Friday, September 28, 2007

Matthew 5:3

Good Morning all,
Another beautiful day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. I've spent the morning watering trees. I sure wish the Lord would bring us some much needed rain. Are we being judged? Considering the spiritual state of our town and with the prison in our area, probably so. But, that's another blog entirely.
I told you that I'm doing a study on Matthew, chapters 5-7. It's called the sermon on the mount. It's also called the beatitudes. 'Be' is the key here. We are to 'be'. What are we to 'be'? We are blessed if we: are poor in spirit.
Today's verse is 5:3: "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Have you ever really looked at this portion of scripture? Why are we blessed if we are 'poor'? In order to better understand what this verse and portion (vs. 3-11) you have to understand the history of the Jews.
They thought that material wealth meant the God was blessing them. If a person was poor materially, then they were under condemnation. It's the same with women that were childless. If a woman had a child(ren) then she was blessed. If not, she was cursed. I know, such nonsense.
What Jesus was doing with this teaching is telling the people that material wealth was not an indication of God's blessing, or lack there of. We are to be poor in spirit, toward God. I think this means to be submissive to Him in all areas of our lives.
When we realize that we are literally paupers spiritually, then we are ready to surrender all to Him. That means we have to shove everything aside that we hold dear and rest in His arms. This could be people, or things, maybe projects and ministries.
So, are you poor spiritually toward God? If not, why not? What is in your life that you need to forsake so that you can 'take' God as He wants you to take Him?
God's motive for helping us to be 'poor in spirit' is that He loves us so much. Being poor in spirit is a good thing and delights our Heavenly Father, right down to His toes!


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Isaiah 45:8-10

Isn't the weather gorgeous? I hung clothes and sheets out today and they dried so nicely. I like the smell of clothes hung outside to dry. The sky is such a vivid blue that I always connect with Autumn.
I read these verses a couple of days ago and really felt led by the Lord to study them. So here is what I came up with: God is Sovereign. Isaiah 46:8-10. After you've read them, come join me....
Verse 8 tells us to remember. We are not to forget what this is saying. In other words: it's important what I'm going to tell you. If something is fixed in our minds, it's there permanently. When it's God's Word, that's a good thing. But, it calls the Israelites rebels. Are you a rebel? If so, in what way? Is your heart soft toward the Lord? Are you surrendered?
In Verse 9 God states: I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me. That's quite a statement, but one that He can tell truthfully and we need to obey. He is God. Because He is God, we owe Him our very lives. Do you live your life in such a way that you always honor Him? Do you fully understand what it means when God says that He is God? If not, why not?
Verse 10 teaches that He makes known the end from the beginning. We have the Bible, God's written word to tell us just that. Have you read His book from cover to cover? What did you learn? About who God is? About how He wants you to live your life?
The last sentence tells us: and I will do all that I please. Have you heard people who think that God should stop all the trouble in the world? Why do innocent children die or are abused? Why so many people die of drought, hunger and disease? Well, God has a purpose for causing and allowing these things to happen.
Sometimes it's judgment. On a government, a group of people or one individual. Sometimes innocent people are hurt because of sin by those who act unrighteously. God knows the final story. He knows everything because He's omniscient (all-knowing).
So, here's the question: are you going to trust our Sovereign God to know what's best for your life and live accordingly? How will you manifest this belief? If you don't trust Him, why not? He is trustworthy. How do I know this? Because He's proven Himself so many times in my life that I can't even count them.
God knew before I got sick, the beginning from the end. He allowed me to get sick, and to stay sick. He has a purpose. Some of it I know, but not all. I'm sure some day I'll be able to know the 'beginning from the end' as He allows me to understand His purpose. I just know this: I trust my Sovereign God to work His perfect divine will in my life to His glory. What will you do?


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Psalm 33:4

After a busy weekend, it's nice to slow down just a little. I trust your weekend was a good one too. We're trying to get things accomplished outside; we're buttoning down for the winter, so to speak. I like to call it "cozying in for the winter".
The scripture I've chosen today is from Psalm 33:4: "For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does." I look at this verse as a sure foundation that I can hang on to when life gets difficult. As I search His word, His promises remind me that God is faithful and that I can depend on that.
Anytime that Chuck and I have stepped out in faith to begin a ministry that we haven't been a part of before, like going overseas as missionaries, we've had to depend on God to be faithful to us in many ways.
We needed His word to teach us how to be good servants to Him. We definitely needed help with all the myriad of emotions that accompanied our leaving our son behind to continue his education at college.
We were stepping out into unknown (to us) territory by living in a foreign culture. We didn't know the language, or custom's of the Czech Republic. He helped us to acclimate fairly quickly and well so that we could begin ministry to the wonderful people He brought before us.
We asked Him to help us to love the Czech people and He was faithful to pour out His love in us and through us. So many times we'd hear people ask: "why do you love us so much?" That warmed our hearts and I know it pleased the Lord. We were depending on Him for everything and He was faithful.
In what ways do you see God faithful to you? Do you even look for His faithfulness? How are you faithful to Him? It's surprising how little He asks of us, but yet He promises us so much, if we are obedient to Him.
Do you remember 1 John 1:9? Go look. He is faithful. Depend on His faithfulness to help you live a faithful life before Him.

Striving to be faithful to Him,

Friday, September 21, 2007

Micah 6:8

Good Evening,
I trust you've all had a good day. I worked in the garden, cleaning it so Chuck could till it tomorrow. Fall is fast approaching.
One of the things that the Lord has impressed upon me through the years is that He delights in our obedience to Him. His Word proclaims it and He says He will bless us for our obedience. I'm sure you can think of many ways that the Lord has blessed you.
When we were overseas we saw His hand at work in so many ways. Because we were obedient to His call to go to the Czech Republic, He allowed us to see the fruit of our labors.
We were at a camp in southwest Bohemia and a young girl told me that she wasn't a believer like we were. I had never met her and as this was the first day of camp, I was mildly surprised that she said this so soon into the camp.
Over there, people understand about being a believer in Christ, and not. The lines aren't so fuzzy as they are here. Many people couldn't understand why we'd leave our cushy life here to live over there.
I think the scripture today says a lot about our going and serving. Micah 6:8: "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
We tried to live that verse before the Czech people and they could see it played out, even when we didn't realize it. People knew we were different, not because we were from another country, but how we lived our life and the service that we did for Him.
So, do you act justly and love mercy and walk humbly with your God?

Walking, walking,

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Joel 2:12-13

Hey Everyone,
Another hot day. Summer is going out with a bang. I put out fall decor yesterday. I was ready for a change. I guess even after all these years of living 'south' my brain tells me it's fall even though summer is still going strong.
I did a study on Joel today and these verses impacted me, so I thought I'd share them. Because we're going to be having revival meetings in October at church, I thought these verses applied. Actually, chapters 1 and 2 are about repentance and revival.
I realize that this was written to the Jews, but I think it applies to us also. Joel 2:12-13 "Even now," declares the Lord, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning." Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity. As Pastor would say: WOW!
Verse 12 impacted me the most. This is the repentance part. So do you fast, weep and mourn? I can't fast from food because of my health, but I choose other ways to fast. The Lord honors that because He knows the situation. When you fast, do you announce it to the world? Do you fast in sincerity of seeking God for answers, or in order to please Him?
Do you weep out of sorrow of your sinfulness? Do you weep because you have not served Him as you should, or as He has wanted you to?
When you mourn, is it because of your sin and disobedience, or because He's had to discipline you and you didn't like it?
In verse 13 rend means: to split or tear violently. That's an earth shaker. 'Rend your heart, not your garments.' When people of old mourned, they would tear their clothes and pour ashes on their heads to show the world that they were grieving. Here, God says to rend our heart.
I think this means to show God that we're serious about repentance. Remember, God looks at the heart, not the outward. He wants full repentance from our sinning. He wants revival!
Are you ready for repentance and revival in your heart? Go before the Lord and seek Him for anything that is blocking your fellowship that you need to repent of. Ask God to revive your heart!

Send Revival Lord,

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Lamentations 3:22-26

Dear Friends,
I trust that you are finding the Lord Faithful, because He is, and that you are trusting in His faithfulness.
As I looked at Lamentations 3:22-26 today I thought about how for the last ten years, since 1997 when I got bit by a tick carrying Lyme disease, Chuck and I have been in a desert. My illness has taken its toll in so many ways. But, during this time of dry, desert wandering, the Lord has been faithful to walk with us, showing us Him in new and wonderful ways.
After you read the verses, come and join me.......Have you ever felt consumed by something? Maybe it's a situation with your family. I think of LeaAnn and her family with Anna's illness. I'm sure there are times is consumes time, attention and emotions.
The first verse tells us that because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed. I think it means emotionally more than anything else. Our emotions can swamp us so quickly and take away our ability to even think positively. But the rest of the verse also tells us that His compassions never fail. Even when life seems to be failing us, He does not.
In verse 25 He tells us that He is good to us when we hope in Him. Do you hope in Him? In what ways do you hope? That He'll help your illness to go away? I'm sure Betty would like that. Or, that your children would follow God and bypass all the terrible things that can trap youth? You don't want them to be scared by memories in later in life.
Verse 26 says that it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. When I think about these last ten years and how I would like to be delivered from my illnesses, I wonder if I've waited quietly? Probably not. I don't like being sick, but I know that the Lord has taught me so many things through it all. Chuck too has learned many things that we then can use to help others. So, is suffering good? No, but it produces good things.
Someday none of us will hurt, or have emotional pain, then we will have collected our salvation from the Lord. Because His mercies are new each morning (23), take each day, one at a time, and wait on Him (24).


Friday, September 14, 2007

Mark 12:30


What gorgeous weather, again. Are we not blessed? I hung clothes out yesterday and they dried so nicely. Having the windows open again is so refreshing.
The passage I chose today is one that the Lord has been really filling me up with. As I pray over this passage and then detail on paper all that I glean, I'm overwhelmed again on how awesome our Lord is.
Mark 12:30: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." Deuteronomy 6:5 says: heart, soul and strength. Matthew 22:37 says: heart, soul and mind.
Why the differences? I have no clue. Strength and mind are different, but not really. It takes strength to love the Lord fully, as He deserves; strength of mind over will.
Looking at heart, in what ways can you purpose to love the Lord will all your heart? I made a list and I suggest you do the same. It may take you a few days, but what you come up with may be eye opening. The Lord wants all of you; in what ways? That's a place to start.
Your soul belongs to the Lord if you have trusted Christ's work on the cross and asked Him to be your Savior.
In what ways can your mind be all for God? Think about surrender as a start. Then there's strength. Chuck has so many bulging muscles from throwing 50# tarps everyday. I, on the other hand am incredibly weak physically. But when I thought about this, I realized that the strength is more than physically helping the Lord. Service is very important as it shows the Lord that we love Him.
But for me, doing things is hard, so I looked at strength of purpose to make sure that my mind and will are totally surrendered to Him, all the time. Now, don't get me wrong; I know that I sin. But, I need to work hard and try to be obedient. There's also things like strength of character, etc.
So, that should give you something to think about and work on. Let me know how you come out with your searching so that you can love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.

Serving Him,

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sow Generously

Hi Everyone,
What glorious weather we're having. Isn't our Lord generous with us? I trust you are all working hard for the Lord in prayer, supplication and service.
As you can see by the title, we are going to look at sowing generously. 2 Corinthians 9:6 tells us: "Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously."
This portion is talking about money, giving, tithing, etc. But there's a second message here and that is when we are generous with our prayers, service, kindness, etc., it multiplies. If we hold our gifts from the Lord close and don't use them, they will dwindle away.
I spent a portion of my morning re potting plants. The African Violets went from two pots to four and the variegated spider from one large to two large. I have a really hard time throwing away plants, especially nice ones. So, if anyone wants a spider plant or violet, just let me know.
These plants I have tenderly watched over and they've grown from tiny sprouts to huge, magnificent plants. But, without care, watering and fertilizer, they would have withered and died.
God expects us to take the gifts He gives us, whether money or service gifts/spiritual gifts and use them. So, look at your bounty from the Lord and see where you need to divide and share.

Sharing the bounty,

Monday, September 10, 2007

Jeremiah 8:21-22

It's been so long since I've blogged; I'm sorry. Between a blog that doesn't like to recognize me and 'life', I've not been getting a few things done and this is one of those things.
The Lord has been blessing me in so many ways and I've really rejoiced. We were together with family on Saturday because of our youngest grandson's birthday. Family time is always wonderful. Chuck is finally feeling a little better from the gout that's been plaguing him. But, my health has taken a downward turn and that's been a concern.
When I was reading in Jeremiah, I ran across the verses in 8:21-22. "Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the word of my people?"
Gilead was a place of healing salves and lots of medical learning. So when Jeremiah is saying: is there no balm in Gilead, He's talking about comfort from pain, distress. I don't know about you, but I've been crushed before, more than once even. It says here that Jeremiah was crushed. He mourns and horror grips him. Jeremiah was just like us. He cried out to the Lord, just as we do and can.
God feels what we feel, and He knows what hurts us because it hurts Him too. Because the Lord lives in us, He experiences everything we do, good and bad. Jeremiah's question about why there isn't any healing for the wound of his people is confusing, because God is the great physician and He is our healer. Not necessarily of our physical, but definitely of our spiritual.
You have to realize that God was drawing the people to Him. They were being brought before the Lord to recognize their sinfulness and need to repent. The hearts of Israel were hardened. Just because we are crushed does not mean that we have sin that the Lord wants to have us repent from. Sometimes He brings pain into our lives to draw us closer and to realize that He is our refuge and strength.
So, when you are crushed, know that the Lord is crushed too. He mourns when you do, over your pain, your sin and your struggles. He cares for you and me; He is our strength and refuge.

Heart to heart,

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Psalm 22:1-2

Another sunny hot day, but soon it will be cool and we'll wish for warmth. God has blessed us with His beautiful blue sky and lots of sunshine. And, don't forget His Son shining in our hearts!
Lately the Lord has been bringing people before me to listen to them and sometimes to share what the Lord lays on my heart for them. So, today I thought I'd share Psalm 22:1-2 with you all.
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent."
Aren't these heart wrenching words. Can't you just feel the pain of King David. He felt that God had abandoned him. As you read the rest of the Psalm, you'll see that David regained his standing before the Lord, as he usually did.
But, let's look at the very words: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Do you remember in Matthew 27:46 when Christ uttered those very words? Christ knew why He came to earth, to die for our transgressions (sins). Yet, when He was on the cross He knew that God the Father had to turn His back on Christ and allow the sins of the world to be carried upon His shoulders.
When God says in Hebrews 13:5 and in John 10:28-30 that He won't leave us or forsake us and that no one can snatch us out of His hand, then we can know that He has not forsaken us as He forsake Christ on the cross. David didn't have the whole picture before Him, but because of the Bible, we know the beginning to the end.
So, if you don't feel like your prayers are being answered and that God has forsaken you, my guess is a couple of things are playing into those dynamics. One is that you have sin that needs to be confessed. It could be a sin of commission, you did something. Or it could be a sin of omission, you didn't do what He wanted you to do.
The second thing is that God is testing your faith. Do you still believe that He is with you, even though you don't see any evidence, or feel His close presence? Trust me when I tell you that He hasn't left you; His scripture says He hasn't.
Then there's a third thing. Prehaps you've been praying for a long time about something(s) and you aren't seeing a resolution. It doesn't mean that God hasn't heard, or doesn't care. It just means that He's said: yes, no or wait. Sometimes we need to learn something first before He answers our prayers.
So, are you trusting that God hasn't forsaken you? That He is working on your problems and needs? Which He says He will supply. Grow your faith by telling yourself and Him that you will trust Him, not matter that you can't see, feel or touch Him. Trust me, He's there, waiting on you.