Hope For Today: Paper Dolls

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When I was young we would make paper dolls. If the paper was folded correctly and cut properly when we unfolded the paper the dolls would be holding hands. That’s what I see with these three verses. They hold hands, one with another.

Be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. James 5:7

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14.

‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10.

In between the rains there is a season of dry. Sometimes we can mistake this as God not speaking to us, wondering, “where did he go?” I encourage you to think about this season as a time of rest and preparation for Esther 4:14, being chosen for such a time as this!

When we realize God has chosen us for a particular assignment we might get anxious or fearful, even asking, “why me God?” I encourage you to ask yourself, “why NOT me?!” That’s when Isaiah 41:10 takes hold of your hand and reminds you, “fear not for I am with you!”

I declare the truth of these three verses over you, that the dry season between the rains is a time of preparing you for such a time as this and that you have no fear of stepping out in faith because the Lord is with you!

Shalom!

Hope For Today: Nehemiah 4:21-23

Here are my verses for today. What is/are yours and what does it speak to your heart?

So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out. At that time I also said to the people, “Have every man and his helper stay inside Jerusalem at night, so they can serve us as guards by night and as workers by day.” Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water. Nehemiah 4:21-23.

2499-1013-A2544Nehemiah and the Israelites never put their weapons down not even for a drink of water, they didn’t change their clothes and they worked by day and guarded by night. What work ethic! The Holy Spirit is always reminding me not to put my weapon down and not to take off His protective armor. What does this look like in the earthly realm? Our weapon is the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, simply put, NEVER stop fighting through prayer. What about his protective armor? I’ll let you look that up in Ephesians 6:10-17.

I declare God’s blessing on each of you today, according to His perfect will!

Shalom!

How Are You Doing With ‘Love Thy Neighbor’?

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

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For years, 12, to be exact, the house next door was home to one of the most wonderful neighbors a person could ever ask for. Trish was always kind, thoughtful and respectful. One year during a particularly wet and windy winter, one of her tree’s fell over onto our side. She immediately was at our door apologizing and letting us know she had already contacted her gardener to come and cut it down. We would leave Christmas goodies on each other’s doorstep and when we saw each other outside we would always stop to talk.

Trish lived by herself and we always told her if she needed anything day or night to call us. She was a hard worker, working as a mail carrier during the day and getting up in the wee hours of the morning to deliver papers. Even though our bedroom is on the other side of the house from where her garage is, I sometimes, in the still of the night, would here her garage door go up and I knew she was getting ready to go out, by herself, and deliver the latest breaking news to part of far East County.

Sadly, Trish had to move about a year and a half ago. Her house was bought by an investor and we have had two sets of neighbors live next door during this time. About a month ago the renters moved out and some new neighbors moved in. It was natural to presume that we would be getting new renting neighbors, families passing through until they could afford their own house or perhaps finding something less expensive to rent. However, by the way our new neighbors fixed up the property it is safe to presume they bought the house. Great! Our little court could continue its quiet existence. Or, so we thought.

Our new neighbors are not loud by any means. In fact, they keep much to themselves. We attempt to make eye contact with them and say a friendly, “hello”, but they aren’t having any of our neighborliness. I even went over to share some community safety information with them, I know they were home because I could hear someone come to the door, but their door remained steadfastly closed.

The issue isn’t that they are loud noise wise, rather, it is the 6+ vehicles they have brought with them, three being work vans, that they try very hard to keep confined to their area, but, quite frankly, it has turned our little court upside down. Especially for our neighbors that live next door to them on the other side. And, I’m guessing they are a little offstandish because of all their vehicles and don’t want to be confronted about this and maybe had some issues elsewhere in the past.

Here is another, practice what you teach, moment for me! Sometimes it is hard to pray for what God asks us to pray about. Especially when we have become comfortable with the way things are and suddenly the Holy Spirit rocks the boat.

My dear friend and neighbor across the street from us and I have said for many years that God has put us in our corner houses as light houses into our court and for our neighborhood. We decided to join together in prayer for our new neighbors, asking God to change our hearts for them and opportunities to simply share His love.

Soon after one of our prayer times together, I was praying for our neighbors again and God showed me a picture of our new neighbors in a boat, sailing into our court, passing the two lighthouses, one on each corner. I could see the water they were coming from was choppy and as soon as they entered into the court the water became calm. The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, “I have brought them from raging waters into a calm sea.” Wow, I am always overwhelmed when the Holy Spirit gently reminds me that it isn’t about me and my feelings but about Him and what he is asking me to do. And, at the same time teaching my heart to resonate with His. God has chosen my neighbor and I, not to complain about how things have changed and are now uncomfortable, rather to trust Him and look at the bigger picture. To remember His words in 2 Peter 3:9:

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 

Precious One;

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  Philippians 4:6.

In Everything!

Shalom.

At The Feet Of Jesus

Not long ago, I had an ‘aha’ moment. Actually, I have many ‘aha’ moments, but this particular moment came while I was reading Luke 10:41-42. I was working on a teaching and the Holy Spirit reminded me of these verses, and He guided me to the version in The Message. I don’t study from The Message but sometimes the Holy Spirit brings me there to further illuminate his word for me. Like the light from a lamp that is switched on; its brilliance fills the space it encompasses.

“The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.” Luke 10: 41-42 The Message.

2159-1013-A2201I have always felt that as Mary sat at the feet of Jesus it was to learn from Him. To hang on every word he said gaining his knowledge and wisdom, and while this may be true,  during this ‘aha’ moment I sensed the Holy Spirit saying to me, “she sat at My feet to receive from me.” Mary was modeling solitude. Simply being in the presence of God with no agenda, no prayer requests, no thoughts, no words, just quietness. Simply receiving his love. Do you love how Jesus describes himself? As the main course! And, don’t miss his promise to Mary, He won’t be taken from her! This promise is ours also, it is part of our inheritance in Him. For those who believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior, He will never be taken from us. Hallelujah!

A few days after this ‘aha’ moment a friend asked me to preview a teaching she is giving later this year. Wouldn’t you know, this verse is part of her teaching?! Oh, but it gets better, as we discussed this teaching she commented that her sense was that there wasn’t any knowledge transfer from Jesus to Mary going on. Mary sat and freely received the love of Jesus, which he freely gave! It always amazes me when the Holy Spirit confirms for us what he is speaking to us. He doesn’t have to but chooses to do so. I hope that I am always amazed by this aspect of our relationship!

Here is what I believe the Holy Spirit wants us to feel deep in our soul:

“Solitude is sitting at the feet of Jesus receiving his lavish love. Being refilled and replenished by the Holy Spirit. Being at home with Jesus.” T.B.

Precious One, I bless you with the lavish love of Christ.

Shalom!

Soul Blessing

I am reading a fantastic book, “Soul Keeping”, by John Ortberg. Pastor John maintains that the deepest desire of our soul is to be in constant communion with God.

As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So my soul pants for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God;
When shall I come and appear before God? Psalm 42:1-2.

When we sin it is in our soul that sin resides and puts our soul into distress, causing us to be out of alignment with God, until we acknowledge our sin before God and our fellowship with him is restored.

According to Pastor John, another of our souls desire is to bless others and to be blessed. Pastor John suggests that soul blessing shouldn’t be done quickly or haphazardly, rather with deep sincerity and by looking the person we are blessing in the eyes. There is a  saying, “The eyes are the window to a person’s soul.” There seems to be much debate over the origin of this saying. Perhaps it is from these verses:

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Photo Credit: Hang Le

“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” Matthew 6:22-23.

While I can’t look each of you in the eye, I do leave you with this blessing from the depth of my soul to yours.

“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26.

Shalom!

 

 

Practice What You Teach

I was awakened this morning by a phone call. It was my husband, he was already at work. He called to tell me that our house had been egged, again. This is the second egging in three weeks. This time the eggers got a bit creative, using kid’s paint daubers to write on the windows of our cars. Apparently, they must have thought we would be hungry in the morning because they left us an empty box of baby cereal on the lawn. Unfortunately, they had sprinkled the cereal on our sidewalk and driveway. I am disappointed. The last time they left half a carton of eggs in the grass, which I promptly made hard-boiled eggs with AND they were organic. Score!

The first egging upset me but it was fleeting, maybe because I had already eaten before I went out to clean up the mess. I also learned how to set up and use my husband’s pressure washer without his assistance. Another score! The pressure washer is one of my new favorite toys, along with the electric garden trimmer. I asked my husband if I could have a Screenshot_2014-07-14-08-41-47-1matching pink pressure washer to sit by his red one in the garage. He offered to buy me a motorized one that I can sit in. I know, I was shocked there is such a thing!

This time, however, as I am outside setting up the pressure washer, realizing it isn’t starting because it is out of gas and that requires a trip to the gas station, I am telling God how ticked off I am, how ridiculous this is and if I was in the habit of swearing, I would probably have a few choice words to utter. All the while, I am doing all the talking, ranting really, and not much listening. Oh, I heard what the Holy Spirit was whispering to me, “It could have been worse.” “They used washable paint.” “They didn’t egg the cars.” In the moment, I chose not to acknowledge what He was saying.

When I finished my chore and came in the house I asked God, “What are you going to do about this?” “You go ahead of me in all circumstances, You are my rear guard.” As plainly as I can hear the song birds in our backyard, I heard Him say, “What I did was send them to you.” “I want you to pray for them.” Ah, here is where practice what you teach comes in.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to teach at our third service at church. Part of the teaching was how it is sometimes hard to pray for what God is asking us to pray about. Sometimes God allows unfortunate circumstances, like one’s house being egged, because he has a job for us to do, and he chooses and trusts us to get the job done and he has already equipped us for what we need to do battle.

God has given each of us the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, which is alive and active and sharper than any double-edged sword. God’s word is sharper than any human sword will ever be, even when that sword is a carton of eggs and a box of baby cereal.

As the Holy Spirit gently brings me to a place of correction and repentance, I can see God’s heart more clearly. It saddens him to think about the many hungry children that could have been fed by the eggs and cereal that were wasted. How many meals could have been purchased with the money spent on the paint daubers? His heart is breaking and I can feel that in my own heart. I feel his sadness and the physical expression of that is my own tears.

There is one small bit of humor in all of this. It is the box of baby cereal. As I sat down to write this blog the Holy Spirit reminded me of 1 Corinthians 3:1-4a

20140714_093330-1 “But for right now, friends, I’m completely frustrated by your unspiritual dealings with each other and with God. You’re acting like infants in relation to Christ, capable of nothing much more than nursing at the breast. Well, then, I’ll nurse you since you don’t seem capable of anything more. As long as you grab for what makes you feel good or makes you look important, are you really much different than a babe at the breast, content only when everything’s going your way?” 1 Corinthians 3:1-4a The Message.

Thank you Holy Spirit for reminding me I was acting like a baby, not content because things weren’t going my way. Indeed, thank you for the blessing of knowing your heart, for choosing our family and giving us your sword.

So, if you’re reading this and you are the culprit(s), you can run but you can’t hide, God knows exactly where you are.  I thank the Holy Spirit for dropping his seed of salvation deep into your heart, where it takes deep root in fertile soil. I thank Jesus that you choose Him!

Shalom!

Identity, Identity, Identity!

 

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Some nuggets of treasure that I hope will encourage you today. This is who you are in Christ.

  • “for you are a people holy to the LORD your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen you to be his treasured possession.” Deuteronomy 14:2.
  • “For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” Romans 11:36. We are included in the all things!
  • “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9.
  • “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” Psalm 34:5.

Shalom!

 

 

 

 

 

My Sins Are Forgiven: Do I Still Need To Confess and Repent?

Many times I blog about revelations from the Holy Spirit from his word and love to share with others to encourage and offer hope. Tonight I am pondering this question; “If I am forgiven for all my sins do I still need to confess and repent?”

I believe that Christ died once and for all.

“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, crossso that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;” 1 Peter 3:18.

I also believe all our sins, past, present and future have been forgiven. Our position in Christ is forgiven, past tense.

“to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.” Ephesians 1:6-8.

Indeed, God casts our sins as far as the east is from the west.

IMAG0775And as far as sunrise is from sunset,
he has separated us from our sins. Psalm 103:12 The Message.

Beloved, the hour you first believed all your sins were forgiven. There is no need to continually confess your past sins. However, and I believe there is a distinction to be made here, when present sin is brought to our attention it stands in the way or our fellowship with God and we ought to have the posture of confessing and repenting. Confessing; acknowledging to God we have sinned and repenting; turning away from that sin by the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

Isn’t it an awesome wonder to be forgiven of all our sins while at the same time God offers the gift of confession and repentance, which brings us back into beautiful fellowship with him, that deep and intimate relationship?

Hand drawing heart in sand on the beach “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

Shalom!

 

 

 

Don’t Wait Until Your In The Belly!

Conversation Between 3d Characters Showing Communication And DiscussionHow many conversations do you have throughout the day? Who are you conversing with? Is it your spouse, your children, co-workers? Or maybe you enjoy talking on the phone with friends. Does your day include talking with God?

Prayer is talking with God, having a conversation with him, bringing to him your cares and concerns, your needs and desires, asking Him his guidance for your life, lifting the needs of others up to Him.

What causes you to pray? Is it part of nurturing your deep and intimate relationship with God, the love language you share with him? Or, do you pray when things are not going so well?

Thoughtful Girl Praying For HappinessI began a life of prayer with God when I was about 7 or 8 years old. I grew up in a religion knowing God and Jesus but not knowing that I had a choice to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I have prayed every day since I was 7 or 8, except for one night. It was 12 years ago and just before I gave my life to Jesus. I was laying in bed saying my nightly prayers and I asked God, “Do I really need to pray to you every night?” “What would happen if I stopped?” Immediately, I saw a picture of an open shutter of a camera and it snapped closed and I saw total darkness. Needless to say, I have continued in prayer! As I reflect back I wonder why God used the shutter of a camera to make his point? I am not much of a picture taker, oh, I like to take pictures, but I don’t have the gift of taking amazingly good pictures like some of you! The thought occurs to me that perhaps that is precisely why God used this picture, because it wasn’t something like “an old familiar coat”. He used something slightly obscure so that it would stand out.

The inspiration for today’s blog came after studying Jonah 2, particularly Jonah 2:1-3.

Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the stomach of the fish, and he said,

“I called out of my distress to the Lord,             NX_ship_galleon_whale
And He answered me.
I cried for help from the depth of Sheol;
You heard my voice.
“For You had cast me into the deep,
Into the heart of the seas,
And the current engulfed me.
All Your breakers and billows passed over me. Jonah 2: 1-3

Jonah was a prophet, someone whose life, I would think, was steeped in constant prayer. God had asked him to do something and, being the human that he was and exercising his free will, he chose disobedience over God’s will and ended up in the belly of a very large fish. After three, mostly likely, terrifying days, Jonah admits his disobedience, finally calls out to God in prayer, and God causes the fish to deposit Jonah back onto dry land.

Beloved, please don’t wait until you are “in the belly of a fish” to spend time talking with God. Start or continue today to nourish your relationship with God through prayer. Ask Him what he wants to talk about, I am confident he will share his heart with you.

Shalom!

 

Are You Committed?

2829-invitation-1100025043-10182013What are you committed too? What is it that receives your wholehearted attention? What causes you to be fully determined? Is it your spouse, your children, your job? Perhaps it is your friends, a worthy cause, money or maybe it is just stuff, your stuff.

My parents were depression age kids. I am the youngest of five and my parents were, gasp, middle aged when I was born. We lived a simple life back then. My dad was a house painter, the Local 507. After all these years I still remember his Union number. Perhaps, because his Union was one of the things my father was committed too. There wasn’t any keeping up with the neighbors. As I reflect back, we had everything we needed, housing, food, clothing, transportation, and, most importantly, the love of family.

vintage-water-can-1013tm-pic-1688Even though all our needs were met there was still a sense of scarcity. I have come to believe that it was fear of losing everything, within my father, because of growing up during a time in our Country’s history when there wasn’t even enough that could be lost.

Unfortunately, this fear was passed down to me. Through the years Jesus has taught me, graciously and gently, to trust him. The Holy Spirit continues to peel away layers of years of this sense of lack. Sometimes it isn’t enough for me to remember that as we seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness all these things will be given to us (what to eat, drink and wear – Matthew 6:31). In his lovingkindness Jesus knows there are times I need more of Him, more than simply one verse. I need to see, to read and to understand about his faithfulness throughout his word.

 

Reading  glasses on bible textIt is during these times that He brings a different part of His story to light as if I have never read it before.

The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. 2 Chronicles 16:9a.

Through this verse God speaks to my heart about his provision as we walk with Him, committing ourselves to him with everything we have. Wholeheartedly and fully determined. In order to understand this fully one would be wise to read the entire chapter of 2 Chronicles 16, which isn’t very long. And, as you go about your day, your life, I pray that you will meditate on this verse and ask God to give you his strength to be fully committed to him so that you will have an open heart to receive his full commitment to you.

Shalom!