Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Generation That Did Not Set Its Heart Aright

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.  (Galatians 1:10. ESV.)

To School or Not to School

I consider schooling the kiddos in my household my full time job...(I currently do not work outside the home).  And, I do this NOT because I feel obligated, but rather because I sincerely want to educate them.

78:1 Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
   incline your ears to the words of my mouth!
2 I will open my mouth in a parable;
   I will utter dark sayings from of old,
3 things that we have heard and known,
   that our fathers have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their children,
   but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might,
   and the wonders that he has done.

5 He established a testimony in Jacob
   and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers
   to teach to their children,
6 that the next generation might know them,
   the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,
   7 so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,
   but keep his commandments;
8 and that they should not be like their fathers,
   a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
   whose spirit was not faithful to God.
 (Psalm 78:1-8.)

Raising Pharisees?

Okay, I have to be honest here.  There are times when the kiddos are behaving and I want to leave it at that.  I do not want to dig deeper and ask myself why.  Is it because they are just going through the motions or is it out of a true desire from their heart to speak and act in a manner pleasing to God?

I recently had a discussion with the younger ones in my home about how we do not serve others to get something in return.  We do it out of love without any expectation of a reimbursement.  I'm not sure they quite get it, yet.

And reaching my older children (who do not have my blood flowing through their veins) is a bit more challenging.  "Blood is thicker than water" so the saying goes...which makes me think of the "blood of the lamb" and how thankful I am that when I stand before God He will not see me.  He will see His own precious Son!  We are covered by grace!

Life in the Spirit

 1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

 9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Heirs with Christ

 12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Future Glory

 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

 26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

God’s Everlasting Love

 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised— who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

"For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
   we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."

 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
 (Romans 8. ESV.)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

If I Were Still Trying to Please Man, I Would Not Be a Servant of Christ

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.  (Galatians 1:10. ESV.)

To Live is Christ

What is your day to day like?  Are you usually comfortable or uncomfortable?  Why?  Are you generally surrounded by friends or adversity?  Those who are like minded or radically different?

Sure, Christ Jesus had followers...the twelve disciples, those who wanted to be healed and listen to his teaching, a woman who just wanted to touch his clothing, etc.  But all those Jesus walked among were sinners, not a single one perfectly righteous and holy as He.  I imagine that had to be quite frustrating at times...maybe He even felt sad at times.  The bible says God is love.  Have you ever loved someone with all your heart only to receive harsh, cruel words in return and/or wicked behavior?  It hurts!  To want something so much for someone else who does not know or understand the beauty and gift in it...so it is met with mocking and/or unkindness.  To serve with a joyful, compassionate heart only to be taken advantage of without remorse or repentance.

Did Jesus feel like a fool asking His Father to forgive us because we knew not what we were doing...sinning, indulging in pleasure all the while driving the one who loves us wholly, deeply, unconditionally to torture and His death?  Have you ever spoken up for an individual so engrossed in his/her sin it radiated from his/her every move, thought, and utterance?  Perhaps you did it out of hope, faith, or love...only to get let down time and again...and feel foolish for believing one would change (or even WANT to make things different)?

Enduring Strife Not Causing It

I can attempt to imitate Christ but I am definitely going to fall WAY short.  The Word of God calls followers of Christ to "keep the peace" not stir it up.  Concern for one's health and wellbeing out of genuine intentions with a humble heart (as opposed to pride or jealousy) is one thing.  I feel confronting people with an "I'm right and you're wrong" attitude and/or hypocrisy (with intent or not) causes resentment and bitterness...maybe even a response like, "Who are you to judge me?"  The opposite also causes problems.  If the rebuke or question is pure and meant to help (not harm) yet the receiver is "wicked", prideful, or "a scoffer", "he will hate you".

7 Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,
   and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
8 Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
   reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
   teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
   and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
 (Proverbs 9:7-10. ESV.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Those Who Through Faith and Patience Inherit the Promises.

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.  (Galatians 1:10. ESV.)

Lost in Translation

What happens to the Word of God as it is taken in with our eyes then processed by our brain and "heart"?  (I recently heard a pastor describe the "heart" this way:
The Heart: our thoughts, our will (Hebrews 6:12), conscience, motives, desires.

Hebrews 6:12: so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
(1 Samuel 16:7. ESV.)

I believe the Word of God is "living and active and sharper than any two edged sword" (Hebrews 4:12).  I can read the same passage in two different seasons of my life and take from it one thing the first time and something completely different the second time.  I have verses highlighted in my bible and sometimes cannot remember for the life of me what struck me about them.

I do not like the word "interpretation" when it comes to scripture.  I just don't.  I feel the bible is "translated" from Greek and Hebrew into other world languages but when an individual tells me, "That is MY 'interpretation' of the text," it makes me leery...but perhaps it is because in my experience when a person has said that, they were actually manipulating God's word to suit his/her purpose.  In my opinion, that is a far cry from the bible being "living and active".

Intimately Yours

Further, I feel the relationship between God and His children is very intimate.  This helps me to understand why at times one might get offended at something someone else has said.  (Not to be confused with a prideful offense when God's word is being deliberately altered to justify wickedness.)

The two descriptions I love most regarding God are "King" and "Father".  These assist me in glorifying Him and giving Him the admiration and utmost respect He commands yet reminds me of a parental love He has for me...which includes protection, provisions, and all things being for my good whether I understand it or not.  As a child my parents made decisions I could not grasp until I had my own family for whom to care.  Same can be said for my comprehension of events this side of heaven.

11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!". (Luke 11:11-13. ESV.)

Correction and Instruction

I, personally, love correction from the "body of Christ".  Not a rebuke out of pride or jealousy (which leaves a person feeling icky)...but a loving, humble, pure, grace filled reproof.

I am abundantly blessed when someone notices a challenge of mine and comes up along side to aid me...not criticize me and tell me it is "not okay" or "unacceptable"...but to teach me how to do better and in turn maybe even make it one of my strengths (with practice).

Like with ballet. I only grew as a ballerina and became stronger when I received "helpful criticism" and guidance regarding my technique.  It took time, the patience of others, hard work, and lots of perseverance.  I believe this can apply to each and every area of my life and service to God.

I cannot do it myself, though.  I need that "iron sharpening iron".

Monday, June 20, 2011

Husbands and Wives

As I clean my house today my thoughts swirl about husbands and wives.  From where did the list of job duties and expectations come?  Is it printed in the Word of God or have individuals started paraphrasing and in turn put their own spin on things?  I am going to do a little comparison between what I have learned over the years and what scripture ACTUALLY says.

What I Learned

The husband is the "Head of Household" (which some feel is like, say, the President of the United States and others believe should be a dictatorship).

The husband is the "main bread winner" and is responsible for providing for and protecting the family.

The wife is the "weaker vessel" and accountable for training up the children, cleaning up after her husband (and serving him in other ways i.e. making and bringing him his dinner, ironing his clothes, etc.) and overall maintaining and condition of the household.

The wife "submits" to her husband and sacrifices her own wants and ways of doing things for those of her husband.  Few say if a marriage resembles more of a "master/slave" relationship the wife is still required to "submit" to her husband though others disagree with this assessment.

A wife is called to be submissive yet wise.  If her husband asks her to sin, she is to respectfully decline.

A husband answers for his family before God.  Though various jobs are delegated to members of the family, it is the "man of the house" who has to supervise and make sure all for whom he is responsible live up right, according to the Word of God, in a manner that is pleasing to Him.

What the Bible States

(Warning: This could very well end up being a multi part post.)

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
 (Ephesians 5:22-28. ESV.)

2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.  (1 Corinthians 7:2-5. ESV.)

3 But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God....8 For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. 9 Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10 That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; 12 for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.  (1 Corinthians 11:3 & 8-12. ESV.)

10 An excellent wife who can find?
   She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
   and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
   all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
   and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
   she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
   and provides food for her household
   and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
   with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself with strength
   and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
   Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
   and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
   and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
   for all her household are clothed in scarlet.[124]
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
   her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates
   when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
   she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
   and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
   and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
   her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
   but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
   but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
   and let her works praise her in the gates.
 (Proverbs 31:10-31. ESV.)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

O You of Little Faith, Why Did You Doubt?

I had a thought yesterday morning:

If Enoch and Elijah were so close with God they could actually step from this world straight into His presence (without death) then imagine how uncomfortable they must have felt in life (James 4:14).

You know what it feels like when the Holy Spirit within you is offended (or perhaps a righteous anger)!  It is rough, afflictive, awkward, disagreeable, distressing, grievous, hard, thorny, torturing, comfortless, disquieted, ill at ease, restless, stiff, strained, troubled, uneasy, vexed, etc.  Can you fathom a lifetime of that...a wanting to come right out of your skin?

What makes you feel uneasy?  Is it allergies?  Eczema?  Back pain?  Restless legs?  Heartburn?  Migraines?  Fibromyalgia?  Depression?  An Eosinophilic Disorder?  Etc.

21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. 22 Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.  (Genesis 5:21-24. ESV.)

The bible does not mention much about Enoch.  He walked with God...that's about it---but really, what more is there to say?  I cannot help but wonder though what his day to day was like?  His family?  His friends?  His activities?  In 365 years there is not one mention of him being tempted...like David:

Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
 (Psalm 51:11. ESV.)

Lord, I'm Drowning!

I do not feel I know very much about much...certainly not enough to write a book.  I mainly comprehend two things: 1. The Word of God, 2. The events of my life, and how the two collide.

I feel I relate most to the apostle Peter when He saw Jesus walking on water, coming toward the boat in which he was traveling.

25 And in the fourth watch of the night [Jesus] came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”  (Matthew 14:25-31. ESV.)

I call out, "Lord, I want to walk with you!"  But then when things start to get a little hairy and the cyclone of my existence kicks up, I panic, "Save me, Lord, I'm drowning!"  And, of course at once, He reaches out His hand, takes hold of me, and embraces me tightly without letting me go.  It is such a comfort but I receive His rebuke too, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"  At which I am at a loss of words and my heart feels remorse.  Why do I ever question Him and entertain disbelief?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

When Individuals Are Offended I Train Up My Children in the Word of God

Yes, when it comes to the Christian faith, I have actually had people say to me, "Why do you teach [your children] that crap?" Or, "You have [your children] drink the cool-aid?"  To tell you the truth, these kinds of statements usually take me by surprise and leave me shocked and speechless.  I have to remind myself, 
14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.  (1 Corinthians 2:14. ESV.)

Go Fish

We have just been introduced to "The Go Fish Guys" and LOVE them!  Their music is so catchy, infectious, entertaining, and a blast!  Not to mention, it's all about the Word of God!  Who knew learning (the most important lessons) could be so much fun!

To read more about "The Go Fish Guys"--- they even have a vacation bible school (VBS) curriculum--- please surf on over to their website and take a look around.  http://www.gofishguys.com/cms/

Venturing Through God's Word

When it came time to replace the bibles belonging to my young ones, I was hoping to find something by MacArthur, Piper, or Mahaney.  But as I looked among the limited selection at the bookstore those names were not among what was in stock.  What caught my attention, though, was the ADVENTURE BIBLE (Zondervan).  I have to admit, I usually hover around the English Standard Version (ESV)...however the ADVENTURE BIBLE is New International Version (NIV).

As I sat and leafed through the pages, I was pleased with what I saw.  The language was simple for the young reader and it offered special features like memory verses, facts about life in bible times (and culture), introductions at the beginning of each book stating who (was inspired by God) to write it, etc.  There are colorful maps in the back, section dividers which feature information (i.e. The ten commandments, the prophets of the bible, children God used to accomplish His purpose, etc.).

It is organized, not busy, on each page and my kiddos really seem to enjoy examining each part.

10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
   and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
   giving seed to the sower and bread to the
 eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
   it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
   and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
 (Isaiah 55:10-11. ESV.)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

You Stubborn of Heart, You Who are Far From Righteousness

5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. 9 Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.  (Ephesians 6:5-9. ESV.)

Be Angry and Sin Not

Up until recently, I used to glaze over verses six and seven,
"not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man,"
 Then one day I understood why this part is in scripture. How easy is it (for me) to return evil for evil?  (I.e. To say, "Well, if you are going to be rude to me then I will not serve you!")  Petty and childish, right?  But, if one is doing everything unto the Lord, then there will be no disappointment!  Unlike man who sins against each other, God and Christ Jesus are perfectly loving, truthful, good, righteous and Holy.  So, there would be no hard feelings.

From the Heart

Here is that phrase again, "from the heart".  But the heart is an organ that pumps blood.  What does the Word of God mean when it says, "heart"?  Thought?  Will?  Soul?  

8 “Remember this and stand firm,
   recall it to mind, you transgressors,
9 remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
   I am God, and there is none like me,
10 declaring the end from the beginning
   and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
   and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
11 calling a bird of prey from the east,
   the man of my counsel from a far country.
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
I have purposed, and I will do it.
12 “Listen to me, you stubborn of heart,
   you who are far from righteousness:
13 I bring near my righteousness; it is not far off,
   and my salvation will not delay;
I will put salvation in Zion,
   for Israel my glory.”
 (Isaiah 46:8-13. ESV.)

When the World Tells Me God's Word is Foolishness

15 As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
   when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.
(Psalm 17:15. ESV.)

I Don't Want to Gain the Whole World and Lose My Soul

7 Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,
   and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
8 Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
   reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
   teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
   and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
 (Proverbs 9:7-10. ESV.)

Ah, the encouragement from the Word of God!  This is EXACTLY what I NEEDED to hear.  When I "reprove" a situation and receive harsh words from an individual in response, it leaves me feeling icky.  But I could not place my finger on why.  Now I understand!

I feel God's word is black and white---thankfully so because I have such a hard time with gray area!  
13 The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing.
 I wonder why that is...that those who speak foolishness are very "loud" about it though they "know nothing"?

3 The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry,
   but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.
 (Proverbs 10:3. ESV.)

6 Blessings are on the head of the righteous,
   but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.

7 The memory of the righteous is a blessing,
   but the name of the wicked will rot.

8 The wise of heart will receive commandments,
   but a babbling fool will come to ruin.

9 Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
   but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.
 (Proverbs 10:6-9. ESV.)

17 Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life,
   but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.

18 The one who conceals hatred has lying lips,
   and whoever utters slander is a fool.

19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
 (Proverbs 10:17-19. ESV.)

21 The lips of the righteous feed many,
   but fools die for lack of sense.
 (Proverbs 10:21. ESV.>

23 Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool,
   but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding.
 (Proverbs 10:23. ESV.)

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.  (1 Corinthians 2:14. ESV.)

Drink up and be refreshed!  Rejoice in the Lord, oh my soul!

There is Nothing New Under the Sun

Whatever is happening in the world today has taken place before and will repeat itself again.

9 What has been is what will be,
   and what has been done is what will be done,
   and there is nothing new under the sun.
(Ecclesiastes 1:9. ESV.)

Monday, June 06, 2011

Signs of the Close of the Age...

...and other scripture.

Signs of the Close of the Age

4 And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains....

11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come....

20 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22 And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short....

24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand....

27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
 (Matthew 24:4-8, 11-14, 20-22, 24-25, 27. ESV.)

That I May Dwell in Their Midst

8 And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst.  (Exodus 25:8. ESV.)

This particular piece of scripture tells me a little bit about God's character.  He desires to "dwell in [our] midst".  But why?!  We can be such a pain in the butt, yet He (who is so perfectly holy and righteous) wants to be among us...like when God walked around in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve.  Just the thought of that makes my heart soar.

One Cherub, Multiple Cherubim

19 Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end. Of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. 20 The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be.  (Exodus 25:19-20. ESV.)

Have you ever imagined cute, little, chubby, child like angels when you heard the word "cherub"?  I know I did but the joke was on me.  "Cherub" is the singular form of the word "cherubim" and from scripture we know the cherubim are NOT adorable and cuddly!!!

A friend (and sister in Christ) once said to me, "I wonder what angels look like.  Each time they show up in the bible the first thing they say is, 'Fear not!'"  If the cherubim and seraphim are any indication I imagine them to be very intense and perhaps intimidating...especially the archangels who fight against evil.

Jealousy Makes a Man Furious, He Will Not Spare When He Takes Revenge

32 He who commits adultery lacks sense;
   he who does it destroys himself.
33 He will get wounds and dishonor,
   and his disgrace will not be wiped away.
 (Proverbs 6:32-33. ESV.)

I appreciate that the Word of God does not pull any punches.  It shoots straight from the hip and sometimes leaves me speechless.  But here again, I get a glimpse of God's disposition...His absolute abhorrence of sin!

34 For jealousy makes a man furious,
   and he will not spare when he takes revenge.
35 He will accept no compensation;
   he will refuse though you multiply gifts.
 (Proverbs 6:34-35. ESV.)

Have you witnessed a man who is blinded by anger and/or jealousy?  "He will not spare when he takes revenge" is such a piercing thought.  Of what is a "furiously jealous" man capable?!  My thoughts go to David, Bathsheba, and the death of Uriah (the Hittite)!     

(Photo Information.)

Friday, June 03, 2011

Six Things the Lord Hates

16 There are six things that the LORD hates,
   seven that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
   and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
   feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies,
   and one who sows discord among brothers.
 (Proverbs 6:16-19. ESV.)

("Tweeting the Bible in a Year")

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Make You Feel My Love by Adele

The Lord is My Strength and My Song

2 The LORD is my strength and my song,
   and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
   my father's God, and I will exalt him.
3 The LORD is a man of war;
   the LORD is his name.
 (Exodus 15:2-3. ESV.)

6 Your right hand, O LORD, glorious in power,
   your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy.
7 In the greatness of your majesty you overthrow your adversaries;
   you send out your fury; it consumes them like stubble.
 (Exodus 15:6-7. ESV.)

11 “Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods?
   Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
   awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?
 (Exodus 15:11. ESV.)

18 The LORD will reign forever and ever.”  (Exodus 15:18. ESV.)

Yesterday's reading for "Tweeting the Bible in a Year" is FANTASTIC!  John MacArthur's THE MACARTHUR DAILY BIBLE suggests Exodus 15:1-16:36, Psalm 18:20-27, Proverbs 6:12-15, and Matthew 21:23-46.  It is riddled with strong words of encouragement and warning regarding the power and righteousness of God.

The Lord Has Rewarded Me According to My Righteousness

20 The LORD dealt with me according to my righteousness;
   according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the LORD,
   and have not wickedly departed from my God.
22 For all his rules were before me,
   and his statutes I did not put away from me.
23 I was blameless before him,
   and I kept myself from my guilt.
24 So the LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
   according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
25 With the merciful you show yourself merciful;
   with the blameless man you show yourself blameless;
26 with the purified you show yourself pure;
   and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous.
27 For you save a humble people,
   but the haughty eyes you bring down.
 (Psalm 18:20-27. ESV.)

Calamity Will Come Upon Him Suddenly; He Will Be Broken Beyond Healing

12 A worthless person, a wicked man,
   goes about with crooked speech,

13 winks with his eyes, signals with his feet,
   points with his finger,

14 with perverted heart devises evil,
   continually sowing discord;

15 therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly;
   in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.
 (Proverbs 6:12-15. ESV.)

("Tweeting the Bible in a Year")

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

He Will Baptize You With the Holy Spirit and Fire

(I chose this illustration because of the details. It looks like a photograph.)

11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  (Matthew 3:11. ESV.)

Baptized With Water For Repentance

In high school, I was so head over heels in love with God!  I remember sitting on the trunk of my mother's car and gazing up at the sky.  The clouds squeezed together and rays of sunlight fought to stream through.  It was times like those I pictured God making His face to shine down on His people.  As if at any given moment a dove would ascend and a voice like the thunder would roll.

It was during that season of my life that I was baptized.  I had grown up (more or less) in the church, I knew all the bible stories, and I desired to truly know God...though admittedly I do not believe it was until I was 30 when I came to understand the character of God and receive His grace and the Holy Spirit.  It was then I noticed the fruit I had not experienced in my teens and twenties.

Baptized With the Holy Spirit and Fire

I feel faith is exceedingly intimate.  Revealing the depths of my beliefs is like bearing the very core of my heart and soul.  It cuts straight to who I am and how I conduct myself.  On the eve of one particular day (about 3 years ago) I had spent thinking (and debating) regarding baptism, I had a dream that made my heart feel like it was going to explode!

I was on a riverbank I have never seen before.  The lighting and colors in the dream were bright, warm, yellows, golds, comforting, inviting, cheerful.  I was standing in line to be baptized and my dear friend Mindy was with me.  We were happy, excited.  She stood by my side and I think we were talking about baptism.  The line was long as there were many there who wanted to be baptized.  I started to wade into the water and then, I was in the presence of Christ Jesus!

He was right there beside me!  I touched Him and the love radiating from Him was more than my earthly body could stand.  I wanted to come right out of the flesh then and there!  It was like the pressure of air inside a balloon against the latex skin...eventually it pops as the gas molecules inside become too great to continue to be contained.  That was the love I felt inside of me!  And it seemed so real.

The details of the dream are fading away but the feelings I experienced while immersed in the dream are still so strong.  I hope I never forget them.

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." — Maya Angelou

(Photo Information.)

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