Saturday, May 28, 2016

Let Go My Soul And Trust in Him

15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15. ESV.)

19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.Romans 14:19. ESV.)

Friday, May 27, 2016

Where Jealousy and Selfish Ambition Exist, There Will be Disorder and Every Vile Practice

My head feels so clouded. Currently, I am working on a relatively big project that I would like to get finished as soon as possible. So, my posts on the blog as of late have not been overly fabulous. This work needs to be completed by the end of summer, along with a certificate program, to make way for big changes in my schedule and little time for working on extra ventures when fall semester begins again.

10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.
(James 3:10-16. ESV.)

The scripture above is from today’s bible study with my children. It is a great reminder to me to never do anything with a “selfish ambition”. Each thing I set out to do has consequences and therefore I take it seriously when I feel lead to add or delete something in the schedule. Often, the time I usually spend and enjoy having with my children is the price I have to pay for other things: my bachelor’s degree, a paralegal certificate, etc. I keep telling myself at least I am currently doing all of this from home but there, unfortunately, will come a day when working as a paralegal, and later a lawyer, means I have to go to an office and do lots of research. I have been trying to extend my time with them at home as long as possible but I see change coming and my heart is unsettled.

My greatest hope is God will step in, as He does many times in His word, and shower us with the beauty only He can provide. When the Philistines were causing a ruckus, God gave David the courage and might to bring down the giant Goliath with just a slingshot and a rock (1 Samuel 17). Boom! God intervened and stopped the problem. After Herod caused quite a bit of trouble for God’s people and did not give God the glory, an angel of the Lord struck him down and he was “eaten by worms and breathed his last” (Acts 12:20-25. ESV.) When the Israelites were oppressed by Pharaoh and cried out for help (Exodus 2:23-25), God sent Moses and Aaron to deliver the Israelites from Pharaoh. Further, He covered Egypt with ten plagues, lead as a pillar of smoke by day and one of fire by night, and split the Red Sea for Moses and His people to cross. God interceded in a big way. He took care of His people. I faithfully believe He does the same for us, today.

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7. ESV.)

Monday, May 23, 2016

See That No One Leads You Astray

This has been a weekend of meditating on “the end”. It is the end of the school year. Throughout our lives we have beginnings and endings of relationships. And, in God’s word, Jesus addresses the end times. This weekend, one of the pastors at the church we attend spoke about what Jesus discussed with his disciples in Matthew 24:1-14.
3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end 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.

9 "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. 10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 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.
(Matthew 24:3-14. ESV.)

When I was younger, the end of something often times brought a feeling of dread to my heart and my mind. It was the “unknown” and, to me, it was a little scary. Now that I am older, I realize a few things… 1. God will ALWAYS take care of me and my children! He is the provider of all things and all things are His servants (Psalm 119:91). 2. Sometimes the end of something is a very good thing! It should be celebrated, not feared or mourned. 3. There will come rest (2 Thess. 1:7).

Thank you, Lord, that there will come rest! Carry on, saints! And, for anyone interested in finding out more about God’s word and an eternity with Him, this blog is peppered with God’s word! Happy reading! Also, there is Youversion at www.bible.com!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Having Gifts That Differ According to the Grace Given to Us, Let Us Use Them

"God will not judge us according to how much we endured, but how much we could love. The Christians who suffer for their faith in prisons could love. I am a witness that they could love both God and men.” (Former underground church pastor who was imprisoned for his faith.)

What is the best way each of us can serve God? Immediately Romans 12 springs to mind!
3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. (Romans 12:3-8. ESV.)

In attempting to figure out how I can best serve the Lord, I have finally decided on a project on which to work…a manuscript. I did one years ago but never finished it. It was one chapter shy of being done. Perhaps this time I will complete what I start and maybe even submit it to publishers or agents…however things work these days. But with so much out there, so many genres from which to choose, whatever should I write? Fiction? Non-fiction? Romance? Travel? Food? What’s my niche? Why would anyone want to read what I write? But, I won’t know unless I try, right?

For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you. (Matthew 17:20-21. ESV.)

My internet connection was just out and I thought I was going to have to get creative with posting to the blog, today, but just after typing out the scripture above, the connection was reestablished. Fluke? Who knows. Encouragement? Definitely! Yes, Lord…I shall carry on.

And with that, off I go to get working on the project. Happy Thursday, all!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Who is it That Overcomes the World?

1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:1-5. ESV.)

I desire everything in my life to be godly. All of it, from being a good steward with the money God provides us, to seeking out passions and pursuits that glorify Him. From being a Proverbs 31 wife to having godly relationships. From obeying His commandments (1 John 5:3) to going out and making disciples of men (Matthew 28:16-20).

Over at the Desiring God website, Jon Bloom posted a great article about Judas and his appearance of being a believer though in his heart, he was not:
Judas’s masquerade is a lesson for us. Wolves can look and sound almost exactly like sheep. And sometimes Jesus, for his own reasons, allows the disguised wolves to live among the sheep for a long time and do great damage before their deception is exposed. When this happens, we must trust that the Lord knows what he’s doing. Judas reminds us that even ravaging wolves have a part to play in the drama of redemptive history. (“Why Was Judas Carrying the Moneybag?” 6 June 2014. http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/why-was-judas-carrying-the-moneybag)

This article was good for me because it reminded me of a few things: 1. Jesus knew, and still knows, exactly what He is doing. I must have faith. 2. Only God can see the heart of men. The rest of us are clueless to the true nature of a person. 3. Sometimes the ones I believe to be the closest to me are actually the furthest away. So, I must be wise and discerning.

I believe it is difficult for each of us to accept God might have created some for “bad”. But, we were all created to glorify Him in one way or another.
14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

19 You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?" 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—
(Romans 9:14-23. ESV.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Just Keep Writing

Lately, I have been writing, a lot, to specifications. Which, I suppose since I have been doing it so much recently, seems to come easier at the moment. But no matter what, I feel I should just keep writing. Regardless if I think I really have anything of interest to say or have an idea that is bursting to get out or not! It does no good to just be silent. Currently, I have been looking to an extraordinary artist I have known for a very long time for inspiration. It seems as though she is always drawing. You can check out some of her work, here:

Sunday, one of the pastors at the church we attend gave a great message on 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12. Verses 5-10 especially grabbed my attention. They say,
5 This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— 6 since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. (ESV.)

I just mentioned in my last two posts (here and here) how Jesus said taking up the cross and following Him is not an easy task and there is no rest for the weary. Then, what do you know, as God would have it my pastor speaks about when the followers of Christ will get rest! Thank you, Lord, for that encouragement! Further, I have been wrestling with about what, exactly, to write. Once again, through this message, I am reminded Jesus will return when the last person receives His word. Therefore it is all the more defined how important it is to get the word out (Matthew 28:16-20). Again, thank you Lord! Not to mention, this particular service I had someone with me who struggles with the notion of “believer” verses “unbeliever”, what it truly means to follow Christ, and what is meant by “they will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction” (2 Thess 1:9).

16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.

18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
(2 Thessalonians 3:16 & 18. ESV.)

Friday, May 13, 2016

My Ways are Higher Than Your Ways and My Thoughts Than Your Thoughts

It is day 134 of this year and today I am reminded that “those who have suffered in prison for their faith” rarely get to partake in communion while there (Voice of the Martyrs. Extreme Devotion. 2001. Thomas Nelson: Nashville, Tennessee. Pg. 134.)
19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. (Luke 22:19-20. ESV.)

When I feel I am trying really hard, but some days believe I am failing miserably, I need to remind myself of those who are in agony. I know Jesus said taking up the cross and following Him is difficult but man, somedays I feel I get absolutely pummeled. Looking to those who are in terrible prisons so far from home, without being able to take communion and read their bible, focuses my thoughts on them and others abroad. Do I desire to downplay the tribulation, heartache, persecution, etc. that is experienced in my own nation? No, of course not. I know there are many who suffer for their faith, here, as well. Most stories, domestic and foreign, just are not told…the people involved labor in silence.

Enoch stepped straight from this world into heaven. The bible states,
Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. Genesis‬ ‭5:24‬ ‭ESV‬.
I cannot help but wonder how insanely uncomfortable Enoch must have been in this world governed by the prince of the power of the air (Eph 2:2).

Whatever we are going through, we can have complete faith, God is with us! There are times, admittedly, I question various things. Mainly, I wonder why God places us in certain situations, I suppose. Today’s reading in the Voice of the Martyrs Extreme Devotion touches on the experience of two men who were flying over Cuba “dropping thousands of leaflets that communicated the gospel of Christ” when they were caught up in a thunderstorm and had to make an emergency landing (2001. Thomas Nelson: Nashville, Tennessee. Pg. 134.) Immediately, I wonder why God allowed that to happen. Those men were doing as He calls us to do and had no control over the weather.

There are times in my own life, and in the lives of those around me, when something happens that is out of the hands of man and is solely in God’s. I tell myself it is to draw us closer to Him. But admittedly, I still get frustrated. God please forgive me.

8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
(Isaiah 55:8-11. ESV.)

Friday, May 06, 2016

The Word is Near You, in Your Mouth and in Your Heart

8 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame." 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:8-13. ESV.)

I love this, “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.” It reminds me of Deuteronomy 11:18-20 which says,
18 "You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 20 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,

Christ Jesus never said life would be easy. He did, in fact, say the exact opposite. And, it is definitely very hard in many different ways. There is no rest for the weary. However, one can find refuge (Psalm 46), shelter (Psalm 91), strength (Psalm 46), comfort, grace (2 Corinthians 12:9), mercy, provisions (Philippians 4:19), help (Psalm 46), a shield (Psalm 18), vengeance (Romans 12:19), etc.

Not to mention the whole armor of God:
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. (Ephesians 6:11-18. ESV.)

Put on the armor every single day. And remember, our struggles are meant to draw us closer to God!
4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? (Romans 2:4. ESV.)
So, continue to fight the good fight, my friends.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Writing to a prompt: Fiction

She began now to comprehend that he was exactly the man who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her. His understanding and temper, though unlike her own, would have answered all her wishes. It was an union that must have been to the advantage of both; by her ease and liveliness, his mind might have been softened, his manners improved, and from his judgement, information, and knowledge of the world, she must have received benefit of greater importance. (Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. 28 January 1813. T. Egerton, Whitehall. Pg. 189.)

Writing Prompt: “She began now to comprehend that he was exactly the man who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her.”

She could not help but wonder what his thoughts might be about her. Did he feel the same? She quickly glanced at him standing across the room. He had been looking at her until their eyes met and he turned his away. She felt her face get warm and smiled to herself. He was looking at me, she thought. But why? Maybe he finds me odd or annoying.

Click here to continue reading!

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

So That in the Day of Christ I May be Proud That I Did Not Run in Vain or Labor in Vain

Yes, I should be writing…definitely more than I have been. I did complete a manuscript, once. Well, I was one chapter away from finishing it. I do not remember, now, what the title was, if it even had one, but it was a fiction for my older children who were somewhere around ages 12 and 14, at the time. My goal was to write ten pages a day. And, I think most days I reached or almost hit my target. But, being a writer while also being mom can be a tad tricky. My oldest wanted me to finish it…but I never did. I suppose she, who is also a writer---and a darn good one at that---had to write the ending herself…if not on paper, at least in her mind.

I saw parts of a movie, this past weekend, called “Begin Again”. It was described to me as being an indie film and what I saw of it, was great! The reason I mention it is because I guess the music world is as difficult to get into as the writing world. For example, there is a part in the movie where the lead female, Keira Knightley, and lead male, Mark Ruffalo, make an album and then pitch it to a record company. During this meeting, one of the associates explains to Knightley’s character, Gretta, that if the album sells for $10, the artist gets $1 and says, “It’s the same in publishing. It’s a buck for a book.”



When I wrote my first, nearly, completed manuscript, I did not try to have it published. I have, however, gone through the process of attempting to have other works published…to no avail, of course. Otherwise, this would be a completely different blog, unfortunately. So, during this moment in the movie, I felt I could relate and could not help but wonder if the information is true or at least to some degree. Also, earlier in the movie Ruffalo’s character, Dan, took Gretta to meet with the record company representative with only a song, which she sang while playing her guitar, instead of a demo. They are turned away and make their album themselves. The above mentioned meeting happens after they have completed the album.

How similar is that in the world of writing! Generally, as I understand it, a writer is asked to submit a query letter and, depending on the literary agent or publisher, maybe a synopsis and/or the first few chapters. The agent or publisher then responds with either a “thanks but no thanks” letter or a request for more of the manuscript. At least, that is how it was years ago when I attempted to get published. It might be different, now. I have not yet ventured to try it again. Maybe one day…maybe not. With the internet being as successful as it is, an artist can publish his/her material his/herself, all day, every day.

And now, I leave you with the scripture from one of the bible studies with my children, because I must go:
13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
(Philippians 2:13-16. ESV.)

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