and the One who walks with me on it.

Friday, October 31, 2014

A Study in Opposites- Proverbs 15

Verse            The Good                                                           The Bad
:1  A soft answer turns away wrath                                  grievous words stir up anger.
:2  The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly             but the mouth of fools pours out foolishness.
:3  The eyes of Jehovah are in every place               
     beholding the good.                                                    beholding the evil
:4  A wholesome tongue is a tree of life                            but crookedness in it is a break in the spirit.
:5  he who listens to correction is wise.                            A fool despises his father's instruction
:6  In the house of the righteous is much treasure              the gain of the wicked is trouble.
:7  The lips of the righteous send forth knowledge             the heart of the foolish is not so.
:8  the prayer of the upright is His delight.                        The sacrifice of the wicked is a hateful thing to Jehovah
:9  He loves him who pursues righteousness.                    The way of the wicked is hateful to 
:10                                                                                 Correction is grievous to him who forsakes the way;                                                                                he who hates reproof shall die.
:11                                                                                  Hell and destruction are before Jehovah; even                                                                                         more the hearts of the sons of men.
:12                                                                                  A scorner does not love one who corrects him, nor                                                                                 will he go to the wise.
:13  A merry heart makes a cheerful face                          by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken.
:14  The heart of him who has understanding seeks           the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness.
:15  gladness of heart is a continual feast.                         All the days of the afflicted are evil
:16  Better is a little with the fear of Jehovah                      than great treasure and tumult (trouble) with it.
:17  Better is a dinner of vegetables where love is              than a stalled ox and hatred with it.
:18  one slow to anger calms fighting.                               A wrathful man stirs up fighting
:19  the way of the righteous is made plain.                      The way of the lazy one is like a hedge of thorns
:20  A wise son makes a glad father                                 a foolish man despises his mother.
:21  a man of understanding walks uprightly.                     Folly is joy to him who is without any wisdom
:22  by many wise men they are established.                     Without wisdom, purposes are defeated 
:23  A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, 
       and a word in due season, how good it is!
:24  The way of life is above to the wise, 
       so that he may turn away from hell below.
:25  Jehovah will set up the border of the widow.               Jehovah will destroy the house of the proud
:26  the words of the pure are pleasant words.                  The thoughts of the wicked are very hateful to                                                                                         Jehovah
:27  he who hates bribes shall live.                                   He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house
:28  The heart of the righteous studies to answer               the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
:29  Jehovah hears the prayer of the righteous.                 Jehovah is far from the wicked
:30  The light of the eyes rejoices the heart;
       a good report makes the bones fat.
:31  The ear that hears the reproof of life shall remain 
       among the wise.
:32  he who hears reproof gets understanding.                  He who refuses instruction despises his own soul
:33  The fear of Jehovah is the instruction of wisdom, 
       and before honor is humility. 

Upon which side do we expend most of our actions.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Time With God- Part 2

       In practical terms, spending time with God would be considered devotions, or Bible reading and would include meditation and prayer.  As such, it helps to know just what these words mean.  We have this promise: “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.(Jm. 4:8)  The best way to draw near to God is to spend time with Him.  Here are some helpful steps if you don’t know what to do:

From Part 1: Set a Place and Time
  Items to Have Ready at Your Place
  Worship or Express Gratitude
  Pray Before You Read
  Read the Bible

Meditate on What You Are Reading
This is NOT chanting words, emptying the mind, or breathing in some special way.  It is thinking deeply about what you are reading and the truths it is revealing.  Linger over the verses that seem to stand out to you.  Prayer: talk to God about what you are reading.  Ask Him questions about it. Expect He will answer you: often in a still, small voice we hear in our spirit.  Often, God speaks through His Word.  Wait and listen quietly for His ‘voice’. 

What do you learn about God?
What do you learn about yourself: similar attitudes and actions as Bible characters?
Is there anything to pray about for yourself or others?
Is there anything you should act on, or make a decision about?
Is there something for which to thank or praise God?

But his delight is only in the Law of Jehovah; and in His Law he meditates day and night. Ps. 1:2
when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; Ps. 63:6 ESV

Use Your Notepad
Write down what you learn, and what you will do with that information?  Is there some change to make or action to take?

Memorize verses you believe are important for you to know so that you can recall them in times of need.
I have hidden Your Word in my heart, so that I might not sin against You. Ps. 119:11

Pray often and throughout this quiet time with God.  Remember, prayer is just a two way conversation with God, the Creator of the Universe, and our Father.  Remember to listen (which requires a stillness in body and focus on Him instead of all the things you need to do that day!)

Pray without ceasing. 1Th. 5:17
Evening and morning, and at noon, I will pray and cry aloud; and He shall hear my voice. Ps. 55:17
And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 1Jh. 5:14

Go and do what you have learned!!!

(After Jesus taught the parable of the Good Samaritan about compassion, being a neighbour and mercy) And Jesus said to him, Go and do likewise. Lk. 10:37

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Time With God- Part 1

       As Christians, we have to be careful when we use certain terminology that new Christians may not understand: devotions, study, meditate, even prayer.  If we don’t explain these things in practical terms, then how will they ever understand the maturity that comes from these activities?  Time with God is one of them.  Does that mean pull up a chair, sip on hot cocoa, God appears and you worship Him?  This post is meant to be some of the practical steps we can take to draw nearer to the Lord.

Set a Place and Time
Find an area where you can be undisturbed, mostly quiet to keep from distractions and ensure it is comfortable for the purpose but not so comfortable you fall asleep easily.  Commit to a certain amount of time at a specific time daily and treat it with the highest priority.  Start with a reasonable amount and work your way up to more as needed or wanted.

Items to Have Ready at Your Place
A Bible that you understand with print large enough to read.
There are various plans you can find online to help.  Some tell you what to read daily, some go through the entire Bible in a year, while others simply let you check off what you’ve read.
A pen and paper (or notepad) to write your thoughts on.

Worship or Express Gratitude
Turn on some worship music and sing to the Lord for a bit.  I’ve found it helps to focus my thoughts on Him better and it feels like I enter into His presence this way.
If this makes you uncomfortable, then at least express thankfulness over who He is and what He does for you.
Give to Jehovah the glory of His name; bring an offering and come before Him. Worship Jehovah in the beauty of holiness. 1Ch. 16:29
O give thanks to Jehovah, for He is good; for His mercy endures forever. Ps. 107:1

Pray Before You Read
Open my eyes, so that I may behold wonderful things out of Your Law. Ps. 119:18
the Holy Spiritshall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance... Jh. 14:26
Often I pray God will open my eyes to ‘see’ (understand) His Word, and also that His Spirit would teach me all the things I need to know.

Read the Bible
Read at a reasonable pace.  Never rush it.  Stop and ponder some things as you go.  Eventually you will find certain verses will ‘jump out at you’ and those should be meditated upon (mulled on or thought about for a while.) 
Ask questions- who, what, where, when, why and how.  Ask how are you similar to each of the people in the verses: what do you learn from this?
This book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it by day and by night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it… Js. 1:8
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

(Stay tuned next post for Time With God- Part 2)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Just Learning How to Make a Good Omelet Now

       I’ve been making omelets for about twenty years now, though very infrequently as they tend to turn out poorly.  I think a lot of my problem was impatience- I’d turn up the heat too high and of course use the wrong pan which would cause the egg to stick AND not understanding that the top should solidify before flipping, though if done right, you don’t need to flip at all.  In other words, I just didn’t get it. 

       My favorite omelet has cooked onion and peppers mixed in two eggs, cheese melted inside with some salsa.  The pan I use now is just the perfect size for my omelet.  My eggs are vigorously stirred to be fluffy, the fabulously non-stick pan is on a lower setting, and my meal turns out to just the right texture and colouring that I like.  It’s a beautiful harmony of tastes, smell and textures that make it a joy to behold and to eat.

       One of the great things about omelets is they can be personalized to our own tastes with the things we enjoy in them.  And we can change it up; there are as many different omelets as there are people in the world.  What suits one person doesn’t suit another.  I guess that’s why I don’t despise denominations anymore.  I would prefer if we could all just be Christians, but people have different tastes and denominations accommodate that.  Some sing only hymns, a mix of hymns with contemporary music and others never sing hymns.  Some churches use musical instruments while others sing a cappella.  Some services are very solemn while others resound with “Amens” “Praise the Lord” and “preach it now”.
       Our differences don’t mean we can’t be in unity forming one delightful omelet, but that we can learn to be in unity with all true followers of Jesus Christ despite our differences.  The world sees our infighting and disharmony and it leaves a bad taste in their mouths.  It stinks like it is overcooked, falls apart because it wasn’t mixed well, and looks like a mess.  We need to unify on the gospel of Jesus Christ and the need for all of us being sinners and needing salvation. 

with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ep. 4:2,3
then fulfill my joy, that you may be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord and of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Php. 2:2,3
And finally, all be of one mind, having compassion on one another, loving the brothers, tenderhearted, friendly. Never give back evil for evil, or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, giving blessing…1Pt. 3:8,9
But I exhort you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 1Cr. 1:10
minding the same thing toward one another, not minding high things, but yielding to the lowly. Do not be wise within yourselves. Rm. 12:16

       So these verses give practical ways we can walk towards greater unity.  I will list here some of the words that stick out to me and upon which we should ACT:  lowliness, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing in love, peace, love, esteem others as better, compassion, tenderhearted, friendly, blessing, same speaking and judgment, yielding to the humble.
TO AVOID: strife, vain/ empty pride, giving evil for evil, insulting/ treating with contempt, feel or thinking pridefully- desiring honours, wise in own selves.

We can make a great omelet together if we start acting on these actions and avoidances!

Father, we know only with Your help can we become one body in You.  Please help us to desire it first and then boldly step forward and put effort towards that end.

 Jesus said:
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

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Gotta Love Water

       My husband and I have been coast to coast in Canada, only missing the territories and Newfoundland/ Labrador.  Wherever we go, there is one thing which draws both of us- the water.  We enjoy relaxing by the shore, watching the sun rise or set, and listening to its sound as we drift off to sleep.  Both of us would like to own property by the water to be able to sit on the deck of our country home and enjoy the view.  That, to me, is a little bit of Heaven on earth.

       Water is a crucial element in the capacity of the earth to support life, and in our bodies.  All life is dependent on water, a compound of 2 hydrogen and 1 oxygen molecules.  Without water there would be no vegetation for eating, and mammals, which include humans, are made up of over 2/3 water.  (All facts were averaged out as numbers greatly varied.)  Percentages of water in various parts: the brain- 84%, the blood- 92% by volume, the lungs- 87%, the heart- 75%.  A small drop of 2% in water triggers dehydration.

    Water lubricates.  When dehydrated, the body rations water away from the joints.
    Water regulates body temperature.
    Water removes harmful toxins from the body.
    Water transports valuable nutrients to the body.

       Water isn’t just a joy to look at and refreshing to drink- it is a necessity.  Our bodies can live a long time without food if we can drink, but take away the water, and death may occur at 3 days (though some have lasted 8 to 10 days).  Although there is a general rule of 8 cups a day to stay hydrated, there are actually many factors in knowing your personal amount and many online calculators give vastly different amounts.  Mine varied from 6.5 cups to 18 cups.  Staying on the low end might be doable especially since the average person consumes 20% of that in their food. J
       Jesus is much more a necessity of life than water.  It is He who sustains the worlds: “He himself existed before anything else did, and he holds all things together.(Cl. 1:17 ISV), “…and he holds everything together by his powerful word…” (Hb. 1:3 ISV)  He likens Himself to Living water because all life comes by and through Him. (Jh. 1:1-3)  If we don’t get enough of Him in our lives then we will shrivel up from dehydration, it will suck the life out of our joints, mess with out spiritual temperature, our body will lack spiritual food for growth, and toxins/ sins are unlikely to be expelled.  We need to ‘drink’ of Him daily.

Jesus answered and said to her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that says to you, Give Me to drink, you would have asked of Him, and He would have given you living water.but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. Jh. 4:10,14
And in the last day of the great feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes on Me, as the Scripture has said, "Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."  (But He spoke this about the Spirit, which they who believed on Him should receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.) Jh. 7:37-39

       Water is critical for brain activity: focus, short term memory, long term recall, calculating, and clarity.  They say we should drink one cup of water as soon as we wake up to get brain function going.  I think I’m going to try that.  Having said that, it’s also important to ‘drink’ from the Living water when waking.

My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Jehovah;
in the morning I will direct my prayer to You, and I will look up.
Ps. 5:3