Posts Tagged With: scripture

Sonlight

Molly soaking up the sun!My old cat Molly loves to soak up the sun. In the summer months she can be found on the patio, in a flowerbed or on a lounge chair for hours at a time letting the warmth of the sun penetrate her fur. When the cold north winds begin to usher in the below freezing temps of winter she tucks her tail and runs for the warmth of her bed inside. She is a great weather forecaster!

With the slightest rise in temperature, she cautiously pulls herself from the confines of her princess pad and ventures to a spot where the sun is shining. It may only be a small beam on a spot just big enough for her, but she takes full advantage of it. She will stretch out her paws and purr, warming her weary bones until she gets her fill. I notice she never misses an opportunity to get into the light and capture its luxurious warmth.

When the sunbeam fades into dusk, Molly is content to return to her bed indoors until the next opportunity to relish in the light of the sun. During winter’s short days she will be content to grab hold of any ray of light she can, and when summer comes again and she can rejoice in the heat from dawn ‘til dusk every day. She didn’t need lessons for finding sun beams, she instinctively knows to go where the light is.

Winter months can be a difficult time to get through because of the long dark nights and short days. This gloomy atmosphere after the hectic holiday season can pull many into a pit of despair. An excellent remedy for those suffering from the dreary days of winter is to find your own sun beam, and get into the light! Bask in its goodness and enjoy its warmth on your skin. Even in the dead of winter, the sun will find a way to warm its captor, and is a necessary component to good emotional health.

Another element to great emotional wellness is following the SON! John 8:12 says “Then Jesus again spoke to them. Saying, I Am the Light of the world, he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness but will have the Light of life.”

Jesus seems to be saying, “I’m throwing out a beam of light so you can see! Follow me!” It tells me we will have dark and difficult times in life. We need to look for the Light of the world and follow Him so we won’t lose our way!

The Light of the World will never grow dim or burn out, God sent His Son to illuminate our path all the way to eternity. If you’ve grown cold, it could be because you stopped walking! Following Jesus means we are always pursuing Him, and we need to be moving towards the Light! Come on get up and get going, travel into the warmth of the Son, bask in His goodness, enjoy His presence and feel His warmth penetrate your soul.

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Sufferin’ Succotash

 

My 2 ½ year old grandson came to stay with us when his newborn sister was whisked away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) one hour and forty five minutes away from home.  His mom would stay by her newborn’s bedside for the next 21 days while his daddy went to work and school in between his trips back and forth to the hospital.  It was a trying time for all of us.

This was not the first time we had been to this NICU and as unfortunate as it was we already knew all the staff in this specialized care facility for newborns.  You see, the little guy that was smiling up at me every day asking for “a bite of” was in this same facility during his first month of life as well.

Even though our time together was unexpected we made the best of it, and like any good “Meme” we got caught up on our Looney Toons episodes!  One day, as I watched these old familiar cartoons, Sylvester the cat said “sufferin’ succotash.”  I thought, “That’s it!  This suffering is for a reason, it is meant to help me understand how much Jesus suffered for me.”  In this light bulb moment I realized I had wanted my salvation and all the goodness that comes with that, but I wasn’t willing to suffer like my Savior had.  I wanted my cake and to eat it too!

Reality set in and I began to question my faith, my belief in God, and I think even lost my hope for a time.  God began to show me some things I didn’t really want to read or hear about.  We must be willing to suffer like His Son did.  Jesus was lonely, hungry and tired. He had no home or income.  Once it was discovered he could heal people Jesus was hounded and called upon until it made it very difficult for him to spend time alone with his Father.  He was persecuted, ridiculed and laughed at before he ever got to the cross.

I began to ask myself: could I trust God even when I couldn’t see?  Did I really believe He was the God of all comfort?  Was my faith strong or weak?  I honestly was not very proud of some of my answers.

1 Peter 4: 12-13 – Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.

“The Good News” comes with a price.  Jesus suffered and died for our sins so we could have access to the Throne Room.  We must be willing to partake in the sufferings of Christ to really know and experience the glory of God.  Let me ask you today – are you willing to share in the sufferings of Christ? Can you trust when you cannot see?  Will you hold onto your hope in Christ when things look bleak?

One interesting side note:  When I googled suffering succotash I found the following information on the term:

In the mid-1800s, during the Victorian era, there was a rejection of all profanity and so the common people developed a wide variety of malapropisms to avoid swearing on Holy names. Soon, one could hear “cripes” and “crikey” replace “Christ” and “dangnabit” replace “G*d damn it”; and “cheese ‘n’ rice” replace “Jesus Christ.” The phrase “suffering succotash” replaced “suffering Savior.”

 

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Reveal, Repent and Renew

Psalm 51:10 – Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. David wrote this after his good friend; Nathan told him what he needed to hear. David was sinning against God but had rationalized it in a way that didn’t “seem so bad”. His friend, Nathan pointed it out and then David realized he was not walking with God. He repented and asked God to forgive him so he could renew his close relationship with His Creator.

We all need to bury this scripture in our hearts so that each time we struggle with temptation or rationalizing something that is against God we can immediately repent and return to our Father.

As simple as this topic seems it can be the one thing that trips all of us up. We can get in a rut and not realize we are sinning because what we are doing has been rationalized either by us or by our family and friends. We all need good friends to tell us the truth from time to time. This is something we don’t usually like but sometimes necessary to get us back on the right track.

Could you be a good friend and tell someone the truth of their sin? Could you be on the receiving end of this and accept a gentle criticism or rebuke? A good friend will not intentionally hurt your feelings but want to cautiously correct your wrong.

We are meant to help each other along in our faith. Pointing out a sin can be part of that. I’m thankful for Nathan’s story in scripture but I am equally thankful for David’s response to the correction. He didn’t take it out on Nathan he went immediately to God for restoration.

A great example for all of us!

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A friend called Faith

I have a friend who often uses interesting one- liners to get her point across when communicating. One of the most humorous is “she could worry a wart off of you”. It causes a grin every time. Now, I know what she means by her analogy and I bet you do too. God also has quite a few analogies in His Word and this is one of them. “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” Mathew 6:27

It is not at all hard to understand what He is saying in this verse, the visual is clear. However, accomplishing this not worrying thing is hard work in the world we live in. We worry we will not have enough money to pay our bills, we will lose our job, and we will have a long-term illness… I will just stop typing for a moment and let your mind take it from here.

Now that you have your own list, let me suggest that worry is nothing more than fear of the unknown. If you take that one-step further, the fear of the unknown could be considered lack of faith. After all faith defined, is a strong unshakeable belief in something without any proof or evidence. Ouch, did that hurt your feelings as much as it did mine? I don’t like to think of myself lacking faith but if I am constantly walking around in fear worrying about the unknown then my faith is very weak.

Let’s agree together to get rid of this person called Worry and become best friends with Faith.

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Don’t give up!

Has there ever been a time that you wondered if God was giving up on you? Philippians 1:6 says: For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. In other words, if you are a believer in Christ, He will not let you down. He will continue to refine that good work He has started in you until the day of Christ Jesus. His intention will be to stir in you the desire to discipline yourself to follow after Christ, no matter the cost.

Will you have days of despair, discouragement and depression? Yes, of course! It is necessary to feel the pressure, and the natural inclination for most humans will be to give up, throw in the towel or return to the old habits. Don’t despair, He is only showing you how helpless you are without Him. What a joy to know that He won’t let any of us down and will come to our rescue right when we think all is lost. He is faithful. If God is for us who can be against us? He will finish what He starts!

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I just can’t forgive myself!

Do you have trouble forgiving yourself? Have you done something that you believe is so terrible that you can’t stop condemning yourself for it? Do you consistently bring it up to God? What if I told you that what you are trying to do is a sin?

God gave the Son of Man the authority on earth to forgive sins. (Mathew 9:6) Jesus hung on the cross, endured a horrible death to redeem you from your sin. Once you have accepted Jesus Christ as your savior you are saved. Your sins are forgiven because He took them on himself. You cannot forgive yourself because you do not have the authority from heaven to do so.

This issue if you will? is a classic female malady. Women consistently tell me “I just can’t forgive myself.” I say “No you cannot, you do not have the authority to do that.” God gave the authority to our Savior, His Son, to do that. By expressing your inability to be unable to forgive yourself you are in effect saying you are suffering from the sin of unbelief or lack of faith or both. In truth, pride is probably the biggest demon here.

Since the beginning of time Satan has been twisting God’s Word just a little to trip us up or keep us hand cuffed to our past. By doing so, we become ineffective for Christ, we can’t walk in freedom. If you are suffering from this chronic problem can I offer you some relief? May I gently remind you that you are not in control? Take your burden to the cross for the last time. Ask the Great I AM to forgive you for your sin of pride, unbelief or lack of faith and step into the Promised Land with no baggage. Learn to embrace the new creation you are in Christ. Accept this free gift and wear it every day from now on.

Just imagine with me if all those reading this were able to let go of the past and walk in freedom from this day forward how much work would get done for the Kingdom? Go ahead, take the key God has given you and unlock the handcuffs.

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Need Peace?

I am powerless at my home when it comes to the television. I never have the remote in my hand and as a result I can barely operate the talking beast that lives in one corner of my living room. Growing up in a home with 3 older brothers where the three channels we enjoyed were 3, 6 & 12 meant I was the remote and never chose any program I might have enjoyed. It didn’t take me long to discover books! Reading allowed me to control the volume, tone and content of the programming filtering through my mind. No big brothers to invade my space with their sports programs and game shows they never seemed to tire of.

Our world today is louder than ever with thousands of electronic options (channels) as it clamors for our attention waiting to assault our minds with its logic hoping to gain our loyalty. Television, internet, theatre and radio are just a few sources we are constantly tempted by. God gave us our mind to think on things above. Romans 8:6 says “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.”

As an adult, I still love books; I love to read anything that I can learn from especially the WORD. It has brought this once powerless little girl into a woman who depends on it for her every need. The things of this world can be harsh and harmful to our minds leaving imprints than can be hard to erase. We should take great care as to what and where we choose to allow our minds to go. Sin always starts in the mind and once it does it usually tries to escape!

Need some peace? Open up the WORD and enjoy some much needed rest from the world today.

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Joshua or not

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9) Ok, if God needs to say “DO NOT be afraid or dismayed” then there must have been a good reason to believe that Joshua was going to feel that way very soon! As I read this scripture and meditated on it I wondered “Am I sure what dismayed means?” Definitely not a word I hear often. I also noticed that different words that we get use to reading or saying in scripture are no longer considered everyday words in the 21st century.

I am a fan of the Webster’s dictionary in the hard copy if you know what I mean. I love to look up words and ponder their meanings. We can all expand our vocabulary every day if we want to. It just seems that we no longer have the want to. We just read over words thinking we grasp their meaning without really knowing how to define it completely. (Youngest daughter are you listening?)

So, let’s see what this word “dismayed” really means or meant in context to this scripture. Dismay implies that one is at a loss as to how to deal about something. Specifically for this passage it means, a sudden disappointment or sudden loss of courage. At the beginning of the passage God asks Joshua a question. “Have I not commanded you?” My paraphrase would be “Haven’t I already told you this?” I am giving you a warning that what you are about to see or experience is not exactly what you were thinking and it might cause you to suddenly lose your courage and become afraid and disappointed.” God was letting Joshua know in advance that he might be coming up against something that would create a deep despair and a sudden urge to give up! Joshua would need to remain strong and hold onto his courage.

Well, I can’t imagine why Joshua would be afraid; I mean becoming the leader of 2 million people and then crossing the Jordan River with them to the long awaited Promised Land. No problem, right? This new job was going to require great faith and Joshua was going to want to quit. The good news is that God says He will be with Joshua wherever he sends him.

I love this scripture; I keep it close so I can remind myself that God is with me and I can’t do any of this without HIM and I don’t need to be afraid. Life is a series of sudden disappointments, fears and frustrations that can really make us wonder what we are doing here. What I believe God was really trying to do was build a trust relationship between Himself and Joshua. If Joshua could learn to rely on God completely during those moments of extreme fear or when he became dismayed they could be great companions. Joshua would then become a vessel through which God could do great works for His kingdom. Joshua did learn it but God had to remind him a few more times to be strong and hold onto his courage. I think I have been Joshua a time or two how about you?

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THE WORD

John 1:1- In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with God, and Word was God. Therein lays the simplest vocabulary the New Testament has to offer. Yet, this short sentence provokes deep thought about the WORD.

It is amazing how God had John pen these words to illustrate the completeness of His WORD. The WORD has always been in existence. The WORD has walked among us; The WORD is now complete in its written form and free to communicate to us through God, Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit.

That is indeed a lot to consider from the simplest vocabulary. God has provided us not only, His Son’s death and resurrection to cover our sins but the person of Holy Spirit to dwell within if we believe in Him causing a communion that testifies to us thereby allowing The WORD to do the work God intended it to do.

Sometimes the simplest things can be the hardest. All of us would do well to return to the beginning and review our elementary truths from time to time. They are filled with power and truth giving us strength for every day. In the beginning was the WORD and it still is….

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Don’t lose your focus

My daughter loves to shop.  The shinier and glitzier the item the bubblier she becomes.  She can be on an errand to get a necessary household item and be whisked away by the brightly colored tops swinging to and fro on the mannequins.  It is amazing to me how she can be so easily distracted by these garments that literally seem to be calling to her as she walks by.

Eve was much the same way when she was in the garden on that fateful day when sin entered our world.  She was so taken by the lovely fruit that we can only assume was bright and shiny that all her mind could do was focus on the fruit.  It was beautiful and she wanted it.  Once attracted, she began to rationalize why she should have it.  She began to listen to the serpent tell her what she deserved and her pride got the best of her. She took the fruit, ate it and gave it to her husband.

We are all like Eve.  Sin tempts us with its beauty.  It is often so enticing we are not able to see anything else. Satan is a master craftsman and uses our senses to lure us into things that appear fun and harmless.  Our pride and selfishness is usually the driving force behind our desires. Once we are snared he can, over time, devour us much like an animal caught in a trap.

Next time you are lured, pulled or distracted by something in the world try to ask yourself if this is what God wants for you.  Question your motives and search your heart for a pride problem.   His Word says He will provide a way out of temptation.  (1 Corinthians 10:13)   Next time, just ask Him for help.

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