the phone, not able lay the seat back. It is a requirement that one follows the rules of the plane at this time. However, as the pilot, hearing and knowing that the holding pattern they are in is truly a protection from being hit by other planes and that waiting their turn is worth the safety of the crew and patrons on board.

How wonderful that the fulfillment of Christ’s death on the cross set us free from the imprisonment of the law. If ever you’ve read the law laid out for god’s people of the Old Testament you would realize that it’s quite complicated. One could easily feel imprisoned, especially since the Law did not give them freedom, it only gave them a recognition of their sins and their death to them. Only the coming of Christ and the fulfillment of his death could provide life. I wonder how many people that call themselves Christians understand this? Being a homeschool mom, I have over the years met and observed many groups/people that practice much of the Old Testament Law. I often wonder if they truly know Christ and understand that there is nothing they can do obtain salvation. I wonder if they understand that the covenant made to Abraham in Genesis, came 430 years prior to the law.

“Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Galations 12:1-3

This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. For if the inheritance comes by the law, it longer comes by promise, but God gave it to Abraham by a promise. Galations 3:17-18

The understanding that we can do nothing to obtain salvation other than through the freedom in Christ is sometimes twisted by unbelievers so that they feel freedom in sinful behavior as long as they claim to believe in Christ. I’ve even heard it said that if someone is a good person and they do good works and have lived a clean life they are saved. Even if the person outwardly has claimed they don’t believe in God. I would argue and have argued that one is not saved through such criteria.

And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:29-31

So then what freedom does a person claiming to believe in Jesus have? Can he or she knowingly still freely sin? Are the 10 commandments null and void due to the coming of Christ?

NO!

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 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.” John 15:9-11

I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. John 17:9

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Matthew 7:14

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. John 6:37

Can someone just say he or she believes in Christ and they are saved? How do we know it’s genuine? What about alter calls? I have to be honest in saying that I myself find it hard to judge the heart of another. Just as one of the two thieves on the cross deserved death, he was not baptized, he did not follow the law, yet he believed in Christ, genuinely, and Christ understood his heart. He was welcomed by the Lord unconditionally other than his proclamation of faith. Consider however, he did not have a life further to live. He was dying alongside our Lord. For healthy humans who say they believe, if they are genuine in their faith there is a change of heart and their lives begin to reflect that change.

“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 is 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.” John 3:3-8

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for this soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels int he glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.” Matthew 16:24-27

And again in Mark 8:34-36 the above is again repeated. Ending with: “For what can a man give in return for his soul? for whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in his adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:37-38

Keeping God’s commandments, and doing good works are all a result of saving faith. The requirement of the Law of the Old Testament as atonement for sins is no longer required since Christ died on the cross. Good works by those who love Him however, still exist as a result of one’s faith in Christ.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothes and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:14-17

But someone will say to you, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God , and it was counted to him as righteousness” – and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. James 2:18-26

Why has this subject been swarming in my mind this past week? I’m not sure other than to say it is God’s providence that I have a blog to share with others. To write about my understanding of His words and to share what I know with those who may not understand. For we know not the way the Lord may touch the human soul. Through a song, a friend, a family member, a loss, a tragedy, or maybe through a blog.

I hope you find your week to be blessed and that you can see Him. May your hearts be stirred to know him more completely through His Word.

Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Isaiah 55:1 (The commentary on this verse claims it is addressing a deep spiritual longing to seek the Lord while he may be found. The word Come is all one needs to do in order to find mercy in God. ESV Study Bible Commentary)

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. Revelation 22:17

Faith or Works

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“But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.  Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed.  So then the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.”         Galations 4:22-24

The question in our study asked to record and explain the two images Paul uses to illustrate how the Law functions.   The two images were prison and guardian.  How could it be both?

My answer to the how was to consider a plane in a holding pattern.  Number 3 in a line of 6 sitting on the tarmac waiting to take off.  As a patron in the plane, likely having sat on that plane for about 1/2 hour already at that time, one could feel as though they are in prison. Not able to get out of the seat, not able to use the phone, not able lay the seat back.  It is a requirement that one follows the rules of the plane at this time.  However, as the pilot, hearing and knowing that the holding pattern they are in is truly a protection from being hit by other planes and that waiting their turn is worth the safety of the crew and patrons on board.

How wonderful that the fulfillment of Christ’s death on the cross set us free from the imprisonment of the law.  If ever you’ve read the law laid out for god’s people of the Old Testament you would realize that it’s quit complicated.  One could easily feel imprisoned, especially since the Law did not give them freedom, it only gave them a recognition of their sins and their death to them.  Only the coming of Christ and the fulfillment of his death could provide life.   I wonder how many people that call themselves Christians understand this?  Being a homeschool mom, I have over the years met and observed many groups/people that practice much of the Old Testament Law.  I often wonder if they truly know Christ and understand that there is nothing they can do obtain salvation.  I wonder if they understand that the covenant made to Abraham in Genesis, came 430 years prior to the law.

“Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.  And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”  Galations 12:1-3

This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. For if the inheritance comes by the law, it longer comes by promise, but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.  Galations 3:17-18

The understanding that we can do nothing to obtain salvation other than through the freedom in Christ is sometimes twisted by unbelievers so that they feel freedom in sinful behavior as long as they claim to believe in Christ.  I’ve even heard it said that if someone is a good person and they do good works and have lived a clean life they are saved.  Even if the person outwardly has claimed they don’t believe in  God.  I would argue and have argued that one is not saved through such criteria.

And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas.  Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”  Acts 16:29-31

So then what freedom does a person claiming to believe in Jesus have?  Can he or she knowingly still freely sin?  Are the 10 commandments null and void due to the coming of Christ?

NO!  

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.  Abide in my love.  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.”  John 15:9-11

I am praying for them.  I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.  John 17:9

“Enter by the narrow gate.  For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”  Matthew 7:14

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.  John 6:37

Can someone just say he or she believes in Christ and they are saved?  How do we know it’s genuine?  What about alter calls?  I have to be honest in saying that I myself find it hard to judge the heart of another.  Just as one of the two thieves on the cross deserved death, he was not baptized, he did not follow the law, yet he believed in Christ, genuinely, and Christ understood his heart.  He was welcomed by the Lord unconditionally other than his proclamation of faith.  Consider however, he did not have a life further to live.  He was dying alongside our Lord.  For healthy humans who say they believe, if they are genuine in their faith there is a change of heart and their lives begin to reflect that change.

“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 is 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.”  John 3:3-8

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?  Or what shall a man give in return for this soul?  For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels int he glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.”  Matthew 16:24-27

And again in Mark 8:34-36 the above is again repeated.  Ending with:  “For what can a man give in return for his soul?  for whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in his adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”  Mark 8:37-38

Keeping God’s commandments, and doing good works are all a result of saving faith.  The requirement of the Law of the Old Testament as atonement for sins is no longer required since Christ died on the cross.  Good works by those who love Him however, still exist as a result of one’s faith in Christ.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?  Can faith save him?  If a brother or sister is poorly clothes and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?  So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.  James 2:14-17

But someone will say to you, “You have faith and I have works.”  Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.  You believe that God is one; you do well.  Even the demons believe – and shudder!  Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?  You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God , and it was counted to him as righteousness” – and he was called a friend of God.  You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.  And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?  For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.  James 2:18-26

Why has this subject been swarming in my mind this past week?  I’m not sure other than to say it is God’s providence that I have a blog to share with others.  To write about my understanding of His words and to share what I know with those who may not understand.  For we know not the way the Lord may touch the human soul.  Through a song, a friend, a family member, a loss, a tragedy, or maybe through a blog.

I hope you find your week to be blessed and that you can see Him.  May your hearts be stirred to know him more completely through His Word.

Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  Isaiah 55:1       (The commentary on this verse claims it is  addressing a deep spiritual longing to seek the Lord while he may be found.  The word Come is all one needs to do in order to find mercy in God.  ESV Study Bible Commentary)

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.”  And let the one who hears say, “Come.”  And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. Revelation 22:17

Beauty or Truth? You decide…

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Proverbs 4:7  The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,and whatever you get, get insight.

Ecclesiastes 7:12  For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money,
and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it.

We recently returned from another Highland Festival gathering which took place once again in Canada.  We decided to take an additional few days before the games to take a tour of the north eastern part of Canada since we were going to be so close.  So off to Quebec City we drove.  There is so much to share about our trip, yet one part of it continues to haunt my thoughts and is something I have been praying over for the last week.

When I began writing this blog, my earlier posts had a theme of “why”?    I thought it would be interesting to write in that direction, however, many other things popped up that had me writing and sharing outside of that why box.  Well, I have over the last week continued to pray about and ask why about one small hour in time that took place on our trip.   I know and am very aware that this subject could be a hot point and am not certain how many will continue reading once I get to my point, however, I certainly hope that more will at least consider that this is me asking why and maybe they will consider my question and God’s truth on the subject.  After all, 2Timothy 3:14-16 says “14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

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On our country tour of Quebec City, we were taken to St. Anne’s Basilica, or as the French call it Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Shrine.  My first why was questioning “shrine”.   In the dictionary this is how they describe shrine: a building or other shelter, often of a stately or sumptuous character, enclosing the remains or relics of a saint or other holy person and forming an object of religious veneration and pilgrimage.   My second question was more of a “who” rather than why.  Who was St. Anne?  On the tour bus we had the explanation given through our tour guide describing her as the mother of the virgin Mary.     Now comes the third question, why is the mother of Mary a saint?  Well, saint in the dictionary reads as such: any of certain persons of exceptional holiness of life, formally recognized as such by the Christian Church, especially by canonization.  Did she lead an exceptional life?  Her name is not listed in the bible and from what I researched it is only listed once in the middle of the second century in the apocryphal Protevangelium of James.  Everywhere I looked for information about Anne, there were different stories and legends about her life.  From her being barren and sharing the same story as Hanna and Samuel, to her being married once to her being married three times and having three daughters.   I repeatedly found the word “tradition” used when describing her and her importance. Making me wonder what the definition of tradition was: a : an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom)
b : a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable.

Ah, definition b. is where I see the bigger picture. “Commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable.”  With such inconsistencies,  no clear biblical explanation into her importance, why is she a saint? It must be obvious at this point I am not catholic.  I do not understand praying to someone other than directly to the Lord in the name of Jesus.

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Back to the trip…off through the country’s winding roads and small towns we went to see a shrine dedicated and named after a woman who is a part of history yet whose name is not even in God’s holy scriptures.  The driver went on to explain that St. Anne was prayed to for healing and that people have hobbled into the basilica crippled and walked out leaving canes and crutches behind.  As I sat uncomfortably in my seat, knowing that my body is riddled with spirochetes and various other infections, I was no longer concerned over my own health, yet was concerned over the spiritual health of those who pray to someone other than Christ.  I began to pray  for the miracle of His divine power to change the heart.  I began praying for all of those who ooed and awed at the thought of seeing the basilica, seeing her hip bone under glass, and their praying to “St. Anne”.  I asked Christ directly to show those who did not know Him to be shown Him.  Just as my peace and healing has come from prayer directly to Christ himself, they too can feel healing if they only knew Him.

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Exiting the bus, it was hard not to breath deeply at the beauty of such a towering “shrine”.  It certainly was beautiful from the parking lot, and from the road.  I took a great number of pictures of the beautiful windows that the suns rays shown through, and the enormous copper doors which a local man had made.  However, as I studied the sculpture above the door as we entered in, I was wrought with sadness.  Sadness at seeing a woman (St. Anne) portrayed as an idol by those who were bowing down before her.  (I tried for 3 hours to download the picture, not sure why it will not upload.)  Why?  Her name is not listed in scripture, she is not the reason for Mary’s immaculate conception, her history is sketchy at best and there is no history of her doing anything spectacular other than being a mom to someone else who was an important part of history.  Bus loads and car loads of people unloaded to go into the basilica and pray to her.  There was even a campground across the street and a small building behind the church to buy your souvenirs.   Why pray to her?  Scripture tells us even in the old testament prayers were lifted to either the creator of the earth, our Lord God Almighty, or to man made idols.  So, since we know she herself is not God, does that make her an idol?  After all, people make pilgrimages to her basilica where miracles of healing are proclaimed and they pray to her.

The following prayer was found laying out for people to read and use in their prayers.  (Please note 1/2 way down the page under Before a relic of Saint Anne, second paragraph..)

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It must be mentioned that the Catholic Church in 1677 condemned the belief that Anne also participated in the immaculate conception of Mary.  Another why… why then is this prayer sitting in a Catholic Church dedicated to a woman who is not listed in scripture enticing people from all over the world to visit and to pray to her?

1 Timothy 2:3-6  This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

I know that the answer falls back onto the shoulders of those who taught such ideas, as well as tradition.  Tradition passed down from generation to generation.  It is possible however, to be the one person to break with tradition and begin reading scripture as God intended for us to do.  We no longer live in an age where all we have is personal reflection and stories passed down due to the lack of writing and paper.  We have bibles in our stores, churches, hotels and prayerfully in our homes.  We have internet, Bible aps and ipads.  If one begins reading them and praying directly to the Lord in the name of Jesus Christ one may find wisdom.  As Christians we need to ask hard questions when something doesn’t seem right in the teaching of the scriptures.  If people do not know truth, how will they know Him?

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

To the reader that has read all the way through, thank you.  Thank you for pondering with me the questions which need to be asked.  I hope that you will continue to read the scriptures below and listen to the following sermon posts on the first two commandments so you may understand my concern for those who pray to anyone other than Jesus Christ.

I titled this post Beauty or Truth?  because I think it’s another pondering question.  Would you rather have a beautiful sanctuary with gold and silver relics and copper doors or would you rather have truth?  I would rather have truth.

Who should we pray to:

John 14:13  Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

John 14:21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.  

John 14:14
If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

John 15:16
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

(Please note that the Father in this text is God, not the local priest or pastor.)

James 1:5
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

Let us remember:

Deuteronomy 5:6-21

6″I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
7 “‘You shall have no other gods before me.
8 “‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 9 You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 10 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
11 “‘You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
12 “‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15 You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.
16 “‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
17 “You shall not murder.
18 “And you shall not commit adultery.
19 “And you shall not steal.
20 “And you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
21 “And you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. And you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.’

Jeremiah 18:15
But my people have forgotten me;
they make offerings to false gods;

Zechariah 10:2
For the household gods utter nonsense,
and the diviners see lies;
they tell false dreams
and give empty consolation.
Therefore the people wander like sheep;
they are afflicted for lack of a shepherd.

Jeremiah 10:1-15

Idols and the Living God

10 Hear the word that the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel. 2 Thus says the Lord:
“Learn not the way of the nations,
nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens
because the nations are dismayed at them,
3 for the customs of the peoples are vanity                                                                          A tree from the forest is cut down
and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman.
4 They decorate it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so that it cannot move.
5 Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field,
and they cannot speak;
they have to be carried,
for they cannot walk.
Do not be afraid of them,
for they cannot do evil,
neither is it in them to do good.”
6 There is none like you, O Lord;
you are great, and your name is great in might.
7 Who would not fear you, O King of the nations?
For this is your due;
for among all the wise ones of the nations
and in all their kingdoms
there is none like you.
8 They are both stupid and foolish;
the instruction of idols is but wood!
9 Beaten silver is brought from Tarshish,
and gold from Uphaz.
They are the work of the craftsman and of the hands of the goldsmith;
their clothing is violet and purple;
they are all the work of skilled men.
10 But the Lord is the true God;
he is the living God and the everlasting King.
At his wrath the earth quakes,
and the nations cannot endure his indignation.
11 Thus shall you say to them: “The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.”
12 It is he who made the earth by his power,
who established the world by his wisdom,
and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.
13 When he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens,
and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth.
He makes lightning for the rain,
cand he brings forth the wind from his storehouses.
14 Every man is stupid and without knowledge;
every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols,
for his images are false,
hand there is no breath in them.
15 They are worthless, a work of delusion;

 

I hope that you will consider listening to these two sermons on the first two commandments.  Very thought provoking.

http://crbc.us/media_events/953-The-First-Commandment

http://crbc.us/media_events/954-The-Second-Commandment

 

For more information on biblical teaching of the commandments, visit CRBC.us.

Past vs. Present

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I admit it, I’m a bible thumper.  I enjoy being in church and when we travel I miss fellowship with those who are dear to my heart, my church family.  I enjoy learning about the history of the gospel, the truth of God’s Word and the approach of which we should all be living out our lives if we are truly sheep of His flock.  I am continually held accountable through conviction of my own sins and am blessed by the knowledge that I will never be perfected in Christ until my redemption through death.

I remember the day I sought out His will for my life and that of my unborn child.  The day I wept in prayer seeking forgiveness for a life spent looking for happiness and “fun”.  Oh, it has been a journey and sanctification can be long and sometimes difficult.  Attending a world wide bible study with over 17 denominations, yes there are many, I learned about reading the bible and how to study scripture.  I learned about how to be a wife and a mother as God intends, a friend, a servant and a daughter to an almighty sovereign Father.  I learned about forgiveness and the blessings that follow and learned about the toll bitterness can take on one who does not seek it.   I have been encouraged in times of trouble, I have been comforted in times of darkness, and I have listened hearing words spoken that I had not before understood.  I remember feeling as Saul must have felt when the scales were removed from his eyes and he became a servant.  I felt as if I had been blind and was finally seeing colors and shapes as they had never been seen.  Things have over the years become clearer and the journey has not been easy.  Taking me from being a nominal christian in the worship of several different denominational churches where my stirring heart to hear truth in a way I could not explain was not satisfied, to the community of which I call home.  A community of like minded believers that see things as I see them.  Where truth comes from God’s most holy word, through teaching that is scripturally sound and thoroughly studied.  Christ has led this sinful mind, body and soul to a place of humbling grace surrounded with unconditional love and forgiveness.  I praise God that I have been led out of darkness and into the light.  I praise Him for His continued watchful eye over my family, grabbing hold the hearts of my husband and children so that generations will share in His kingdoms glory, serving Him together for an eternity.

As we sat in church this morning, I once again felt that society needs to hear truth.   Truth spoken from a pulpit that does not focus on “bringing in the numbers” by pleasing the people, yet a pulpit that seeks to honor the Father on His day with truth from His own book.  Do people really understand why we have the family platform we have?  Do they understand that it was not a man made concept that just took off in tradition?  How many people understand that the bible is the most widely read book in the world?  What is taught on Sundays and any other day of the week for God’s faithful should not just be left at the door step of the building as they leave, it should be carried through out their week and taken seriously.  Hell is real.  Heaven is real!  (And no, I do not watch movies that try to tell me it is, I know it because I read it in God’s spoken word in the scriptures and I feel it in my heart.)  We live in a corrupt world of deception that tries to destroy families and what they stand for.  We as believers in truth and followers of Christ need to stand up for what we believe in and teach our children to be strong in their faith, protecting the Word as God would have us.  He will overcome!

Therefore, I am posting today’s message spoken from the pulpit.  This is a subject dear to my heart as I teach my children about marriage, expectations in relationships and the honor and glory commitment is to our almighty sovereign God.  To Him be the glory!

I pray that you are blessed by the message and that you will be given the ears to hear it as God intends.  If you are a sinner seeking forgiveness, I pray that this gives you hope.  If you are a parent, I pray that it gives you a clearer vision into the scriptures to teach your children.

Please read these first and then listen to the audio.   (If you do not own a bible, please google the verses in ESV.)

Psalm 30:2-3,  Proverbs 5:1-14,  Ephesians 5:22-33 and Exodus 20:14

http://crbc.us/media_events/976-The-Seventh-Commandment

(Courtesy of CRBC.us, and with permission to post.)

 

A Mothers Joyful Heart

Psalm 127:3 (ESV)   Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

I can still remember the feeling of my children when I was pregnant for them.  I remember the movement they would make, the hiccups that kept them jostling around in  consecutive rhythm, and the elbow or knee that would poke out under my rib that kept me from being able to bend forward.  I remember the glorious feeling that God had chosen me to be their mom on this earth.  That he chose me to carry two of His children so that I could raise them up in His word and teach them what I know of Him.    What a blessing, what an honor.  

Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)  Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

My daughter and I had the opportunity to spend some time together a week ago leaving the boys home to meander doing “boy stuff”.  The true test of how much I am healing.  From not being able to drive at all, to driving the 8 hours one way to our home away from home.  The drive back home 4 days later was more of a challenge, yet we made it safely and the memories of our time together will be a blessing for many years.

We cooked, shopped, took apart old watches and made bracelets out of the gears, and began working on quilts from the material we found at the quilt store.  We also drove around one day with our cameras and took some photographs of nature and the beauty that God provides.  I think many people go through their days not noticing what is around them.  Not us, we embraced the moment with two lenses, one lens being the eyes of youth and the other being the eyes of age.  We laughed and discussed how glorious God is that he has found favor in us to have given us the ability to see beauty in the things around us.   From the flowers blooming in the garden of a older woman, to the trees in the forest lining the road way.  We saw deer, a skunk, an eagle, and the black squirrels jumping from limb to limb playing tag.  Our weekend was not short of excitement.

My highlight was spending time with my daughter, and watching the doe with her fawns that visited our yard each day.  Sometimes more than once.  At one point I opened the upstairs window to capture a clear shot and I heard one of the fawns honk as he/she communicated with his/her mom.  I nearly cried.  I watched as mom looked in all directions before she led her babes across the street, and watched as she led them to the greenery teaching them to forage for food.  I also watched the babes chase one another around the yard jumping and running at full speed.  It was beautiful and for a moment I felt a connection with the doe.  We were both teaching and spending time with the blessing of our womb.

I hope that you find favor in the site of the Lord and that you can see the beauty that is around you.  No matter where you are, what you are doing, what affliction tries to carry you away, I pray that you can and will cry out for the eyesight to notice the creations of the Lord.  Enjoy the pics, we sure enjoyed taking them.

 

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And the surprise out my bedroom window at 5:30 a.m.

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Big, fluffy white coat and a tail that swirled and swayed as he ran into the woods (when I tried to take the screen out to get a better picture) … If only it didn’t smell!   🙂