and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Remember When…

       Our last computer at home (as a teen) was the latest and greatest Commodore 128- no little C64 for us (this was early 80’s).  Oh, the games it could play- kept us amused for minutes at a time. J  And it used the really big floppy disks that held much more information than tapes!  Actually, one of my favorite games was called ‘Rags to Riches’ about a bum who needed to earn money to get a shave to get a job to afford a place to stay in order to go to school and earn bigger money- all while avoiding jail for vagrancy, robbers, and IRS agents.

       Years later, as a young married couple, hubby and I bought our first new computer- at horrendous prices of course.  It ran Dos operating system with Windows 3.1 if you wanted.  It had the new ‘hard’ floppy drive which held even more information than the other, and it used a bigger hard drive at 510kb of information storage.  ‘Who would ever need that much?’ we pondered?  No laughing, but that computer only died about five years ago as we kept it for the older games we liked.  Later, when we needed to upgrade the Ram to play the more complex games it cost us hundreds of dollars.

       Flash forward to December of 2012.  Our newest laptop has 6GB Ram, 750 GB hard drive, quad core blah, blah, blah.  Seriously, who would have imagined an inexpensive computer being so impressive technologically wise.  Computer technology has come so far from where it used to be, and is still advancing at exceptional rates.  Of course, it’s great knowing that in a few months our newest machine will be like the Commodore of old!

       Sometimes I feel a little bit like computer tech myself.  Since I was first saved, I’ve come a long, loooong way.  Not that I would have seen it back then, but I was judgmental, selfish with God, untrusting, Christian whose faith and obedience was conditional upon God doing what I wanted Him to do.  I’ve repented of a lot of my old ways, and I certainly trust the Lord more than ever- no matter what happens in my life, but I now completely understand that there is always a lot more development to go.  I can’t stay stagnant in my growth because stagnation causes rot and death.  Instead, I’ve got to keep advancing- like technology- in order to be better utilized in the earth today.

       I can’t keep looking back at achievements or regrets or it will hinder my forward motion.  “…forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,(Php. 3:13)  We shouldn’t dwell on the past, constantly remembering the good and bad (Is. 43:18) or it will keep our focus off of the growth ahead of us that we need to reach for.  We need to press toward (pursue) the maturity God wants for us (Php. 3:14) in Christ Jesus.  It’s all about continued growth.

and increasing in the knowledge of God;  Col. 1:10
The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.  Ps. 92:12
I did the planting, Apollos did the watering, but God kept everything growing.  1Cor. 3:6 ISV
that your faith may continue to grow  2Cor. 10:15 ISV
Be ye therefore perfect (complete in labour, growth, mental and moral character), even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.  Mt. 5:48

       There are some great parts of yesterday that are sometimes fun to remember, just like the old computers.  But there are so many more interesting things ahead of us to look forward to.  Just imagine…  we get to keep changing (upgrading!) for the better, and if we do that, we will never become obsolete.  With God, every day is new “…His mercies never fail. They are new every morning…” (Lam. 3:23,24 MKJV)  We are all just little plants in God’s garden, growing in the Lord at different stages.  Much better than technology- anyday!

Friday, December 14, 2012

That Man on the Cross

       Church has been a part of my life since I was a baby.  My mom made sure we went every Sunday right up until we left home.  For the longest time we went to the beautiful and locally semi-famous Catholic church by my grade school.  Inside, you would have thought you were in the Sistine Chapel with the way the ceiling was beautifully painted with the most fascinating characters.  Weekly it gave me something interesting to look at when I was bored with the sermons.

       Over on the right was a cross, and on the cross was a statue of a man.  There he was with blood marks on his hands, feet, and a mark at his side, with his head bound by a crown of thorns faced downwards.  He looked sad, and when I was young I wanted to know why the man was sad, and what he’d done wrong to end up on that cross.  As I got older, I learned the statue was a representation of a real man whose name was Jesus and who lived on this earth a couple thousand years ago.  That Man died for the sins of the world (1Jh. 2:2) even though He himself was innocent of any sin (Heb. 4:15).

       I used to look at that man and wonder many things about Him.  It was difficult for me to reconcile Him with the man I read about in the Bible mom bought me.  There was never much of a connection between the two especially since I never read to the end of the gospels.  An aunt of mine got my mom and I involved in the charismatic movement of the church, and I began to learn the truth about the man, and even though we moved to a different church, I remembered that statue.

       In 1983 at a charismatic conference I heard the real gospel message for the first time.  You see, knowing Jesus died for the sins of the world, and Jesus died for your sins are two different things.  One is an impersonal fact, and one says- you’ve got to do something with this information personally now because your eternal life is on the line!  I gave my heart to the Lord and the truth about what Jesus did on the cross began to sear into my spirit.

       I’ll never forget my first experience reading Isaiah 52: “They shall see my Servant beaten and bloodied, so disfigured one would scarcely know it was a person standing there.  So shall he cleanse many nations.(v.14,15).

       After I cried for a while I thought, how can this be?  The statue I always remembered looked like a normal man with a few bloody scars- was what I’d seen for so many years wrong?  The people who saw Him were stunned; Jesus’ appearance and figure were so disfigured.  That doesn’t happen to you just being nailed to a cross.  There had to be more.

       Beaten, battered, bloodied from head to toes, whipped excessively, flesh shredded by sharp metal barbs: that’s the real image of ‘that Man’ they nailed to the cross.  That Man was tortured for my sins (Is. 53:5).  That Man gave up His life for me (Jh. 10:18).  That Man loved me even before I knew who He really was.  That Man has a name, and His name is


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Imagining Transformation

       Okay, now that I spent over an hour putting a post together and just wiped it out with one click- on purpose because it stunk- I guess I’ll start over.  One day I’m going to post about what it’s like to write in a blog- ‘cause it’s just sooooo exciting!  Teehee.  Anyway, let’s try this.  Last Sunday our pastor was speaking from the book of John, and the version of Bible I use has a little blurb at the beginning of each book, many of which I haven’t read for decades, so when the sermon was done I read the blurb for John and this is what it said:

(The youth are) intensely interested in what’s coming next and how it will affect us.  Projections about flat TV’s, computer- regulated traffic, air travel to anywhere in the world in forty-five minutes, pocket computers… all seem like science fiction, yet reputable scientists are predicting them. 
-The Way, TLB, Tyndale 1972

       Well, that gave me the chuckle of the day.  Obviously it’d been a while since I read that because I didn’t remember it at all!  Imagine that, flat screen tv’s!  Ipods.  Tablets.  E-readers.  Internet.  Wifi.  Small cell phones, with cameras and data plans.  Texting.  GPS.  A hundred years ago, no one could imagine all these advances especially since telephones were just starting out.  Now almost nothing is held back from us and technology is taking us to places we could never before imagine- for our benefit or detriment (yet to be determined).

        Hard to picture?  Not so much for me.  I actually think it’s more difficult to imagine being ‘where’ God wants me to be in this life.  My imagination can ‘see’ what new technological advances are coming far quicker than what God has planned for my future.  One thing is for certain- when I started this journey with Him back in ’83, I could have never imagined this life I live today and the awesomeness of our God (as I am finally convinced of today).

       The years of loneliness, pressure, torment, rebellion, dry places, living hell on earth, fear, bondage, pain, only bits of scattered joy, sorrow, addiction, tears, cold heart, resentment, grief, stress, confusion, hopelessness, sickness, bitterness - looking back truly more bad than good, and yet, now?…  all but a distant memory.  How?  I really don’t understand the details of it all myself, but it seems like God took the mess called ‘my life’ and transformed it into something wonderful.

       Yes, I’d have to admit most of the mess was my own fault because I kept shoving God out of my life- never fully trusting Him or His plans for me, and yet, in His mercy, He took me back each time and helped me see more of the truth.  And all that mess which used to be has become a learning experience which He used to point me- finally- in the right direction.  The Lord, in His loving kindness, continues to work in my life changing me a step at a time, freeing me from things I didn’t even know held me in bondage, healing me from the inside out- in other words redeeming me from this sinful world.  I could have never imagined being here this free- ever!!!  Best of all, I’m no more special than anyone else (Acts 10:34) so what He’s done for me He wants to do for everyone.

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.  2Cor. 3:17,18
Because the creature (man) itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  Rom. 8:21
(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,  Lk. 4:18

       The lives we desire to live can only be found one place: in, with and through the Lord Jesus Christ- as children of our Father and through the power of the Spirit.  That is where a full, joyful and peaceful life is found.  Jesus Christ came to redeem us from sin, death, and even from ourselves!  So when the yuck of the world comes whipping at you- as it will keep doing until His return, it just hits that wall of peace surrounding you and splats to the ground; and you and Jesus keep walking through together- one day at a time.

For I know that my Redeemer lives
Job 19:25

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

One Minute

       As I start this post, we have one whole minute to leave in order to catch my son’s bus without a stressful drive.  We have five minutes if we hurry the trip a bit (speeding L ) and the bus isn’t early, and ten minutes before leaving for his alternative bus stop.  Problem is my alarm didn’t go off (long, boring story) and his obviously wasn’t set, so I just woke him up five minutes ago.  Gotta go help if I can.  Be back soon.

        Guess for you this wasn’t a long wait, but it’s actually been over two hours since I had to drive and pick up some groceries.  But you couldn’t tell, could you.  For you it was as if I was never gone.  It reminds me of finding an interesting thought on the internet the other day.  Time constraints are a human trait.  Hmmm I thought, is that really true?  Does God not feel the limits or restrictions of time at all?  Is God really free of all time restraints?  We know He has been here in the beginning, and He will always be here (Gen. 1:1).

For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity  Is. 57:15
Now unto the King eternal, immortalGod  1Tm. 1:17
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.  Rev. 22:13 

We also know God has no limits: in power (Rev. 19:6), knowledge (Is. 55:8,9; Rom. 11:33), or presence (Jer. 23:24; Ps. 139:7-10).  With no limits in those areas, He likely has no limits in or with time.  (or logically He wouldn’t be omnipotent)  Still, does He feel the passing of time as we do?

      We know He has a plan and purpose that will be fulfilled on the earth.*  Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.(Rev. 21:3)  Being with us permanently is all He ever wanted, but God is holy and so must now, due to man’s sin, first reconcile us to Himself by the blood of Jesus Christ (Col. 1:20).  Does He ever get frustrated waiting?  We get impatient in a 15 min. lineup, or a two hour wait in the doctor’s office, but for God it’s been over 6000 years- and that’s a long time to wait!

       Sure the Lord’s been busy working in our lives in the meantime; in the world, in the universe too, but surely not in the way He desired from the start.  Since God is all powerful he could push His timing up if He wanted, but the Bible says He’s a patient guy (2Pt. 3:9; Num. 14:18)- unlike most of us, and He’s wise enough to let it all happen at the RIGHT time, and He knows when that is because He is all knowing.

       So God waits for that right time, and only He knows it- and it will be done in the timing He has set.*  But still, does He get frustrated waiting?  Never found anything in the Bible to indicate that to me, but I’m sure situations, attitudes and actions of mankind frustrate the Lord now and again.  As for Him feeling the time restraints- I just don’t think it’s the same for Him as it is for us- as the following scriptures indicate:

For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.  Ps. 90:4
one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  2Pt. 3:8
Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old… But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.  Ps. 102:25-27

Blessed be the Almighty God
                       who is limitless and to whom time has no constraints! 

*Many plans are in a man's mind, but it is the Lord's purpose for him that will stand. Pr. 19: 21 AMP  also Is. 14:24
…God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.  Is. 45:18

Monday, December 10, 2012

Priority Check

       I just got back from a medical appointment, visiting with a good friend, and doing some shopping.  Of course the stores are full since it’s only two weeks to Christmas.  The money is flowing out of pockets like there’s no tomorrow and you wouldn’t know there is still a bit of recession around here with many still laid off.  It’s Christmas after all!  Makes me think about our priorities in life.  Are they really where they should be?  Perhaps we should take one day every year and review the past year just as a check up; after all we get check ups for health, teeth and cars, so why not a priority check?

What has my money been spent on this year?
Was any of it wasteful, and if so, how can I do better this coming year?
Did I try to eliminate all my debt?
Did I pay attention to my ‘brothers’ needs or just my own?

Where did I use all my time?
How much of it did I waste away on tv, movies, computer games, social media, texting, game systems?
Did I spend any time with the sick, the poor, the lonely, those in need?

Is God first place in my life or am I fitting Him in where it’s convenient and looks good?
Do I spend the time with Him daily that I should?
Do I share His love with the people around me?

       I have to admit I never thought of a priority check before, and I’m sure there are more areas (such as relationships) that I would put questions to.  I think I’m going to do that soon and see if my priorities were in order.  Can’t hurt anyway; maybe I’ll learn some things I didn’t realize and I’ll be able to make some changes for this year coming.  Gotta go, there’s lots to do.  God’s blessings on you this season.

May the Lord continue to change all of us- every day!

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.  2Cor. 3:17,18

Sunday, December 09, 2012

My Best Friend

       We met on an assembly job that builds seat belts sometime around 1992.  Immediately I took a liking to her.  She was nice- I mean genuinely kind, good, treated people with respect, yet still managed to joke around and bring smiles to people’s faces.  She had good work ethics, doing her job without complaint and working hard.  As I got to know her, I found her to be open and honest about her beliefs, feelings and thoughts.  We hit it off immediately and have been best friends since that time. 

Other best friends

       There isn’t anything she doesn’t know about me.  The funny thing is- she still loves me.  As I go through my life it is reassuring to know there is another human out there who loves me unconditionally.  She’s seen me at my best and my worst, and I know if I called her and said I needed her, she would come.  This friendship developed more deeply over years of phone communication and time spent together during work (for a few years) and after work.  We really got to know each other, and I am so blessed to have this magnificent friend as part of my life.

       Thinking back, I have to acknowledge that it wasn’t the same with God and me.  To start with, I had been brought up to believe He was more of an offsite kind of impersonal God who only steps in for the big things and was ready to whip people when they did wrong.  Perhaps that’s why when I became saved I immediately related to Jesus, but not to the Father.  That’s a bit of a problem since they are both God.  And it took a while to understand the Spirit was part of God too.  Our relationship took time to develop, longer than it should have due to many backslidden times when I ignored our connection.

       Over the years I have learned that God is personal and wants to be involved in our lives daily.  He won’t strong arm us into that kind of relationship, but it’s what He always wanted- after all, He walked with Adam and Eve in the garden (Gen. 3:8).  Those times I pushed Him away, He encouraged me to come back and patiently waited for me.  When I came back, He didn’t treat me as a stranger, but we started off where I left, and slowly I got to know Him better by reading His Word, prayer, and getting in His presence quietly listening.  That was how I learned to know His voice (Jh. 10:27).

       Now it feels like I am hundreds of miles past when I first knew the Lord, yet ahead of me I see many hundreds more.  Still, I’m feeling pretty great about our relationship because I understand Him so much better, and even though there’s so much more to understand, He patiently works with me step by step as I draw nearer to Him.  And it will never cease to amaze me that God, the creator of the universe, wants to spend time with little ol’ me!  (Thank You so much Lord!!!)  As my bestest of all friends, He will never fail me (Dt. 31:8).

Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you Jm. 4:8 
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:  Is. 55:6
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you  Jer. 29:13,14
When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.  Ps. 27:8
To the chief Musician, Maschil, for the sons of Korah. As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?  Ps. 42:1,2
O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.  Ps. 63:1,2