and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Gooseberries and Apricots

       When I was growing up, our family lived in the house between my uncle’s and my grandfather’s.  We grew up playing indoors or outside as there was no driving here or there for fun and friends.  Some of my favorite times were being in my grandma and grandpa’s yard where they had lots of trees for climbing, fruit trees, and bushes to hide in.

       Some of the first fruits to be picked were gooseberries.  Nana’s gooseberries looked a lot like ripe, green seedless grapes only with lines in them.  Besides picking them off the stem, you had to pick off this brown thing on the end before you ate them.  Gooseberries have a wonderful sour taste I enjoy, but if Nana caught me, she would yell at me to stop eating so many or she wouldn’t have any left to use!

       The next highly anticipated fruit for me to enjoy was apricots from their trees.  Every year I would hope for a great crop, and wait excitedly for the fruit to turn deep orange so that I could eat them.  To this day I still remember picking warm apricots off the tree and eating them with delight, savoring the sour- sweetness as it flooded my mouth.  They are still one of my favorite fruits.

       Thinking of Nana’s fruit makes me ponder the tree of life we will have access to in the New Jerusalem.  Whether or not it is the same tree as the one Adam and Eve knew (God can do anything), at the very least it is in the ‘same family’.  In the Garden of Eden, humanity could eat freely of any fruit (Gen. 2:16) with only one tree being forbidden- tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  So Adam and Eve could have eaten from the tree of life.  I bet it was exciting for them to try all those new fruits from the many trees in the garden!

And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  Gen. 2:9

And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Gen. 3:22

In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 
Rev. 22:2

       So we see that man had to be barred from the garden to keep him from eating of the tree of life and living forever in sin. (really appreciate that Lord)  We also see that one day there will be another tree of life in the midst of a street of our new home, and it will bare 12 fruits for us to eat, and the leaves will be used for healing.  Yummy fruit, healing, a life of peace and joy, and best of all, being with our Love, our Savior, our King Eternal- face to face forever*.  Hmmm…   Much more exciting than when I was a child.

Nana’s fruit doesn’t seem quite so excellent anymore!

*Ps. ;  1Tm. ;  Luke 15:7;  Ps. 16:11

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Book

       Josiah was a young man who was in charge of a country since he was eight years old.  His father and grandfather did evil in God’s sight, but Josiah rose above that and became his own man, one who did right, followed David’s ways, and did not turn from them (2Kn. 22:2).  So it was in the 10th year of his reign, (he was only 18) while he was arranging for the temple to be properly maintained, that a book was found by the high priest and delivered to the king by his scribe.  Shaphan read the Book himself, then told the king about it and read it to the king.   

And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes. …Go ye, enquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us. 2Kn. ,13

       Josiah immediately responded to the words he heard, and he grieved (rent his clothes).  He also realized he and his people had not listened or done the things they were supposed to do according the Book.  So Josiah sent his people to inquire from the Lord.  The Lord replied that since Josiah’s heart was right and he had humbled himself and cried unto God, that all the promises of destruction would not happen during his lifetime, but he would have peace.

Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place… and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD… thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace…  2Kn. ,20

       Oh, how wonderful for Josiah, all would be well during his reign, so there was nothing more to do, right?  He could sit back and take comfort knowing that God would take care of him and the land.  All was well…  But Josiah had changed after the reading of the Book.  He would never be the same again.  And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.” 2Kn. 23:25

       The first thing Josiah did is make the people hear the words of the Book (2Kn. 23:2) and make a covenant with the Lord.  Then he had the idolatrous vessels removed and burned.  All the priests of idols were slain, and the shrines, altars, statues, obelisks that littered the country were torn down and defiled.  He re-instituted the Passover and put away all abominations in the land so that all the words of the Book were followed (2Kn. ).  Josiah didn’t become complacent, but removed the cursed things from the land.

       The Book- the Bible can change our lives.  It can transform our hearts and minds to a place where we will never be the same again.  For that to happen, we need to read it, hear it, and respond to it.   The words in it are living and powerful (Heb. quick=living) as much today as they were in Josiah’s day.  Imagine what would happen in this world if all Christians lived by the Book.  Let us all determine to allow the words in His Book to transform our hearts and lives so we can actively show His love and justice, and be the salt and light in this dark world.

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Jos. 1:8

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Man’s Ways

       It was a warm summer day and a group of us were supposed to be following our compass on the path to the next clue.  We read it as best as we could through treed areas, grassy areas, and road, but eventually ended up walking through some high grass.  It was so high, my nephew lifted up my young daughter on his shoulders or we might have lost her.  If I remember right, we gave up that challenge because we couldn’t find the correct path and we were tired.

       Two of us, my nephew and I, didn’t sleep very well that night as we both had very itchy ankles.  I though I’d gotten spider bites, he thought he had an allergic reaction of some kind, but since we both had the same problem, we concluded we’d walked through some poison ivy in the tall grass.  Most of the group had been wearing pants and socks, but the two of us and my daughter had on shorts and no socks.  We wondered why Amy didn’t break out, but finally realized she’d been carried through the infected area.  That’s what we got for walking on man’s path instead of the right path.

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.  Pr. 14:12

       Man’s ways say we can attain ‘god within us’, we can ‘be powerful’, we can achieve anything we want/ speak/ dream, we can perform prayers, go to church, do good works to obtain salvation, we can just follow the commandments, we can contribute to humanity/ the earth, etc.  All these are the ways of man and the end of them is death.

       Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6 Another scripture, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12  John 10 speaks about Jesus being the door to the sheepfold (heaven) and anyone who enters by any way other than the door (Jesus) is a thief and brigand.

       God’s ways are not man’s ways.  They are far from our finite comprehension.  While we are limited in our understanding, God is not hampered by the same limits.  He chose how to bring His army victory- there were many diverse ways He did this in the Old Testament.  Jesus used various methods to heal people.  Old and New Testaments are chock full of differing techniques used to teach the people through man.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.  Is. 55:9
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!  Rom.

       Man’s ways are based on his own wisdom, logic, and rational: we don’t need to seek the Lord’s direction for these.  But the end of these ways are death.  God’s ways are perfect (Ps. ), and righteous (Ps. 145:17).  Carnal man thinks God’s ways are ‘crazy’, ‘wild’, and ‘foolish’, but we must remember the carnal mind is enmity against God (Rom. 8:7).  The carnal mind is in opposition to, cannot understand, and hates the way of God.  Why would we want to use that part of us to make decisions on the way we should go?

       We try to follow ‘steps’ to achieving something, ‘strategies’ to improve this or that, ‘formulas’ for successful blah, blah, blah, but those are man’s ways, unassisted and undirected by God.  If the Lord did everything by specific steps, strategies or formulas, then we would never need to seek Him for direction, we could just do them.  But He wants us to seek Him (Jer. 29:13), inquire from Him (Ps. 27:4), and follow Him (Mt. ) so He can direct our paths (Pr. 3:6).  We need to follow His ways, not our ways!

hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?  1Cor.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1Cor.

       God said through Haggai, “…consider your ways(1:5,7). These men did not inquire direction from God and it led to trouble: Joshua (Josh. ), Saul (1Chr. ), those who turned from God (Zep. 1:6).  David did inquire direction from God and it brought victory and great success (1Sm. 23:2,4; 30:8; 2Sm. 2:1; 5:19,23; 21:1)  Following man’s way and not the right way led our hiking group into an unseen patch of poison ivy and a lot of grief.  Man’s way will always get us into trouble.  God’s way leads to victory.

Which way do you want to take?

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Jamie Grace- God Girl

       For anyone who has never heard her name, Jamie Grace is a 21ish girl who loves the Lord and shows it through her music.  I’ve just heard of her recently and listened to most of her snappy songs- and I plan on owning them soon.  As I was listening to one particular song I started to cry.  To think that someone so young is so ‘in love’ with the Lord…  I wish I had been that way at her age! 
(She has a couple official YouTube videos if you want to see them)

                   God Girl  (in part)

                   Oh oh oh oh yeah
                   If my eyes light up with I say your name
                   And it's written all over my face
                   Tell me does it make me crazy
                   Well, maybe I got somethin' that I can't explain
                   And the beauty of it never changes
                   It's got me wrapped up
                   I'm all caught up
                   I can't help but say…

                   I'm a God girl that's who I'll be
                   From the top of my head to the soles of my feet
                   No I can't deny it, wouldn't even try
                   I'm your girl in a crazy world
                   I'm a God girl that's who I'll be
                   From the top of my head to the soles of my feet
                   I can't deny it, wouldn't even try
                   I'm your girl for the whole wide world to see

       This song is almost word for word what I feel in my heart.  I’m ‘crazy’ about God, and there’s no one I love more; can’t explain it any better.  This place in my journey with Him is the most beautiful I have ever been in, and it only seems to get better every day.  How is that possible?  I guess with God, all things are possible!   
                   I’m a God girl too,
                   and that’s who I’m gonna be,
                   cause in this crazy world
                   there’s no place I’d rather be
                   than with my God,
                   who really loves me!

Monday, May 07, 2012


       It really doesn’t impress me when a person admits to wrong doing after they’ve been caught.  Yes, it impresses me more than the person who lies about what they did, but in reality, as Christians, we are held to a higher standard- God’s.  What impresses me is when someone confesses guilt and takes appropriate consequences ‘like a man’ even though no one but God (and fellow conspirators) knew what they did.  When was the last time you heard a government official or a pastor/ televangelist confess publicly to adultery/ misuse of funds and resign before they were caught?  I can’t think of one instance.

       Not to say the first thing you should do is go public with your sin, because first you should confess to your family, seek counseling, then talk to those who work with you so that you can arrange to turn over duties, make necessary arrangements, plan the public exposure, etc.  Yet, when it comes down to it, either you expose yourself, or you will be exposed.  If not in this life, it will happen in the end.  The Bible is clear that our sin- when not properly dealt with- will be exposed.

       Stealing, lying, cheating, speeding, adultery, pornography, gossip, deceitfulness, fornication, utilizing loopholes*, arrogance, these are just some sins we do, many without remorse. Do we think because we haven’t been caught that God is okay with what we are doing?  Do we think because He hasn’t punished us that it’s not a sin?  Are we justifying our actions by saying, “Everybody does it…?”  Even if everyone else in the world does a particular sin, it is still sin and God expects us to:

Refrain from sin:
Abstain from all appearance of evil.  1Th.
denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;  Tt.
sin not  Eph. 4:26
abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 1Pt.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us... If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.  1Jn. 1:8,10

God sees all our iniquities:
For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins… Am. 5:12
Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.  Ps. 90:8
For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings.  Job 32:21
There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.  Job 34:22
Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.  Jer. 23:24

God promises us that there will be a day when secret sin will inevitably be unveiled: 
be sure your sin will find you out.  Nm. 32:23
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.  2Cor.
So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.  Rm. 14:12
For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.  Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.  Lk. 12:2,3
For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.  Ec. 12:14
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.  1Cor. 4:5

What to do: don’t wait to be caught, expose yourself!  Find mercy at the Lord’s hand.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  1Jn. 1:9
He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.  Pr. 28:13

Let's live by a higher standard- God's!  Make it right today.  Just remember, it’s not only a forgiveness thing, but a turning away and making the situation right for those whom you’ve wronged.

Make it right… or, be exposed!

*A way of escaping a difficulty, especially an omission or ambiguity in the wording of a contract or law that provides a means to evade compliance, avoid a penalty or responsibility.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Old, Rusty Chains

       Did you know that bicycle chains need to be lubricated sometimes?  Of course, most of us know this, but knowing and ensuring it is done are two totally different things, and in my case, a forgetful mind does not help, especially considering I ride for most of the year.  Eventually, the constant squeaking that occurred every Sunday on my way to church finally worked its way into my subconscious and I remembered to lube the chain.  After that, the riding went much smoother.

       Chains in use year round and left without proper maintenance can become rusty, and rusty chains are very bad.  I was given a mountain bike once and the chain was so rusty that some of the pieces became permanently stuck in place- which meant they didn’t move over the sprockets properly and the bike would jerk.  It took a lot of lubricant to get it going again, and one particularly bad spot never did completely resolve.  If the chain had been kept lubricated, it would have never rusted.

       Sometimes Christians are like old, rusty chains.  We are supposed to work well together, flowing to make the wheels of life spin on our journey to the Lover of our souls- Jesus- but a chain doesn’t work so well without regular maintenance or lubrication.  In the Old Testament oil was used for anointing (Ex. 29:7; Ps. 133:2) and is also used for burning in the lamps of the tabernacle where the lights were never to go out (Ex. 27:20).  It is for those reasons oil is considered a symbol of the Holy Spirit.  His light should never go out in our lives, and we should allow Him to ‘lubricate our chain so that it doesn’t rust and get stuck, but shifts easily to move us forward.

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.  John 14:16,17  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. John 14:23
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 1Cor.

       Basically, the above scriptures indicate that the living God dwells in us in the person of the Holy Spirit.  His presence is ever with us (born again believers) and He helps us to keep moving in our lives.  As His children we are not to live after worldly pleasures, controlling our own lives, making our own plans and setting our own directions, but we are to follow the Lord on the path (Pr. 3:6) He chooses for us or we will not be fit for His kingdom (Lk. 9:57-62).  The Spirit will teach us (John ), guide us to truth and show us things to come (John ).  He is the power in our lives (Rom. ) that helps us to witness the truth of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8).

       We can certainly live our lives as rusty, old chains if we want to, but that would be a more difficult and ‘jerky’ journey on the way to our eternal life.  Instead, we should choose to be spotless, new chains in the kingdom of God by living/ flowing in the power and direction of the Holy Spirit, daily following His leading, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.Rom. 8:14