and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Stuck on You- Part 2

How do we obey His voice? 


How we sometimes listen to God.

         Well, this might seem a little obvious, but first we have to get to know His voice.  That means we have to take time with Him and His Word and then be willing to be quiet and let Him speak instead of us always doing the talking.  Notice that when we spend enough time with a new friend and they call on the phone we will know their voice.  If we know them well enough they can even try to disguise their voice, but we will still know. 

       Then we have to do what we read, and what we hear Him tell us in the Word, in our quiet listening times, in His voice through others, and in that ‘still small voice’ of the Spirit inside of us.  Obedience is easier than we think.  It is a matter of choosing to do what He says not matter what we or others think.  (To make sure it is His voice, it should not contradict Scripture.)  Sometimes our continued disobedience makes it more difficult to hear His voice.

     -…For Jehovah shall greatly bless you in the land which Jehovah your God gives you for an inheritance to possess it only if you carefully listen to the voice of Jehovah your God to be careful to do all these commandments which I command you today.  Dt. 15:4,5
     -The doorkeeper opens to him, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he puts forth his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him. For they know his voice. And they will not follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers. Jh. 10:3-5
     -For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand. Today if you will hear His voice, harden not your heart  Ps. 95:7,8

What does it mean to hold fast to Him?


       This is the part that reminds me of that old song ‘Stuck on You’.  These are the synonyms of the word for hold fast- Hebrew-dawbak: impinge (to fall against), cling, adhere, abide, follow close, be joined.  So we are to adhere or stick to the Lord.  I imagine myself being coated with adhesive and literally stuck to His side.  I also imagine that I wouldn’t be so selfish and disobedient if I was stuck that way because (after all) He would see my actions for sure!  (Common, we all thought that way at sometime, didn’t we?)

       One time I was watching my son’s football game and there was this tiny player trying to stop a massive teen running with the ball.  He grabbed hold of his leg about half way, and held on for dear life no matter what the bigger boy did- right into the end zone.  That’s me.  I’m going to hang onto Jesus come he_ _ or high water, because all life is in Him, through Him, and with Him.  The Lord wants to be one with us, joined to us, to have us cling to Him and follow Him.  Scriptures prove it.

     -And calling near the crowd with His disciples, He said to them, Whoever will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.  Mr. 8:34
     -that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.  Jh. 17:21
     -By this we know that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.  1Jh. 4:13 (dwell=meno-to stay, abide, continue, endure, be present, remain)
     -Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you  Jm. 4:8
    -Where shall I go from Your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from Your presence? Ps. 139:7

So let’s all adhere (stick) ourselves to Jesus and we’ll all get that feeling down deep in our souls
that we just can’t lose!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Stuck on You- Part 1

       Music has been a love of mine as far back as I remember.  My favorite years were the 80’s, and during that time I preferred the slow rock genre.  One of the songs I recall from back then was ‘Stuck on You’ by Lionel Richie in 1984: “Stuck on you, I've got this feeling down deep in my soul that I just can't lose…”  Ahh, love songs.  The visual picture of being so ‘in love’ that you stick to the side of your love forever is potent.

       There are some Bible passages that you naturally hear and read a lot, especially if you are active in a local church.  One of those is about choosing life, but until the other day I didn’t pay such close attention to the next verse which is actually quite interesting.

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them. Dt. 30:19,20 ESV 

       That you may live: loving the Lord your God, obeying His voice and holding fast to Him.  Why?  Because He is your life and longevity, and will fulfill His promises if you keep your end of the covenant.  (imo, life- abundant and free- is only found in Him Jh 10:10; Jh. 8:36) 

How do we love the Lord?

       Well, I guess we can only relate it to the natural world we live in.  When we love someone here, we think about them, spend time getting to know them better, have two-way communication as often as possible, enjoy each others company, learn everything we can about them, and appreciate who they are more and more.  We show them our love by our actions and try not to hurt them by our foolishness.  The same methods would work well in loving God.

     -You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  Dt. 6:5 (all ESV)
     -Jesus answered him, "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.  Jh. 14:23
     -but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.  Jer. 9:24

For the continuation on Dt. 30:19,20, ‘tune in’ tomorrow and find out how any of this relates to the song ‘Stuck on You!’

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Grocery Store Christianity

       I watched the special features in the movie ‘End of the Spear’ and there was a part about what this native thought when he visited North America and went grocery shopping.  If you ever have a chance to listen to it, it’s kind of interesting.  One of the things that impressed him was the availability and variety of so many products and that you could take as much of anything that you want.  We are used to going into a big store, buying all the things we need (as long as our cash holds out) and leaving behind those things we dislike.

       We treat Christianity the same way sometimes.  We go into it expecting to get the things we like- as much of what we want when we want it, but we become unhappy when we can’t get what we want.  Then we wonder- if we aren’t getting our prayers answered the way we want, why bother being a Christian.  In other words, we went to the meat counter expecting chicken, but there was only liver left.

Bleck!  We don’t want no liver!

       In the same way we go to the Word or to hear teachers/ preachers and we take the parts we like home with us and feed off of them, but we leave behind the parts that we don’t like to hear such as repent, change your ways, stop gossiping or criticizing, obey, give up your idols, love God first   These are not always easy to do and so we try to ignore them- maybe hoping they’ll go away.  But the Lord says ALL scripture is given to us:

All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfected, thoroughly furnished to every good work.  2Tm. 3:16,17
(Jesus said) "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God."  Mt. 4:4
For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing apart of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  Hb. 4:12

       It is NOT good enough to say we are Christians.  If we are true followers of Jesus Christ we will allow the Word, the Spirit, and the Father to transform us.  That means we need to accept ALL of it, the easy, sweet, happy things and the difficult, tough, convicting things that we’d rather not work on.  Sometimes we just don’t want to look in the mirror and see us as we really are.  Nonetheless, we are given all the Word for our benefit, so we need to stop picking and choosing only the things we like to follow and start following all the Lord wants for us to do.  No more grocery store Christianity, but choosing to accept ALL God has for us- as good.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is that good and pleasing and perfect will of God.  Rm. 12:2
But we all, with our face having been unveiled, having beheld the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, are being changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Lord Spirit.  2Cor. 3:18
I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore, choose life, so that both you and your seed may live, Dt. 30:19

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tis the Season

       The cold and flu season that is- at least around here.  Two were sick in this house a couple weeks ago, I was this past week- today is the first day I haven’t lost my voice, and my son started again yesterday.  Two of his friends are down, the neighbour spent a day lookin’ in the toilet (know what I mean?), and so many other people are battling illness right now.  You know it’s bad when you can’t find NeoCitran on the shelf in any store!

       I am one of the most careful people when sickness is in the house.  Different hand towels are employed, I use my sweater sleeves to open and close doors, Lysol wipes and bleach to sanitize items used by the infirm, minimize physical contact, etc.  I can’t even remember the last time I had a respiratory infection, cold or flu, but this time I couldn’t stave it off.  Tissue and hot drinks have been my friends.

       They say smiles are infectious and I think it’s true because when you lovingly smile at someone, they usually smile back.  Laughter is also contagious.  One time when my 7ish year old kids were laughing during a comedic play, everyone started laughing because of their laughter!  Kindness can be catching.  It has been shown that areas where ‘random acts of kindness’ has been successfully started, the result is people giving the same kindnesses they received.  I guess there are some things that are good to catch!

       Not so much when it comes to sicknesses.  Sickness usually makes us miserable, feel bad, or both.  We get sick because our amazingly complex immune system (cells and proteins that function together) failed to fight off foreign invaders (bacterial, parasitic, fungal, viral infections, etc).  Other than being born immune deficient, here are some of the things that affect our immune system:

     -poor diet (that lack essential nutrients) weakens our immunity
     -chemical additives, pesticides, preservatives, damage immune systems
     -refined (white) sugar (and alcohol) reduces white blood cell’s ability to kill germs
     -without adequate sleep the immune system can’t rebuild itself
     -stress suppresses the immune system
     -hydration is needed to work properly
     -exercise increases blood flow and removal of toxins/ waste
     -medication/ drugs, radiation, bad hygiene, weaken our immunity

       It is much the same with our spiritual immune systems.  We are more able to fight off depression, temptation, worldliness, immorality, laziness, lukewarmness, hopelessness, fear and grief in the face of tribulation, etc if we build up our immune systems by proper nutrition- the Bread of Life (Jh. 6:35), adequate sleep- rest (Mt. 11:28), hydration of Living water (Jh. 4:14), and exercising our spiritual gifts (1Cor. 12) in fellowship.  Also, we must avoid that which weakens our immunity such as selfishness, offence, critical spirits, bitterness, sin- basically spending a majority of our time outside of God’s will.

        Anything that builds one another up strengthens our immune system and anything that tears one another down weakens our spiritual immunity.  Instead of infecting one another with weakness, let’s all decide to improve our immunity instead and pass on a passion for the Lord.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up…
1Th 5:11 ESV

Monday, March 25, 2013

Technology Today

       Right now my daughter is reading a book and making notes while texting back and forth to friends.  My son is on his XBox playing some skateboarding game.  Hubby is playing on his Kobo Arc looking for free science fiction to download, and I am typing away at the keyboard of my computer writing this post.

       That is technology today and how typical households act- but certainly don’t interact.  It did come in handy the other day on family night as I had lost my voice and wouldn’t be able to speak.  So we played a free ‘guess the drawing’ game which was kind of fun.  I made enough points to buy more colours.  Woohoo!  Too bad when my daughter was showing me how to scroll through the rows of choices she accidentally hit my hand and I picked a set I didn’t really want!  Oops!

       In all honesty, I kind of wish most of it would disappear because it seems as if people are becoming so addicted to their devices that they are constantly on them, but certainly they have their benefits.  Finding information, joining support groups (helped save my life once), reading while waiting for doctor appointments, finding each other in crowds, texting ‘I’m here’ when waiting, calling for help, playing games to help with memory, etc.  There’s got to be a million reasons why technology is good, but the biggest negative is the ease in which our gadgets can become idols in our lives.

       Spent 40 min. texting but didn’t have time to pray.  Played video games for an hour but didn’t have time to read my Bible.  Read news-feeds and played games on Facebook for two hours, but didn’t have time to converse with God.  Watched a late night trilogy but couldn’t get up for church because I was too tired.

       What is an idol anyway?  Isn’t it a statue we bow down to and worship?  Not really.  Anything that becomes more important to us in life than God is an idol because it takes His rightful place.  Yes, that means work, play, t.v., sleep, food, gadgets, texting, games, TECHNOLOGY, etc.  The list is huge.  According to Webster’s, idolatry means ‘the worship of idols or excessive devotion to, or reverence for some person or thing.  Idolatry is a ‘work of the flesh’ (Gal. 5:20) and those who practice it will “…not inherit the kingdom of God(1Cor 6:9).

       These days a form of self-worship is on the rise as well: self-improvement, sensuality, self-help, stubbornness (1Sm. 15:23), self-centeredness, love of possessions, greed (Col. 3:5), knowledge, pride, power, status, etc.  We have become a society that “…changed the truth of God into a lie, and they worshiped and served the created thing more than the Creator…” (Rom. 1:25)  As the Israelites of old, the “…work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made.(Is. 2:8) has also become idols today.

Little children, keep yourselves away from idols.
1Jn. 5:21 ISV

And so, my dear friends, keep on running away from idolatry.
1Cor. 10:14 ISV

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Where the Lord Walks

The Lord walks beside me as my companion in my journey in this life.  He keeps me company through all my days as we share our lives and He helps me understand Who He is and His Word while I’m here in this mortal flesh.
-Jesus walks with two disciples: “Then they asked each other, "Our hearts kept burning within us as he was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us, didn't they?”  Lk. 24:32 ISV
-…you were called to the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  1Cor. 1:9

The Lord walks beside me as my friend supporting me on this journey when I am struggling to walk on my own.  His strength and encouragement keep me going.
-He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.  Is. 40:29 ESV
-No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master does. But I have called you friends  Jh. 15:15

The Lord walks, carrying me in His strong arms as a Shepherd when the path becomes too dangerous or when I’m so tired, hurt or broken that I can’t even move.
-He shall feed His flock like a shepherd; He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom  Is. 40:11
-…and I'll carry you even until your gray hairs come. It is I who have created, and I who will carry, and it is I who will bear and save.  Is. 46:4 ISV

The Lord walks with His arm around me like a lover, holding me tight beside Him in the safety of His loving arms.
-For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy. For I have espoused you to one Man, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.  2Cor. 11:2
-LORD, do not withhold your mercy from me, for your gracious love and truthfulness will keep me safe continuously...  Ps. 40:11 ISV

The Lord walks before me to lead me in the way I should go, to find a place of rest for me, to clear the way and fight the enemy that may stand in the way.
-And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way Ex. 13:21 ESV
-The LORD your God is the One who will be going ahead of you. He'll fight for you just as he did in Egypt before your eyes.  Dt. 1:30
-who walked ahead of you along the way to scout a place for you to pitch camp  Dt. 1:33

The Lord walks behind me as a rear guard to protect and as a light to help me see the path ahead.  
-…and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light Ex. 13:21 ESV
-Later on Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."  Jh. 8:12
-…and the glory of the LORD will guard your back.  Is. 58:8 ISV

(not walking, but…) 

The Lord watches over me because He loves me, and He is open to hearing my prayers.
-Jehovah watches over all those who love Him  Ps. 145:20
-For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears open to their prayers  1Pt. 3:12

There is one place the Lord does not walk.  He does not walk all over us to harm us, squash us down or force us to do things His way out of fear of His retaliation.  The Lord is only good- all the time.  "You are good, and do goodPs. 119:68

praise Jehovah; for Jehovah is good
Ps. 135:3