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, September 29, 2012

Gotta' Love the Holy Spirit

1 Corinthians 2:10-13
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.

Working in the college library, a hodgepodge of ideas, beliefs, and philosophies cross my desk every day. Much like the people of Corinth, the students seek answers to life’s “big” questions, along with research for assignments. Knowledge and wisdom reach a high level of value. They become the ruler that beliefs are measured against. As a writer, I strive to use words and ideas to the best of my ability and pen truth based on my measuring stick, the Bible.

As a follower of Jesus, God blessed me with the Holy Spirit who works in me and helps me understand the Bible. There are spirits of the world that want to confuse me. They throw out convoluted ideas and promises that oppose God’s word. Thank goodness the Holy Spirit clarifies the chaos and guides me straight to God. All I need to do is pay attention and listen. Praise God for the Spirit who speaks his truth. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Prayer Warriors

Romans 15:30-33
I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.
 Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there, so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed.  The God of peace be with you all. Amen.

The apostle Paul journeyed across continents to spread the truth about Jesus. He spent time with churches, helping them to ground their faith in the Lord’s word and the glory of his resurrection. Many times he shared how to live life as a Christian. Quite often Paul coveted their prayers.

As Paul prepares to travel to Jerusalem, he seeks prayer from the church in Rome. He trusts that his friends will lift him up to God. Once he asked them to pray he trusted that they did and he moved forward in his travels. Many times I ask for prayer. I send a message to my family and friends to lift up needs or praises to our heavenly father. I trust that they’ll talk to God on my behalf. But sometimes, I still mill over the problem or worry about the outcome. I want to be more like Paul and let go of the need and move forward in faith knowing that God hears the prayers.

Thank you God for all the prayer warriors in my life!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Leap for Joy

Psalm 28:6-8
Praise be to the
    for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
    my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
    and with my song I praise him.
The Lord is the strength of his people,
    a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.

When I planted my patch of zinnias, I read the seed packet and found that the flowers might grow to about three feet tall. I’m not sure what happened, whether the soil had been fertilized or the hot summer called them upward, but they raised their heads about five-and-half feet towards the sun. One evening the rain pounded and brought the flowers to their knees. They drooped across the walkway to our door. Until I could buy a bit of fencing to correct the problem, I tied the giant stems to a couple of dowel rods. While I worked on the greenery, I spied the tiniest frog. He couldn’t have been more than a half inch long. He sat there is his beautiful green skin that camouflaged him on the leaf. I watched him for a few minutes, until he disappeared into the flower bed.

That little creature, even in his fleeting travels, brought joy to my heart. I am amazed at God’s creation over and over again. As I thought about that little guy living in the beauty of the colorful blossoms, I was reminded of God and the joy that he planted in my heart when I chose to believe in him. Sometimes the joy is overshadowed by doubt or anger. There are times that I forget the joy. Then God reminds me once again that his joy overcomes my distress. I want to leap for joy like the little frog leaped across the leaves, with an appreciation and praise for my awesome God. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

That Precious Word

Psalm 33: 4-9
For the word of the
 Lord is right and true;
    he is faithful in all he does.
The Lord loves righteousness and justice;
    the earth is full of his unfailing love.
By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
    their starry host by the breath of his mouth.
He gathers the waters of the sea into jars;
    he puts the deep into storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the Lord;
    let all the people of the world revere him.
For he spoke, and it came to be;
    he commanded, and it stood firm.

Over the last two-and-a-half years, I’ve enjoyed listening to the speech development of our three grandsons, Max, Eli and Zeke. Because they were born a few months apart and live in different households, each one has his own vocabulary and expression. I love that they verbalize in their own style. Sometimes they speak in a whisper, other times in a wail. Most of the time, they grab my attention first and make sure I’m listening. Their words are precious to me.

As sweet as the words of my grandchildren sound, God’s word echoes joy, hope, and life. His word carries power and gives being to an otherwise empty world. When I walk outside, I am amazed at the beauty his word created. John 1:1 says that the Word was with God and that Word is Jesus. He not only spoke the world into being, he brought the hope of heaven to earth. God’s word moves mountains and calms storms, he comforts the broken and rejoices with the blessed. I thank God for Jesus and the hope he brings to life.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Blue Heron Under the Blue Moon

Genesis 1:1-2
In the beginning
 God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

Tim and I walked our dogs by Grant Lake on the night of the blue moon. As I followed Olive along the bank, Tim asked me something, but I couldn’t hear him. He pointed at the lake. When I turned around, across the inlet a great blue heron sat, occasionally dipping his head in the water for a drink or minnows. I watched for several minutes, fascinated by this ominous bird. As darkness covered day, he blended in with the shadows. Tim called me to where he stood and the light cut in just enough that the bird stayed in view. As we watched this bird flex its wingspan, another one caught our sight. A few yards away, on a log, another heron sat watching. I hoped that the great bird would lift off and fly across the lake, but it must have been their bedtime. Quite often we see one sail across the water. They hover over with power and grace. I see them as a reminder from God that he has control of life, even in chaos.

Like the great blue heron, the Holy Spirit hovered over the water as God created earth. He accompanied God, just as Jesus did from the beginning of life on earth. What a blessing to know that God doesn’t maintain distance from his people. Instead, he moves over the earth in Spirit. He dwells in his people and loves through them. The Spirit lives with me every day. He nudges me in to service, he speaks to me and gives me direction, he comforts me when I am down and rejoices with me when I am blessed. Praise God for the Holy Spirit!