Monday, July 23, 2007

James 3:16

Hello on this sunny Monday,
I hope you had a great weekend and especially yesterday celebrating Jesus. LeaAnn isn't feeling well, so keep her in your prayers please. Don't forget Amy and baby either. My weekend was a good one. We didn't do tons of work and our time at the prison was special, just like always.
There's a young man leaving on Aug. 2nd and as of yet he doesn't have a home to go to. Pray for him as he adjusts to living outside of an institution. He's such a wonderful man who loves the Lord. I'm going to miss his smiling face every month. His name is Brian. Thanks!
Today's blog is James 3:16: "For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice." When I read this portion, I thought about Nette and the people that are constantly giving her fits about stuff. Are they jealous of her and the success she has with her tumblers? The Lord uses her in so many ways in service; she's a real visionary. Jealousy can be so distructive, not just to the person that's jealous, but the target of that envy.
Do you have envy or selfish ambition in your life? On reflection I can't think of any for myself, but because I have a sinful nature, that's always a possibility. As I study scripture it tells me to apply what I learn so that these negative attributes don't take hold, or spring up in our lives.
When I see the word: Disorder, I think of chaos. God is a God of order, not chaos
(1 Corinthians 14:33). So, these negative things obviously are not from God, but from our sinful natures that war with rightousness. Verse 15 tells us that they are also from the devil (read verses 13-18 for the whole understanding of this passage). There are two kinds of wisdom, we need to choose which one we are going to manifest.
What I like best, is that the Lord helps us to live in a righteous manner. He doesn't just give us rules and walks away. He's with us, helping us to make right choices through His Holy Spirit who lives in us. Isn't He wonderful? Yes He is!

Walking with Him,

Friday, July 20, 2007

Hebrews 3:16

Good Morning all,
The coolness of the morning is SO refreshing and we have a short interum of cooler weather and I'm looking forward to being able to get outside some. I prayfully hope you have a great day.
There isn't a third chapter in Philemon, actually there's only one chapter, period. So, moving on to Hebrews 3:16 we find: "Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt?" Now the question is, how to I make a blog out of that??? Well, here goes.
Chapter three is comparing Jesus to Moses. The people that Moses led through the desert were rebellious and had hardened their hearts. The warning here by the author is that we shouldn't harden our heart and rebel against God.
God kept the first generation that left Egypt from entering the promised land. Their sons and daughters entered because they were not in leadership during the exodus time. So, how does this apply to us? Are we hindering God's work in our lives and the fallout hits our kids too?
Have you hardened your hearts? I know a couple of times in my life I've done that. I didn't want to be hurt, so by hardening my heart I thought to protect myself. In the end, it only made matters worse because I didn't allow the Lord to work His grace in and through me during my time of pain. I missed out on His blessings, just as the Israelites missed out on entering the promised land. I know, the comparison isn't the same, but the concept is.
Have you hardened your heart toward God, or someone? Have you rebelled by not allowing the Lord to work His grace in your life? Have you missed out on blessings because you weren't open to His leading and obedient to Him and His call on your life?

Grace abiding,

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Titus 3:15

You probably did a double take when you saw Titus 3:15. Because there isn't a verse 16, I decided to fudge a little. The verse doesn't have any great theological theme, but I like it, so here goes.
"Everyone with me sends you greetings. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all."
Most of you know that I like to make and send cards. Whether birthday, anniversary, thank you or just: thinking of you, I like cards. I'm sure the post office is happy about all the stamps I buy!
The apostle Paul is sending greetings for himself and those with him. Paul traveled with many people who were constantly gleeming information from him as he taught. He encouraged them in this final chapter to do good work, not to be lazy but productive.
His ending reminds me of when people you love say goodbye, or you telling them. I say 'I love you' to family, a lot. I want to make sure that they know and feel my love. But, when I think about this small verse, I realize that I may not convey love to those in the faith.
Did you know that Paul uses the words: greet those who love US in the faith. He didn't say that he loves them, but you know he does. He's sent so many letters of encouragement and instruction all over the areas that he's traveled.
"Grace be with you all." Isn't that a wonderful way to end a letter. God's grace, poured out in full measure on lives that are following Him. Paul understood grace extremely well and when he made this benediction, he was conveying an important truth: God's grace is with us all.
How do you know His grace is with you? It isn't something you can feel. Romans 5:17 tells us: "For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ." Grace is a gift from God through Jesus Christ, therefore you have grace in your life. Remember, grace means: God's unmerited favor; or: God's Riches At Christ's Expense.
So, when Paul tells them: grace be with you all, he just reminding them of a gift from God.

Grace received,

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

2 Timothy 3:16

Good evening,
Canning pickle relish took up a major portion of my day and I only ended up with 4 quarts. But, I make the best relish! I know, I'm bragging, but it's true. The recipe came from a friend and I modified it many years ago. I basically only use the relish in my famous potato salad, so a jar lasts a long time. That was my day. How was yours?
When I first started canning years ago I made a lot of mistakes until our neighbor shared with me the finer art of proper canning. No more jars that exploded! Through the years I've canned hundreds, possibly more than a thousand. Every year when I got done with the produce from the garden, I'd looked at the lined shelves and know contentment that our family had lots of food to get us through the winter, good wholesome food. Except for a few beans, cherry tomatoes, salsa, I don't can or freeze anything anymore.
All those years ago I had a great teacher. The men who wrote the Word of God for us also had a great teacher, the Lord Jesus Christ. "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." I included verse 17 to finish the thought.
There's companion verses that you should look up: 2 Peter 1:21, 1 Corinthians 2:13, Psalm 33:4. They share the same thought, that God is the author, men just did the actual writing. When the Lord gave Moses the Ten Commandments, He wrote them on the tablets, but when it came to the rest of His Word, He commanded men, and they were obedient.
If you look at what the verse teaches, all the things that the Word is meant for is to train us to be obedient, to the Lord. Then, comes the good works. When we learn, apply and grow, we automatically want to serve. His Word teaches us how to learn, apply, grow and how to serve.
It's hard to be rebuked by the Lord, but His rebuke is perfect and timely. Listen to His heart for you and let His Word speak to you His love. Then, go and serve.

Serving Him,

Monday, July 16, 2007

1 Timothy 3:16

Good Afternoon,
Hope your day is going well. Mine has been busy, but good. The heat outside has kept me in, except for a short respite early this morning to have tea and relax after my walk.
When I read 1 Timothy 3:16 today my first impression was: it's about Jesus, but after all Paul was saying, it seems out of place. This chapter is about how the church is supposed to function according to God's instructions. I read a foot note and it explain what was being said about the mystery of godliness. As I thought about that and the previous verses I realized that the Paul is telling us in order to be obedient, we have to concentrate our life and efforts on Christ.
"Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory." This whole portion is so different in literary style that again I went to the side note. It calls this a poem about Christ.
When we concentrate on being godly, we can easily get the focus on ourselves instead of on Christ where it needs to be. Without Him we can't be godly in anyway. We need to focus on Him, then we can move toward inner spiritual maturity. This is the mystery of godliness.
So, are you focussing on Him as you mature? Seeking Him for His help to learn and apply? If you read verse 15 it talks about how a person is to conduct themselves in church. Are you following His guidelines on how to act in church, in your every day life? You do realize that when you are obedient and follow Him, you acquire godliness because you begin to reflect Christ?
Re read the poem and enjoy Him.

Focussing on Him,

Friday, July 13, 2007

2 Thessalonians 3:16

Good morning All,
It's such a pleasant morning and I trust the Lord gave you a good nights sleep. I can hear the birds singing to the Lord; don't you just love the birds? Can you tell I'm a bird 'liker'?
Today's message from 2 Thessalonians 3:16 is about peace. I know that peace is hard to come by sometimes, but when there's a peaceful morning like today I think: God has given His peace.
That's outside peace, but what about the inside peace? Do you have it and if so, how much? Every day? Is it fleeting? Never in your life? Be honest now.
"Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you."
First, the Lord is peace. He's not a turbulent God. Does He have righteous anger and can He wipe out people with a breath? Yes! But, He's more importantly a God of peace. He desires for us to have His peace too.
When you got saved, He gave you a peace that will never leave you. You might not always recognize it's there, but it is. It's His peace of knowing that you're saved. If you don't have that peace, let me know! We need to talk.
His peace is abundant, not stingy in any way. He gives it generously and willingly. But, do you take hold of His peace? Do you claim it?
Years ago when I was first sick from Lyme disease, my body couldn't produce the chemicals needed for emotional well being. I had a good supplement from the doctor, but it just wasn't doing a good enough job.
Chuck was working two jobs to make ends meet and was gone all the time. No one came to visit me so I was alone 24/7. I was incredibly lonely. One day I was sitting at the computer and journaling and tears were running in streams down my face. I knew I needed something, I just didn't know what. I typed this statement: "Lord, I need something, but I don't know what I need."
He let me understand in His still small voice: hope. Right then, I knew He was right. I asked for His hope and He gave it to me in abundance and along with the hope came His peace. It spread over me like a blanket, enveloping me completely, giving me a warm fuzzy hug.
The Lord gives us what we need, when we need it. Just ask. As the end of the verse says: the Lord be with you all.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

I Thessalonians 4:16

You may be wondering why chapter 4 verse 16. That's because chapter 3 only goes to verse 13. So, I decided since chapter 4 was an interesting verse, I'd use it instead.
There's so much controversy about illegal aliens in our country. And, I won't get into that issue, but do you realize that we are aliens? As Christians, our home is heaven, not earth. We are only here temporarily. Have you ever thought about that? I have. I long for heaven and all that goes with it, mainly being with the Holy Trinity. Some days I plead with the Lord to come back soon and take us all home.
A couple of years ago I did a great study on 1st and 2nd Thessalonians. Kay Arthur has written many study books and this one is no exception. These two books talk about the end times activities. It shares about biblical living also, which we can apply to our lives. We definitely live in an immoral world, just as the people Paul addressed in these two little letters.
Read the small book, then come back and read 4:16. The hope that is proclaimed there should give us a focus on our future, even in the midst of trials on earth. "For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first."
Christ is coming down to us! Can you imagine? If we are not already dead, we will see and hear His coming. He will give a great command. What command? I don't know, but I speculate on His calling us to come to Him and meet Him in the air. He doesn't actually land on earth, this time.
Do you see that the voice of the archangel, Michael or Gabrial (I think) will join our Lord's in calling us? Then a trumpet! There's going to be enough noise so that no one who is a believer will be left behind. I've often wondered if the non-believer's will hear the call, but of course not be able to respond?
We will be sent heavenward by the Lord's power; gone in a flash. I personally think that all our clothing, jewelry and glasses, etc. will be left behind and we will be clothed in garments whiter than snow. Can't you visualize that?
Then, those already dead, Christians, will rise first (verse17) to join the Lord Jesus Christ and then, all of us. We will get to see loved ones again. Will many of your relatives be with you? Will it be church family alone?
I know how hard it is to pray for family and for them not to trust Christ as Savior. At this point, the only person I know for sure that will be waiting for me in heaven is my baby sister that died at one month old.
I do have the comfort of my mother-in-law being there ahead of me. I'm sure that she prayed me into heaven and I still miss her. I have told Chuck for years (teasing of course) that she loved me more than him.
So, are you waiting for the Lord's return? Are you prepared in your heart? Are you serving Him so that He finds you busy with His work when He returns to take you home? Food for thought, heavenly food!

Ready to go,

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Colossians 3:16

What a beautiful day we've had, isn't it? The Lord is blessing us richly. 'Richly' is my word for this day. It's found in our verse, Colossians 3:16: "Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God."
Isn't that just the most wonderful verse? I'm going to pick it apart, a few words at a time. Glance back over the whole chapter to get a better idea of what the theme is. Yes, it's rules for Holy living. I think verse 16 is the crux of the whole chapter.
Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly. How does this happen? Basically by studying His Word every day. Reading His nuggets of gold, pondering/meditating on what He's telling you and asking the important question: how do I apply this to my life?
I think the richly part is an extra blessing. When we read and apply, the benefits are seen in how we live our life before the Lord. Notice I say: before the Lord. It doesn't matter what people think, just what the Lord thinks. If we are pleasing Him, we don't have to worry about what others think. But, it's our nature to wonder: what do others think of me? Why do we pay more attention to others than to the Lord, who is perfect in His appraisal and blesses accordingly?
Next comes the teaching and admonishing. Many of you have heard often that we are not to judge one another. That scripture is talking about motives. How can we admonish someone for their walk with the Lord if we are judging their walk (the fruit: good and bad).
We are to teach, and the admonishing is connected by 'and'. How can we teach if we don't know the Word of God? Many times you've heard me in Sunday school teaching God's truth and correcting someone on what they know. Hopefully their belief will follow the new understanding and truth of God's Word versus what they used to believe.
Then: wisdom. How do we obtain wisdom? Again, studying God's Word and applying it to our lives so we can then turn around and teach others. I really like when the ladies in our Sunday school class share what they think/believe. It's great to hear a verse shared, or a thought. I'm often challenged, encouraged and enlightened by what's shared. The Bible tells us that iron sharpens iron. The Bible is the Sword of the Spirit and swords are made of iron.
The rest of this verse is directed in worship to God, with gratitude for Him, who He is, and all that He does. He is wisdom, our sword to do battle against sin and our comforter as He dwells in us richly.
So, does God's Word dwell in you richly? Are you learning, studying and applying? Are you blessed by Him daily working in your life?

Richly blessed,

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Philippians 3:16

Greetings to All,
I used to work at an insurance office. One of my bosses (family owned business) was the wife. Jean was a really good woman and became very dear to me. She appreciated the hard work that I did and gave me raises accordingly, even when she didn't give the other women one. Part of me didn't think that was fair, the other part of me thought that it was. I was torn in my thinking. I worked hard and was rewarded for that hard work. That increase in pay was also an encouragement to work hard, continually.
Philippians 3:16 teaches us: Only let us live up to what we have already attained. So, what is it talking about? In order to understand the passage you have to go back and read chapter 3 in its entirety. So, after you've done that, come and join me.....
There were some false teachers that were trying to add works to grace. They were saying that the believer's needed to be circumcised. But, Paul takes them by the throat and gets their attention by establishing his right as a Jew and a circumcised one at that. He knew the way of the cross and he was telling them that the false teachers were trying to add something that the Lord didn't want there.
Paul ends the chapter by saying: hang on to the original: grace. Press toward the goal of obedience and service as we wait eagerly for the Lord's deliverance of our earthly bodies. He tells them to mature. In verse 15 he says: all of us who are mature. That alludes to those that aren't, are believing in something that they shouldn't.
In 17 he tells us to be an example, following his example. He ends all with telling us that one day our lowly bodies will be like Christ's glorious body. I can't wait! How about you? Are you living in such a way as to be an example of Paul who was an example of Christ? Are you maturing and being obedient to His Word? If not, why not? Don't put yourself before Him; there's no glory for Christ in that.

Already attained,

Friday, July 6, 2007

Ephesians 3:16

Hello All,
Hope your week is going well and that you see the Lord's blessings daily. Chuck's still on vacation and we're trying to get some things done, but still get some rest. I'm still working on trying to rest from being with my parents. It seems that everything in life takes time, even getting rest.
Today's word is from Ephesians 3:16. This is a verse that I pray every Monday. It reads: "I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being."
In order to understand the full meaning of this verse, please start your reading at verse 14 and finish with 21. This is a prayer from Paul to the Ephesians. Paul has been busy teaching them many things through this small book, but this portion is actually a prayer. Enjoy!
The reason that I pray verse 16 is that I need His strength daily. I'm not just talking about physical strength, although I really need that, but also His spiritual strength. In order to live an obedient life, I need His strength to choose the right things to do, say, think and feel. I can't do these things under my own power, I need Him, in abundance.
The key for all of these verses is faith. Without faith, I won't be able to obtain what He has for me. So, that begs the question, how do we have the faith to believe that God will provide what He says He will, in these few verses and throughout the whole Bible?
My experience has been to trust Him in the small things that have come my way. He's tested me to believe Him and as I have decided in my mind and heart to trust, He's brought bigger things my way.
My illness from Lyme disease was given to me at a time when the Lord was testing me in a much bigger thing than I've ever known. I think I'm passing the test, but I know that I will have to continue to pass this test for the rest of my life.
Why do I say that? Because as I grow progressively physically worse, my faith, patience and endurance will be tested. So I have a choice: to pass the test, or not to pass the test. It is my choice. It's also my choice how I pass the test, with grace or by whining and complaining.
So, where is your faith? Are you passing the tests that the Lord is sending your way? You can pray for Him to give you strength in your inner being. What's keeping you from passing the test? From gaining His strength in your inner being?

Being strengthened,

Monday, July 2, 2007

Galatians 3:16

What a glorious sunny day we have on this early morning in July. I trust that your day of worship was a blessing to you yesterday. I really appreciate our Sunday school class; you ladies always contribute so much.
My mom is still doing well. Her spirit is good. She has a check up today and hopefully they'll adjust her new blood pressure medicine because it makes her really sleepy and fatigued. Thanks for your prayers for her and me while I was gone.
I've chosen today Galatians 3:16 and I really like what it tells us: The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say 'and to seeds,' meaning many people, but 'and to your seed,' meaning one person, who is the Christ.
This portion of scripture is written by Paul and he's talking about the covenant between God and Jesus Christ. There were some people that we trying to add to the covenant of grace. All through this chapter he's admonishing the Christians to hold fast to the truth that our salvation comes through Jesus Christ by grace.
When he gets to this verse he's telling them that the covenant that was made by God can't be added to. When two people have a contract, no third party can come in and change that contract without permission; it's legally binding. The false teachers in this time were trying to do just that, change the original intent.
How do we try to change what God has given us? Do we try to add works to His grace? Do we NOT accept His grace by thinking that His grace is not good enough to cover our sins?
Do you trust His covenant of sending His son to be our propitiation? Along with this trusting comes living like you believe it. We can say we trust, but do we? Do our actions manifest our belief?
I had to fly twice for my visit to my parents. I had to trust that the airplane would fly me where I needed to go. I don't understand anything about the dynamics of flying, but I trusted that they would get me where I needed to go. I didn't tell the pilots how to fly, or change the rules and regulations to fit my needs. I wanted to though :).
What God has set in place, we are not to change or want to change His perfect plan of salvation by grace in which to live by. So, how are you living your life so that you confirm to Him that His plan for your life here on earth and eternal life is perfect and doesn't need any changes or suggestions from you? Trust, because He's trustworthy.

Trusting in Grace,