Bountiful Eyesight

Autumn decorationFood is a staple of life. We need food to give us energy, we ought to eat to live not live to eat. Well, in my case, sometimes I do live to eat! I’m full blooded Italian and I love food! However, I know what my body requires and I try to stick to six smaller meals a day while at the same time attempting healthier food choices. Sometimes I fail at this and that’s okay, I give myself grace to choose healthier at the next meal.

Our spiritual health needs food as well. Our soul longs for and craves the truth of God’s word to fill it to overflowing. To satisfy that deep hunger to know Jesus deeply and intimately. To be consumed by his overwhelming love, to be lost in all of Who he Is.

God’s Word isn’t simply words written on pages. It is alive and if we choose and allow it, it will wrap itself around us like an old familiar coat and take up residence inside our heart. Knowing the truth of God’s word helps increase our faith and gives us the strength to stand and fight in prayer.

That is why Paul prayed over the Ephesians these words.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19.

He wanted the Ephesians and us to understand our supernatural knowledge, which is part of every believer in Christ’s inheritance. To know and rejoice in the love of the Lover of our soul.

Likewise, it is for the same reason that Elisha prayed for his servant, who when he awoke early and saw the army of the king of Aram surrounding the nation of Israel with horses and chariots asked, “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” (2 Kings 6:15c). Elisha replied, “Don’t be afraid.” (2Kings 6:16a).

Then Elisha prayed these words.

 “O LORD, open his eyes and let him see!” The LORD opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire. 2 Kings 6:17.

Elisha wanted his servant to see his inheritance in Christ; God’s mighty power and protection. I don’t know about you but I want to see God’s horses and chariots of fire, especially during a spiritual battle, instead of the physical reality of a situation. I want to be able to say, “Oh, I see what is coming and it is Greater and Mighty than what stands in front of me.” That, my Beloved, belongs to me and to you as believers in Christ.

Precious One open your eyes your chariot awaits.

Shalom!

Grace Wins Every Time

dove-vector-element_M1PQMiUu_L

 

Greater than hate…God’s grace.

Redemption and righteousness…God’s grace.

Acceptance…God’s grace.

Christ in me…God’s grace.

Eternal life…God’s grace.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:17.

God’s grace is for you, God’s grace is for me, God’s grace is for all creation.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8.

Precious One be the change you want to see happen.

#stophate #stopviolence #prayerworks #PRAY more than you talk.

Shalom!

We The People

Summer landscape with storm sky over rye field

 

…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

Not long ago, our youngest lovebug told a young man she was ‘talking’ too that if he started coming around to our house to expect to have a conversation about Jesus. I love that!

I use to be an in your face Jesus freak. Oh, I’m still a Jesus freak but then I met grace and grace completely dissolved the legalistic world view I had. As a believer in Christ I believe it is important to realize and understand that, unless God has opened up the mind of someone yet to believe, they can’t understand the revelation of Scripture because they don’t yet have Holy Spirit living in them. For that matter, I believe many of us who do have Holy Spirit living in us don’t take the time to consistently dig deep and have a relationship with the holy Scriptures. They, the Scriptures, are alive and crying out to have a conversation with us.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1

You see, Scripture is Jesus and having a relationship with Scripture is nurturing a deep and intimate relationship with Christ.

What we’ll find when we talk with Scripture is that God loves all his creation and he wants none to perish but all to come to the knowledge of the saving grace of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Is this going to happen if we spout our frustration about current world events all over social media? I can assuredly tell you, “no, it is not.” And the reason it is not is because you are spouting to a world that doesn’t understand. The change you want to see happen begins with you and it begins with me.

2 Chronicles 7:14 above confirms this for us. Are you called by the Name Jesus Christ? Then it is your responsibility to humble yourself, to pray and seek God and turn from your wicked ways. Yes, you are forgiven of all your sins and yes sin no longer identifies who you are, but we still sin and we are to confess and repent of our sins because sin stands in the way of our fellowship with God. (1 John 1:8-10). Here is the best part, when we take responsibility for these things God promises to forgive our sins and heal our land! Not simply heal but completely heal, which is the original context of the word and land is not only physical land but the people in the land!

We can’t cause anyone to have a relationship with Jesus, that is Holy Spirit’s job, but we can live our life is such a way that others notice the difference and want to know more about why we seem different. Those are the moments we pray for; moments to share Jesus in a loving and grace filled way not an in your face beat them over the head way.

Precious One be the change you want to see in your sphere of influence and ask God to multiply that around the world. Jabez did and God granted his request.

Shalom!

It’s The Law!

book

A few months ago I was having breakfast with one of my dearest friends. She was telling me about her current area of study, the book of Joshua, and the application God is showing her for current time. I was intrigued, as in fascinated, as I always am, when my friend and I have church together, and, Joshua is one of my favorite books. Days later I was still pondering our conversation when I felt Holy Spirit’s leading to begin a cross reference study of Joshua. 

This morning I came across Joshua 1:8:

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from you mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

There are a few things going on in this verse, and being the black and white thinker and rule follower that I am, the first thing that stands out at me is the word law. Law in its original context here is the word torah (to-raw’) and means instruction and it is from another Hebrew word yarah (yaw-raw’), which means to teach.

As believers in Christ we are now covered under the covenant of grace and no longer bound by the Law because we no longer need the Law to convict us it is by the grace of Christ whose Spirit lives within in us that convicts us. However, this does not mean that we ought to disregard the Scriptures on the Law, we still have plenty to learn about ourselves and our relationship with Christ because of the Law.

Wouldn’t it have been easier for the writer of Joshua to have said something like, “Do not let these teachings and instructions depart from your mouth”? I think, and in my humble opinion, we can let our ‘theology’ of the Law cause us to step into legalism. I speak from experience. And, perhaps, this was God’s intention to begin with, not that we would step into legalism but to cause us to question why the word Law is used in many passages throughout the Old Testament.

The next portion of this verse is to meditate on it day and night. Perhaps these struggles with the way God’s word is written is so that we will do just that. Meditate on Him and discover more and more of Who he Is. Day. And. Night. As we do we become more careful to keep His instructions for our life because we become more attune to Holy Spirit guiding us. Here is the phenomenon, we meditate on God and we delight in doing His will even though we maintain free moral will. Somehow, and it can only be by the supernatural grace of God, we let go of our rebellion and our will and want to do God’s will simply because he is good and worthy, because we revere him, because He is God.

The last part of this verse gives us a promise – you will be prosperous and successful. Which really means that we will make intelligent and expert decisions with understanding and wisdom and we will guide others wittingly; being fully aware of what we are saying and doing for the benefit of others and we will behave ourselves.

Precious One, the Law is really God’s great and unending love for you. Won’t you start today and discover more of this for yourself?

Live long and prosper.

Shalom!

 

Across the Generations

IMG_4579This morning I went to brunch at a friends house and on my way I stopped to buy her some flowers. As I was getting back into my car a strange thought occurred to me, “Did I remember to teach my children to always bring a gift to their hostess?” My mother taught me this and other valuable pieces of information that was meant for me to pass on to my children.

Interestingly, our brunch conversation turned to the different generations; how each generation has so much to offer and how do we bridge the unintentional gap between the generations of women in our faith family? Which would further equip us to take love into our community.

Today I came across Jeremiah 44:17:

 We will certainly do everything we said we would: We will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven and will pour out drink offerings to her just as we and our fathers, our kings and our officials did in the towns of Judah and in the street of Jerusalem. At that time we had plenty of food and were well off and suffered no harm.

‘The queen of heaven.’ My first thought was, “And how did that work out for you?” Then I realized here was an entire generation of God’s chosen children who did not know the God of their ancestors or at the very least didn’t know Him in the way their forefathers had. Here was a generation that defied God by worshipping, as some speculate, Venus or another goddess, because somewhere through their ancestral history there was a disconnect, whether intentional or not, between generations.

The account of King Josiah in 2 Chronicles 34:14, 19, 21 confirms this for us:

v.14 While they were bringing out the money that had been taken into the temple of the LORD, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of  the LORD that had been given through Moses.

v. 19 When the king heard the words of the Law, he tore his robes.

v. 21 Go and inquire of the LORD for me and for the remnant in Israel and Judah about what is written in this book that has been found.

The same Israelites that were burning incense to the queen of heaven in Jeremiah 44:17 were apart of the generation of King Josiah that didn’t know about what was written in the Book of the Law because their fathers before them hadn’t passed along the teachings. These were people living in the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim, Simeon and Naphtali – four of the patriarchal lands of the twelve tribes of Israel!

Precious One just as it is my responsibility to teach my children to bring their hostess a gift, it is our responsibility as the Body of Christ to teach one another the written word of God, share our experiences, teach lost arts in a modern world and learn about the modern world to the best of our ability so we don’t one day inquire of one another, “What is written in this book that has been found?” We are now that remnant and God chooses to work through us for the glory of His kingdom in the Name of his Son, Jesus Christ and for the sake of all generations.

Shalom!

 

Memories of Junior High Camp

 

 

Scan 2

 

ScanYears ago, I was an adult leader with our Jr. High Youth group. Every year we would go to summer camp, and, every year there was one night we played hide and go seek. The adult leaders would take their Jr. Higher’s and hide and it was the job of the Pastors to find each group. We would all wear the darkest clothing we had. I still have my hoodie that I bought at camp just for this night and it is still one of my favorite sweatshirts! Now, I use to be very competitive, okay, I still am, but just a tiny bit especially when it comes to board games. I was determined this night that my girls and I would not be found.

Scan 5We hid down by a stream that had a huge fallen tree across it that one could walk over instead of the path we took. We positioned ourselves in a straight line in the shadow of the tree. It was completely dark except for the light of the moon. It was also very quiet except for the shouts and calls of the Youth Pastors attempting to draw everyone out. We sat and whispered to one another and giggled as one by one we could hear the other groups suffering the defeat of being discovered. There were a few close calls as we heard Pastors coming our way and turning around after finding ‘nothing’. Finally, after what seemed like a million years, the game was over and we were never found! We won! We won! We won! Did I mention I use to be competitive? My heart is racing recalling this memory! The funny thing is we were actually hiding in plain sight. Had anyone come from the other direction they would have been facing toward us and even though we were all wearing dark clothing the Pastors all had one advantage, they had flashlights!

Scan 3In Acts 17 we find Paul walking around Athens and he is greatly distressed to find the city full of idols. He even found an altar that had an inscription to an unknown God. This gave Paul the perfect opportunity to share the gospel message and Christ Jesus as the unknown God.

God had revealed Himself to the Athenians, who had been worshipping Him without knowing, well before Paul arrived. God the Father was there the entire time in plain sight! Oh, how the Father loves his creation, so much so, he will stop at no means to show his desire to be in a redeemed relationship with all his creation through his beloved Son, Jesus!

Scan 1Precious One, God is not a hidden God, He is right in front of you. He is in plain sight.

Shalom!

check out http://www.icr.org/article/genesis-chinese-pictographs/                                   for another amazing story of God in plain sight!

 

 

Power in Weakness

Dark stormy clouds over corn field at summer

 

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9b

Have you ever been in a situation that just seemed hopeless? Where you were doing what God had asked of you and the darkness of the storm was all you could see even in the brightness of daylight? I’ve experienced these storms, as I am sure that you have also. And, while we are not promised a storm free life we can be sure that God doesn’t give us these storms to punish us, rather he allows them to grow us. But more importantly He uses them to benefit others.

Paul and Silas found themselves attacked, stripped, severely flogged and put in stocks in prison for commanding a demon out of a slave girl that could predict the future, because of the demon, and made her owners a lot of money. They were doing what God had sent them to do.

As the story goes along we find Paul and Silas, who must have been in a great deal of pain from the flogging, which is usually done with a leather whip that has metal balls or pieces of sharp sheep bone alternating on each strap of leather that dig in and rip away skin, praying and singing hymns to God, while the other prisoners were listening!

There is a crazy earthquake and the doors of the prison flew open and all the chains of all the prisoner’s came loose. When the jailer in charge saw what had happened he was about to fall on his sword because he thought all the prisoners had escaped and he would have been held accountable and most likely killed because of this.

Paul, in his love and grace for others, tells him to stop, ensuring the jailer that everyone was accounted for. As a result the jailer asks how he can be saved. Paul and Silas tell him “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.” Not only were the jailer and his household saved they were baptized.

Here’s the thing. Paul and Silas were Roman citizen’s and had they told their attackers as much they never would have endured the torture that they did because publicly beating a Roman citizen was illegal, especially without a trial, which Paul and Silas were not given.

Would the jailer, his family and his entire household been saved that night if Paul and Silas would have announced their Roman citizenship during the attack on them? Only God knows. And, how many of the other prisoners who witnessed these things also became believers that night because Silas and Paul were living their life for God?

Precious One, those storms in life sometimes seem like they are raging out of control. One thing is sure, God will always be in control and that storm may serve a deeper and greater purpose. That none should perish but all come to the knowledge of the saving grace of Christ Jesus. When you are weak He is strong.

Shalom!

 

Do You Have a Need?

help-text-on-sand_Qysj5WThis morning I was reading in Acts 11. Throughout this passage I continually see God’s grace and faithfulness that the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone! I see Peter gently teaching the others and us, through his vision on Simon’s rooftop, (Acts 10:9-16), that we are no longer bound by the law but covered by grace. The Jewish believers in Jerusalem criticized Peter for going into the house of Gentiles and eating with them, which previously had been forbidden by the Law.

I see God mobilizing his children, through the initial scattering of them, to spread the good news so that none should perish but ALL come to the knowledge of the saving grace of Christ.

But, but, my favorite verses in this entire passage are the very last two. Verses 29 and 30.

The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea.  This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul. Acts 11:29,30.

The reason the disciples were sending whatever help they could was because the Holy Spirit spoke through the prophet Agabus about a severe famine that would overtake the entire Roman world. Not only did the disciples want to help other believers in the Body of Christ, they believed the prophet! Hmm, they believed the prophet, this is not a novel idea, but it is research for another blog on another day.

The mission statement for our faith family is extending true life to our community, which requires each of us to take a personal inventory of our heart and motives of how we will use what God has blessed us with and trust him to provide. Vv. 29 and 30 above is a picture of extending true life within the Body of Christ. No one needed to fundraise to go on a mission trip and no one needed to come home on furlough only to arrange numerous speaking engagements in the hope of raising money to go back and continue to spread the good news of the gospel to their host country. The Body knew of a need and simply filled it because they trusted God.

Precious One, what would it look like if the Body of Christ began to operate more closely to how the Body did in the book of Acts?!

Shalom!