and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A New Name

       A new grade, a new teacher, a new start; that's what I thought of every class I began in grade school.  The reality was they all started off in a really annoying way.  One of the first things every teacher would do is to line up the kids in alphabetical order and set us up in the prearranged seating.  Of course, being so blessed as having a last name which began with an "A" meant that I was always first, and doubly blessed by being placed right in front of the teacher's desk (did you hear the sarcasm?).  Usually, they started in front of their desk and worked their way across the room, but occassionally, a teacher would mix it up and start in front of their desk and work their way to the back- still didn't help me though.  I think there was only one time in grade school I got to sit somewhere else!
       Being first all the time became very annoying especially since I was shy and didn't want to be the first at anything.  Eventually I determined that one day I would only marry a man whose name was in the middle to end of the alphabet.  This was very important for me when I was young because I knew that I would take my husband's name and would never again have a last name ending in "A".  {Honey, if you're reading this, I didn't just marry you for your last name!!! :)  }  I applied for a name change soon after being married in '88 and with great joy opened the envelope containing my new birth certificate with my new name.  I would never have to be first again by alphabetical listing.
       As to the importance of name changes, when we adopted our children, one of our greatest days was when we received the legally binding adoption papers which showed the new name we gave our children.  There was a joyful feeling of permanance which filled our hearts as we saw they were ours- our family, our children.  This would be the beginning of our new lives together as a family, and we looked with anticipation of the great times we would have together.
       We who have given our hearts and lives to the Lord Jesus Christ have each become a new person (2Cor. 5:17) and have been adopted into the family of God (Eph. 1:4,5).  We are His children forever.  But one day, a day of great joy, we will have our new name given us by the Lord where we will forever, in a binding way, be with Him.
Let everyone who can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches: Every one who is victorious... I will give to each a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one else knows except the one receiving it.  Rev. 2:17
And they shall see his face; and his name shall be written on their foreheads... the Lord God will be their light; and they shall reign forever and ever.  Rev. 22:4,5

Friday, August 24, 2012

Vital Union

       Sometimes you can read the Word of God and miss understanding or applying it to your life simply because the wording doesn’t impact you.  That’s why I tend to do my basic Bible reading in The Living Bible-TLB, and go back to the other versions for studying the scriptures.  Just read the wording here, and see what I mean.

And now just as you trusted Christ to save you, trust him, too, for each day’s problems; live in vital union with him.  Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him.  See that you go on growing in the Lord, and become strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught.  Let your lives overflow with joy and thanksgiving for all he has done.  Col. 2:6,7

       Trust Jesus for each day’s problems.  Yep, it’s what we should do, but do we really.  First off, we don’t always think to include Him in our day- I mean, He’s God and I’m sure He’s got more important things to do, right?  Wrong.  The Lord wants to be a part of our life or else why would He send the Holy Spirit to dwell in us (1Cor. 3:16) giving us a permanent link to Him (Eph 3:17)?  Secondly, when problems arise, we don’t think of Him first, but our own wisdom and logic, trying to find man’s way out.  That usually gets us into trouble.  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God…” (1Cor. 3:19)Every way of a man is right in his own eyes…” (Pr. 21:2)

       In contrast, our roots are to receive nourishment from Him-daily-hourly-minutely. (yep, I know, it’s not a word)  He is our Living Water (Jh. 4:10,13) and Bread of Life (Jh. 6:35,51).  We will starve without Him ‘feeding’ us, without His contribution in our lives.  And because He nourishes us, we can grow in Him, and become strong and vital in this world so that we may make a difference, hence the reason the Lord speaks of us as salt and light (Mt. 5:13,14): both are essential in sustaining the world.
       Imagine, if it could be done, cutting the roots off of a tree and hoping it will continue to grow, be healthy and strong.  Won’t happen, will it?  The tree, if it can even remain standing, will wither and die without nutrients from the soil.  But we often cut off our roots from the soil of the Lord by not spending time with Him (in the Word, praying, praising, conversing) yet we wonder why we don’t feel strong.  We can’t keep growing without the union of our roots in His soil.  What happens to a tree without roots?  It dies.  What happens when we cut ourselves off from our vital union with Him?  We start to die.

We need to trust the Lord enough to be a part of our lives.

His life is vital to us!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My Favorite Super Hero

       Since at least my teenage years, I thought Superman was the greatest ‘super hero’ there was.  Sure, Spiderman could shoot out webs and swing, Batman could fight really well and had a cool car, and the others all had their special abilities, but to me, Superman was the best.  He was stronger, faster, more powerful, leapt really high, was invulnerable, could fly, and best of all, was a ‘man’ of integrity.  Plus, he was played by Christopher Reeve who was kinda cute!

       Not much has changed in the attributes I desire in my Super Hero, after all, how do you respect and adore someone who does not have the attributes you admire.  The only difference is my favorite Super Hero has changed.  You see, I found the One who possesses "extraordinary or superhuman powers" and who is truly dedicated to protecting people.  Here is His list of ‘superhuman powers’:

God is omnipotent. –unlimited power, able to do anything (Rev. 19:6; Is. 40:26)
God is omniscient. –complete, unlimited knowledge, knowing everything (Ps. 139:12; Ps. 44:21; Jer 17:9,10; Heb. 4:12,13; 1Cor. 2:10)
God is omnipresent. –within creation there is no place He can’t go (Ps 139:7-10)
God is stronger for He is our strength. (1Jh. 4:4)
God cannot die- therefore invulnerable. –incapable of being hurt or damaged (Ps. 90:2)
God can do whatever He wants. (Is. 46:10; Ps. 135:6)
God always was and always will be. (Ps. 90:1,2; Rev. 22:13- Jesus is God)
God sustains the universe in motion. (Col. 1:17- by him all things hold together ISV)
God has the highest integrity. –honest, strong principles, moral uprightness (Heb. 6:18; Is. 6:3; 1Sm. 2:2)

Can’t beat that, Superman!!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

We Can Sing

They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the LORD, they shall cry aloud from the sea. 
Is. 24:14

       The Jews were taken captive by the Assyrians (during Isaiah’s time) and scattered throughout their kingdom.  I can’t imagine being taken captive and having to live in a foreign land not of my choice, but surely that is no reason to be singing, especially the praises of a God who would allow that to happenright?  Yet, in this verse, the people are praising God from the sea (a term meaning many lands).

       Why are these people praising the God who allowed them to be taken captive?  Perhaps they looked at the positive side of their situation.  They weren’t dead like some of their fellow Jews, they weren’t seriously injured, and their homeland was still viable to live on therefore there were possibilities they could return one day.  It would be easy to blame the God who allowed the captivity to happen, but would life without God be any happier?  No, then they would just be miserable in the situation which they were in.

       The truth is, as human we are predisposed to look at the negative side of things, and placing blame to someone (like God) justifies our negative outlook.  We can be piss-y and miserable because our situation is not our fault!!  Bad things happen because we live in a sinful, fallen world headed for destruction.

       God has not changed (Mal. 3:6).  He planned our salvation and ultimate victory from the beginning of time “…Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.(Rev. 13:8) and in Him and His plan we can trust because His word is sure “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him…” (2Cor. 1:20).  No matter what situation we find ourselves in, hope for eternal life is promised to His children, and His Word shall come to pass, every one (Mt. 5:18)In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began(Tt. 1:2).

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.  Php. 4:11
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  1Th. 5:18    (Notice the word is not “for” but “in” every thing.) 
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him  Job 13:15

       Obviously, we don’t have to be thrilled or happy for the bad things that happen.  That’s not what any of these scriptures are about.  They are saying that in good and even bad times we can trust God, and we can be content in Him- that He is with us in it all (Is. 43:2).  For who He is, and in trust of His care for us, we can give Him thanks in every thing- good and bad.  We too can sing the majesty of a God who leads us to victory… forevermore!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Been to a Funeral

       I actually didn’t know the man whose funeral it was; sure I’d seen him a couple times, but it was his wife I knew, and her first husband.  She did not deserve to lose two husbands in her life, but since sin entered the world, so did death (Rom. 5:12) and we humans cannot control life and death no matter how much we want to.  So it was a solemn morning for me- there was no real celebration.  The right words were spoken at the service as if there was a glorious new day ahead for the man, but I didn’t see it in the faces…  Very sad.

For today, I am just writing some of my thoughts.

I wonder how many of the people reciting or singing specific words really believe what they are saying.
(That goes for anyone at any church!)
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.  Mt. 6:7

You can find brothers and sisters in the Lord just about anywhere.
There was an adorable little old lady whose face shone with God’s love and glory.

Why is it we think being good (going to church, serving at church, praying etc) will get us into eternal life in Heaven?
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  Eph. 2:8,9

Life is in Jesus Christ and no other.  Reading about Him/ the Bible won’t save you.
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.  And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.  Jh. 5:39,40

True joy, peace, hope (Rom. 15:13), freedom (Gal. 5:1), and abundant life (Jh. 10:10) are only found in relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus said:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.  Lk. 4:18-21

Thank You Lord and Savior
                for the new life and hope for a glorious eternity with You
                                   because of all You have done.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Faith and Folly

       Seems to me, on the back of great victories, the children of God end up in a mess.  Take for example the children of Israel after leaving Egypt- many great miracles- and they began to worship a calf (Ex. 32).  Then there were all the complaints in the desert though they saw with their own eyes God provide one way or another.  Once victorious in the land, they stopped asking for God’s advice and made bad decisions (Jos. 9).  Here is another story after they allotted the land to the sons of Israel:

The sons of Reuben, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh had forty-four thousand seven hundred and sixty valiant men, men able to bear shield and sword, to shoot with the bow, and skillful in war, who went to war.  They made war with the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish, and Nodab.  And they were helped against them, and the Hagrites were delivered into their hand, and all who were with them, for they cried out to God in the battle. He heeded their prayer, because they put their trust in Him.  Then they took away their livestock… also one hundred thousand of their men; for many fell dead, because the war was God’s. And they dwelt in their place until the captivity.  1Chr. 5:18-22 NKJV
And they were unfaithful to the God of their fathers, and played the harlot after the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them.  So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, that is, Tiglath-Pileser[a] king of Assyria. He carried the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh into captivity 1Chr. 5:25,26

       The Eastern Hebrew tribes took the land they needed from the inhabitants dwelling there.  God gave them a great victory because they trusted Him and they cried out to Him in battle.  Notice how 44,760 men took captive over 100,000 men (and many men were dead).  That’s near impossible odds, but they did it.  (That’s faith)  Just over 300 years later these same Hebrews were taken captive for being unfaithful (to the same God who gave them victory) by worshipping other gods.  (That’s folly)

       We like to look down on the Jews for these mistakes, but the truth is, we are no better today.  We are on the side of the cross where there is proof of Jesus who walked the earth, did miracles, died, was resurrected from the dead and seen by over 500 people.  Many of us have seen miracles of one kind or another or seen God move in our lives somehow.  So, a short time after the greatest victory in our lives- salvation through Jesus Christ, we often enter into folly, accepting worldly behaviour into our lives just as the Jews who went back to idol worship.

       The only difference is we don’t (usually) physically pray to, bow down, or acknowledge our idols as gods: TV, money, computers, cell phones, sports, cars, status, power, food, friends, parties, our children, sensual pleasures, toys-ipods, tablets... the list could go on for a while.  So, how do we keep from making the same foolish mistake over and over again where we put other things in priority over God thus establishing them as idols in our lives?

       Daily and often during the day, we should remember all He has done for us.  (We really should write them all down so we can reread them.)  The Hebrews were told (in Deuteronomy) over ten times to remember what God had done for them, they neglected to do so and suffered the consequences thereof.  Let us learn from such folly and return to faith and trust in our God.

Remember, and forget not… Dt. 9:7