and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

I Owe, I Owe, …

       No human parent is perfect and mine weren’t any exception.  Some of the things I learned from mine were good, but others were bad.  One of the good things I learned from a bad habit of my Dad was to be careful with the finances.  He made some poor investments and as a result, our family struggled.  Gratefully, Mom knew how to keep us fed and got us the other things we needed even if we didn’t have many wants.  Of course, our two oldest siblings helped a lot.

       As a result of this history, I am frugal.  I am also very careful to pay back everything I owe.  Even when I was young I would feel extremely uncomfortable if I owed someone money (even a nickel) and couldn’t get it back right away.  That feeling of not clearing that debt would trouble me until it was repaid which meant it happened asap.  Fast forward to a few years after I was married and hubby and I loaned a friend money for a vital need.  We told him it was no rush getting it back, but when week after week he couldn’t pay us, a strange thing happened.  He distanced himself from our friendship and soon we never heard from him.

Sin's debt crushing us to death
       Albert said it happened that way occasionally when he helped people and it was because they became embarrassed that they couldn’t pay him back.  It made sense to me because I would be embarrassed too.  Eventually the man either got the money and paid us back or we forgave the debt and the friendship was renewed again, but it was never the same.  On our side there was always that memory, “He ignored us over something as inconsequential as cash…” so we didn’t loan him money any more (gifts were okay) because the friendship was far more important to us than money.

       As I was thinking of this history I thought about the debt I can NEVER repay- my debt to the Savior for dying for my sins.  Born in sin, sinning still (though I wish it not so) He died for me.  If I did good works all of my days and nights, filling my time with only good, it can never be worth a human life let alone the sinless (2Cr. 5:21) life of my God and Savior.  But He paid my debt, not so I could owe Him, but to develop a friendship, a relationship with me.  I don’t do good works to pay Him back, but to be like Him and most importantly, to be His light in this world so that others may come to know Him through me.  I want them to know life through Jesus Christ- the new life He has given to me.

We are sinners:
Therefore, even as through one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed on all men inasmuch as all sinned: Rm. 5:12
But we are all as the unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as a menstruation cloth… Is. 64:6
for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, Rm. 3:23
Against You, You only (God), have I sinned, and done evil in Your sight; Ps. 51:4
But your iniquities have come between you and your God… Is. 59:2
But according to your hardness and your impenitent heart, do you treasure up wrath for yourself in a day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, Rm. 2:5

The penalty of our sin is death:
For the wages of sin is death… Rm. 6:23
And if anyone was not found having been written in the Book of Life, he was cast into the Lake of Fire. Rv. 20:15

Our Savior paid the price for our sin:
Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures; 1Cr. 15:4
He said, It is finished! And He bowed His head and gave up the spirit. Jh. 19:30
knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, silver or gold,but with the precious blood of Christ,1Pt. 1:18,19
without shedding of blood is no remission. Hb. 9:22
By this will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Hb. 10:10

For by grace you are saved through faith,
and that not of yourselves,
it is the gift of God,
Ep. 2:8

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Prayer for the people

Precious Father,

    Hear this prayer for all the people of this world.  Struggles are increasing; it seems pain is becoming difficult in everyone's life.  Diseases are spreading like a wildfire and suffering has become commonplace.   Persecution and death for your name sake are happening, though in other countries.  We need You.  We need more of You in our lives.  We need Your strength and boldness to move forward every step in our lives.

    Help us, oh Lord, to continue to walk in Your ways.  We lay ourselves at Your feet and beg for Your mercy and grace to flood our lives.  Let Your Spirit rule and reign in us and help us to show Your love to this dying world.  Lord, let revival begin in the hearts of Your children so that it can spread, shining around the world.  Let the people of the world see once again that our God is powerful, He IS alive, and that He STILL wants to be fully involved in our lives.  Help Your children live according to Your will and in the Spirit with hearts after Yours and with love for all people.  Help us know You and understand Your Word for it, and You, are life.

     Give us discernment of all the devil's ways that we not be deceived or turned astray.  Keep us pure and point out the things we need to change.  We don't want anything to come between us and You.  Continue to lead us in the way we should go and be the guard at our back.  We thank You and praise You for who You are and all You do for us.  You are good.  You are always good- even when we don't see it...

Thank You Lord for Your great salvation.
     and for loving us still.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Amount of Faith is Not the Most Important

       I’ve been thinking a lot about faith (complete trust or confidence in someone or something) lately.  Faith seems like it should be very important, and I guess it is- maybe- or should I say depending on?  Let me tell a little story to make my point.

                        *   *   *   *   *  

        One month ago I woke up and saw the most beautiful and perfect pumpkin on my table.  I don’t know how it got there but no one else lives with me and the house was locked up, so it must have always been there?  Anyway, it was such an amazing pumpkin that I just had to exclaim its beauty over and over again. That didn’t seem enough for its magnificence so I bowed down to pay it respect.  Oh, what a flawless pumpkin! 

       The very next day I got a raise.  It must have been because of the power of the pumpkin so I thanked it.  Now I give it thanks for all that the money buys such as the food I eat.  For its aid I bring it many gifts.  When I have problems I pray to the pumpkin and it helps me.  Pumpkin is always there for me.  It never leaves me.  I have complete faith in my beautiful and perfect pumpkin.

                        *   *   *   *   *  
       Sounds silly, doesn’t it?  We all know that a pumpkin is not alive so it cannot do anything.  No matter how much faith I have in the pumpkin, no good can come of it.  My faith can be great or it can be little, but either accomplishes nothing because of what I am placing my faith in.  Pumpkin cannot hear my prayers, answer them or love me.  It is powerless to do anything but decompose, and it can’t even save itself.

       In Jesus’ days a man brought his possessed son to be healed by the disciples.  Now remember, the 12 had already been sent out to preach and do miracles (Mt. 10:1,8) with Jesus’ power.  They failed to help the boy, so the man asked Jesus (Mt. 17:14-16).  Jesus replied about the disciple’s faith:

O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you?... v.17
(Jesus rebuked the demon, it left, the child was cured and the disciples wondered why they failed.)
And Jesus said to them, Because of your unbelief*. For truly I say to you, If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Move from here to there. And it shall move. And nothing shall be impossible to you. v.20 (*lack of faith)

       Jesus said all they need is the tiniest bit of faith, small as a seed.  I always wondered about this because He seemed to comment on ‘great’ faith (Mt. 8:10, 15:28) yet here He’s saying you only need a tiny bit.  Here’s what I’m thinking now.  Perhaps it doesn’t matter how much faith we have only who we have it in: something dead like a pumpkin, a human bound to fail or the all seeing, all powerful all knowing, God Almighty, Creator of the universe and Lord of all.  Is He able?  YES!!! 

For with God nothing shall be impossible. Lk. 1:37
Is any thing too hard for the LORD?... Gn. 18:14
Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me? Jr. 32:27

        Notice it is the Lord speaking in the last verse.  Nothing is too hard or impossible for Him since He can break even the ‘natural laws’ as He is the One who set them into motion.  So we need to know deep down inside of us who He is (not just about Him) and know Him more intensely every day.  Those two stories of great faith above- to me it seems they understood Jesus in a deeper way than most.

       As a result of this thinking lately, I’m going to stop questioning why my faith isn’t where it should be and focus on knowing the One my faith is in.  Perhaps when I truly understand Him, the One who loves me beyond measure, I can say to those rotting trees in my yard, “Be moved from this yard to the dump,” and it shall be done.  After all, it’s not my faith that makes it happen but God’s power.

Tiny or great faith- even with or without my faith, God can do as He pleases.

(Arthur W. Pink quote)
Subject to none, influenced by none, absolutely independent; God does as He pleases, only as He pleases, always as He pleases. None can thwart Him, none can hinder Him. So His own Word expressly declares:

"My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure"
Isa. 46:10…

Monday, May 26, 2014

Who is the Anti-Christ?

       One of the most contentious parts of the Bible that causes so many debates about meaning is the area of end time prophecy.  Up until the last few years I would read it but never study it, thinking it is too deep for me.  Actually, if you do an inductive study, there is much to be learned.  Anyway, we can find over 5 million pages on the internet using that question, naming names from all over the world- many with Scripture to back it up.

       I don’t think at this point of time that the identity of the anti-christ (opponent of Messiah) is anywhere as important as the warnings to stay awake, be prepared and be ready.  So let’s put aside who this one person might be to learn that anyone sitting beside us in church or sweet granny next door could be anti-christ.

And just as you have heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have risen up, from which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they were of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out so that it might be revealed that they were not all of us. 1Jh. 2:18,19
Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He who denies the Father and the Son is antichrist. Everyone who denies the Son neither has the Father... 1 Jh. 2:22,23
and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the antichrist you heard is coming, and even now is already in the world. 1Jh. 4:2,3
For many deceivers have entered into the world, who do not confess Jesus Christ coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the anti-christ. 2Jh. 1:7

Here is the list of points about the anti-christ:
-There were many in John’s day- already in the world.
-They went out from the believers.
-Deny Jesus is the Christ, Messiah, Son of God.      
-Denies the Father.      
-Liars and deceivers.
-Denies Jesus came in the 

       Well, that means there are a whole lot of anti-christs out there, and they use lies and deceptions to lead many astray.  {So we must be ever watchful and know the Bible well- as well as having discernment of the Spirit inside of us (1Jh. 4:1; Hb. 5:4)}.  They deny the Father.  For instance, the Koran says God cannot be a Father.  If He cannot be a Father then He cannot have a Son.  Therefore Jesus did not come in the flesh.

       There are many belief systems, including atheism, that deny these points above using their ‘spiritual writings’ too.  So I don’t want to point out one ‘religion’ over another, for any person or group who believes as above is anti-christ and that could be anyone we see in any place that we are.  It could even be the pastor preaching in our church.  Hopefully not though as they shouldn’t have obtained their position with those beliefs.  Warnings for all of us:
Many belief systems- some anti-christ

Watch, stay awake, and be ready.
Read and study the Bible so you won’t be deceived or believe everything you hear.
Know God.  Be His.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

I am not Peter

Not really me cause I
wouldn't wear heels!
       I am Vicky.  When I was young I was VERY shy, often never even saying hi to people I’d known for years.  I kind of thought God made a mistake with me because I wasn’t like the other girls.  I didn’t care about clothes, hair, makeup, decorated bedrooms, shoes, shopping and such.  I didn’t want to cook, sew, talk about boys all the time, giggle over stupid stuff or do any other girlie things.  But I did like getting dirty, fixing things and riding my bike so I wondered if maybe I should have been a boy.

       Eventually I got saved and it changed my life completely.  I came out of my shell and began speaking to people even talking too much sometimes, but I still hate/d all those girlie things.  The reason I don’t like getting together with women is the conversation often goes to girlie topics, “Oh, I just bought the perfect throw to match the accent colours in the couch…” (eyes rolling back, snoring).  I’m sure they’d do the same if I started talking about changing the oil in the new car for the first time and finding out the last person to do it tightened the oil filter on too tight and I had to crush the thing to get it off, oil spewing all over my hands…”.  Yep, don’t think they’d like that.

       It’s okay though.  I don’t mind being different and I like me.  I like being a girl.  I can get away with crying when I want.  I can get hugs easier.  And I’m so okay being different because God made me who I am, He wanted me this way, and He loves me this way.  I just need to be the best ME I can be and not worry about who I’m not.

       So this morning when the pastor was speaking about Peter getting out of the boat onto the water I was thinking how I would have stayed in the boat.  Eventually Jesus would have gotten in and since I don’t enjoy risk, I probably wouldn’t have got out.  Then again, none of the others did either.  Did that make them less spiritual or less loving toward Jesus?  No, it just wasn’t them.

       I’m not Peter: rash, impulsive, zealous, a risk taker (those aren’t all bad).  It’s no wonder he asked and then jumped out of the boat when Jesus said ‘come’ (Mt. 14:29).  It wouldn’t have crossed my mind to ask.  As for me, I prefer staying in the boat unless the Lord says ‘come’.  I might be okay with who I am, but I believe the Lord continues to transform us into the people He needs us to be for His kingdom. 

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. 2Cr. 3:18
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

12 men- all different...

       Little by little the Lord has been increasing boldness in me.  Now I am more of a risk taker.  These days there is a small but growing part of me that gets out in the waves and enjoys it.  It doesn’t make me more or less spiritual or mean I have more or less faith or loving toward Jesus.  It just makes me me, the me Jesus is making me to be- the one He wants to use for His kingdom.  I am not Peter.  You are not Peter.  There was only one apostle Peter.  Jesus only needed one.

But He also needs one me.

     And one you!

For You have possessed my inward parts; You have covered me in my mother's womb.
I will praise You; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are marvelous and my soul knows it very well.
Ps. 139:13,14