and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Shopping for Prom Dresses

       Anyone who knows me knows I am not a shopping for clothes type of girl.  In fact, I’d rather be up to my arms in grease fixing something than clothes shopping, but it is the season for prom dress shopping for graduating teenagers this year, and that means my daughter.  So I put on my big girl pants, begged my sister to join us, and off we went to stores we knew would have better selections.  It was in the very first store we went to that we found ‘the dress’.  How do you know it’s ‘the dress’?  Because everything up to it is quickly forgotten when you see her in it, and nothing found after is good enough.

       She stood there, so beautiful, so elegant and looking grown up, that tears flooded my eyes and I had to leave the room to get back in control.  My little girl is all grown up!  The richness of the dress led me to imagine a date (hopefully several years from now) when Amy will be wearing that special wedding dress and Albert and I will have to share her with her husband to be.  He will watch as she walks toward him with love in his eyes and excitement in his face because he has been waiting for her and he knows they will be together forever.
as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself as the glorious church, without spot or wrinkle or any such things, but that it should be holy and without blemish.  Eph. 5:25-27 (also 2Cor. 11:2)
Let us be glad and rejoice and we will give glory to Him. For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has prepared herself. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white. For the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints.  Rev. 19:7,8

       One day soon, Jesus will return for His bride, a bride washed by His blood, cleansed by His act of selflessness and love, for she is the one He has been waiting for since the beginning of time that He might be with her forever.  She is all the believers from the beginning, both Jewish and Gentile, who will live in the New Jerusalem, the place He is preparing for her (Rev. 21:9,10; Jh. 14:2,3). 

       On that day, I imagine He will have open arms to receive us and the love in His eyes will captivate us as we ‘walk’ towards Him.  The peace and joy in our hearts will burst forth as we move to His waiting arms, and we will rejoice to be with Him forever and delight in His presence.  It will be the final triumph of our Savior, and it will be a glorious day for all of us, unsurpassed by any other. 

       Now we just need to make ourselves ready…
                                 (see Rev. 7 above)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Another Year for Me

        Since this is my first opportunity to write today and I don't want to miss another post, I decided to repost this from 2011 (guests arrive shortly).  Just this week I turned 46 and it gave me lots to think about: God's grace and mercy that got me through this far, how much He really loves me, how blessed I am with an incredibly diverse and awesome family, wonderful friends, the ability to worship where and how I please and much more. I might be one year older, but God and His Word never get old!!!
 Getting Old

       A few minutes ago I had to return a call to my Mom.  You would think it was a Laurel and Hardy routine as I tried verbally to figure out what she was saying and not saying.  Phone calls to her these days tend to be very frustrating now that she is in her late 70’s.  She is getting old, but then, so am I.  The other day my sister and I were talking about our physical maladies so much we sounded like a couple of seniors though I am 44 and she is in her 50’s.  It seems like a lot of middle aged people are feeling physically old these days.

       All things tend to get old and when they do, they wear out (like jeans), wear down (like a car) or go bad (like the green looking meat in the container in my fridge).  Sometimes we grow bored of movies we’ve seen too often or books we’ve read too much (can anyone say ‘The Cat in the Hat?’).    Yet there is one thing that NEVER gets old- the Word of God.

       Back when I was a child people found comfort in the scriptures.  We still find comfort in those same scriptures today- as did the people of God 4000 years ago right up until now.  How can words written so long ago have relevance and value in our lives today?  Because the words in the Bible are unlike any other book out there.

For the word of God is quick (to live/ alive), and powerful (active), and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing (penetrating) even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Heb. 4:12 
All scripture is given by inspiration (divinely breathed) of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2Tim. 3:16 
(Jesus said) Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Mat. 24:35 
word, which is able to save (save/ deliver/ protect) your souls (spirit). Jas. 1:21

       If you want the abundant life that Jesus came to give, you’ve got to spend lots of time reading the living words in the Bible and getting to know the living (John 6:69) God of the Bible.  Then the living words will cut and divide, heal and restore and actively transform your life and mind. (Rom. 12:2; 2Cor. 3:18)  I’ll bet the authors, from Moses through to the apostles, never considered a young girl in 1983 being transformed by the words of the scriptures, but here I am a much different person than I was even in ’83.

The Lord has continually changed me through and by His living and powerful Word!

He can change you too!

So all of us who have had that veil removed
can see and reflect the glory of the Lord
And the Lord--who is the Spirit--
makes us more and more like him as we are changed 
into his glorious image.
2Cor. 3:18 NLT

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Take a Guess…

       Have you ever heard of the great faith and deeds of Shammua, Shaphat, Igal, Palti, Gaddiel, Gaddi, Ammiel, Sethur, Nahbi or Geuel?  (Yes, they are most definitely in the Bible.)  But I’m guessing their names are not familiar to you.  Before you go looking them up, be patient, for I will tell you... eventually.  First I will give you more information to see if you can better guess.

       They were responsible men, wise men, men of standing in their homes and community.  They were chiefs, heads among their people.  Have you figured it out yet?  They were of Jewish descent, lived in exciting times and saw God’s power displayed.  These men were each assigned an important task by Jehovah God, one that (upon completion) would encourage and excite His people.  So, do you remember them now?

Ten unknown scouts- tee hee!
       Probably not, although if you read my post yesterday, you have read about them.  Huh?  You don’t remember?  Well, they were the other ten spies sent into the Promised Land on an important task for Jehovah.  According to Num. 13:3, these men were chiefs or heads in their tribes; therefore they were well respected men who were put in leadership, likely for their wisdom, hard work and sense of responsibility.  These men also saw the great miracles God did in releasing them from the bondage of Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, and saw the manifested presence of God.  Yet, after all of that, they still saw their problems as bigger than their God.

       Yesterday I was quite contemplative as I read through the list of twelve names, ten of them now forgotten by most of us; but not Joshua and Caleb.  They saw the problems in the land but still knew that God was bigger than the problems and was able to give victory.  But the ten reported negatively believing that God would not be able to deliver them and so the people chose to believe the ten and were too disheartened to enter in.

And Jehovah said to Moses, How long will this people provoke Me? And how long will it be before they believe Me, for all the signs which I have shown among them?... And the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land, who returned and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up an evil report upon the land, even those men that brought up the evil report upon the land died by the plague before Jehovah.  Num. 14:11, 36, 37

       What food for thought.  Do I want to miss out on God’s promises because I forget He is more powerful than my problems and IS ABLE to bring victory?  Do I want to be forgotten?  Honestly, I have to say that I have always seen my problems as mountains looming before me and God hiding behind them waiting for me to get to Him on the other side- if I survive.  But in the past decade I have learned that the way of peace and joy in the midst of troubles comes only in and through my Lord, in knowing Him and that He IS bigger than ANYTHING that can ever come against me!

Behold, I am Jehovah, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me? Jer 32:27 
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Rom. 8:31 
(Job to God) "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.  Job 42:2  ESV
My purpose shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure; Is. 46:10 

Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, forever. Amen. Eph. 3:20,21 

Monday, March 11, 2013

I Can’t Do This Anymore!

       Are these words familiar?  Have you ever cried them aloud to God or just the world in general?  These five words are usually reserved for times of great stress, tribulation and sorrow and the times I haven’t cried them aloud, I’ve certainly spoken them to myself in my head over and over again as the giant of tribulation arrogantly stands before me laughing in my face.  “Ha! You can’t do this! You are too weak; your strength is all used up! You’ve failed before and you will fail this time too!  It’s too much for anyone to bear!”

       Sometimes we can’t ‘see the forest for the trees’.  In other words, we are so focused on the details of our issues or problems that we can’t see the bigger picture such as how big our God is- how much He loves us- how He is with us through the worst of times- even if we can’t feel Him near.  Sometimes we can’t ‘see’ His salvation of us in the past and the remarkable things He has done in our lives.  Instead we see the giant mountain of troubles in front of us.

       There was another group of people with the same issue in the Bible during Moses’ day.  Twelve spies (all were leaders within their tribes) were sent into the Promised Land, saw its fruitfulness and wonders, came back, and this is what they said:

(28) However, the people that dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are walled, very great. And also we saw the children of Anak there.  (29) The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south, and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains. And the Canaanites dwell by the sea and by the coast of Jordan…    (31) But the men that went up with him said, We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.  (32) And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched to the sons of Israel, saying, The land through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eats up those who live in it. And all the people whom we saw in it were men of stature.  (33) And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, of the giants. And we were in our own sight like grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.  Num. 13

       So we see that ten of the twelve believed the lies in their hearts that said, “We can’t do this!”  It is interesting to note that this lie took on a threefold approach similar to what it does in our own lives:

    1.  There are too many people in the land (28, 29). They're too strong for us.
    2.  The cities are walled and very great. The land devours the people.
       (the cities are inaccessible, fortified and great in number, intensity, importance and older thus
       have withstood much and not fallen.  The land devours, consumes, wastes the people)
    3.  Big men and giants live there. We're no match for them. We are weak, nobodies.


    1.  This is too much, too overpowering for me, there are too many problems.
    2.  This is too big, too dangerous for me, too overwhelming.
    3.  I am too weak, too sinful, too worthless… to resist, to continue, to fight, to stand.

       The Hebrews lost courage, wept, despaired all night (14:1), and by the next day were ready to throw in the towel and run back to their bondage in Egypt! (14:4)  They were focused more on their own weak condition and inabilities than in the powerful God who created them and had already provided great miracles for them.  So their fears overcame their trust in God.

       But there were two men who focused on God who was stronger than the problems of the land: Caleb and Joshua.  Caleb said, “Let us go up at once and possess it. For we are well able to overcome it.(13:30)  Joshua and Caleb tore their robes after the Hebrews wanted to return to Egypt (14:6) and said it’s an exceeding good land God will bring us in and give us if He delights in us, but don’t rebel against Him now or fear the people for God is with us (14:6-9).

       God says of Caleb and Joshua that they fully followed Him (Num. 32:12)  What a great testimony.  It wasn’t because they were personally strong, big, or powerful.  It wasn’t because they were better than anyone else.  It wasn’t because they didn’t understand the problems of the land and the difficulties ahead.  It was because they saw the powerful, almighty God who was bigger than all the problems   
and they trusted in Him!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Simple Fact (but not so simple to believe)

       Those of us who grew up without a church environment or in traditional religions tend to hear all kinds of things about the Creator God that we believe because we’ve heard them over and over again.  Sometimes the things we learned are lies.  We have to do only good things or God will punish us.  God is this distant being who doesn’t care about the small details of our lives.  Jesus died for the sins of the world, so by being a member of certain denominations, you will go to Heaven.

       But Jehovah is not man (Nm. 23:19) and His ways are not our ways (Is. 55:8).  Eventually we may surrender our lives to the Lord and hear the truth along the way.  We acknowledge the truth in our heads, but it sometimes takes decades to become a certainty in our spirits (we become completely convinced- without doubts).

       I think one of the lies we believe is that God just puts up with us.  He has to because He’s God and He is love, right?  The problem with that thinking is it negates His role as our Father and ignores other important truths.  See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God…” (1Jh. 3:1 ESV)  Meditate on these and let them sink deep within:

For Jehovah takes pleasure in His people  Ps. 149:4
Jehovah yourrejoices over you with joyful shout.  Zp. 3:17
The steps of a good man are ordered by Jehovah; and He delights in his way.  Ps. 37:23
Keep me as the apple of your eye  Ps. 17:8  ESV
Yea, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness I have drawn you.  Jer. 31:3 (remember we are grafted in to His family)
beloved of the Lord  2Th. 2:13
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more than the sand; when I awake, I am still with You.  Ps. 139:17,18
because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  Rom. 5:5 ESV

       The enemy, who comes to steal, kill and destroy (Jh. 10:10), convinces us we are a disappointment to God.  We cannot please Him, so why would He love us?  Why would He take pleasure in us?  We expect His anger might strike at any time or He might lash out at our unfaithfulness with horrible trials or sicknesses.  What bondage those lies create in us and how sad Jehovah must be to see us in such oppression.

       But the Scriptures are clear.  Jehovah God takes pleasure in us.  He rejoices over us.  He thinks of us constantly like a person newly ‘in love’.  He loves us so much that He draws us close to Him for we are His children.  God loves us because we are His, even when He does not approve of the things we do or say or neglect to do (as parents, we are like our Father, aren’t we?).  Nothing can separate us from His love- not even ourselves (Rom. 8:39)!

Remember how Jesus prayed to the Father.  Consider and hold close:

that the world may know that You have sent Me
and (You) have loved them (us)
as You have loved Me.
Jh. 17:23

Sounds to me like the Father loves us
as much as He loves Jesus

Oh  precious Lord…