April 21, 2009
I don’t know what it was about yesterday, maybe because it was cloudy or maybe because it was cold but I was in a real mood! I didn’t want to do anything and I was just plain mean at times. Sure, maybe I could blame it on grieving or the weather or the economy but I really don’t have anything to be moody about…not with Jesus!
Some days I just lose sight of him but I always know he’s with me and even though he may not approve of my behavior he loves me unconditionally. It is so true what the word says in Romans 2:4 “…God’s kindness leads you toward repentance…” and repent I did.
I was a grump although I tried not to be it still happened and yet God in his kindness and love for me fed me, clothed me and gave me a warm place to rest. When it was bed time I pulled Danni’s promise book from the drawer next to the bed and read. It was all about strength.
It quoted Isaiah 40: 29, 31 and Matthew 11:28-30 and Psalm 46:1, 11, they will tell you where you can find rest and where our strength comes from if you read them. The promise book talked about a man in a concentration camp and how he handled the difficulties he faced with dignity and faith in God.
There is no way I have faced anything like what that man did and yet he held to his God and wouldn’t let go. I knew what I had to do to overcome but I was tired and didn’t feel like fighting. I didn’t feel like praising God and thanking him for the food in my belly and the roof over my head.
The poem that the man who was a prisoner had carved into the wall was simply this:
I believe in the sun, even though it doesn’t shine
I believe in love, even when it isn’t shown,
I believe in God, even when he doesn’t speak.
(From He Still Moves Stones—Max Lucado)
How foolish of me to have wasted an entire day being moody. God forgive me. And I know he does because he reminded me of his word and his love for me even though I didn’t deserve it.
Amazing Grace How Sweet the Sound that Saved a Wretch like Me. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus.
April 21, 2009
April 16, 2009
Some time before Danni fell ill everywhere I turned I heard about a storm. In the scriptures, in the secular and all around from so many different sources I knew there was something big on the horizon. God often speaks to me in this way; the same message came again and again and I was grateful for the “heads up”.
Acts 27 was one of the scriptures God brought to me at that time and there are so many things in there that have caught my eye again today. In the last part of verse 9 and on into verse 10 it says this… “So Paul warned them, “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.”
Verse 11 goes on to say this… “But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship…the majority decided that we should sail on…”
Then in verse 13 comes a haunting scenario… “When a gentle south wind began to blow, they thought they had obtained what they wanted…” (NIV) and away they went. All the signs were good and everything was falling into place…they thought they had it all under control but it didn’t take long for them to see that they didn’t have the control they were so sure of in the beginning.
“The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along.” (Acts 27:15) So many times during that year I felt like we were just being blown along by God completely subject to his good will and mercy. It doesn’t take long for you to realize how in control God is and how not in control you are when these kind o f circumstances arise.
God is so gracious to them, in Acts 27:21 God’s man on the scene steps up and says to the crew… “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss, but now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.”
Paul goes on to tell of his encounter with an angel who told him these things and also of his faith in God that those things will come to pass but he tells them in verse 26… “Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”
They would escape with their lives but not until they had lost all and were wrecked. God will allow things in our lives to the point of wreckage in order to accomplish his will. I can’t say it enough…God is in control. These were capable men making decisions for their lives and they end up wrecked with nothing.
But God allowed these things for them to see his glory…God wants so much for us to see him and to come to him for all our needs. Psalm 55 is a cry from David’s heart he wants to “…hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.” (vs. 8)
He is in agony over the situation that he finds himself in so he cries to the Lord and has confidence in God that he will save him. Verse 22 in the Complete Jewish Bible version says this... “Unload your burden on Adonai and he will sustain you. He will never permit the righteous to be moved.”
I think of Paul and the storm he was going through in his life; he turned to God for answers and God heard his cry and came to his aide not taking him out of the circumstance but causing him to be immoveable within them! Jesus prays for us in John 17 and in verse 15 he says… “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one…”
I also experienced this in my own life. Many times Danni and the family were faced with decisions that seemed to be mountains and we would cry out to God with Danni for answers. Most of the time we wouldn’t receive an answer at that very moment but God would cause us to say…”God, we trust you please take care of us.”
I can testify that EVERY time God would work out the details of the insurmountable challenge and take care of everything. God, I praise you! I thank you for your faithfulness.
The last part of Psalms 55 says this… “But for my part, Adonai, I put my trust in you.”(CJBV)
If God did this for us HE WILL do this for you! Cry out to him today and unload the burdens you’ve been carrying.
God is faithful and you will find that you have grown tremendously in your trust in him when you look back at this time later in life. Let him work his perfect will in you to make you immoveable in your faith and trust in him no matter what storm you experience.
April 10, 2009
The house is quiet this morning but the birds are singing loudly outside, from where I am sitting I can see the blaze of sunrise through the trees and it looks like they are on fire. Intense reds and oranges, it must be impressive to see in full view.
My thoughts are taken to the Psalms and the faithfulness of God. Many times David is delivered after he cries out to God and waits for his salvation. So many of the Psalms speak of our enemies surrounding us on every side and I never had this thought before today but it is so true.
Every day evil surrounds us and our enemies are on every side but the faithfulness of God is there protecting us and guiding us and caring for us whether we acknowledge it or not. He is there for us every day whether we appreciate it or not.
I admit that there are days when the circumstances of life drag me down and I am swayed to think this thing or that thing will make me “happy” and I forget about the eternal things. Joy is more valuable than happiness. Joy is the immoveable sustaining force who is Christ in us. The resurrection life of Christ pounds within me encouraging me every step o f the way, moving me ever near his heart and his throne.
As I was writing the scripture came to me about seeing through a glass dimly and I went to search for it online; I found it in 1 Corinthians 13:12…Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
I couldn’t see the magnificent sunrise this morning… only in part through the trees and this is how it is with the workings of God but some day like Danni we will see the whole picture clearly…face to face as the word says. I look forward to that day.
Today, Lord, I thank you for the joy that is you within me! Thank you that your light has dawned in my heart. Thank you for every breath you give me to praise you. Thank you for caring for me and keeping me in the midst of my enemies. Thank you for your faithfulness. Lock my eyes on you; captivate my attention as your beautiful colors rise in my heart. Amen.
April 3, 2009
The entry below sparked other thoughts in me…I had to think about Saul being chosen. Sometimes as followers of Jesus we have this “lingo” we speak. Every now and then the Lord challenges me by putting the question in my heart… “Why do I say this or that?”
We say a person is “called” or has a “calling” and we say some are “chosen” like Saul. I suppose we say these things because we think they are spiritual. God does speak about being chosen and called. He does call to us he has called to others in the past such as Samuel in 1 Samuel 3.
I love that passage because it shows God’s patience with us and it shows how we learn to recognize the voice of God when he is speaking to us. It always makes me chuckle. God has a big job putting up with us and yet he loves us so.
I decided to do a word study on “called” and “chosen”. I wanted to know what it was I talk about! What the difference was and where am I in the whole scheme of things (because you know you have to know where you are to understand where you’re going! :}).
I found an interesting verse in Revelation 17 and in it I saw something I had never seen before.
In verse 14 it says this… “They will make war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful.”
Wow, there is a distinction… “What does all this mean?” I asked the Lord.
I went to the dictionary to find out what the words meant and that answered some questions I had but I wanted to know from the original text in the bible…what did God mean when he inspired this verse? I turned to the Strong’s Concordance for more answers and this is what I found.
Called—Strong’s number 2822 Greek word Kletos and it means… called, invited (to a banquet)
invited (by God in the proclamation of the Gospel) to obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom through Christ
called to (the discharge of) some office
divinely selected and appointed
Then I wanted to know what chosen meant in this verse. This is what I found…Strong’s number 1588 the Greek word Eklektos and it means: picked out, chosen
chosen by God,
to obtain salvation through Christ 1a
Christians are called "chosen or elect" of God
the Messiah in called "elect", as appointed by God to the most exalted office conceivable
choice, select, i.e. the best of its kind or class, excellence preeminent: applied to certain individual Christians
And what did God mean by “faithful”? The Strong’s number was 4103 the Greek word Pistos and it was the most interesting of all I thought. Trusty and faithful was its meaning also…
of persons who show themselves faithful in the transaction of business, the execution of commands, or the discharge of official duties
one who kept his plighted faith, worthy of trust
that can be relied on
believing, confiding, trusting
in the NT one who trusts in God's promises
one who is convinced that Jesus has been raised from the dead
one who has become convinced that Jesus is the Messiah and author of salvation
As I asked God for revelation and my thoughts were taken to Matthew 13 and the Parable of the Sower but this wasn't coming together, what was God trying to say? I asked God again for revelation because I didn't want human reasoning ; I wanted revelation! What was the truth? What were God’s thoughts?
Then the verse came to me from Matthew 24:45 where Jesus asks… “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? There the “faithful” definition fit together like a beautiful puzzle piece. This is an example of the “faithful”!
Then my mind went back to Matthew 13 there had to be the example of the chosen or the called there and sure enough in verse 16 and 17 it says… “But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see and did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”
And again in verse 23 of Matthew 13… “But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Chosen to hear and understand.
And the called, who are they? Mark 3:13 is what stood out to me when I was searching for “called” it says this… “Jesus went up on the mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him.”
Then I wondered why Revelation 17:14 listed them in the order called, chosen and faithful and the Lord revealed to me that the ones being called in Mark 3:13 were the disciples…these are the phases, if you will, in the life of a follower of Christ…
We are called and we come…Jesus reveals his word to us and we are chosen to hear and see and understand and from that point we are faithful to the business he has called us to from the beginning.
What a beautiful picture! We come with Christ in Revelation at all stages each one in their own place at the perfect timing of the Lord. God has you where you are for a reason! Enjoy it!
I have a friend that says we are all in the same boat…just some are in the front, some are in the middle and some are in the back but we are all going the same direction in the same boat.
Still don’t see it…well here is the pattern again look at Romans 8:30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called; he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. There it is!
This is the process we all go through as believers in Christ…called, chosen, and faithful. Notice that Romans 8:30 is talking about God’s people not God and let it sink in what this verse is saying!
I am also reminded of these verses in Ephesians 2:8-9… “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith –and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
I challenge you to read the bible from now on with this process in mind and I’m betting you will see this pattern many times over.
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (2Cor 9:15)
April 3, 2009
Acts 9:1-18 is about the conversion of Saul. Here was a devout Jew highly trained in the Jewish Synagogue. As the word opens he is “breathing out murderous threats” against the Lord’s disciples. (vs.1) Murder was in his heart and he knew about the Lord and the Ten Commandments.
This Saul knew about God but he did not know God. Saul proves this of himself in verse 5...
He didn’t know Jesus and yet he had formed an opinion about him and the people who believed in him. He was among the intellectuals, philosophers and lawmakers of his people every day and yet his mind was open only to what he had been taught by them. He was already blind to Jesus in spirit.
In verse 4 Jesus arrests him on the road to Damascus and Saul has an encounter with the true and living God. Saul’s question proves he didn’t really know God for he asks, “Who are you, Lord?”. Jesus reveals himself to Saul and then commands him where to go and what to do.
Did Saul have free will at this point? That’s food for thought.
Saul was then blind for three days… I believe there was a transformation of Saul’s heart during this time. I wonder what things Jesus did in Saul as he sat in a darkened state unable to move about without crashing into something. Yet this was the most enlightened time he had ever known! He was changed forever!
It was revealed to Saul in a vision that Ananias would come and his sight would be restored.
Ananias knew the Lord well; he must have been a very devout follower of Christ for Jesus to be able to trust him with such a task. Ananias was afraid and Jesus’ reply was “Go!” Fear was not an option.
There were two things revealed to Ananias about Saul in verse 15 that he was God’s chosen instrument to carry his name before the Gentiles and their kings and the people of Israel and that he would suffer much.
Does an instrument have its choice who plays it or how it is played? Did Saul have a choice as to whether or not he would suffer? More food for thought.
And what was the purpose of all this? God’s plan; His plan of redemption not only for the Jews but for everyone. Look at the great lengths to which God will go to reach his people. His purposes will be accomplished in the way he desires. There is no plan B with God only plan A.
God is in control of every circumstance that comes into our lives to prepare us for the future and he makes good come from bad things if we love him the scripture says. If you are going through bad circumstances right now look up for as a storm comes and then it is gone so it is with the bad things in our lives…this too shall pass.
Trust in God because he has a good purpose for every bad circumstance he allows in our lives. I think of Colossians 1: 15-20 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
For by him ALL things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself ALL things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
Powerful! Everything is about him, in him, through him, for him, created by him…EVERYTHING!! In heaven and on earth good and bad he holds it all together for the purpose of redeeming all things to himself. People, this is the very heart of God…REDEMPTION!
This says above that it pleased God to have his fullness dwell in Christ and guess what! If Christ is in you the fullness of God dwells in you as well! Selah!
Wait patiently upon God and look for the good that God is bringing through every trial and tribulation. Remember, the message of salvation was brought to everyone through Saul because of a bad circumstance (blinded for three days) that came into his life!