and the One who walks with me on it.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Need or Want

       Just been sitting at the computer, knees up to my chest sipping on a hot cocoa and listening to Jamie Grace (with TobyMac) sing ‘Hold Me’ while contemplating a recent realization.  God does not need us.  Just as adults don’t need children, God did not create us because He needs us.  The Father, Son and Spirit didn’t need us to complete them because they are complete already.  Here’s the good part about that.  They didn’t need us, but they wanted us.  They wanted to share their lives with us.  They wanted to share their love with us.  They wanted to be with us.

nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.  Ac. 17:25 ESV

He walks with us wherever we are!

       On the other hand, we need food, water, shelter, air to breathe, main body parts that work, but most of all we need God for our very life and breath.  He created the world and all the things we need (Gen. 1; Col. 1:16), He sustains them “…he upholds the universe by the word of his power…” (Heb. 1:3 ESV; Nh. 9:6), “And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Col 1:17)  He fills our need and gives us grace and mercy in our lives.  Surely, we cannot live without Him.

But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  Php. 4:19
Therefore let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  Heb. 4:16

       So we do need God, but He doesn’t need us.  Maybe that bothers you, but I like that because it means even more to me that He wants to be with me, wants to love me, wants to communicate with me and wants to share Himself with me.  (want = desire, crave, fancy, covet, yearn for)  Wow!  He wants to be with me spend time with me!!!  The God of all the universe  amazing!  Wow God!  I’m speechless (and humbled) when I think upon this.

Thank You.

I want to be with You and share my life with You too!

          A few great lines from “Hold Me”, sung to God:
             Oh, I love the way you hold me, by my side you'll always be
             You take each and every day, make it special in some way
             I love the way you hold me, in your arms I'll always be
             You take each and every day, make it special in some way

Thursday, March 21, 2013


       As a teen I chose to take roads that were considered lawful, following the rules of my parents, society, and my own high standards.  To most people I was considered a ‘good’ girl who never got into trouble.  I think because of that I have great difficulty accepting when my teens do not always make the same choices.  It bothers me to see them headed down roads that lead to trouble, sorrow, long term consequences and where they could even get physically hurt, but I can only advise (which means they don’t always listen).

       I guess all parents go through that, and it is probably the reason why the saying ‘hindsight is perfect’ is still used today.  And I’m sure the Lord feels the same way when His children chose the ‘bad’ roads of life that lead to trouble, sorrow, long term consequences and possible harm.  Do you ever wonder why you don’t find rest?  I used to, but I kind of understand now.  See, whether you are godly or ungodly, troubles will come your way.

(Jesus to disciples) …In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.  Jh. 16:33  (thlipsis- tribulation- pressure affliction, anguish, burdened, persecution, trouble)
For He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  Mt. 5:45

       But no matter what comes our way, we can determine the path we take, even through the hard times.  That path can include the Lord in part, step by step, or not at all.  And that choice leads to erratic peace, complete inward peace, or little peace, in that order.  Of those three choices, I hope to remain in a state of complete inward peace which means I need to walk step by step with the Lord, on the path He has chosen for me, not on the path I would chose for myself and which has so often gotten me into worse trouble.

Yet the Lord pleads with you still:  Ask where the good road is, the godly paths you used to walk in, in the days of long ago.  Travel there, and you will find rest for your souls.  But you reply, “No, that is not the road we want!”  Jer. 6:16 TLB

       So the Lord says to us, ask which is the good (godly) road and travel that one.  In other words, we need to ask the Lord which way to go first.  Then we need to act on that information by choosing to walk that road.  If we walk that road with the Lord each step of the way, we may just find the rest we are looking for and so desperately need.

Or we can make the childish (or teenager choice)

     No!  I want to go my own way!!!

He has shown you, O man, what is good.
And what does Jehovah require of you but to do justice and to love mercy and
to walk humbly with your God?
Mic. 6:8

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Second Chances

       Sunday past, the pastor spoke on how God gives second chances (in my experience, more that that) by using the story of Peter denying he knew Jesus.  Well, just the other day I read about an unexpected second chance, one I didn’t remember in the Bible.  Thinking about the story gave me pause to consider if I would give a second chance to a man who intentionally- specifically killed my child and many other innocents.  I mean, even if I could forgive him because he was truly repentant, could I work with him again and bless him?

       The man’s name was Manasseh, a king of Judah, who began his reign at the age of 12 and was king for 55 years despite doing evil in God’s sight (2Kn 21:2).  Now, Manasseh should have known better.  He was the son of Hezekiah who “did right in the sight of Jehovah(2Kn. 18:3) and it was after God’s miraculous healing that Manasseh was born.
2Kn. 21:1-17 and 2Chr. 33:1-20 record his reign.

  1. He rebuilt the high places (v.3) (v.3)
  2. He raised altars for Baal and an image (followed Ahab’s leadership in this) (v.3) (v.3)
  3. He worshipped and served sun, moon and stars (a new thing to Israel)  (v.3) (v.3)
  4. He built altars of idol worship in God’s house  (v.4) (v.5)
  5. He sacrificed own son(s) to Molech  (v.6) (v.6)
  6. He practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft, and consulted spiritists and mediums  (v.6) (v.6)
  7. He put an idol of Asherah in God’s house  (v.7) (v.7)
  8. He seduced the people to do more evil  (v.9) (v.9)
  9. He shed much innocent blood in Jerusalem  (v.16)
  10. Manasseh and the people ignored God speaking (v.9) (v.10)

       Bound in chains, Manasseh was brought to Babylon under Assyria (v.11), and there, in distress, he greatly humbled himself (v.12) and cried out to the God of his father (v.13).  Jehovah heard his prayer and brought him back to Jerusalem where he finally knew Jehovah was God (v.13).  His acts, his prayer to God and His Word given through the prophets were written in two unrecovered books: ‘book of the Kings of Israel’ and the ‘Matters of the Seers’ (v.18,19) which I think would be interesting to read.

        Manasseh changed due to the trials he was in and God reached down to give him a second chance to be king again and do right.  He went back and used the opportunity to undo much of the evil he had done.  Some others God gave 2nd chances to are: Job who spoke about God giving chances to man, “…God does all these things, twice, three times, with a man,(33:29), Jonah (3:1), the Psalmist (Ps. 30:2; 32:5), and Saul turned Paul (Ac. 8:3; 9:15).

       We have the same opportunity as Manasseh and the others.  First we need to greatly humble ourselves before God, pray and cry out to Him in repentance, and He will reach down into our lives to give us another chance.  Sometimes we need to do it daily.  But God, who knows whether our hearts are truly repentant or not, is faithful to forgive, and work with us once again.  

If we confess our sins,
He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1Jh. 1:9

Monday, March 18, 2013

Beautiful Mosaic

clearest photo I found of mosaic

        In Vatican City, there are many beautiful pieces of art dating back centuries, and at St. Peter’s Basilica one can see a stunning work by Monosilio called the Altar of Transfiguration.  From a distance, it looks like the painted masterpiece of Raphael's 'deathbed' painting, but up close one can see the thousands of glass pieces that form this mosaic copy.  It took a team of six artists nine years to execute the mosaic, and they finished in 1767- 200 years before I was born!  Imagine, nine years to create this masterpiece!
       It would be fascinating to see this work of art because it looks so much more like a painting than a mosaic.  From a distance, all the pieces blend together so well, they form one dramatic picture.  I imagine that’s what the church, the 'called out ones' should be like.  We are thousands, hopefully billions in total yet when we are in unity of love and faith in Jesus Christ, then we shouldn’t be seen as choppy pieces all disorganized and messy, but piece after piece blending seamlessly into one another; each piece distinctly unique, but together making one complete picture- perhaps that of the bride of Christ, for "...He is the Head of the body, the church, who is the Beginning, the First-born from the dead..." (Col. 1:18)
original Raphael painting
       Amazing things can be done when people are in unity, both for good and bad.  When the people of Babylon got together in unity to build the tower to their gods, progress was going great until Jehovah confounded their languages to disperse them (Gen. 11:7,8) before they got into worse trouble.  On the positive side of unity, the disciples of Jesus were in one accord (unity) in the upper room, and the power of the Holy Spirit fell on them.
And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech. ... And Jehovah said, Behold! The people is one and they all have one language. And this they begin to do. And now nothing which they have imagined to do will be restrained from them.  Gen. 11:1,6
And in the fulfilling of the day of Pentecost, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly a sound came out of the heaven as borne along by the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  And tongues as of fire appeared to them, being distributed; and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled of the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  Ac. 1-4
close up you just start to see the pieces

        There are many great Scriptures about being one in unity.  Unity doesn't mean we totally agree with each other in all matters or actions, but our basic actions based on the Word are loving, in one direction for the purpose and glory of God first, not considering personal benefit of the individual. 

       In this way, we become a dramatic picture of the Bride of Christ arrayed in fine linen and waiting for the Bridegroom.  And though we are many, yet we are seen as one blended and seamless masterpiece not done by man, but made by the Father's hands.
Here are some more scriptures on unity:
endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  Eph. 4:3 
that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You...  Jh. 17:21
For as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ.  1Cor. 12:12
Oh Lord, help us to all be one as You and the Father are one...

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Long Journey

      In 1994, 73 year old WWII vet. Alvin Straight drove his lawnmower with trailer from Laurens, Iowa to Mount Zion, Wisconsin (390 km) to reconcile with his brother Lyle whom he hadn’t spoken to in a decade.  If it seems extreme, it is only because he could not legally drive, had very limited funds, no family to help and did not feel it was his place to ask others.  But his heart was set on reconciling since his brother had a stroke and he was concerned their time to reconcile was coming to an end.  At a maximum speed of 8 to 10.5 km/hr, Alvin would have abundant time to think about life, relationships and forgiveness.

       There were many setbacks on his journey, equipment breakdowns, and a lack of supplies on the trip, but his determination lent to the completion of his journey.  Along the way he was able to help people he met to understand the importance of relationships, forgiveness, and family.  There is actually a movie made about this man called ‘The Straight Story’ (1999) that was good to watch, plus it had one of my favorite older actors in the lead.  Did he reconcile?  You’ll have to research or watch to see, but this man KNEW the importance of reconciliation.

       How far would we go to reconcile to a loved one?  There was One who went the farthest anyone would go  We were separated or estranged from God because of sin, and that sin came down from Adam to all of humankind (Rom. 5:12-21) and brought the penalty of death for all of us, “For the wages of sin is death…” (Rom. 6:23) but continue reading that verse because that penalty paid was gifted to us in Jesus Christ our Lord, “…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” 

       Jehovah God loved man so much (Jh. 3:16) He sent part of Himself down (1Jh. 4:14) to live and die for our sins (1Cor. 15:3).  He died that we could be reconciled to the Father, no longer to remain out of His presence, but to have His Spirit live within our very beings (Rom. 5:5).  What an incredible gift we’ve been given: undeserved reconciliation through Jesus Christ.

For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the reconciliation.  Rom. 5:10,11

       Once, before Jesus came, we were all enemies (Col. 1:21; Jm. 4:4) of God because our filthiness (Is. 64:6) could not dwell with His holiness.  Those who remain His enemies (ungodly, sinners Rom. 5:6,8) will not inherit the kingdom of Heaven (1Cor. 6:9).  Those who choose to repent, surrender their lives to God and live repentant lives relying on Him (can we say faith) have been reconciled to God, have His peace, access to Him and can rejoice in our eternal hope of Heaven with Him.

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice on the hope of the glory of God.  Rom. 5:1,2

Thank You Lord God that You made a way for us to be reconciled with You.  Thank You that You loved us enough to follow through with those plans even when it was painful.  Thank You for coming to live in us.

We are forever grateful.