Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rushing Waters and Washing Machines

With kids it’s always something. We happen to have older ones and younger ones (21, 18, 16, & 12) and though we love them dearly, there is never a minute without drama in our house. I know that when they are gone we will think back and long to hear doors slamming at midnight, the washer constantly squeaking, and many other strange but joyous noises all hours of the day and night.

I mention these sounds because they stand out in my mind from recent events but there are more majestic sounds than the sounds that emanate from our house and they are mentioned in Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation to name a few. These are the sounds of the voice of the Lord.
Ezekiel 1: 24 & 43:2 both relate the sound of his voice to be like rushing waters. This thought is also echoed in Revelation 1:15. Daniel 10:6 was the only other place I could find that described the sound of God’s voice and he likened it to the “sound of a multitude”.
On our recent trip to Florida, I thought a lot about the sound of God’s voice as I sat on the beach watching the water come in and out in waves. As it crashed upon the shore I wondered, is this really what he sounds like? What was he saying to me? It was quite a moving experience.
Today as I was reflecting on all of this, I was drawn to Psalm 29 and it also spoke of the Lord’s voice. Here I saw the affects and location of the Lord’s voice. According to this passage it hovers over the waters, it is powerful and can break cedars and make nations rejoice. This psalm says in verse 7-9 that the Lord’s voice strikes like lightning, shakes the desert, twists oaks and strips forests bare.

The voice of the Lord is very awesome and powerful and from scripture we can see that his voice is a very real presence in our lives; all around us in the very essence of nature God speaks loud and clear. He is real and very much in control of our lives and our environment. He is to be praised and worshipped because he is holy and worthy.

As followers of Christ, we are to be well acquainted with his voice so that we can obey his every command. We look to him for guidance and comfort. His voice is always with us constantly speaking but we have to have ears to hear. If you are struggling today and are in need of hearing his voice, just ask him to clear your mind and turn up the volume so that you can hear what he is saying to you.

Many times in scripture God speaks loudly so he won’t have a problem with your request! My prayer for the coming year is that God’s voice will be heard by his children above the everyday noise of our existence, above the squeaking washer and kid noises in the night, and that as we hear his voice we will be quick to be obedient to his will.

Have a safe and happy new year. God, I’m all ears!

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Perfect Gift

In all of our running here and there to find the perfect gifts to fulfill the desires of our loved ones hearts this Christmas, there is but one gift that matters the most in life and in death.

It is the gift of Jesus Christ. His gift gives love to us every moment of every day from the time we accept him as truth in our lives. He is truly the only gift that will ever matter.

Jesus Christ, Jesus the Messiah, came to earth leaving all of his deserved majesty to take the human form of an infant. His love was his motivation, specifically his love for us, compelled him to take action and intervene in our lives. From his vantage point in heaven, he could see that without his intervention our souls would be doomed to hell, an eternity apart from God.

We were doomed because there was no way for us to live a perfect life fulfilling the law which he gave us. He is a righteous, holy God and no darkness or no other way of life is found in him. He is so righteous that there was no way, other than his sovereign intervention, for us to be able to spend eternity with him.

Christ came to earth, born for the specific purpose to die for us. He took our place and paid a bill that wasn’t his to pay. We were in debt to the law which we could not live up to. Why would Christ die in our place? He would do this because of his great love for us, a love in which we cannot comprehend its fullness. He would die for us not because we were such great and wonderful people, but for the sake of his love for us.

Love is a great motivator even for us. We love our children and would move heaven and earth to save them if their lives were in danger. Christ did the same for us, only there was more at stake than just our physical life here on earth, our eternal life was at stake. He could not bear an eternity apart from us, his creation, and his children. He knew we were helpless because he created us.

At the time of his death, after living and walking among us, he was unjustly crucified. The people of that time stretched out his arms on a wooden cross and drove nails though his hands. Then they stretched out his legs and crossed his feet and drove a spike through them. He was nailed to a cross.

He was not guilty of any crime at all; in fact, he had lived a perfect life completely fulfilling the law that we could not. No sin or shame was found in him; he was the perfect lamb, a perfect payment for our sin and God laid the weight of the world’s sin, the sin of all time and all people, upon him.

As his blood was shed, the sins of the entire world…past, present and future were atoned for leaving us who would receive him as our Lord and Savior cleansed of our sin forever. Christ made a way; he is the gate through which we come to the Father (our creator) with confidence. Now, we will live with him forever and we don’t need to be afraid of death.

Why are we here on this earth? Why would God bother if Christ was the sacrifice for all time? We must learn to know him, and in order to know him, we must suffer as Christ did many trials and tribulations to help us learn. The purpose of the life we live here on earth is to learn to lay down our lives for others and follow the example that Jesus Christ gave us. In doing this, we bring him glory.

This sounds crazy, why does she believe this? Where is she getting all of this? I get these beliefs from God’s word, the bible, which he gave to us to help us in our spiritual journey.

The bible is tested and true on every plain. It has been proven in my life’s experiences and many more lives throughout the ages and in the earth through archeology. God’s word never fades away; it has always been and will always be. God’s word is powerful and has intricately shaped and molded my life. God’s word is the moral absolute and without it we do not know that it is wrong to kill, steal, lie, covet, or worship idols.

Without God’s word we do not know how to love our God or others. We do not know the sovereignty and holiness of our God’s name. We know nothing of the sacred things of our God. We do not know that it is right and good to honor our fathers and mothers.

We would never know what can bring us life, health and peace. We would not know that we need a savior. We wouldn’t know about the wonderful sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on our behalf.

For example, a person may not believe in God, but they know that it is wrong to murder. Why do they believe this way? Because God’s word is God’s word and it says don't murder anyone, it rules in the earth whether or not they believe in him or his word. Because God says so!

God’s word cannot be partly true because God is not a half way God! He went all the way to the cross and beyond to fulfill his word!

This is my Christmas gift to you. This gift, Jesus gave to me, when I accepted him as my savior and the gift is eternal life. Not because I am someone special, but because Jesus Christ is someone special and he is calling out to you today, do you hear him? Do you have the courage to listen and make the necessary acceptance of all this truth in your heart and to receive everlasting life from him?

If you have courage and are ready for your life to change, today is your day. Pray with me…Father, I know I am a sinner, I believe that you came to earth; you died to save me from a life apart from you. I believe that you love me and I ask you to come into my heart and rule my life. I need a change and I believe you are the only way to that change. I want to be with you forever.

Thank you Jesus for hearing my request and honoring it with your presence in my life. Fill me now with your Holy Spirit and show me what to do next. Amen.

Now, as an act of faith, tell someone about the decision you’ve just made. I know that the weight of the world has just lifted off of your shoulders and you are filled with an awesome peace you have never known. This is his presence, and it is another reason why all I have said is true. He will never leave you or forsake you and you can count on that.

Merry Christmas, his beloved ones.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Keep your Focus

Well, we are finally back on track with our bible study after several weeks of holiday and other obligations. It was good to set down and dig into the word together again.

We began with a word of prayer and a cry in our hearts that the Holy Spirit would come and speak to us. I was amazed once again at how God showed up and ministered to our hearts because I couldn’t remember where I had read, and there were others at the study that hadn't even had time to read scripture that day.

Even in spite of all that, the Holy Spirit led the way. We began in 2 Samuel 22 reading the extravagant praise that came forth from King David; it was almost like a psalm. He spoke about God and his power and praised him for enabling him to do things that were out of his power to do. David praised God for his deliverance as he was confronted with death; truly in his time of desperate need, God was faithful and helped him.

With this encouragement saturating our hearts, we moved to Proverbs 2:1-8 where God directed us to cry out to him for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding through a daily devotional that one of us had tucked away in their bible. It was beautiful to see how the Spirit was putting the pieces together to speak a powerful message to us.

We learned to seek God’s word as if we were looking for hidden treasure that we believed was real. We discussed how we must believe that God’s word is real and that it has a tremendous purpose and power in our lives for us to do his will.

We talked about the importance of knowing God and how all the circumstances going on around us are distractions that the enemy uses to get our focus off of the Kingdom of God to throw us off balance. It was as if God had reminded us who he was and was saying, just focus on me.

Jeremiah 33 was next. Here the Lord said in verse 3 once again, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Seek me, keep your focus on me and I will guide you. God went on in Jeremiah 33 to reveal his plan to the people even speaking of Jesus in verses 14-17 in this Messianic Prophesy.

God tells Jeremiah in no certain terms that he will keep his promises and he will bring these things to pass. God went so far as to say that we could be assured that these things would happen just like day and night never cease and the laws that are fixed in heaven and on earth cannot be changed by us. (Verse 25) His promises are true and trustworthy and we are to focus on him and not let the distractions of life entangle us. (Also see 2 Timothy 3-6).

In Genesis 25: 19-34 we read how Esau despised his birthright because he was worried about his survival. In this, God encouraged us not to despise or lose sight of our place with him that was given to us before we were born.

We were chosen and bought with a price and God has given us promises that are sure. We in turn should not worry about our daily needs by forgetting who God is and where we came from and are seated…with Christ in heavenly realms. (Ephesians 2:6).

Matthew 6:25-34 shows us the mind of Christ and how we are to approach life and our needs and Colossians 3:1-4 brings focus to our every thought. We left the bible study encouraged, refreshed and strengthened. God had spoken clearly to us through his wonderful word and I give him all the praise.

Beloved, as the day draws near and the darkness envelopes us, so that we cannot find our way, we will need the light of Jesus to guide us more than ever. Look at life’s distractions through the light of eternity and regain your focus.

When we stand before God, will it be all the busyness of life that is important and pleasing to God? Or will it be that we have taken time to focus on him and know him? Don’t despise the rights that God gave you from before the time you were born; you were chosen and bought with a price. Trust in him and seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness.

I’ve said this before and I truly believe it, all we go through is in preparation for what is to come. This is boot camp! Dig in, know him and focus NOT on the distractions and circumstance going on in your life but on Jesus our only hope!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Cat Encouragement

Look what the cat drug in is a familiar saying in our society with not so nice connotations. Well, this week at our house this saying was very true as our cat came in with a live mouse in its mouth…I screamed and jumped on my daughter in the loveseat, Atlee jumped on the couch and Matt darted about the living room with a cup bravely attempting to catch it.
What a scene! All this while we were trying to put up the Christmas tree, there were decorations and fake tree branches everywhere. More screaming and jumping ensued as the mouse ran under the ottoman. Then at some point we thought it had gone up inside the couch so we turned it over to see if it was there. We looked and looked but couldn't find it.

It must have scurried to the other side of the room behind the TV because later that night as things had quieted down, I spotted the mouse there... eeek! More screaming and jumping….oh the drama (and I’m talking about myself!)
That mouse is a master at hiding but our old cat (not the one who brought the mouse in…that was the young cat) knew that it had moved from the living room to the kitchen in the night as she patiently stared at the dishwasher for most of the next day.

Later in the afternoon she had moved her stance and was poised on the refrigerator. She was very persistent and I was amazed at how the old girl just wouldn’t give up. All day she waited and she didn’t even receive her prize.
This made me think of how many times I’ve believed God for things to come to pass but they never did. I had a choice at those times to give up on my faith in God or trust that he is my loving father and he knows what is best for me.

The bible tells us how trials of many kinds come at us and when they do, God’s purpose in allowing them is to develop our faith and make us mature. (James 1:3-4)
In Daniel 3:17 & 18, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were tried with literal fire for their faith. I love what they say to the king in these verses. God is able, but even if he doesn’t deliver us from you we won’t bow down to your god! This was their message standing firm on the knowledge of who their God was to them.

This is what we must be prepared to do as followers of Christ in this dark time. We will be tested and tried for our faith and we must know our God and be willing to trust that if he doesn’t spare our flesh he will save our soul! We must not base our faith in Him on whether or not he fulfills our expectations.
Job proclaimed in chapter 2 verse 10, “…shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Just as these patriarchs walked faithfully with God so must we. Our God is a good and loving God who is also righteous and just; we can trust his judgment because he sees the whole picture.
We, on the other hand, only see only in part as 1 Corinthians 13:12 explains.
If you’re facing a fiery test today, stand firm in what you know from the word to be true and believe that even if God doesn’t deliver you in the way you think he should, that he is faithful and true and has your best interest at heart.
To date our old cat hasn’t caught that mouse but I can tell as she faithfully stands guard over our kitchen that she will endure to the end. Either she will get that mouse or the mouse will die where it is…personally I hope she gets it… and I hope you will endure and receive your prize as well.

Turn to our loving Father, be persistent and he will help you.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Love

Well, today it has been one full year since my daughter passed away. I am thankful to God that he gave us ten months to spend quality time together. I have no regrets where she is concerned and I have total peace and confidence that she is in a better place.

But there is another area of my life where I do have regrets and it concerns my father. When he was still alive I had several opportunities to have a relationship with him but sadly I chose not to . He was a kind man and he loved the Lord. I was told at his funeral that my dad didn’t know a stranger and that he was a good friend.

I guess my point in writing this on Thanksgiving Day is that many families have a hard time during the holidays and they get angry with one another over little things. If you are having a misunderstanding with a loved one this holiday season learn from my mistake and don’t let regret become part of your life.

Ask yourself, if this person that I am upset with were to die today, would I have regrets where they are concerned? Life is short and I have learned that in a moment the ones we love can be taken away. I have made it a part of my life to live every day with everyone as if it were the last time I was ever going to see them.

Colossians 3:12-15 sums up my thoughts today in a very beautiful way.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.

Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.

And be thankful.”

Father, I pray for families all over this nation and world today. Mend broken hearts and bring restoration in relationships. I am truly thankful for all my family and I love them very much…bless every gathering this day, comfort and encourage every heart. AMEN.

Much love and thanks again to all of you who stuck with me last year during these last painful days of Danni’s precious life…you will never know how your kindness has forever touched and changed my life. I love you, my friends and family very much.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dishpan Greatness

Moms, do you ever feel unappreciated by your family? Ever feel like the maid instead of an honored family member? Last night I was feeling this way and in my anger I even said my kids were spoiled rotten!

We were doing some work to the kitchen and so my sink and dishwasher were out of commission. I was reluctantly reacquainted with washing dishes by hand…

I know I sound like a whiner but that is really hard work especially when you have to keep filling two bowls full of water from the bathroom sink! Ok, I’m done whining. I did, however, gain a new appreciation for my dishwasher.

As I began to labor on the many dishes that had piled up with 6 people eating and drinking nonstop for three days, my children scattered to various areas of the house so they could avoid having to help. Injustice is a hard thing for me to deal with, especially where I am concerned, but as I labored the Holy Spirit brought to my remembrance Matthew 20:26-28.

“…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Here is where the Holy Spirit revealed to me that I was spoiled rotten as well…I am blessed and I don’t have to do my dishes like this every day, but what if I had to? Also, I don’t deserve any of the things God has done for me and he has cleaned up plenty of my messes!

“Why do I always have to be the one?” is the question that soared through my heart as the enemy used my hidden pride against me causing me to lose my peace and get upset, but the Spirit of God was faithful to help me.

The Spirit spoke to my heart about who is the greatest and that if I want to be as great as I think I am I must be a servant and a slave to others. I said, “I think I am great,” in the previous line because I realized that it was my pride that was pinched in doing the dishes alone; not that I am great but pride will tell you that you are too good for certain tasks.

God often orchestrates those around us into a symphony of pressure to bring things hidden in our hearts to the surface that many times we don’t even realize are there. He holds the mirror of scripture up to our face so that we can see the ugliness that he wants to cleanse out of our lives. I was grateful and I told him I don’t want to think more highly of myself than I ought and he forgave and restored me.

Jesus said in Matthew 20 that if we want to be great and first we must follow his example and be a servant and slave to others. I am a firm believer that every circumstance we go through is a rich training ground for what we will need in the future and this was one of those occasions.

Thank you, Jesus for revealing my heart and taking my pride away. Thank you for caring enough to raise the mirror of scripture in my mind so I could see what was needed. Thank you for your mercy and grace that I can learn in a safe environment over a few measly dishes. I give you praise and once again ask that you don’t let me get away with anything! AMEN.

Oh, by the way, after much loud encouragement I did manage to muster one child to help me with the task… :}

Thursday, November 12, 2009

White Horses on Parade

Ever have one of those weeks where it seems like all hell is breaking loose? This seems to be one of those weeks but I praise God because he is working things out of us and changing us. He is making us stronger once again. Whenever God allows the flames to rise higher, he also increases our faith to walk through those flames.

I wanted some encouragement from the Lord so I turned to his word, Revelation in particular and in Chapter 19: 6b-7 I read:

For the Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him the glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.

Woo hoo! God is in control and this is all part of the process of the bride, his church, of which I am a member preparing herself to be made perfect before him. Scripture after scripture has come to my mind by the influence of the Holy Spirit and I am strengthened once again.

Then down further in Revelation 19 in verses 11-16 here is a picture of the strong and mighty One we serve…

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.

The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:


Woo hoo again! This is my Jesus, not some mamby, pamby, wimpy Jesus! He is mighty and I will praise him with all that is within me! Just the name KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS puts all of my enemies to flight! Just speaking that name brings strength and courage to my spirit.

Hallelujah! I rejoice and I am glad in my circumstances God is on the move! It is only in times of trial and tribulation that we can clearly see the movement of God. My faith has grown bigger than Goliath and my hope is that you will be encouraged in your circumstance to view it as God does from places in him, in Christ in the heavenly realms as Colossians 3 proclaims.

James 1:2-4 comes to mind as well, check it out and MARCH, follower of Christ!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Destined for His Plan

Yesterday was bible study day and here are the highlights, we began in Jeremiah 10:1-16. In our materialistic country it’s easy to get caught up in idols but this scripture reveals false gods for what they really are, that being items made by human hands which can neither do good or bad (see verse 5).

They can be inanimate objects or attitudes of the heart but they will be dealt with by God and his purifying fire. Nothing can be compared to the one true God. He makes lightning and thunder, he causes the earth to tremble, he made the world with his hands, he controls every part of nature and weather and nothing even comes close to his power and majesty!

We were discussing how God is in control of all things and he has our lives planned in advance for us. I raised this question… can a person miss their destiny? If destiny is a set of events that will happen, is it possible to miss or mess up the sequence in that set of events? I personally don’t think so. I think things happen as they are supposed to happen.

I recently read one of those forwarded emails about how we should sign some petition to stop some treaty that would pave the way for a one world government. I didn’t get too excited because I’ve read Revelation and Isaiah 9:6-7, Jesus is in control!

Why should I wear myself out trying to stop events that are destined to happen? It’s a waste of time. Our mandate from our Lord is to make disciples of all nations and we should not to get involved in civilian affairs (2Timothy 2:4) the goings on around us are situations that Jesus said we would have to endure (Matthew 24); they are also circumstances that will come and we are not to fret, fear and stew about it.

And now I will step down from my soap box and continue :]…In Acts 17:16-34 we watched Paul cleverly speaking to the intellectuals of his time about their alter to an unknown God. Paul confirmed our Jeremiah 10 scripture and showed us the difference between a dead idol and the power of the living God!

He speaks truth to them and explains that God doesn’t need our human hands to serve him, or to take control of things for him (as if we could control things) because he is quite capable of handling things…thank you! (Verses 24 and 25)

In verse 26 he goes into detail about how God has it all planned out right down to where each man should live and answers the question of why God would do such a thing in verse 27, “God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him…”

In my personal pursuit of peace I have found that the more I leave for God to take care of the better off I am. This doesn’t mean that I never do anything but what it does mean is that I try very hard never to worry or fear about things. The bible instructs us numerous times not to worry and not to fear and that applies to every aspect of our lives, not just the ones we pick and choose. I don’t always accomplish this goal and when that happens sooner or later I realize that I am trying to do things on my own again. As soon as I repent God makes the adjustment in my heart and puts me right back on track.

The final scripture for the evening was Luke 14, it was a warning to us as well as an encouragement and it rounded off the evening quite nicely. The scene opens with Jesus sitting at a banquet in the house of an upper crust religious leader and all eyes are on him…and the guy with dropsy or edema as it’s called today across from him. It’s a set up to see how Jesus will respond on the Sabbath; will he break the law and heal the guy?

He knows what the game is and reveals it by addressing the “big white elephant” in the room and he is answered by silence. How terrible, these snooty people only invited him and the poor swollen soul to be the show. Jesus heals the man and again he is answered with silence when he confronts their hardened hearts.

Once again Jesus addresses the banqueters teaching them about being kind to one another and being humble. Then he turns his face to the host of the party and instructs him about who to invite and who not to invite the next time he has a party. It’s almost as if he is instructing them as a parent instructs his child on how to behave at a formal dinner. I wonder if they ever invited him again. :}

Then the plot thickens as he speaks to their way of thinking once more by telling them another story about another banquet given by a man who sends his servants to tell the people who have been invited that it was time for the banquet to begin. The servants are greeted with responses from people who are too wrapped up with what’s going on in their little world to leave it for something greater and they totally miss the best time of their lives…literally!

Could it be that they missed their destiny? Or rather is it that they were destined to miss it so that other, more needy than themselves could attend? Maybe Jesus was trying to get them to see who they really were…poor, crippled, blind and lame. They either had to see themselves in this light or they would have to be the ones who thought they were too good to be at the banquet.

Then Jesus drives it home by letting them know that everyone is invited to the “feast in the kingdom of God” (verse 15) from the response that started the whole story and narrows it down for them who they are by saying in verse24, “I tell you not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.” He clears the muddy waters and lets them know what he thinks of them in the process for they are as we are poor, crippled, blind and lame without Jesus in the sight of God. We are a pitiful lot bound for hell without a savior.

This is a warning for us too to watch our attitudes when confronted with all kinds of people and situations. We need to remember where we came from and who is in control. The rest of Luke 14 is about the cost of following him.

If we are destined to follow him there will be cost involved. It may be the loss of our close family members or friends that don’t agree with our decision to follow him. It may be the loss of our personal dreams. The point is that to follow Jesus there is a decision to be made.

The definition of disciple according to the web dictionary of Princeton College says a disciple is this: someone who believes and helps to spread the doctrine of another. It’s more than just following him; it’s believing him and telling others. Paul was sneered at and some believed him and others didn’t when he told them about Jesus in Acts 17. There is a price to pay but we shouldn’t worry or be afraid.

Somewhere along the way I’ve picked up this saying and it has helped me though the cost that I must pay. I won’t go back to the way I was because I’ve come too far…I certainly can’t stay here…so I will take another step and keep moving with Jesus.

If you feel like you’re at that point in your walk with him just hold tight to his hand and take another step because you can’t stay where you are and you can’t go back so go forward and if you have never given your life to Christ, now is the time to see yourself clearly…poor, crippled, blind and lame without hope of ever reaching the banquet table of heaven.

Receive him into your heart and life, confess your sins to him and believe that he died for you and tell others. Believe me this is the most important decision you will ever make.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Crushed Goodness

October 29, 2009

“So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 NIV

Some friends and I were discussing 1 Corinthians 10 the other day, verse 13 in particular. I love a good challenge and I admit I was challenged because I wasn’t sure of the context of this often quoted scripture.

The context in which this verse is located is about idolatry and temptation and not circumstances of life that bear down upon us and getting through those circumstances as this verse is often used. This scripture actually gives us no excuses for falling into temptation because God will always provide us with a way to deny ourselves and stand against the temptation.

Many times I think I have taken this scripture out of context to make it mean that the circumstances that I will encounter in my life will never be more than I can bear. I am grateful that God has brought a correction to my thinking.

This goes beautifully with a discussion that Matt, my hubby, and I was having the other day about sin and how the word says in Romans 6:2 that “we died to sin.” Actually this entire chapter deals with the fact that as Christ died, was buried and resurrected and so were we because he took all of our sin, guilt and shame upon himself and because sin, guilt and shame was not resurrected from the grave but atoned for in his blood; we are now dead to sin and alive to Christ. Sin has no mastery over us any longer and we don’t have to be enslaved to it.
We were also trying to understand Paul’s analysis of how sin can be at work in our members and yet we are dead to it (Romans 7:21-24). I was curious to see what the meaning of Romans 7:23 was so looked in the Strong’s for the meaning of the word “members” and it said this, “a member, limb: a member of the human body; of bodies given up to criminal intercourse, because they are as it were members belonging to the harlot's body” This made me think of how we are in the world but not of the world as Jesus prayed in John 17.

Sin is going on around us but we are not to be participating in it because for those of us who have accepted Jesus as our Savior, we have been redeemed from it and God will help us deal with it. As we discussed this issue we came to the conclusion as Paul did in Romans 7:24 that it is only Jesus that can save us from it all.

So if 1 Corinthians 10:13 doesn’t apply to crushing circumstances we encounter in life, what does the bible say that can help us in those times? My first thoughts were about the potter and the clay. Jeremiah 18: 1-10 is a perfect example of how the Lord is in control of our lives and at any point his hands can crush us and reshape our lives as the potter works the clay bending it to his will.

God often puts us into circumstances that are way more than we can bear because he wants us to come running to him. He is in control over every aspect of our preplanned and predestined lives and he has his reasons for what we are going through. It seems at those times of life that we are reborn so to speak into someone greater and we are purified and changed more to the image of Jesus. Isn’t this God’s goal for our lives?

I think that if we would look at our circumstances as things that God uses to make us more like our Lord, then they would be a lot easier to go through. Our part is to trust him and believe that he is always good and always has our good at heart. He loves us more than anyone ever could or he wouldn’t discipline us and life would be a breeze.

Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1Peter 1:6-7
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Check! One, Two! Is this thing on?

October 24, 2009

Do you know God? What would happen if by some chance he would visit you today? Would you be able to pick him out of a crowd? Who cares anyway, why is it so important to know God?

The best way to get to know someone is to listen to them and to converse with them. Prayer is simply listening and conversing with God. If you want to know what someone is really like, listen to what comes out of their mouth. Luke 6:24 says, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”

The Bible is the Words of God written by men under divine inspiration as 2Timothy 3:16 says, “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” So if I want to know God one of the best ways to do that is to go to his word, the bible and read. Did you know that if you ask God he will give you specific scriptures that speak directly to you and your circumstance? Have you ever asked him to do that for you? Try it, God is faithful and his word is living, he is an individual God and he longs to communicate with you.

Recently, I was challenged to ask God for specific encouragement just for me and as I waited upon him my thoughts were directed to Joshua 9:25 and Joshua 10:25 as well as John 10. The first scripture was one of surrender stating, “We are now in your hands. Do to us whatever seems good and right to you.” I had been wrestling with my independence and was attempting to put conditions on what God had shown me. As I read this scripture a light went on and I realized that I am in his hands and he will do what is good and right to me. I can trust him.

The second and third scripture spoke to my fears and doubts about whether or not I had heard from God or if it was the food I had eaten earlier. As I heard Joshua 10:25 after hearing Joshua 9:25 and my first thoughts were, “Ok, I am probably making this up and this isn’t God,” but low and behold to my surprise Joshua 10:25 said this, “…do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies you will fight.”

“But how do I know that this is really you, Lord,” I thought in my mind. That’s when I heard John 10 and as I turned there I was amazed again. In this scripture Jesus is speaking to the people in parable (story) form and he is speaking about those sheep who know their shepherd. I was so blessed as I read the words of verse 27… “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” Then Jesus goes on to say that his sheep cannot be snatched out of his hand or his Father’s hand which made me think of what the first scripture had said.

It was so beautiful how the Holy Spirit put things together. It gave me such confidence and peace about the things I had seen and heard in my time before him. I know that I am not the only one to struggle with the question, “Do I know him and do I hear him?” I have shared my experience with you to make you wonder, “What would he do for me if I asked him to show me a specific scripture for me in his word?” He is faithful and if you will take this to heart and dare to ask him, I know he will prove he is speaking to you and that you are hearing from him.

This last scripture I want to share with you is something I was reading earlier today. Above I posed the question, “Why is it so important to know God?” 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 clearly answers this question.

It says, “He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power…”

Now before you get too comfortable thinking that this is just for those who do not believe I challenge you to think about Matthew 25. It is not the unbeliever Jesus is speaking about in this scripture but the “believer” and they are shut out of his presence because they were not prepared when he came.

I know this is a strong word, body of Christ, but my heart says, “Be sure and be prepared”. Go to him today and ask him to confirm things to you through his specific word for you; then have the courage to accept and believe whatever it is that he speaks to you.

If you can’t remember a time when you asked Jesus to be the Lord of your life, I challenge you today to ask him to come into your life right now, don’t wait, you never know what the next minute holds for you.

Pray with me, “Jesus, I confess I’m a sinner and I ask that you would forgive my sins and come into my life. Be the Lord of my life, it’s all I have to give. Fill me with your Holy Spirit so that he can help me along this new path I’ve chosen and thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus name, amen.”

If you prayed this prayer, be strong and courageous and tell someone about the decision you’ve made. May God richly bless you.