The Exhaust Pipe

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When our son was younger he was a very curious little guy, as I am finding most little boys to be! One day, when he was about two years old, we were out running errands. As we were getting everyone out of the car, our son was standing at the back of our Suburban. I could see that all too familiar curious look in his eyes, it happened in a split second. Before I could call to him, “don’t touch that it’s hot!”, he stuck his tiny, chubby little boy hand into the exhaust pipe! Thankfully he pulled his hand away quickly and the burns, while they indeed hurt, formed blisters that healed quickly. Needless to say, he still has small scars on his pinkie finger from that short-lived moment of curiosity 17 years ago.

Sometimes our journey with Christ can be like the story of my son and the exhaust, can’t it? God’s word is full of wonderfully beautiful instructions for our life, yet, like a curious two-year old, we, at times, stick our hand into the exhaust and suffer the consequences. Sometimes it only takes one time and we never do ‘that’ again. I can safely say my son never, ever, put his hand into a hot exhaust car pipe again! At other times, our curiosity gets the better of us and we revisit the ‘hot pipe’, thinking we know more than we did the last time, yet, somehow we still end up with burns. Why is that?

This morning in my devotional reading I read these verses; “Do not do as they do.” 2 Kings 17:15c; “Do not worship other gods.” 2 Kings 17:37c; “Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and and do not worship other gods.” 2 Kings 38 emphasis added.

King Jeroboam had enticed the Israelites away from following God. The Israelites had been taken into captivity by the Assyrians, and while the Israelites at one point turned back and worshipped God, at the same time they were also worshipping the gods of the people in the lands that they were held captive.

As I was reading, praying and writing in my journal, Holy Spirit spoke to my heart that the leaders of the countries of the world are like King Jeroboam, enticing their citizens away from worshipping God by making worldly decisions that cause the creation of God to sin against Him. Therefore, let us be diligent in wrapping our fellow citizens and our countries in prayer with the words of Paul.

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people–for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 1 Timothy 2:1,2.

Holy Spirit is concerned for this generation and all consequent generations and their worshipping of other gods. We may not worship gods as the Israelites did but what about modern-day idols? Television shows, books, movies, internet? Interestingly, I was resistant to sit down and spend time with God this morning. I sensed God wanted me to peer into my heart and look at something I didn’t want to see. Oh, Lord have mercy, the idols I see there! Therefore, let us pray for ourselves, our family and friends, indeed the entire Bride of Christ, as well as, those yet to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

“Rather, worship the LORD your God; it is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.” 2 Kings 17:39.

Shalom!

What If

Doubting Thomas was one of Jesus’ apostles. He refused to believe that Jesus had risen and was no longer dead. He needed visible proof that Jesus was who he said. He wanted to see the wounds on Jesus’ body that he sustained from hanging on the cross.

If you’ve ever experienced doubt you know that it can be debilitating at various levels. To doubt is to be uncertain about something or believe something isn’t true, even though you know that you know. Doubt is tied to fear and the enemy will use this tactic to pervert the glory of God. He will laugh at you and mock you and attempt to cause you to gaze at doubt instead of keeping your focus on the one true God, Jesus Christ. Why? Because he despises the advancement of God’s kingdom here on earth and he gets fired up, literally and figuratively, when the scoreboard reads Jesus 1 Satan 0.

But the truth is that Jesus goes before us and is our rear guard. He commands and brings with him an army of horses and chariots of fire! We may think we need ‘physical’ proof but we don’t because our soul resonates with the Spirit that lives inside us and he speaks the truth of God’s word throughout our entire being because He is the truth.

As a sweet friend reminded me, “It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”

Jesus 2 Satan 0.

Shalom!

Expecting Nothing

Photo credit Maria L.
Photo credit Maria L.

Sometimes, when we’re very still and quiet, we see the distractions in our life, that the world calls inconveniences, an opportunity to be ambassadors to the kingdom of God, our rightful inheritance in Christ. While the world says,” Dont get involved that’s none of your business,” the Spirit says “Come! Join me in what I am about to do!”

Before you know it and right before your eyes God unwrap’s a beautiful miracle and invites you in. And, right there in that miracle God meets you. He says, “Here I Am, open the eyes of your heart and see Me!” You step into the miracle, carrying the gifts God has given you, not expecting anything from God, only wanting to help because he called to you. All too soon the miracle is complete, never over, for His miracles last for eternity, and you long for more. More of Him.

You are overcome and there are no words to describe this wondrous time with God, knowing that you can’t keep his grace and love from the experience all to yourself. But, for now, you’ll treasure these things in your heart for just a little while.

Shalom!

Late To The Party!

Well, good morning blogosphere and Friends! I may be late to the party and that’s okay, better late than never, I say! Yesterday I discovered this song and I can’t get enough of it!

Theoretically, I’ve been late to another party and I am so glad I finally found my way there. For months one of the prayers of my heart has been for God to show me how to be the me he created me to be in my family. He answered that prayer last night at church. Our Pastor gave a wonderful sermon on leadership. Specifically about leadership in the home and the different aspects of what that may look like depending on one’s home situation. After the sermon there was a question and answer time. Well, let me back up. During the summer months we have a series titled, “Real Questions Means Real Faith.” During the message we are invited to text in questions, confidentially, and after the message we have a question and answer time where we can all participate.

Last night one question was asked about the wife’s role in leadership within the house. Oh, man, each answer was so sweet to hear. There was so much wisdom and knowledge and I was touched to the very core of my soul. Seriously! You see, leadership within the Body is natural for me, but for a very long time, my position within our home has been obscured. Both my husband and I are strong leaders but in different ways and that’s really cool. God brought two halves and fit them together as whole – in Him! I feel like a veil, a cloud, a something has been lifted from my entire body. I feel new, I feel like I did the morning after I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Everything looks clearer, brighter, richer.

As I was thinking about all this last night I asked God, “why now?” Before he could answer I decided it doesn’t matter. It is what it is and it is glorious!

I told one of the prayer circles that I travel in to please pray for my family, there’s a new leader in town and she is free to be who God created her to be and that is ME!!

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20a emphasis added.

Shalom!

What We Ought To Be Telling Them

Two balanced rocks contrast a sea of stones under a blue sky.
Sticks and stones may break some bones and names will hurt.

When I was younger I was teased and called names; ‘fat butt’ and ‘cow eyes’. In high school my best friend since kindergarten lovingly, so he says, called me thunder thighs. What can I say? I was a cheerleader and I played basketball. It was pure muscle not fat. In today’s society I was definitely bullied, but that isn’t where I’m going with this. I was judged by others because of my physical appearance.

I’ve been studying and preparing for a teaching that I will be presenting soon and as I was looking at several verses one of them jumped off the page at me. Thoughts began to bombard my mind in quick succession. Why, as the beautiful Bride of Christ do we allow ourselves to be distracted by what is going on in the world? Why is it so important that our opinion be heard? Why are some, whom profess to be believers in Christ, so vitriolic toward others? Why are such hurtful words and sentiments shouted out over the world-wide web to this group or that group, this person or that person?

Scripture speaks to us in 2 Peter 2:10.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, thief-cowboy-mascot-tattoo-vector-illustration_my--CZand the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.”

Why are so many busy advancing the kingdom of Satan with judgement of others when we ought to be sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ?! Jesus is coming soon and like a thief we won’t know when. The heavens will disappear, everything will be destroyed by fire and the earth will be laid bare. Do you want to be around when this happens?! God doesn’t want any of his beautiful creation to perish but for all to come to the knowledge of the saving grace of Christ. And, he left very precise instructions for us that we are to make disciples of ALL the nations, which includes ALL people groups, which includes terrorist or not, murderer or not, adulterer or not, drug addict or not, tattooed or not, homosexual or not, transgender or not, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

And if that isn’t enough for you, he speaks this to us in 2 Corinthians 5:10.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

Hand drawing heart in sand on the beachDo you want to hear Jesus list the names of those who received less than the grace of Christ from you, when you have received nothing less than grace from God? Lord have mercy, Bride of Christ, please wake up and share the love of Jesus with EVERYone! John tells us that in this world we are like Jesus, (1 John 4:17). Please put aside your personal feelings and be just that. We don’t get to choose to love the one’s who ‘look’ like us, we are called to love all. If you are firmly rooted in the love of Christ you have nothing to lose and nothing to fear and everything to give. What do you have to fear in loving others who live differently than you, look differently than you or act differently than you? Nothing, you don’t have to give up your convictions to love with the love of Christ! It isn’t about you. It is Christ’s love in you that attracts others to you, don’t stop there, don’t stop half way. Love the way Jesus loves, without condition.

May we all hear the sweetest of words from the lips of our beloved Savior, when at last, He calls us home.

Well done, good and faithful servant!

Shalom!

The Appearance Of A Blessing

birthday_1100012909-012914-intLast week, even though I stayed in communion with my precious Jesus, I was in a bit of a funk. I was trying very hard not to fall down that dark hole where negativity boldly lurks, mockingly in front of the shadows. By Thursday I was crying out to Papa specifically asking Him to have a friend text or call me. The following day a sweet friend of mine, who is a newer believer in Christ, sent me a text with a beautiful prayer, which was exactly what I needed to hear. The day I received this text was also my Birthday and by the end of the day I was overwhelmed and inundated with such warm Birthday wishes and a sweet time spent with my husband and our three children, all of whom were under one roof – the kids, and not very common these days!

Scripture beautifully speaks this verse to us.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11.

You see, that longing we many times feel in our heart, God put it there and he longs to fill it. Many times we choose to fill that longing with other things; over eating, excessive shopping, excessive behavior, but these things are simply a temporary fix. Only God can fill this longing. This longing is eternity and one of the deepest desires of our heart and soul is to be with our Creator, in eternity. How gracious is God that while we are still here on earth he fills this longing if we allow him to?

I believe one of the biggest misconceptions of a blessing is that it comes in the form of a monetary windfall. But, what if God’s blessing was causing you to be late for an appointment and you missed being in an accident? What if a blessing came because of a loss of a job and God has something even better waiting for you, but you were too afraid to let go so he did it for you? What if a blessing comes as a result of many fallen tears?

I know this is a cliché, but be thankful for your many blessings. Be alert to how they are exquisitely wrapped and how elegantly they are delivered just for you.

Only God can fill the longing in your heart.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21.

Shalom!

The Double Portion

wheat field scene

Does it occur to you that whenever you venture to eat out at a restaurant your meal almost always comes as what appears, seems and ‘feels’ like an extra portion, thereby making it a double portion? Back in the early 80’s I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia or low blood sugar, which is the opposite of diabetes. Apparently, my pancreas created too much basket-with-raw-food-vector_z1lbQbvuinsulin. I have since been healed of this disease but I still follow the dietary habits of lower carb choices and six smaller meals a day. This shouldn’t present itself as a problem while dining out, except for the fact that I LOVE food! So, if I’m eating a particularly good meal, I don’t want to stop at the small meal stage I quite often continue to the ‘oh I shouldn’t have eaten so much’ stage!

But, what about your spiritual life? Do you crave a double portion? I know I do! I want a double portion of every blessing God has for me. Is this simply pure selfishness? I don’t believe so and here is why. The prophet Elisha wanted a double portion of his mentor, the prophet Elijah’s, ministry, as Elijah was about to be taken up to heaven. Essentially, what Elisha was asking Elijah was to make him his first-born heir. The custom of the time was that the first-born son would inherit a double portion of the father’s inheritance.

As believers in Christ we have been adopted into God’s family AND we share in Christ’s inheritance as first-born sons and daughters of God. As Scripture speaks, he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:5a.

Scripture also tells us that Jesus has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the spiritual realm in Him! Come again?!! Here are a few of what these blessings are; salvation, adoption into

classic cloudscape. Blue sky with ornamental clouds
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.. Ephesians 1:3

God’s family, forgiveness and insight, the gifts of the Spirit, freedom in Christ, living victoriously regardless of current life situations and eternity! And, these blessings are not meant only for eternity, they are ours here and now, front and center. Why then, do we often walk around feeling defeated, unloved and out of sorts? Perhaps because we sometimes temporarily lose sight of these ever present blessings.

Precious One, seize the day, tell the ‘devil’ to jump off your shoulder and the monkey on your back his ride is over, in Jesus’ Name!

Papa, thank you for the sacrifice of your beautiful, beloved Son, who died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. Holy Spirit thank you for reminding your Bride everyday of our freedom and inheritance in Christ. For showing us how to walk in our freedom and inheritance. Thank you Jesus that we are your sheep and your sheep hear your voice, you know us and we follow you. Amen.

PS-take out boxes not needed and left overs are always welcome!

Shalom!

Hello, My Name Is

Hello, my name is

The meaning of his name meant pleasant, beautiful or delightful. As was the custom of the time, parents normally named their children according to what was going on in their life. Perhaps at his birth the weather was pleasant, perhaps he was such a beautiful baby or his mother bore him with great delight. His name was Naaman. The two a’s make one long ‘a’ sound against the word man – Naa-man.

Just for fun I thought I would look up the names of my family. You all know that my name is Terese and the closest I could find was the name Teresa, which means harvester. Interesting, for years God has been telling me to feed his sheep and has called me to be a part of a teaching ministry.

Before a farmer can harvest his crop there is much preparation. The land is tilled and made ready for seed. The seed is sown and the farmer is attentive to his soon to be crops by making sure weeds and varmints don’t overtake the new seedlings. He waters and weeds and waters and weeds. Soon it is time to harvest the crops and delight in the bounty of his hard work.

Ministry is akin to farming and perhaps this is why we are given this analogy in Scripture. There are season’s of forming new relationships, prepping the soil, and season’s of laying the seed of the gospel, still other time’s we walk along side and encourage with the truth of God’s word, speaking life into and over our ‘seedlings’ protecting from the varmints and weeds. And then, oh glorious day, there are season’s of great bounty and harvest and new members are welcomed to the family!

My husband’s name means powerful ruler. I know without a doubt that God is shaping him into a very powerful man of God and it is exciting to see him grow in this direction!

Our oldest’s name means from the court. From a very young age she has always been concerned with justice, in fact, her major is law and justice and she aspires to become a lawyer with her sight set in politics.

One day, when our son was very young, he spontaneously ran across the lawn pretending to hold a sword high in the air yelling, “Leviticus charge!” A few years ago he went to a Christian healing room for prayer and the person praying for him told him he saw my son holding a spear. My son’s name means spear strength or strong spear.

Our youngest has a very big compassionate heart, from about the age of five she has said she someday wants to open a homeless shelter. Her name means favor or grace.

But, I have digressed further than I intended, back to Naaman. Naaman was the commander of the army of the King of Aram. He was a valiant soldier and in the sight of King Aram he was a great man and highly regarded because through him the Lord had given victory to King Aram. (2 Kings 5:1).

There was one problem with Naaman, he had leprosy. There was a young girl from Israel who was the servant girl of Naaman’s wife. One day the servant girl told Naaman’s wife that Naaman should go and see the man of God – the prophet, who lived in Samaria. The servant girl was sure that he would heal Naaman! As it was, Naaman did just that.

Sea of GalileeNow, when Naaman arrived in Samaria he pulled up in his chariot to the door of Elisha, the prophet of God fully expecting Elisha to come out and greet him. However, Elisha sent a messenger to tell Naaman to go and wash himself seven times in the Jordan and after that his flesh would be clean. Naaman was appalled! He thought that Elisha would surely have come out to him and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the leprosy and cure him. He continued with his tirade saying, “Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” He then left in a rage. Clearly he wasn’t living up to the full meaning of his name that day.

Thankfully, for Naaman, his servant, who was with him was thinking clearly. The servant said to Naaman, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!”

Huh, how many times do we allow pride to block our view of answered prayer simply because it doesn’t look like what our mind conceived it to be? How many times do we choose to be offended because God, who is sovereign, decides to use someone in our life to deliver his message rather than speak directly to us?

Hope want conceptNaaman eventually did what Elisha told him and washed in the Jordan seven times and was healed. And this was his response, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel.” (2 Kings 5:15b).

Precious One, live up to the full potential of your name in Christ Jesus.

Shalom!

Throw Back Thursday

Hope for Today
Speaking of the www, this came up on a social network as a memory in my newsfeed.

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Monday, June 11, 2012
What Has Happened to Community
Every morning there was a knock on the door and there stood Al. Al the mailman. Al might be considered a peculiarity in today’s society but back in the late 60’s and 70’s Al considered it a joyful part of his job in delivering the mail. Not only did Al hand our mail to my mom he stood and chatted with her for about five to ten minutes. Al had created community.

After dinner during the hot summer nights we would go out on our porch to cool off and sit and talk with one another. Like clockwork our neighbors began coming out front to escape the heat of their homes as well. Normally it was hotter inside than out because we didn’t have central air conditioning and the floor fan just blew around hot air. Before long groups of neighbors were no longer on their porches but had gathered here and there in front of their homes to chat and catch up. We had created community.

My generation, the very, very end of the Baby Boomers is probably the last generation to truly experience this phenomenon. In today’s crazy 24/7/360 mentality we can grocery shop at 1:00am, get gas 24 hours a day, they use to close at 9:00pm, and one can shop at almost any store on a Sunday afternoon. The mall on Sunday’s, when I was growing up, was locked down tighter than Fort Knox. We text, we email, we communicate through any of the many various social networks, but do we actually interact face to face? What has happened to community?

Recently, I heard some staggering statistics on the use of social networks around the world. Face Book came in as number one and religion, any religion, ranked fourteen. It would appear that many would rather sit behind a computer or use their phone to socialize rather than have a face to face engaging conversation.

Why has this change in community become the new phenomenon? Perhaps the biggest reason is that many have to commute to their jobs whereas 30 years ago many people worked in the same city where they lived. Many, I am sure, feel there is not enough time for “me” let alone anyone else. Many are too tired to make the effort.

There is rest for our weary souls. Jesus tells us, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matt. 11:28. Jesus knew the fine art of community. Wherever he went people flocked to and around him. He engaged others, he made eye contact with them, he made them feel special. And, when the day was done his heavenly Father gave him the strength for another day.

Now, I am not opposed to socializing via the internet or by text. I have had great fun reconnecting with friends from my childhood, whom I may not otherwise have heard from. However, I am relearning how to do community the way God intended it to be done. By engaging others in face to face conversation, making time to help others feel they belong and feel they are special. It isn’t always easy or convenient but the benefits far outweigh my own comfort.

Al the mailman knew something that many of us have forgotten. It’s about relationships. A relationship with God and a relationship with each other. I am positively sure the only happy face Al the mailman would use is the popular sticker from the 70’s :0)

Terese Belme at 10:30 PM
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Terese Belme
I love to study God’s word! I am blessed to teach our weekly Women’s Bible study with my best friend. I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt and friend. Best of all I am a daughter of the King!
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Wisdom, Sorrow, Knowledge, Grief, Happiness

vintage-crown_zksjzYduPerhaps he began to feel this way because he had turned his back on his first true love. He had known this love since he was a young boy. This love had guided him and loved him with a love so rich and so deep, I imagine it was overwhelming at times. Perhaps it was because he allowed others to attempt to fill the hole in his heart. Expecting them to love him the way his true love did; using them as a substitute rather than exploring the depths of love his true love provided him.

One day he wrote these words, “For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.” King Solomon wrote these words in Ecclesiastes 1:18. Wisdom Close up portrait of Eurasian Eagle-owlwas the very thing King Solomon had asked God for. As I read this verse I wondered what had caused the king to feel such despair. Perhaps it is because he did one of the things God had told the nation of Israel not to do – intermarry with women from other nations. You may be asking yourself, “why would God care if Solomon married women from other nations?” The answer is simple, God knew that if his beloved nation intermarried with other nations, who worshipped pagan god’s, they would turn His children away from Him. And, that is what happened to Solomon.

 King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. 1 Kings 11:1-2.

Was this the reason Solomon felt like wisdom had become such a burden to him? Perhaps it is why Solomon also wrote these words in Ecclesiastes 2:26a-b, “To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God.” Did Solomon feel he had gone too far and couldn’t find his way back to God? Perhaps we will never know this side of heaven.

This caused me to think about the necessity in my own life about seeking God more and more intimately. About the importance of staying connected to him, so that the wisdom of God will not become of burden of conviction but a continuing expression of his love.

Precious One, if you believe in Christ as your Lord and Savior, nothing you have done or can do will ever separate you from the love of God! His love for you is so vast and so deep, that He has graciously provided confession and repentance as part of your relationship with Him. It is the restoration that maybe Solomon was looking for but gave up trying to find.

Hand drawing heart in sand on the beach

Precious One, if Christ isn’t your Lord and Savior, He wants to be. He loves you so much and longs for you to freely choose Him!

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. King Solomon – Proverbs 4:7.

Shalom!