For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. —Romans 15:4
Saturday, December 26, 2009
28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (KJV)
This week my family and I experienced the wonder of a new birth. Our grandson, Eli arrived into the world after much work on his mamma’s part and much prayer from the rest of us. He is beautiful bundle of joy (just had to say that!) What a wonderful time to experience new birth and see everyone from all sides of a loving family work together to help in so many ways.
As this New Year begins, find ways to work for the good that God intends. We are all called to be caring, compassionate people.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the town, not a person was smiling, their faces in frowns… How sad to see people hustling and bustling, preparing for a celebration without knowing the joy that Christ brings.
Luke tells us that at the birth of Christ, the shepherds went out immediately and told the neighbors that Jesus was born. They celebrated his birth by sharing good news to anyone who heard them. As this week before Christmas unfolds, here are my Top Ten ways to celebrate our Saviors birth.
1. With joy-filled hearts wish others a Merry Christmas
2. Pray for the person for whom you are wrapping a gift
3. Send greeting cards that express the joy of Jesus birth either through the card itself or your own words
4. As you stand in line with other shoppers, be patient (ok this one is for me)
5. Listen to Christmas music that reminds you why we celebrate the season
6. If you make baked goods or candy, make enough to share with a neighbor, then visit with them for a while (thanks to our pastor Kris for this one, I did it and enjoyed talking with our older neighbor the other day)
7. Spend time with the people you love
8. Be kind to the people who get on your nerves (you know we all have to work on this one)
9. Read to the children, your own or someone elses-they would love to hear the story of the birth of Christ
10. Last of all, worship the Lord and praise him, He is the reason we celebrate!
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
46And Mary said:
"My soul glorifies the Lord
47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
A season of babies has descended upon our family this year. Max arrived in October to a busy home and welcoming siblings, Elijah will be born any day now (even as I write this I wonder if my phone will ring beckoning me to the hospital). In the cold of winter Zeke will join his big sister and my nephew and his wife will also deliver a baby boy.
With all of these little boys being born and seeing Sara, Elijah's mamma, ready to deliver just before Christmas brings to mind Mary, the mother of Jesus. Some writers say Mary traveled on a donkey for 70 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem in the last stages of her pregnancy. If you've ever been pregnant you know the last thing you'd want to do is balance precariously on a donkey, then find out that you must deliver your sweet little baby in a stinky animal habitat. Yet, Mary went with Joseph faithfully trusting God and following his plan, discomfort and all. In our Christmas songs we celebrate the birth in the manger and those gentle animals and all that wonderful hay that made a bed. But, do we ever stop to think about what Mary and Joseph sacrificed and endured to bring our Savior into the world. What an example of pure faith.
As you prepare for the Christmas season, remember the sacrifice of the one who came to set us free. Celebrate Jesus!
Saturday, December 5, 2009
4 he is like the light of morning at sunrise
on a cloudless morning,
like the brightness after rain
that brings the grass from the earth.'
This time of year, my husband and I enjoy riding around our town and looking at the Christmas lights. Some folks hang just a few, while others fill their yard with the glow of Christmas. I especially delight in the nativities that some set out. It is so refreshing to see the reason we celebrate Christmas displayed where all can see.
God calls us to be the light of the world. I love how Samuel describes light in verse 4, "like a brightness after the rain". We can be that brightness throughout the holidays and shine our light for Jesus.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
Around the holidays, I tend to make lists and plans for gift buying, baking, hosting, and visiting and on it goes. So much to do and so many plans often take away from the joy that could be mine. So, over the years I've learned to whittle down my list making, simplify my gift buying and baking and learned to say no when I cannot do something. I enjoy Christmas and remembering the birth of Jesus so much more.
Even the simplest plans we make need to be committed to the Lord. This year I prayed about the gifts I wanted to give to individuals and I have a peace in my heart about what we have chosen for each person. In preparing for the Christmas season, lift up all you do to God. Seek his face as you celebrate the season of giving.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
3 Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
This is one of my favorite scriptures about giving thanks. I love that God is faithful, loving and good and that he cares to share it with me. I am so blessed.
Enjoy a wonderful season of Thanksgiving!
Friday, November 20, 2009
The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
This coming week, as a nation, we celebrate Thanksgiving. Families gather together and feast on a bounty of turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes (don’t forget the gravy) and pumpkin pie. We are blessed to freely enjoy the meal, our family and friends, and a day off work.
As much as we enjoy and are thankful for Thanksgiving dinner, the “meal” we serve in our churches with our brothers and sisters in Christ is the most important one we share. Jesus died to redeem us from the pits of Hell. He sacrificed his life for ours and each time we take communion we are reminded of his love for us. When taking communion, the bread that represents his body and the juice that represents his blood, give thanks for the one who gave his life.
Friday, November 13, 2009
7 Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
8 My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.
One Sunday morning in September, we woke up to a soppy, mooshy, wet floor in our utility room and on our enclosed porch. After church, some of our children were coming for dinner and to celebrate their birthdays. We didn't want to miss church or tell the kids not to come. Crawling back into bed and pulling the covers over our heads wasn't a good option either, so we prayed and then brain-stormed about what we could do. We discovered that our brother-in-law owned a shop vac that we could pick up after church. As soon as we got home, Tim vacced the porch so we could eat the birthday dinner out there and eventually got the rest of the water sucked up. After a few days, the carpet dried and the mess became a memory.
When you face daily trials and problems, what do you do? Crawl back into bed and hide, ignore what's going on, run as fast as you can. God wants us to talk to him and see how he can help. He knows our troubles and he has a desire for us to turn to him for solutions. Seek his face, cling to him, sing in the shadow of his wings and he will hold you up.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"
7Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand."
8"No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me." 9"Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!"
10Jesus answered, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean.... 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
When New Testament folks traveled to their neighbors for dinner they bathed before they left home and maybe spritzed a little eucalyptus water behind their ears. When they stepped out on their journey, dust and dirt from the beaten paths swirled up and landed on their feet. On their arrival, a servant or the host knelt and washed the dust from their feet. What a humbling experience.
Jesus was not above washing his disciples feet, even though Peter objected. Service and humbleness often walk hand-in-hand. Seek to serve.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
34Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. 36You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
Earlier in Acts 10, Peter had a vision from God that encouraged him to eat foods he had never been allowed to eat. Through this and a discussion with a man named Cornelius we learn that God wants all people to hear the truth about Jesus and to have a personal relationship with him. God has no favorites, he loves you whether you are rich, poor, tall, short, peaceful or full of vinegar (as my grammy used to say).
Yesterday for work, I dressed up for Halloween. This is just something we do for fun. I dressed as a hippy, not a far cry for me some days. But I wore a tye-dyed t-shirt, jeans, lots of beads and a crocheted hat. After work, I went to a store. I didn't think anything about being dressed a bit different, but I noticed people giving me funny looks. I guess they thought I had gone back to the 70s or that I was just a bit--looney. That made me think about how I view people. Do I look at them through my eyes or God's eyes? He loves all of us and created all of us. He wants all of us to know peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
Friday, October 23, 2009
17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
As a child I bundled up in my coat, scarf, hat, boots and mittens and joined the neighbor kids and my brothers on the snowy hills around our home. We jumped on wooden sleds and glided down the hill as all the cares of the world drifted away in the wind. As the snow sparkeled and the trees flew by, I felt free. Much like folks must feel when they sky dive or ski. That freedom pumped me up and gave me energy and excitement. But, it was fleeting, lasting only until we trudged back up the hill.
The freedom we find in believing and following Christ lasts forever. Through the Holy Spirit, this freedom allows us to stay calm amid chaos and stress. With Christ we know we are free and not bound to the ways of the world. Instead we know that when we leave this world, we have an eternal home in heaven. "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom!"
Friday, October 16, 2009
1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Hope, just the sound of the word reminds me that even in the darkness of life, Jesus light shimmers. My friend Nancy is a cancer survivor; she has been in remission from lymphoma for about three years. Most days on her jacket, she pins the word HOPE. She knows from experience that suffering brings perseverance that perseverance grows character, and that character opens our eyes to hope.
We wonder why the bad things happen, especially to good people; the only reason I know is that we live in a world filled with sin. Even as our hearts break from sin and sadness, we can rejoice that God’s power, love and hope outweigh anything that Satan pushes our way. As God’s children we have the Holy Spirit to call on, who guides us and protects us and helps pick up the pieces of this difficult life.
May God bless you this week as he makes his presence known in your life.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
23 With bitterness archers attacked him;
they shot at him with hostility.
24 But his bow remained steady,
his strong arms stayed limber,
because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob,
because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25 because of your father's God, who helps you,
because of the Almighty, who blesses you
with blessings of the heavens above,
blessings of the deep that lies below,
blessings of the breast and womb.
26 Your father's blessings are greater
than the blessings of the ancient mountains,
than the bounty of the age-old hills.
Jacob sat down to tell his sons what the Lord had in store for them. Jacob told Joseph that he would be attacked, yet he (Joseph) would remain strong and steady because the hand of God would hold his hand.
Life comes at us hard and fast, often blindsighting us, attacking us where we stand. When you accept Christ as your Savior and put your hope in Jesus, God's hand rests on yours. As our Rock of Israel, God never moves away from us. He remains the same and stands beside us, he dwells in us through his Holy Spirit, he speaks to us through his Word and his people. He never moves away, we may move, but he never does.
When you are under attack, call on God, seek his face and he will stand with you. Always...
Saturday, October 3, 2009
8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
1 Peter 5: 6-7
6Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Recently my daughter's duck had several chicks, all fuzzy and cute as-can-be. As they grow, their baby cuteness will fade and they will look more like their mom, with a big duck beak and smooth feathers. The ducks continue to change just as we continue to change. But, one thing that never changes is Jesus. He always stays the same, loving us and wanting us to seek his guidance and help.
Change often brings anxiety, frustration and grief. God asks us to humble ourselves before him so that he may help us, through his scripture, prayers, and our friends. He wants us to give our anxiety to him so that he can carry the burden for us. We are so blessed to have a Father who never changes, who never leaves us, who loves us anyway.
Friday, September 25, 2009
3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
Some people buy clothes according to style; I buy them according to comfort. My favorites include my comfy shoes, my blue jeans and a cotton tie-dyed t-shirt. When I dress down and indulge in some French silk ice cream, I’ve really found my comfort zone. But when the struggles of life push me out of that zone and into areas that bring pain and sorrow, only one true comfort combats my fear, anxiety and tears.
God’s compassion for us, as his children, wraps around our shoulders. His love embraces us and his strength keeps us standing. He surrounds us with his people, who care about us and give hugs and kind words. He brings peace to our hearts through his Word and his Spirit. God comforts us inside out. As God entwines your hand in his, know that through Christ our comfort overflows.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
As a teen, I had the responsibility of dusting my parents antique bottle collection. Carefully I picked up the fragile bottles and wiped off the dusty particles. One day I was cleaning my favorite piece, a clear vessel that had a water pattern on the bottle and a clear-glass fish for the cork. I’m not sure how it happened, but I broke the neck of the bottle. I was upset, but we were able to glue it back together.
In life, we may experience times when we are broken. Those times when we experience problems we cannot resolve on own that cause tears of sadness, self-doubt, hours of anxiety, or even anger. David, the Old Testament King, knew God healed broken hearts and that He remains close to us as we suffer. God heals the brokenhearted if we let him. He loves us and wants us to experience forgiveness and grace.
I still have the “broken” fish bottle sitting on a table in my living room, and I love it just the same.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Because of different countries' regulations, we regrettfully restrict the contest to entrants living in the U.S. only. Sorry.
Here's the list of blogs in no particular order:
Friday, September 11, 2009
7 You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
The author of this psalm recognizes God as his hiding place, a haven of comfort and protection. What a joy to know that we have a place to rest from the weariness of our journey. But even as we hide in him and find strength, we know that we cannot hide from him.
God knows our hearts and thoughts, he hears our words, and he sees every action. If you’ve ever played hide-and-seek with a young child, then you know that they often think you can’t see them, even when their arm or leg is sticking out from behind a tree. We are much like that with God; we may think he can’t see us even though we are never totally hidden from his eyes. As you seek God’s protection, reveal yourself to him so that he can surround you with comfort and deliverance.
Friday, September 4, 2009
12 Is not wisdom found among the aged?
Does not long life bring understanding?
13 "To God belong wisdom and power;
counsel and understanding are his.
Everyday we are bombarded by ads, commercials and talk about staying young. Take away the wrinkles, remove age spots, cover the gray (I fell for that one), and on it goes. Age and the wisdom that comes with it have been pushed aside for youth and beauty. But, God did not create us so that we would stay young all our lives. He knows we age and intends for us to embrace the aging experience by gaining understanding and wisdom. As our bodies age, our mind and heart should become wiser.
My parents celebrate their 67th wedding anniversary in a few days. Sixty-seven years of loving and learning. Talk about wisdom! Look to the older folks in your life for advice and direction, don't think they haven't lived and learned. Embrace growing older and sharing life's lessons. Praise God for each new day!
Saturday, August 29, 2009
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Names have been a popular topic in our family lately. We are expecting three new grand-babies in the next 6-7 months and the parents are searching the baby name books and tossing around the best name for baby. Names are important, you live with your name your entire life (unless of course - you legally change it). One of the first things people do when they first meet you is ask your name. What do people think of when they hear your name? Someone who is responsible, joyful, a nagger, pessimist, optimist, fun, boring? Do they think of someone who loves the Lord?
The name Jesus is recognized all over the world. His name is probably spoken more often that any other name. Sadly, it is often used as a curse. I hope that when you hear the name Jesus, you think of forgiveness, love, salvation, joy, peace, and all the attributes we know of him through his word.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
Several years ago, my mom brought home an old chest that had survived a fire. Covered in soot and charred, it looked pretty useless and ugly. At the time, I was learning to refinish furniture and she told me I could have the chest if I wanted to work on it. As I cleaned it and peeled away the black layers of dirt, soot and fire damage, I discovered an attractive cedar wood with copper strapping. The more I stripped off the more beauty the piece revealed. When I finished applying the clear satin finish, the piece shone like new. It now sits in my daughter’s home.
Often we face fires and get burned in life. We all encounter difficult situations, times that are tough, illness, loss of loved ones and on it goes. God wants us to go through these fires, not hide from them. If we invite him, he will walk with us through the flames; then we will not be destroyed, instead, we will emerge stronger.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
I am certain, without doubt, that God created each of us. I imagine him working with the clay of the earth to form Adam. Carefully placing the finishing touches on the mountains and seas. Breathing life into the fish and birds, tigers and snails.
Even as he created life from the very beginning, he fills us with a new life when we accept Jesus as our savior. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that the old is gone and we are new. All new! Isn’t that wonderful. God wants to fill us with his Spirit. He wants to walk with us everyday and he loves us as never before. Even better, he offers us forgiveness and grace. Grace, freedom from sin that only God can give.
Praise God for his mercy and grace!
Thursday, August 6, 2009
22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Today I plan to clean out my closets and take whatever is still useful to the Goodwill.
I love the feeling I have when I am finished and everything looks neat again and I know all the "junk" is gone.
When I turn all the "junk" in my heart over to God, I find peace. If we move toward God with sincere motive and humility and empty our heart into his hands, He sifts through and keeps the beautiful, useful parts and plants them back inside us. Allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life by offering up all that you are to God.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
25 The entire assembly of Judah rejoiced, along with the priests and Levites and all who had assembled from Israel, including the aliens who had come from Israel and those who lived in Judah. 26 There was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the days of Solomon son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem. 27 The priests and the Levites stood to bless the people, and God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven, his holy dwelling place.
Last evening I attended a wedding filled with great joy. The groom's grandfather performed the ceremony, and the joy he held in is heart for his grandson and his bride poured out to heaven. God wants us to keep joy in our hearts and celebrate him just as his people did in the Old Testament. In 2 Chronicles 30, the people had finally come together for their Passover feast after waiting for a long time. Verse 26 tells us "there was great joy".
When was the last time you experienced great joy? God wants us to carry joy in our hearts-that joy which comes from knowing Jesus. Rejoice and be glad in him.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
This week while I was recouperating from surgery, I worked on some craft projects. One of them was a wall hanging I'd made several years ago in pastel colors that I no longer liked. A few years ago in an art class the teacher told me "if you don't like the fabric piece you've made, paint it." So I did. I used bright reds and blues and transformed the piece into one I will enjoy. As a bonus, the paint revealed patterns in the fabric that did not show up before.
The process reminded me of what God does with us when he makes us a new creation. He casts aside the old parts we no longer like and creates a new vibrant person excited about his word and his kingdom. As a bonus, his recreation reveals our hidden talents and gifts that we can embrace for him. Whether you have been a christian for years or you are still learning about Christ, God has a plan for you and wants to use you as his new creation.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Take a deep breath, hold your breath, breath in…out. The average person (at rest) breaths 12-20 breaths per minute. Most of the time, we don’t think about breathing, we just do it. I just went through deviated septum surgery, and I can tell you that I spent several days wishing I could just breath. When the doctor took the packing out, I felt the air move into my nose and let me tell you, I was praising God.
Each day we breath in and out the life that God provides. No matter what we are doing, through the good and bad, the trials, errors and joys, God gives us life through his breath. Imagine when God created Adam, he blew that one necessary breath of life into his lungs and he found it to be good. Praise God for life and for the blessings he provides. Seriously, stop right now…take a deep breath and praise the Lord!
Friday, July 10, 2009
27At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
My granddaughter Dylan and I enjoy looking at the clouds and finding shapes of animals and objects. The other day I saw a sheep lying on a cloud taking a nap, (would have a made a good mattress commercial). The sky blue background painted a perfect backdrop for the cotton candy clouds.
As I watched the clouds, I was reminded of the words of Luke when he tells of the day when Jesus will return to earth. He goes on in Luke 21: 34 to remind us to “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.” Jesus wants to meet us in his glory and find us prepared for heaven. Instead of worrying and fretting about life on earth, take time to look at the clouds and imagine the glory of heaven.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
8 I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices
or your burnt offerings, which are ever before me.
9 I have no need of a bull from your stall
or of goats from your pens,
10 for every animal of the forest is mine,
and the cattle on a thousand hills.
We used to sing a chorus at camp that went something like, "He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, the wealth in every mine, He owns the ridges and the rocks and rills, the sun and stars that shine..." I may not have all the words right but the gist of the song says that God owns it all, everything. He owns you and me and all that surrounds us. We may think we own our home, our car, our children, even our dog. But the truth is, God owns it all.
Even though he owns everything, he shares it with us. He trusts us to take care of the gifts he gives. In prayer lift up everything to him with thanksgiving and he will bless you.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
7Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.
In our lifetime we cross paths with many people. Sometimes I look around at a Reds baseball game, in a crowded mall or in other venues where a lot of people gather and I think, wow - there are so many people I will never talk to or get to know. Yet, God has a way of putting the people we need to know in our path. What a blessing when we connect with people who refresh our hearts. I'm sure you can think of someone who has come into your life and blessed you with their positive impact and encouragement. Praise God for that person.
Like Paul, be thankful for that love and encouragement and pass it on to others. You can be the one who makes a difference to someone else.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I love books. My daughter Sara and I can sit in the bookstore for hours. At work I am the "keeper of the books", I order them, catalog them, repair them, etc. With all the books I see everyday and all the books I want to read, there is one that fills me with joy everytime I pick it up.
The Bible is filled with amazing stories and imagery, adventures, wisdom, mystery, poetry, parables, advice, directions for living, and so much more. God created, through his people, the most important and fascinating book ever written. I used to see reading the Bible as drudgery, something I had to do to be a christian, thinking I needed to understand every word I read. That changed when I decided to just "read" the Bible like I read other books. Now when I am reading, if I do have a question, I write it down and then seek an answer after I finish reading.
Praise God for his Word!
Friday, June 12, 2009
Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.
Our dog, Tater, is totally terrified of storms. One morning this week as the lightning flashed and the thunder echoed, he hung at my feet while I tried to get ready for work (a little awkward in the bathroom). Later when we returned home, the storm passed and Tater rested in the calm. Then, about bedtime the lighting and thunder struck again. Tater jumped on the bed, and he shuddered and shook as if he were freezing. Tim and I comforted him as best we could and assured him the storm would pass.
In life we experience storms of many kinds, some from physical suffering, others from emotional and spiritual situations. God offers peace, comfort and hope through all of our storms when we seek his help. He doesn’t promise that they will not come. But he does give hope, guidance and grace.
I like the song Casting Crowns sings, the words remind me that God is with me through every thunderclap. “... every tear I've cried You hold in your hand- You never left my side, and though my heart is torn I will praise You in this storm.”
Saturday, June 6, 2009
1He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness…
…6Go … to the lost sheep of Israel 7As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' 8Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 9Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; 10take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep.
This week I celebrated my 3rd year of working for UC Clermont. Since I’ve worked there my abilities, knowledge, emotional well-being, and spiritual life have been stretched in many different directions. I learned to drive in downtown Cincinnati (well, sort of), I’ve learned new software (lots of it), and I’ve been more challenged spiritually than I even thought possible. I can’t imagine how the 12 Apostles felt.
The men Jesus chose must have stretched like rubber bands. We are talking about men who catch fish all day or work at other everyday occupations. Now they are asked to heal the sick, preach and raise the dead. I wonder if they looked at Jesus with wide eyes and said, “Are you kidding me?” and “We can’t take anything with us?” Knowing what we know of the Apostles, they looked at Jesus with faith and trust and picked themselves up and went out as Jesus asked them. Oh to have that kind of faith, to be pulled out of our comfort zone and sent out to do work that is totally new and foreign.
Everyday Jesus wants to stretch us if we’ll let him. The great thing is, He’s with us in every step.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
13Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?"
15Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented.
16As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."
I love that Jesus, in all of his perfection, still wanted to follow God's direction. Jesus didn't need to be baptized, he never sinned, yet he wanted to follow God's plan for his people. How much more important is it for us to follow God's plan? We need his grace and mercy, as the Bible says, all people sin and can fall away, but their is always hope through Christ. I praise God everyday for his grace and forgiveness and the hope we have in him.
Friday, May 22, 2009
…Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
What an awesome week, I spent two days with my daughter at the YMCA Camp where she lives and works and time with my sister, her son and his wife. When we were planning the trip, Hannah told me she wanted me to do the “Zip Line”. I really didn’t grasp the concept until I walked to the lake with her and she pointed out a cable that hung across the water and was tied to a tree on the other side. Soon I stepped into a harness made of straps and buckled it around me. We hiked to a platform, where I climbed to the top and should have stepped off and let my weight carry me across the water to the other side. But, when I got to the top step, my courage didn’t follow. After some coaching from Hannah’s friend Rachel, I sat down, slid off the platform and swung across the lake, and made a (let’s say “original”) landing. What an awesome experience!!! I’m so glad I did it. Especially since Rachel’s 80 year old grandmother also went across. What an inspiration, and the funny part is, she told me I was brave because I went first.
God wants us to be courageous for him, to speak up, move forward and make a difference. Just as he told Joshua to be strong and courageous, he also wants us to show courage through our faith.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Jesus makes it sound so simple. Love God and love your neighbor. The problem is, life gets in the way, attitudes, frustration, anger all darken our outlook on life. These feelings are all part of living on earth, so what do we do??? The answer seems as simple as the words in the verse, but it isn't , the answer requires discipline, faithfulness, and determination. Pray and fill your heart with God's word. Both take time, both take faith, both take discipline. I struggle to keep at it, most people do. But to live a life where we are free to love God and the people we see each day, our hearts need to be filled with him. Praise God for his love!
Saturday, May 9, 2009
..."Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." 16And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.
If you've spent much time with young children you know they mimic and follow their parents or caretakers, they trust completely; and they come with open minds and hearts ready to listen and learn.
Jesus wants us to come to him in the same way. He wants us to be like young children, trusting him, following him, loving him and obeying him. Come to him as a child and you will be blessed.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Like the salmon, God created us to be different, even peculiar (according to the Bible). He encourages us to stand out, be a light, even make the unpopular choice. Swim, swim, swim--- with your eyes on Jesus.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
This week in the Art Gallery at UC Clermont, an installment of etched glass is on display. I met the artist and learned a bit about the process. He takes a piece of plain glass and carves on it with a tool that uses sand to cut a design into the surface. Each time he wants to make a cut, he tapes or masks off the parts he doesn't want to carve into. Each piece he created showed unique characteristics and beauty.
God works in us much the same way. He etches and creates in us until the old plain and even troubled parts are carved away. Perhaps he masks off the "good" parts and works with what's left. God does not stop at the surface, he goes into our hearts to carve at our attitudes, desires and thoughts.He fills us with his Spirit and continues to work in us as we learn about Him.
Praise God for creating the new and disgarding the old.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. …take up the shield of faith …Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests… be alert and always keep on praying ... (NIV)
Everyday holds some type of temptation. I have a tough time turning away from chocolate, cookies and mindless TV. Some of our temptations seem small (like chocolate) while others eat into us and can potentially destroy us. Even when we think we’ve overcome them, they creep back in to snatch away our peace and draw us away from God.
But, what I love about our Lord is that he gives us protection and direction. He offers us his armor. Imagine walking around in a metal suit like a knight. They must have developed muscles that helped them carry all that extra weight. For us, we can exercise our spiritual muscles to defend against the temptations that aim for our heart.
Protect yourself with God's armor.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."
11 The LORD Almighty is with us;the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
I don’t know if it is just me, but it seems like noise abounds everywhere. The other day I sat and waited in a doctor’s office (with people who feel ill, have headaches, -you get the idea) and not one, but two televisions blasted from the wall. At work the noise of machines drones all day. In our lunch area we can barely hear each other talk with the AVAC system running.
With all this noise, how can I hear God. Finding a place to be still and listen is a challenge.
Yesterday evening Tim and I drove to the local lake to walk our dog. Aside from a few cars driving down a nearby road, the quiet echoed. We could hear the birds singing, the fish popping to the surface and the stillness of God’s nature. In a world of noise, find a quiet place to listen. Maybe on your porch, in the woods, in your living room with all the electronics turned off. God wants to talk to you, be still and listen.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
"Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ,the Son of God, who was to come into the world."
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.
In the tomb God gently blew life back into Jesus crucified body, displaying his love for his son and for us. I love the response of Jesus followers in John 11 and Acts 4. Martha proclaimed her love for Jesus as he lived on earth and the apostles proclaimed their love for Jesus as he lives in heaven. Through Jesus' resurrection everyone of us can receive the gift of life and freedom in Christ and proclaim his glory. I pray this Easter season brings you many blessings through our Lord and Savior.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Praise God for the courage of Jesus and his absolute love for us. Do we deserve the sacrifice of Christ on the cross? No, yet Christ says through grace we are saved. Through his actions we are saved.
Praise God for the resurrection and the joy of the Easter season!
Friday, April 3, 2009
When I chose the photo of the turtle, I realized his confidence far outweighs mine and hope he is a reminder to me to look to God for my strength and wisdom. Besides I think he's kind of cute :)
18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. 19Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel
A few years ago after my Grammy passed away, several of us (family members) went to her apartment to clean out her belongings. At 92, Grammy had whittled her possessions down to what she needed and what she enjoyed. As we moved from room to room and sifted through baskets, drawers and containers, we discovered something that brought tears, comfort and joy. All over the apartment we found snippets of paper with a prayer request and a name written by her hand. Grammy was a PRAY-ER. She spent much of her day reading the Bible, playing her piano and praying. There were prayers for our physical health, our spiritual being and many other needs. Knowing she prayed for me continues to fill me with peace.
I love people who pray and so does God. He desires so much to hear from his children. Opportunity after opportunity, God opens the communication line and waits to hear from us. He even gave us the Holy Spirit to help us when we can’t find the words. What a joy to know that our Father is just a prayer away.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
David left Asaph and his associates before the ark of the covenant of the Lord to minister there regularly, according to each day’s requirements.
Asaph and his co-workers ministered and worked in the temple each day. The tasks they performed varied day to day, depending on what was needed. This week I’ve been thinking about what it means to minister to others. Too often I look back on my day and realize I’ve ignored the Holy Spirit’s urging and a chance to serve someone else.
God doesn’t expect some spectacular, glorious deed performed on a stage or in the limelight. Some of the best ministering I’ve received involved listening, hugging, an encouraging note or email, or a helping hand. Ministering like Asaph means looking for occasions throughout the day to comfort a child, help a coworker or call a friend. I love that Asaph and his helpers watched for what the day would bring. They didn’t set such a rigid schedule that they ignored opportunity, instead they watched for the chance to minister. This week let’s minister according to the day’s requirements.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
I love the quiet peace of a winter's day with a fresh snow fall. A day where I can contemplate and assess the joys of life.
I appreciate the feeling of renewal in the spring. Seeing the daffodils bloom and the forsythia dance, remind me that life spills out and moves forward.
I enjoy the freedom of summer. No coats to weigh me down and the feeling of energy that comes with the sunshine.
I revel in the smells of autumn and the glorious changing colors from God's paint brush. The cooler days create a cozy, wrapped in a blanket by the fire feeling.
I praise God for the beauty he creates through our natural world. What an amazing artist!
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
The other day I stopped at my daughter's house. My granddaughter Dylan wanted to show me her "garden", a muddy spot she'd been digging, then she asked if she could pick a daffodil (from the real garden) for me to take home to our dog Tater. Of course I said yes. This brought joy to my soul, that this little one wanted to send love to our dog. This week I heard the birds singing early in the morning, a sure sign of spring. This brought joy to my heart, that spring finally arrived.
With all the sadness and sin in the world, I am thankful for the moments of joy that come through the most simple circumstances. Jesus came that we may have joy, peace and hope. He came to give us an abundant life. What a comfort to know that life rests in his hands.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
I’m struggling with the words I want to share this week. Not because I don’t know what to say, but because I have too much to say. I’ll try to keep this as short as I can.
Sadness, anger, frustration, shock and pain filled much of my week. Monday morning shortly after I arrived at work, I found out that my friend’s daughter had been attacked and killed over the weekend. I asked many of you to pray and I thank you for that. Many of us had trouble wrapping our thoughts around what my friend Lisa and her husband were dealing with. How could anyone be possessed with so much evil that they had to destroy the life of a child?
Through all of this I was reminded of two very important truths. First, Satan and his angels are alive and roaming the earth searching for any willing human who will carry out their evil plans. Second, God wraps his arms around the sad and hurting and offers peace and hope; his love overcomes all.
I had the privilege of attending the memorial service for Esme, held at her church, on Wednesday. As soon as I entered the building, I felt God’s peace, not because of the structure but because so many people were ministering to this hurting family. We gathered not to mourn the loss of a gifted and talented young teen, but to celebrate the joy and love for life she shared with everyone she met. Family and friends read poems she had written, played her favorite music, and talked about how she touched so many in her short life. Among tears and laughter, we remembered Esme’s life and how she blessed everyone she met. The church community reached out to Lisa and Tom and embraced their sorrow and pain, friends stood by them and shared hugs and kind words. Even as Satan tried to destroy, God’s peace, hope and power triumphed. Lisa and Tom still have sad days ahead, I can’t even begin to imagine what they must deal with, but I know through prayer that the hand of God will hold them up.
Please continue to pray for Esme’s family and friends.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Praise God for our differences. Although we are all part of the human race, we all bring something different to life. Wouldn't life be boring if we all looked and acted identical. I for one am thankful God created us as he did, different and diverse yet all his children!
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such there is no law.
The other day driving to work I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw a beautiful sunrise splashed with pinks and yellows. God created a glorious sight that morning. Seeing the trail God left behind blessed me, but (don’t you just cringe at the word) it left me wondering what I leave behind. What would I see trailing after me if I looked in a rearview mirror?
Would I see gentleness, patience and peace, or would I see the trash I’d left behind? Would I find the angry moments, the times I stayed quiet instead of speaking up for Christ, or the hurt feelings of people I loved? God instructs us through Paul in Galatians to live by the fruit of the Spirit, and what glorious fruit God shares.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
I couldn't help but think how great it would be to have the childlike freedom to enjoy my day and not worry about deadlines, a messy house, laundry, or even waking up on time. The little ones knew we watched over them. They understood their boundaries and played within them with great satisfaction. Sometimes my personal expectations, and desire to accomplish more than I need to get in the way of really enjoying life, my relationship with God, family and friends. I think I'll take my cue from the kids and check my boundaries, then relax and enjoy the rest of my day.
1It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
13You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
Harriet Tubman, one of the most famous escaped slaves, knew the true meaning of freedom. Both as a slave and a Christan, Harriet served her true master, God. After she escaped, she could have kept running, but, with a reward on her head and an alert out to find her, she returned time and again to help other slaves break free. Each time she traveled back to help others, she acknowledged that God called her.
Paul tells us in Galatians that our freedom in Christ is not to be hoarded or wasted on indulgence, but is to be shared, helping and loving others. A friend told me that she knew someone who practiced Lent,along with giving something up, he wanted to perform a random act of kindness each day. That is a great idea, but how sad that the acts of kindness have become random......
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Much like our lives, the winter season creeps in when we think the refreshment of spring arrives. The chill of despair, stress, frustration or guilt slip in beside us after we take off our coats and loss our protection from the cold elements of life. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:13-18 to put on the armor of God, the protection from evil and sin. Even when we feel confident that life is good, we need God's protection (maybe more than ever).
-Buckle up, pray and be ready everyday.
13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
Friday, February 20, 2009
46While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you."
48He replied to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" 49Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. 50For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."
Today my daughter, Maggie, and I were talking about what it would be like to be a sibling of Jesus. Mary and Joseph added to their family after Jesus birth. I don't know how many brothers or sisters he had, but the Bible tells us they existed.
Can you imagine trying to live up to Jesus as an older brother? But then, we do don't we. Jesus is our brother. What an amazing path he walked before us! He loved us enough to die for us and cover us with his grace. He doesn't expect us to be perfect like he was, he just wants us to accept him and love him.
Praise the Lord for his mercy!
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Wednesday at work, four of us stood looking out the large plate glass window at the downpour of rain. The wind blew so hard that the rain twisted and turned every which way. As the rain pounded and the storm blew, I remembered that my raincoat and umbrella were both in the car. Yikes!
When the storms of life hit, don’t leave Jesus behind, he wants to be with you in all things. Hold tight to the Savior and grow in the hope of the Lord.
Praise God for his promises!
Saturday, February 7, 2009
We often tend to put Jesus on a pedestal instead of putting him in our heart. Everyday that we walk with Jesus is another day we can get to know him. I love to read about Jesus in the New Testament. I approach the reading as I would any other book. I'm not trying to understand the history or pick apart the meaning. I'm just reading. I learn so much about Jesus as a person and this draws me closer to him.
I praise God for the joy of knowing Jesus!
Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
I enjoy reading about the person, Jesus. He laughed and enjoyed the little children. He often comforted those who grieved. He wept over his friend. He even got angry about the misuse of the temple. With his disciples he showed infinite patience. Jesus understands our emotions, he experienced what it was like to be human. How comforting to know that our Savior knows us so well and loves us despite of it.
Friday, January 30, 2009
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
One of the things I consider a blessing about living in Ohio are the four seasons. Every year like clock work spring, summer, autumn and winter come by and visit for a while. Spring mud, summer heat, autumn leaves and winter snow and ice stay just long enough that they leave us ready and hoping for the next season to arrive.
From the beginning, God promised us seasons. He set up creation to work in perfect time. As we experience the seasons in nature, we also travel through the seasons of life. We all experience seasons of hope, despair, love, and sadness. Sometimes, especially during the dark of winter, many suffer a season of depression. God gives us hope in all of these. He promises to be with us, he will not leave us standing alone in the wilderness.
Praise God for hope and spring!
Thursday, January 29, 2009
I am a snow lover and I enjoy most of the winter. I look forward to January because it is usually a quiet month. I love snowdays, I like to think of them as bonus days. Days when I have no schedule or goals. For the past 2 days, I read, wrote, looked up publishers, sewed, played with the dog and spent time with my husband. I enjoyed it so much.
I remember when my girls were young we (and usually several kids from the neighborhood) rode sleds, made snow angels, and of course had a snowball fight. Then we hurried inside for hot chocolate. In our haste, we peeled off our outerwear and left piles of wet clothes all over the utility room. I miss those days.
I think this year, I'll just enjoy the sparkle of the snow in the sunlight and the peaceful elegance of the moonlit winter night. I'll pray for those who have to travel on the icy roads and appreciate the people who work round the clock to keep the roads cleared.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
When I see the pure white snow, I can't help but be reminded of Christ and how he makes us whiter than snow. His berry red blood spilled to cover our black sin and make us pure white.
Psalm 51:7 "Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow." David cries to God to cleanse his soul, just as we cry to Christ.
Praise God for his mercy and grace.
Snow also reminds me of wonderful times with my children, sledding, snowman building, playing duck, duck, goose. Now my daughter plays with her little girl in the snow. What a joy!
Friday, January 23, 2009
43When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" 44The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go." 45Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him. 46But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
This week in my New Testament class the teacher asked us to write a paper about Jesus and the problem with miracles. One of the miracles I looked at was where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. The one Jesus wept over. Through much of this study, I’ve come closer to seeing Jesus human facets. Jesus life was one filled with struggle, heartache, joy and pain. Jesus never failed to seek God for guidance, comfort and strength. In his years of ministry, Jesus walked with authority and humility. He pursued the hearts of all people. Even though many Jews and government leaders despised him, he continued on in his purpose. Jesus was not just some lovey dovey, I’m ok, you’re ok spiritual leader, he took a stand for his Father, he spoke the truth. Though his miracles continuously offended the Pharisees and his work on the Sabbath fired up the Sanhedrin, Jesus continued to gain followers and win souls.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I think sometimes I've pictured him as a loving, almost wimpy, person, who wouldn't hurt a fly, let alone a Pharisee. When in reality and in scripture he is strong, with backbone and purpose. He stands for what he believes and speaks the truth without regret. When he ran the money changers out of the temple he didn't say, "um...excuse me but could you guys please leave" while he hung his head from embarrassment. Instead, Matthew 21:12-13 says, "Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. "It is written," he said to them, " 'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it a 'den of robbers." He spoke with authority.
I find a lack of reality and scriptural backing in the spiritual movements that encourage love no matter what, in a way that excuses and overlooks sin. Jesus didn't overlook sin, he met it face to face. Oh yes, Jesus is loving, but not in a flowery "everything is acceptable" way. Jesus' love stems from his desire to see all of us accept him and follow him.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
28You yourselves can testify that I (John the Baptist) said, 'I am not the Christ[j] but am sent ahead of him.' 29The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.
Maggie and I went to see the movie Bride Wars yesterday. The movie focused on two women who had been best friends since childhood and were supposed to be each others maid of honor. I do'nt want to ruin the story line, so I'll just say, the role of maid of honor for both parties falls apart.
Today I was reading in John and came across the story of John the Baptist and how he was sent before Jesus to proclaim that the Messiah was coming to the people. John humbled himself over and over to reach people for Christ. In chapter 3:28-29 John compares himself to the best man. The best man/maid of honor sets himself/herself aside to honor the groom/bride. They serve them and work ahead of them to make the path smooth and make sure the work gets done. I'm not sure we get that today. Even at a wedding, does the maid of honor really set herself aside to help the bride or the best man to help groom?
Are we paving the way for Christ's return?
Friday, January 9, 2009
Proverbs 19:21 says: "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." We all have plans for our lives, things to do, lists to complete. But, true purpose comes from God; his purpose for us is to accept his Bible as truth and Christ as our Saviour.
89 Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.
90 Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.
This quarter I signed up for a class (at U.C. Clermont where I work). I'm taking New Testament Literature. The teacher sort of talked me into it because she knows I enjoy literature and writing. I took it because I want to refresh my memory on the history and culture of the Bible.
So far I've learned that I've forgotten most of what I knew about how the Bible came to print. When I read my Bible and study and pray, I seldom consider how the people of Jesus time lived or what they had to do to record what we now know as Holy scripture. I thank God for those he trusted to write down his truths and I praise God for his eternal word.
We are blessed to have access to a Bible anytime we want. I wonder if I would want to read it more if I were not allowed. Just something to think about...
Sunday, January 4, 2009
When I walk in the door from work, Tater greets me with his “I’m so happy you are home” dance, wagging and jumping until I stop and pet him and let him know I’m happy to be home too. Every time Tater needs to go “outside”, Tim asks him if he wants to walk. Barking, jumping and a wildly wagging tale result. Instead of letting this gyrating dog frustrate us, we see that the joy in Tater bubbles up and bounces out.
I find myself wishing I were more like Tater. I want to jump and dance and appreciate the simple joy of life in Christ. Psalm 68:3 says “But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.” From his words I know that God planted his joy in my soul! Is there a better reason to rejoice every day?
Saturday, January 3, 2009
19 Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Selah
20 Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death.
Have you ever overloaded your arms with bags of groceries or other items, struggled to get them into the house, then (bless their hearts) someone meets you at the door and takes half of your burden and carries it in for you? What a relief! As humans, we tend to carry our emotional and spiritual burdens by ourselves. Too much and the weight wears us down. Psalm 68 tells us that God carries our burdens every day, not just half of them, but all of them. He meets us at the door and lifts our hearts and gives us the Holy Spirit to help us. Through prayer, God knows what we need. Take your burdens to him.