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.


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.


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.


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.


May 3, 2017

Every good and perfect gift is from the Father above - James 1:17

I just love Noah and all his life teaches me in Genesis 6-9!  This is a playset I have recently purchased to be able to teach our grandbabies about "walking with God".  We have mistakenly made this only a child's story when it is one of the key Biblical passages for everyone about pursuing a life of faith.  However, it is such a privilege to be able to teach this lesson to our children.

What a guy Noah was...righteous, blameless and "he walked faithfully with God"!  In the midst of corruption and violence, Noah knew his God and honored Him with obedience.  We will do our children no favors if we only teach them about right and wrong behaviors.  Listen to my friend, Barbara Reaoch in her article HOW TO REACH A CHILD'S HEART FOR CHRIST:

The gospel is the most important truth for us to
teach a child...moralism and manipulation harden
a child's heart.  But the gospel is God's message
of love and grace that transforms the heart of a child.

It was only when God changed my heart and I became His through a relationship with Jesus Christ that I was able to stop my lifetime pattern of yielding to my flesh.  Humility is recognizing who God is and who we are.  Noah, in humility,  did not give in to his flesh...he yielded to the power of God within Him.  I believe Noah knew God and overflowed with gratitude and it was his gratitude that resulted in his obedience.  To whom are you grateful?

"Trust and obey for there's no other way
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."

For further study:  Deu. 13:4, Psalm 1:1-3, Isaiah 2:5, Micah 6:8, John 14:23, Romans 6:16, Galatians 5:16-25, Colossians 2:6-7, Hebrews 11:7, 2 John 6.

Be blessed in your understanding of God's word.


April 18, 2017

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom..." - Ps. 111:10

"...wisdom begins with a humble acknowledgment
of the reality of God"
John Stott

The kind of "fear" we are talking about in our verse today is a reverence and awe of God...it means yielding our way and honoring God's way.  I love that when Solomon was made king, God told him to ask for whatever he wanted.  When he asked for a wise and discerning heart, this pleased God.  When we understand who God is and who we are, that is where our wisdom begins...and it pleases God.

Jennifer Rothschild says "...wisdom has nothing to do with what we know or don't know and everything to do with Who we do know!"  Do you surround yourself with "wise" people?  It is a choice we get to make.  Proverbs 13:20 says: "...walk with the wise and become wise...".

James 1:5 tells us the solution to being wise is to simply ask God "...who gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be given to you."  I hope you are praying for our leaders in Washington that they would seek wisdom from God, the only source of true wisdom.  After the MOAB was dropped on Syria by the US, our president said: "We must all seek wisdom from God".  No matter what you think of him or his actions, his words here indicate he believes wisdom is from God.  Be praying for salvation of our leaders that they would  all do the same.

We must teach our children not to be competent in themselves, but for God's wisdom to make them competent.  Truly, that is our hope for today and every day in the future.  Have you spent time in God's word today to know what His instructions are?

For further study:

Job 1:8, Psalm 34:9-11, Proverbs 2:1-15, Proverbs 31:30, Ecc. 2:26, Jeremiah 8:9, 1 Cor. 1:18-25, Colossians 2:2-4, 2 Tim. 3:14-17, James 3:17.

Be blessed in your understanding of God's word.


March 9, 2017

The peace of God will guard your heart - Phil. 4:7

"God's promise is not for moments
of peace, but for lives of complete peace...
peace with Him, peace within, peace in
every circumstance, peace at all times and
in all our days.  The command is to
choose prayer over anxious tendencies
so that our minds will be saturated and
guarded.  In short, He intends for us to
have the mind of Christ."

Christian Unity Ministries Newsletter 2/17

This quote came from Blake Coffee, Executive Director of Christian Unity Ministries, one of the most relevant ministries of our time, in my humble opinion.   He and his staff work with churches to make them as strong as possible for kingdom work.  The unity of the church is one of the brightest rays of hope in our country today...God has chosen to do much of His work through healthy churches...at a time when peace is hard to find in our world.

I am encouraged that God's promises are as true today and they were when they were written so many years ago.  I believe the only way we will have hope for a better tomorrow is by clinging to God's word and His promises.  1 Corinthians 14:33 says "For God is not a God of disorder but of peace...as in all the congregations of the Lord's people".  Therefore, I believe it is the Lord's people that must be equipped to recognize what the enemy throws at us and not buy into the disorder that is so prevalent in our country today.  Be praying for our nation's leaders that they will seek wisdom from God.

Be encouraged.,..He has promised you that His Spirit will develop in you peace (Gal. 5:22-23).  So be filled with His Spirit (by receiving Jesus as your Savior), study and cling to His word, pray daily for the redemption of souls and be willing to share with those lost souls around you the hope that comes from only Him.  We have been given a message only we can give...I don't want to waste another minute!

For further study:  Numbers 6:24-26,  Psalm 119:165, Proverbs 14:30, Isaiah 9:6, Isaiah 26:3, John 16:33, Romans 5:1-2, Galatians 5:22-23, Colossians 3:15, Titus 3:1-2

Be blessed in your understanding of God's word.