January 25, 2018

Whatever you do...word or deed...do as to the Lord - Col. 3:17

As I write this blog, I am grateful to have finished my Zumba exercise class for the week!  I actually love it...it is not quite as fast as you might think...lots of us are senior citizens (including 80 year old men in the back)!  When I exercise...whether on the treadmill or in a class...I am one of the few who wear a skirt over my yoga pants(leggings)...I know people think I'm a little odd for it.  I think the reason I do it is because I picture Jesus standing in the back of the class with the other men or behind me in the grocery store line.  I am amazed at what I see sometimes in front of me...there is very little left to the imagination.  I don't consider leggings pants and I think they are actually more like underwear than outwear!   I know what you're thinking...everyone and all ages are wearing them...it just makes me uncomfortable when the bottom is not covered!  I think our verse today tells us even in our dress, we do it "as unto the Lord".

I applaud the #metoo movement...those women are taking courageous stands against unwanted advances from men.  I just wonder why the networks parade female news anchors and reporters in the tightest dresses possible.   Why do women go to athletic events looking like they are going to a cocktail party?    Are we aware of what we are saying by the way we dress?

I realize this is not going to be a popular post, but I am trying to live as if Jesus were walking with me in all I do.   I love fashion and style, but I believe each of us has a responsibility...men and woman...to do whatever we do to represent the Lord and not to allow our flesh or the world dictate our standard of behavior.  There is too much to lose if we do.

For further study:  Gen. 3:6-7,  Deu. 5:32-33, Psalm 51:10, Proverbs 14:12, Romans 14:12-13,  1 Cor. 8:9, 2 Cor. 6:3, Ephesians 5:15-16, 1 Tim. 2:9-10, Titus 2:3-5.

Be blessed in your understanding of God's word.

Love,
Holly

January 16, 2018

Be still before the Lord and wait for him - Ps. 37:7

"Wait" has become a very unpopular word for our times...we want what we want NOW!  I am amazed at the brilliant minds working in technology to make our desires happen instantly and I believe it is a real challenge to our faith: will we be patient when God delays in what we ask?

A sweet friend gave me a book written by Russell Kelfer, who was a friend of hers.  It was a poem called WAIT.  In it, he writes (as if God is speaking):

I could give all you seek
and pleased you would be.
You'd have what you want
but you wouldn't know me.

In a recent study of Job, I came away with the conclusion that God did much of what He did in Job's circumstances that Job would know Him.  We knew from the 1st Chapter that God knew Job was "blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil..." so I believe it was not punishment that Job lost all that he lost.  His faith did not waiver...but he in anguish had to be still and wait for God's nearness.  That's what he really wanted and in the end he said: "My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you".  What a privilege that we can know God through a personal relationship with His Son (John 14:6-7)!

Will I wait patiently, in stillness, for the Lord to do His work in my life and will my lips praise Him as Job's did?  God loves you and me fiercely and waits for our wholehearted devotion to Him.  You will have a choice today of where you will spend your thoughts, time and resources...what will you choose?

For further study:  Job 42:5, Psalm 40:1, Psalm 130:5, Proverbs 27:21, Isaiah 30:18, John 10:4, Romans 8:23-28, 2 Cor. 12:9, Philippians 3:8-11, 2 Peter 3:17-18.

Be blessed in your understanding of God's word.

Love,
Holly

December 30, 2017

God keeps in perfect peace those whose minds are set on Him - Isaiah 26:3

Recently our family rented a vacation house with a front porch and I was amazed at how frequently various members of the family - young and old - gathered there.  These are a few of the lessons I learned on that front porch.

1.  There was a stillness there that wasn't always found inside the house.  The porch swing had such a calming influence - we had time to think and to breathe.  We were not focused on "doing" as much as "being".  Even those with some anxieties relaxed as the swing moved.

2.  Conversations came more easily in the rocking chairs.  The Lord's goodness was much more likely to be discussed than the state of the world.  The busyness of life stopped.  We spoke to each other.  Our phones often didn't come out with us.

3.  We were much more likely to connect with our neighbors walking by.  We looked out.  People mattered.  Their lives mattered.  From the front porch, walks often happened.

Max Lucado talks about "thought management" in his book ANXIOUS FOR NOTHING.  He says:

You can pick what you ponder...healing from
anxiety requires healthy thinking.

When we have time to ponder, our thoughts are more likely to be on the Lord and His goodness and we are much more likely to trust Him and not strive to have more control.  Our pillow verse today tells us He keeps us peaceful when our thoughts are on Him.  What are you thinking about today?

I resolve in 2018 to have many more "front porch" moments...to be grateful, to be content, to care about others, to not let chaos dictate my days and to "gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him..." (Psalm 27:4).

Happy New Year, sweet friends.  May you have many peaceful moments in 2018!

For further study:  Psalm 16:8, Psalm 27:4-5,  Psalm 91:1, Proverbs 14:30, Isaiah 32:16-18, Matthew 5:9, John 16:33, Romans 5:1, Galatians 5:22-23, Philippians 4:6-9.

May you be blessed in the understanding of God's word.

Love,
Holly

July 15, 2017

The Lord is good and His love endures forever - Ps. 100:5

Have you ever considered what "forever" kind of love looks like?  I have a hard time grasping "forever" in this instant communication world we live in.  I have such great love for my family and yet I know death will one day separate us in some way for some time.  I think one of the Bible's best pictures of the intensity of "forever" love is the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32.  It is the story of a man and his two sons...one was reckless and ungrateful and squandered his inheritance.  The other son stayed home to work...probably a bit resentful.  When the wayward son finally was at the bottom (literally in a pig pen), he repented and went home to beg his father's forgiveness...which was quickly granted and celebrated!  Their father is a picture of our Father in Heaven...the One who loves us with a "forever" kind of love.  He waits for us to finally recognize the futility of our own desires and to return to Him.

Some precious friends many years ago gave us a copy of the Rembrandt painting, Return of the Prodigal Son.  Occasionally I look at it to see what that fierce kind of love looks like.  Here is an image of the original painting:

This son, who looked in all the wrong places for his joy, found it in coming back to his father and repenting.  Look at the fierceness of his father's love...there is nothing separating the two...NOTHING.  The father's gentle and deep love for his son let go of all the past hurt...he had been loving this son all along.  Our Father in Heaven says: "I have loved you with an everlasting love..." (Jer. 31:3)...He has loved us with a forever love from before we were even born.  Why, oh why, do we look to "a distant country" or "wild living" instead of to the Father who awaits us with open arms?

Henri Nouwen wrote a book on this passage entitled A STORY OF HOMECOMING.  He says about this kind of "forever" love:

It is the fountain of all true human love,
even the most limited.  Jesus' whole life and preaching
had only one aim: to reveal this inexhaustible, unlimited
motherly and fatherly love of his God and to show the
way to let that love guide every part of our daily lives.

Peace came to the earth in the form of Jesus Christ.  He gave His life that we might have life with His Spirit and that we might be able to bear fruit for Him today...and have "forever" love with Him in eternity.

What stops you today from receiving that peace?  "The Lord is good and His love endures forever", truly!

For further study:  Exodus 20:6, Numbers 14:18, Psalm 32:10, Isaiah 54:10, Lamentations 3:22, Romans 5:5-8, Romans 8:38-39, Ephesians 2:4-5, 1 John 5:15-16.

Be blessed in your understanding of God's word.

Love,
Holly

June 13, 2017

The word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does - Ps. 33:4

I can't imagine doing anything that I would love more than my Scripture pillow designs.  Every day I get to go into my embroidery cabinet and dwell on God's word, I am inspired!  2 Timothy 3:16 says:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is
useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and
training in righteousness, so that the servant
of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

The very breath of God was used to give us - those who believe in His name - His power in His very own words.  Why oh why do we hang on the words of our friends, or our family, or even our leaders.  His word is life!  Listen to Timothy Ward in WORDS OF LIFE:

When we read the Bible, we must be ready...
for God to act on us and in us.  For, as we
encounter his words, and as we encounter the
actions he performs by means of them, we are
encountering God himself.

If we truly believe that God's words are right and true AND that He is faithful in all He does, then we can face the trials of today with hope that the God of the whole universe will "direct our path" (Proverbs 3:5-6).  I do not believe I can direct my own path...only the One who created me knows what tomorrow will bring and I can trust Him!

For further study:  Deuteronomy 7:9, Psalm 145:17-18, Lamentations 3:22-23, Isaiah 55:11, John 15:1-8, 1 Corinthians 1:9, 1 Thess. 5:24, Hebrews 10:23, Rev. 19:11.

Be blessed in your understanding of God's word.

Love,
Holly

June 5, 2017

Give thanks for the Lord for He is Good - Psalm 136:1

I have a confession to make...I am a Francophile!  I love everything French...and have for many years.  My first trip there was in l982 (when I was poor as could be) when I flew over to the South of France to help some friends with a job they had.  My second...and probably last...trip was in 2010 when Don and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.  This time to Paris!

I just loved walking the streets...so when I found some "Paris streets" fabric,  it was like going back again!  I even found our hotel and many of the streets we walked.  I find the city awe-inspiring.

But that awe is nothing compared to the awe I feel for the Creator of the Universe...the God who made me, called me to Himself,  has a wonderful plan for my life and desires that I would walk with Him and strive to please Him in every way.  It is this God who is good, who is the only One worthy of praise.  It is His Holy Spirit that enables us, as believers,  to develop the fruit of goodness (Gal. 5:22).

The author of Psalm 136 began his song with this verse...He began by reminding himself of God's goodness and love.  He then spends the next 25 verses recounting all that God has done...His great wonders and many provisions.  He was in absolute awe of God.  Listen to what Jen Wilkin says in NONE LIKE HIM:

Research shows that when humans experience awe...
we become less individualistic, less self-focused,
less materialistic and more connected to those
around us.  In marveling at something greater than
ourselves, we become more able to reach out to others.

The problem is we don't "look up".  Wilkin says: "Awe helps us worry less about self-worth by turning our eyes first toward God, then toward others".  We ought not to miss the awesomeness of our Creator God.  What are the things you marvel at?  Are you looking up at your Creator God and marveling at Him?  When I begin to focus on myself, I get very petty.  When I focus on my God,, my heart becomes very grateful.  Tonight, go look at the night sky and see if you can take any credit for the stars and the moon...give thanks to the One who put them there for His own glory!!

For further study:  Gen. 50:20, Psalm 34:8, Psalm 119:68, Psalm 145:9, Lamentations 3:22-23, Matthew 19:17, John 10:11, Galatians 5:22-23, 1 Timothy 4:4, 1 Peter 2:3.

Be blessed in your understanding of God's word.

Love,
Holly

May 30, 2017

Be still and know that I am God - Psalm 46:10

In my personal opinion, much of the chaos and unrest in the world today is because people are making decisions based on their feelings/emotions rather than what they know to be truth.  Holley Gerth says "...our emotions are good messengers but bad bosses".  When they control our decisions, the choices are not always the best.

Our verse today tells us we can know God as God and to follow Him.  That word is an "experiential" kind of knowing...meaning we can experience Him as God.  The 'be still' and 'know' are connected (please don't ask me to explain!)...you can't do one without the other.  When our focus is on surrendering our control ('going limp' as one commentator put it), then we can experience who God is and what He says.  When our focus is on what we are feeling, it will lead us down the wrong path.  It led Eve down the wrong path when she felt like she needed more than God provided.

Listen to Joanna Weaver in HAVING A MARY SPIRIT:

Careless thinking is a dangerous habit.  For as our
thoughts go, so go our emotions.  And as our emotions go,
so often goes our faith.  If the enemy can get me confused,
he can get me discouraged.  If he can get me discouraged,
he can cause me to doubt.  If he can make me doubt,
he can distract my mind -- and that's just a step away
from dividing my heart.

Do you see the danger of letting our emotions lead us...not letting the truth of God's word lead us?  We can know God...see the verses below for proof.  Truth is given in His word - His word is truth! (John 17:17).  Don't let the enemy confuse your mind with lies...he wants nothing more than to divert you from obeying God.

We have lovely FaceTime calls with our granddaughter.  As we were saying our goodbyes last week, she called out to us "Make good choices!"  I love that!  Choose today to believe what God tells you...what you can KNOW to be true!  Let your emotions send you messages but don't allow them to be your boss!

For further study:  Proverbs 1:7, Ecclesiastes 2:26, Jeremiah 24:7, John 10:4, John 17:3, Romans 8:28, 2 Corinthians 10:5, Philippians 4:8-9, Colossians 2:2-4, 1 John 5:20.

Be blessed in your understanding of God's word.

Love,
Holly