Monday, March 24, 2014
Philippians 1:6 I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.
As I read and reread this passage I couldn’t wrap my head around it. So as often is the case I turned to my copy of the Orthodox Jewish Bible. In the OJB passage is a reference to Psalms 138:8. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. God made me so that I may love Him. And in loving Him I study His word, or simply put, the owner’s manual for the human soul. As long as I follow His word to the best of my abilities, I will continue to grow and mature spiritually. I now understand that He will not forsake me just because he can. That my relationship with the Lord will grow so long as I let it. God does not forsake me, it is I who forsake Him. My relationship with the Lord begins in me and ends in me, and spiritual growth is the fruit of my relationship with Him.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
John 14:15 You too can be comforted in your loss.
It is quiet, you hear the sounds of machines humming in the distance. You continue to stare at the person in front of you. They are breathing on their own, sometimes making unintelligible sounds. Sometimes a name will be called out asking for help with their pain. You hate to experience this scene but as you do you find yourself praying that this person has been blessed with the knowledge of the Lord and his ability to save us all, if only we accept Him into our hearts and souls. Knowing this happened many years ago, and the Lord has been at this person’s side, through many, many trials. You suddenly realize she is safe and soon will be out of misery and pain. Yes, it is hard to let go and say, ”Good bye.”
Jesus said to his disciples, “If you love me you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.”
Prayer: Oh Lord, you are always there for us if only we ask. Keep us safe and mindful of your heavenly way. AMEN
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Jeremiah 31:19 ‘After I strayed,I repented; after I came to understand, I beat my breast. I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’
How many earthquakes have there been in my life? I lost count years ago, but it is surely true that “after that I was turned.” Following those turning points in my life I also received instruction from God. How many things have I done that I now feel shame for? Too many to count. How many times have I beaten my thighs in frustration for time lost to vain pursuits? Many.
Even so, there are still things that I haven’t suffered for even though I should have. I even try to tell myself that I was young and didn’t know any better. But I did.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Psalm 62:5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.
Last year, I turned 26 and got married. To me, it seemed like I waited FOREVER to find the man I would call my husband. For years I tried to force relationships. I would decide, this is the man I’ll marry, all the while knowing in the back of my mind that it wasn’t who God wanted for me. I wasn’t very good at “waiting patiently before the Lord.” But God’s plans are always more wonderful than we could ever hope or ‘force’. Yes, I waited 26 years to marry the person God planned for me – and he had to wait almost 30! – but I couldn’t ask for more. I get to help raise his two beautiful babies and God didn’t make me wait very long at all to have one of my own! Don’t hope for ‘things’, put your hope in Him and just wait. He has good things in store.
Friday, March 28, 2014
Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those that rejoice, weep with those who weep.
Writing this was more difficult than I thought it would be. Not for a lack of something to say, but because there is so much that could be said. While listening to a Messianic Song called “The Names of God” it came to me, why not a small prayer incorporating the many facets of Our Lord?
Adoni, I am broken, hurting and lost. In my pain and suffering I remember that you are Jehovah-Ra’ah, and will find and bring me back to your flock.
Jehovah-Rapha I give to you my broken spirit and by Your grace I will be healed for truly You are my Jehovah-Shalom. Though I feel that I am alone I know that I am not for You are Jehovah-Shammah.
El Roi I have nothing to hide as You are a lamp in this dark world I find myself in. Jehovah-Jireh You give to me more than physical things You give to me Your everlasting love.
El Elyon I am unworthy of all of Your gifts but yet You are my Jehovah-Mekaddishkem.
My El Olam to You I offer this prayer in the Name of the Most Precious Blood of Your Son and my Lord Jesus Christ. AMEN.
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Acts 4:33-35 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
“I have taken her out and dumped her by the side of the road like the garbage she is. No one will help her because no one cares about her; this is exactly what she deserves.”
Tamar, Rahab, Mary; “she” could have been any one of many, but “she” wasn’t one of them. Someone did care. God cares. In fact, someone sold some things and went without other things so that “she” wouldn’t lack. How many times have I passed by on the other side of the road to avoid involvement? It’s what I pay taxes for, or is it? Do I really have any part in it when government takes from some people in order to enforce the “benevolent” desires of others? What are my responsibilities if I am to be considered a true follower of Jesus?
Sunday, March 30, 2014
James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Reading the new headlines recently I came across an article about a church van that collided with another vehicle and three people died and many were injured. Several other vehicles carrying youth from the same church were in the caravan and came upon the horrible scène involving their church family and strangers who had stopped to help. As I as viewing the pictures of the accident I came upon two that tore at my heart but yet amazed me at the love and strength of these young people faced with the tragedy. The first picture was of several people crying and holding each other; the second was of a group of young men kneeling in prayer on the highway. The bond and spiritual faith both groups conveyed was humbling to see. I think of the pain, sorrow, and disbelief all involved will feel over the next few days, weeks, years… will it make them stronger in their faith?
Earthly wisdom would consider trials great pain, great sadness, great depression, or great discouragement. Earthly wisdom says avoid trial and don’t consider them joy. Don’t consider trials joy because you are not exalted the way you want to be exalted. You should care about comfort, being equal to those you envy, fulfilling your selfish ambitions for money, power, comfort, pleasure, recognition, entertainment, etc.
Earthly wisdom looks at the now and so it minimizes the value of love, faith and perseverance. It pushes impatience and the now or never syndrome.
Monday, March 31, 2014
2 John 1:6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
We just went through Valentines Day about a week ago – the “love” day – supposed to be a time when we’re called on to make a special effort to say so to spouses, children, family, and especially if you’re a guy — you are to really go all out for that special girl in your life. But in the Word we are commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ to love our fellow saints as equal parts of the true invisible Church (The Body of Christ). In Romans 12: 9-16 it tells us how to live this out as it says that “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. It goes on to admonish that we “be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” And it also reminds us to “honor one another above ourselves”. Then we are to share with those in need, “practice hospitality”, and to “not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position” otherwise we are dealing in conceit.
In John 15 we are again commanded to remain in the perfect love of Christ. Let us then walk in the will of the Father – that we love one another in Christ and according to the truth the fruit that we are to bear that we may be called disciples of our Savior – that we are to “remain in” His love. This is his command that we “love one another as He has loved us.” If we determine to do these things in our everyday experiences, we will ultimately know what it is to be obedient in love and remain – walk in love. His love!
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Ezekiel 18:21 But if a wicked person turns away from all the sins they have committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, that person will surely live; they will not die.
Best… Book… Ever. Ezekiel is by far my all-time favorite Book. You have to understand that this message is for God’s own chosen people who have become lost. The theme to our verse today is Repentance/Penance. In order to accomplish the steps to Repentance/Penance one must do the three things outlined in this verse:
1. Stop doing that
2. Start doing what one should
First– Stop doing that. Whatever “that” thing is that you know you need to rid from your life. Just stop. And if you simply cannot, talk to God about the fact that you’re aware that something is not right. Ask for the wisdom you’ll need to overcome what’s preventing you from having a repentant heart. Be honest.
Next–Start doing what you should. Ezekiel was written to a group that chose to go against that which they knew to be right. You know what God wants from you: a relationship. A healthy relationship. Read His Word. Talk with Him. Be His friend. Your desire to sin will diminish quite unnaturally. By doing these things, we can do what the third thing outlined tells us to do: Live. Jesus talks about being a slave to sin (John 8:34). Ezekiel spoke of the same thing centuries before when he said the wicked man is bound to death. If the wicked man repents, he shall live. (Galatians 5:19-21) If the slave repents, he is set free. (John 8:36) Once free, we can live with the fruit of the Spirit growing in our lives: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:22b-25)