30 July 2013

It's time to wake the sleepers!

Scripture: 1 John 1:10-13 NLT

He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him.  He came to his own people, and even they rejected him.  But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.  They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

Observation: 

Not everyone will "get it" . . . even (and maybe especially) those who have long proclaimed themselves as chosen & favored of God.  And yet, this passage states plainly that ALL who believe and accept Christ WILL be reborn.  The rebirth seems like the litmus test for the believer.  Not yet having experienced it doesn't mean you're doomed--just that you have something awesome and amazing out in front of you as you continue to humble yourself and seek the Christ.

Application: 

We who profess the Son of God have to be earnest about it.  Serious. Joyful. Excited. Unrestrainable!  We can't call Him our Lord, and then live like the world.  Or even like most of Christianity.  There are a multitude of variations on "worldly" living . . . but underneath, they're all just new spins on the same old theme: they place in our hearts, in the very most holy and sacred temples of God on the earth, idols that moth and dust can--and will--corrupt.  We have been charged to seek God, and His holiness.  To pursue Him, to press in, to praise and worship Him not only at church but in our lives, in our every step every day.

"And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?  Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? . . . And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?"

--Alma 5:14-15, 26

God took my faith, took my belief in Him, and stripped away everything I had built up around it . . . all of my trust in the arm of flesh. And in doing it, He revealed Himself--and suddenly, my sure belief in Him went from a comfortable, Son-warmed rock on which to rest quietly, to a massive mountain, upon which I stand, praising and proclaiming the Love and GOOD News of Jesus. The difference isn't just night and day . . . it's fire and ice . . . a raindrop and the most tempestuously powerful ocean.

Don't give up, church. Don't give into the weariness that comes on all of us from time to time. (I'm on a high right now . . . and I'm riding it for all it's worth!) Hold on to one another. Love one another. (Oh, how I could write and write on that one little three word sentence!) Worship. Pray. Spend real time in the Word. Follow the Holy Spirit. And be glad!!! :o) And do this not only for your own salvation, but for the salvation of those around you. And for the times that WILL come, in my life, when you're the one on the high, and I need your strength and the power of your joyous faith.

Prayer:

Lord of Hosts, I know that You know me. Little, mortal, imperfect, me. I know that You are the Judge . . . and the day of judgement is not yet. (Oh, hallelujah!!!) There is time yet to find You, to preach You, to shout Your praises and the gloriously Good News from the mountaintops of our faith. Help me to know how to proclaim You to everyone I see. Give me the words, the actions, the thoughts & feelings it'll take to wake up your sleepwalking followers who, wander in a broad and open plain. And my heart aches for those I know who now stand far from you, walking in dead works. Let me help, Lord. Please. In Jesus' all-gracious name, amen!

29 July 2013

On Fasting

S: “No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. “Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind. Then when you call, the Lord will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply. “Remove the heavy yoke of oppression. Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors! Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. (Isaiah 58:6-11 NLT)

O: When The Lord asks for fasting, He's talking about something COMPLETELY different than I was taught. I was taught that it was mostly about going without food so we could make a contribution to help feed those who needed it. But this passage shows it's SO much more than that. 

A: When I fast, what is my intention? How do I use the fasting time I have to fulfill something further on that list above?    What ways can I turn my everyday into a fast of some kind, so I can be of more use to my God?

P: Lord, show me Your work. Show me the way to walk after Your example every day. Release in me Your love, and let me see those around me with Your eyes. Let me free the captive and bind up the broken-hearted. I want to love your children more, and to have the safety of Your rich & loving grace to transform my efforts into Your work. In Jesus' name, amen!

24 July 2013

On Submission

Scripture: 1 Peter 3:1-7 NLT

In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words.  They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives.
     Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes.  You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.  This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful.  They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands. For instance, Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do.
   In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God's gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.

Observation:

These kinds of verses in the Bible have always bothered me.  So, I decided I was going to take these head on, and see what a little prayer and quiet pondering could bring.

First off, this was written during the times of the Greco-Roman household codes.  Women were chattel, belonging to their husbands, who, thanks to possessing the prized Y chromosome, were awarded the power of life and death over those in their household.  Peter was applying Christian behavior to existing laws . . . not teaching how God wanted marriages to function.

Second, Sarah is cited as calling Abraham her master.  Abraham was the prophet-leader of his people.  He held the same position in his family as the men in Peter's day.  The husbands and fathers of today hold a drastically different position.  We are blessed to live in a day when men and women stand in equality before the law.  Besides: calling Vern "master" would make him tremendously uncomfortable--and I would hazard a guess that many men raised in our culture who would enjoy and/or require that have some serious issues. ;o)

Third, this chapter begins with "In the same way . . . ".  So, along with looking at what's around these verses to understand what they mean, we need to go back to the previous chapter and see what "way" Peter is talking about.

Application:

Here's what I found in the previous chapter that's applicable to our day:

"For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls." (1 Peter 2:21-25 NLT)

Reading that, I could feel the holiness of a living a life like Christ's.  In always choosing the peaceful path, of loving with the Father's own love, of offering quiet answers full of truth and forgiveness.  This is a beautiful reminder of how we're all to live.

Prayer:

Lord, grant me a peaceful heart. Bless my family with a spirit of forgiveness for themselves and one another.  Let Your Holy Spirit reign here in my home and wherever I go, so that others might feel the peace and rest that comes from You.  In Jesus' name, amen.

23 July 2013

Like to a shell dishabited . . .

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:15-17, 19, 21

It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you.  For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil.  Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters.  Fear God, and respect the king. For God is pleased with you when you do what you know is right and patiently endure unfair treatment.  For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.

Observation:

God wants our lives to be filled with His love; with His purpose and joy. If we're fighting, or pursuing our own agenda (even if we think it's closely aligned with "right", "truth", or even His will!), there's not room for Him.

If thou couldst empty all thyself of self,
Like to a shell dishabited,
Then might He find thee on the Ocean shelf,
And say: " This is not dead,"
And fill thee with Himself instead.

But thou art all replete with very thou,
And hast such shrewd activity,
That, when He comes, He says : " This is enow
Unto itself—’Twere better let it be:
It is so small and full, there is no room for Me."

(Indwelling, by Thomas Edward Browne.)

Application:

(God seriously KNOWS when I need to read certain passages, and I think he organized the Life Journal just for me. lol Anyone else have the same feeling? ;o)

We are to love one another. Serve one another.  Be huge conduits so God's love can douse, drench, and heal those around us.  The scriptures call foolish those who fill their lives, their very selves, with the cares, pursuits, and pleasures of the world.  (Daughters of Zion, with their fancy clothes, coiffures and perfumes, anyone?)  If we are the temples of God, yet we are full of the world, how are we different from Hezekiah's son Manasseh, who not only built pagan altars in the Temple in Jerusalem, but even set up a graven image of Asherash there?

Prayer:

Lord and Father of Heaven and Earth, help me empty myself of self, so I might be a ready vessel for your habitation.  Fill me with your love and gently give me chances to show it. Let those who array themselves against me and mine see that love, and be left unable to deny its existence.  Show me how to engage in loving and honest ways with them, to show them I am not their enemy, but their sister in Christ.  Father, reclaim them from the influences that lead them into paths of sorrow, and fill their lives with light and love and joy.  Wash them clean in the blood of the Lamb of God; open to their view the glorious and oceanic Victory of Christ; remake them in Your image and place in them Your heart. Guide them to You, Lord.  And bring them joy.  In Jesus' name, amen.

22 July 2013

Be Truly Glad!

Scripture: 

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls. So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last days. You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. As the Scriptures say, “People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. But the word of the Lord remains forever.” And that word is the Good News that was preached to you. (1 Peter 1:6-9, 13, 15, 16, 18-20, 22-25 NLT)

Observation:

When we're living in Christ the way we should, we WILL run afoul of those who aren't.  Not always, but it's just gonna happen.

Application:

It happened again, yesterday.

Once again, for whatever reasons, Vern and I were treated (very) poorly by someone in whom we should be able to trust completely.  (Well, as much as you can ever completely trust another human being.  Only God merits truly complete trust.)  It made for a difficult afternoon, and I praise God for His love that flows from and around those of His people we spent time with that evening.  The feeling of compressive stress, the knots in my stomach that plagued me from 2:20 on completely disappeared as we approached the building, and not a single thought of the trouble bothered me for the rest of the evening.  My whole family was blessed, and Vern and I were comforted by being there. And the trauma hasn't returned.  Praise be to God.

Prayer:

Lord, show us further to do.  Paul's letter this morning was sweet balm to my soul, and strengthened me so much--showing me what I need in this moment.  I praise You for the glorious freedom and peace and rejoicing I have in Christ Jesus, for the injunction to be holy, for the ransom Jesus paid so I could.  Free from the drama and turmoil of those I see floundering without You.  Free from the fear that motivates them.  Lord, strengthen me in Your Spirit.  Pour it out upon me and mine, and continue to show us Your will.  That's all I want to live. All Vern and I want to live.  Thank you for a companion who loves You as much as I do.  Who listens and obeys Your voice.  I cherish him.  And Lord, today I choose to be glad!  Though some things in life might tempt me otherwise, they are as ants under my feet! :o) In Jesus' name, amen!

14 July 2013

Lab coats and cauldrons.

S: The Egyptians will lose heart, and I will confuse their plans. They will plead with their idols for wisdom and call on spirits, mediums, and those who consult the spirits of the dead. (Isaiah 19:3 NLT)

O: All things are a compound of spiritual/physical. 

A: In our day, there are still plenty of the aforementioned around . . . but there are also plenty of folk in lab coats serving the enemy. Whether or not they're bending over a cauldron doesn't matter. If s/he is serving the enemy, it's witchcraft, indeed. Twisting & wresting from creation that which is not natural and doesn't bless mankind. (Usually far from it.)

P: Lord, help me see Your truth in all things. Let me serve on Your team, in Your way! Amen!

11 July 2013

The dead have no answers for the Living.

Scripture: Isaiah 8:18-22, 9:1

   As for me and the children the Lord has given me, we shall be signs and portents in Israel from the Lord of Hosts, who dwells in Mount Zion.
   When men tell you to inquire of mediums and spiritists who huddle together and mutter, say to them, Should not a people inquire of their God? Should one inquire of the dead in behalf of the living for doctrine and for a testimony? Surely, while they utter such words devoid of light, they roam about embittered by hunger; and when they are hungry, they become enrages and, gazing upward, curse their king and their God.  They will look to the land, but there shall be a depressing scene of anguish and gloom; and thus are they banished into outer darkness.

But it shall not be gloomy to those who have been in anguish for her. (Her = Israel.) 

Observation: Here, Isaiah is told that the dead--those mediums & spiritists not alive in Christ Jesus--cannot have answers for the Living--those reborn and alive in Him.  And he is taught the oh-so-obvious difference between the dead and living.  The dead are depressed and see only defeat and destruction, while the living see hope, love, and the complete Victory of Christ. :o)

Application:  Have I looked to the worldly, the wise-in-their-own-eyes, the learned & acclaimed expert, the spiritually dead, for answers to my problems?  I most definitely have.  I've spent countless hours, precious and huge chunks of my life reading up on all kinds of things . . . most notably parenting.  I still believe that learning is an important part of this life--and it has brought me a great deal of joy--but I haven't turned to Jesus first in my dilemmas.  I've Googled.  (Ouch.)

But . . . for the last while, about since I began investing significant time in the word . . . I've been finding answers to every last problem I have from the living.  Whether through scripture directly, or in gathering together with other members in the very much alive body of Christ, I've been taught deeper and more effective truths about parenting than I ever learned from any wisdom produced by man.  (Funny, isn't it? ;o)

And, in that same time frame, my outlook has changed drastically.  I've gone from being utterly overwhelmed by the clutter and cleaning that needs doing in my home to feeling hopeful and joyous.  (Much of the time, lest any wrongly assume I've been perfected. lol) Instead of seeing around me "a depressing scene of anguish and gloom", I see hope.  I see love.  I see Jesus' hand moving in my life, sheltering and protecting me, leading and teaching me.

Prayer: Father, keep on teaching me.  Keep on pouring it out so I can be totally immersed in You.  Lend me strength when I weary in this physical world.  Lend me grace so I can do Your will.  Lend me words, so I can speak Your Love into those around me.  And most of all, send Your presence to engulf and shelter me in this day when sanctuary is so desperately sought, and so often not found.  I want to live in the center of Your will for me, and to love others into doing the same.  In Jesus' holy and sacred name, amen.

Life Underwater: Isaiah's Vision

Translation from The Literary Message of Isaiah, by Avraham Gileadi. (I highly recommend this version.  Read side-by-side with the NLT, it's a great reference, as Gileadi has gone through an immersive Judaic education, and has as close to an understanding of Isaiah's context & education as I think possible.)

I had so many beautiful insights this morning as I read, I didn't make it past Isaiah 9 before my time was gone; but I can't wait to spend extra time tomorrow morning reading the rest. :o)

Hopefully you'll remember my Life Underwater post.  If you don't, go read it real quick.  It'll come in handy in a few minutes; and if you don't, you won't get one of the coolest parts of my study this morning.

Isaiah 8:6-8, 12-17

Because these people have rejected
   the waters of Shiloah, which flow gently,
   and rejoice in Rezin and the son of Remaliah,
therefore will my Lord
   cause to come up over them
the great and mighty waters of the River--
   the king of Assyria in all his glory.
He will rise up over all his channels
   and overflow all his banks.
He will sweep into Judea like a flood
   and, passing through, reach the very neck;
his outspread wings will span
   the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.
(8:6-8)

Do not call a conspiracy all that these people
   call a conspiracy;
be not afraid or awed
   by the thing they fear.
But sanctify the Lord of Hosts,
   making him your fear, him your awe.
And to you he will be a sanctuary,
   but to the two houses of Israel
a stumbling block or obstructing rock,
   and a snare, catching unawares
   the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Many will stumble into them,
   and when they fall shall be broken,
and when they become ensnared
   shall be taken captive.
(8:12-17)

Observation: God tells Isaiah that Assyria is going to invade Jerusalem like a flood . . . and we can all picture the incredible destruction of flooding. (Remember video clips from Hurricane Katrina? Yeah. Like that.) And flooding goes everywhere. And yet, Isaiah is told not to be afraid. Not to worry about the things that everyone around him is having a total freak-out session over. He is to worship and love God and trust Him . . . God will be his sanctuary from the destruction. But the rest of Israel will be dashed in pieces, as they're swept along by the flood, upon the very rock that shelters Isaiah.

Application: And here's the coolest part to me . . . not only does all of this apply to us, spiritually today, as we live in a world that seems permeated to the very core with darkness, but what God taught me about submission in Life Underwater comes powerfully into play here, too. As Isaiah lives in faith, he doesn't strive along with everyone else against the overwhelming rush of the coming flood, but is sheltered and saved from it, breathing underwater as it were, as it sweeps around him and his family. He will have life, underwater, when nearly all around him follow the fleshly wisdom of fighting it out in their own strength . . . and discover it was God's strength they needed when their own fails utterly and almost immediately.

Prayer: Dearest Father, I feel so fed this morning, as you taught me these things. I revel in "connecting the dots" between things You've already taught me and things I'm learning. And I glorify You that something You already taught me, in my own vernacular and understanding, fits so beautifully with Isaiah's vision. You ARE the same yesterday, today and forever. And Your personalized teaching to me confirms that. :o) Thank You! Thank You so, so much. And Lord, please help me remember. Remind me, often and often, to rest in Jesus. To submit, to dive unreservedly into Your wisdom and Your will for me, which looks like completely idiotic stupidity to the rest of the world. I praise You for astounding, dumbfounding freedom in Christ, and never, ever want to lose it again. In Jesus' name, so be it!!! Amen!

10 July 2013

Does God Really Get Angry?

S: Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of his special people? You will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love. (Micah 7:18 NLT)

O: It sounds like God doesn't delight in what the scriptures call anger.

A: I haven't ever been able to really reconcile the idea of my loving, forgiving, infinite & patient Lord with all of the angry and punitive things ascribed to Him in scripture. I have never been the least bit afraid of God, even though there are plenty of seemingly good reasons to be so. 

It seems, instead, that what scripture calls anger is simply God no longer interceding on our behalf . . . not because He's mad at us, but because we are no longer living in a way that brings blessings. And I think, instead of anger, God feels so, so sad for us. 

P: God, please grant me more of Your heart. Let me see others more and more as You do. Strengthen my faith so I can let go of anger. And please, let it be soon! In Jesus' name, amen!


08 July 2013

Lulled Away . . . but Love Can Reclaim.

S: You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. (Hebrews 5:12-14 NLT)

O: It's easy for us human beings to settle into our status quo, and then relax into a long, slow backslide. Becoming accustomed to our conditions & environment is a skill necessary to survival with our limited brains--but in the realm of the spiritual, it's a tremendous enemy. 

A: I can see this regression in those I know, and it fairly breaks my heart. People I love wandering in cargo cult religion*, but missing the point of the faith they profess. 

P: Father, thank You for Your mercy and patience and love. Thank You for reserving judgement for Judgement Day . . . and giving your children time in which to find You. Please, let me love ALL of Your children. I found You through Your love in another--let me serve You in that way, too, Lord. Let me be a window to Your love, so others can see You, and find You, and You can claim them for Your own. Let Your love touch hearts and change lives . . . for there isn't any joy in this world unconnected with Your love. In Jesus' name, so be it. Amen. 

07 July 2013

My Path The Cross

S: "So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most." (Hebrews 4:14-16 NLT)

O: We can approach the throne of grace boldly! The last I heard, Christ hasn't revoked His entreaty: "Come unto Me."

A: My training of how to approach God is VERY subservient. Being female increased it tenfold. (Or more.) And yet Paul, who would know, (as one who was called to the work while zealously destroying it), says we can boldly approach the throne of our God! I, an imperfect, unordained, ordinary woman. I need no intermediary, no intercessor, no bowing or scraping.

I recently had the blessing of being part of a prayer in a family I love very much . . . and I'll never forget how the mother stood in the circle: holding the hands of children on either side, shoulders back & relaxed, eyes closed, face tipped up and smiling like she saw her most favorite face of all. And such a sharp contrast to the Only Right and True Posture of Prayer that was impressed on me. (Legalistic church + traditions = anything different must be sinful.) I have learned SO much about the nature of Jesus in the last few months . . . and I KNOW Paul was absolutely right on this one. We CAN boldly approach God--and our path is the cross. (Keeping in mind boldly ISN'T pridefully.)

P: Lord Jesus, I rejoice in and praise You for including me in Your victory over all things. And that by "all" You really do mean ALL. That I can, with joy, draw near to You. :-) Thank You Thank You Thank You!!!!! In Your name, amen!

06 July 2013

Sweet Healing

S: On that day I will make a covenant with all the wild animals and the birds of the sky and the animals that scurry along the ground so they will not harm you. I will remove all weapons of war from the land, all swords and bows, so you can live unafraid in peace and safety. I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion. I will be faithful to you and make you mine, and you will finally know me as the Lord. “In that day, I will answer,” says the Lord. “I will answer the sky as it pleads for clouds. And the sky will answer the earth with rain. Then the earth will answer the thirsty cries of the grain, the grapevines, and the olive trees. And they in turn will answer, ‘Jezreel’—‘God plants!’ At that time I will plant a crop of Israelites and raise them for myself. I will show love to those I called ‘Not loved.’ And to those I called ‘Not my people,’ I will say, ‘Now you are my people.’ And they will reply, ‘You are our God!’” (Hosea 2:18-23 NLT)

O: Oh, how our God LONGS for this day! The tenderness and sweet comfort shines through so, so clearly to me. 

A: This is what Jesus wants for each of his people, individually. Each one of us can realize this--can be Israel to Him in our lives. I love how fully infinite Jesus's love is. When you divide infinity, no matter the number, you have infinity left. He loves me--and you--completely and wholly, with everything He has & is. He gave everything He had & was on earth, and still stands waiting to give us everything He has in His Father's kingdom now! And I literally have an audience of One when it comes to my relationship with Him, as do each of us. Complete, whole, and as though I were His only creation.

P: Lord, bless Your children. Let the knowledge of Your love spread to cover the whole earth. Pour out Your love upon those who seek You, and teach them how to shed Your love abroad as healing waters. Show me how to love--fully and unreservedly--so others might come unto You. In Jesus' name, AMEN.

04 July 2013

The Difference

Scripture: 

He did what was pleasing in the Lord ’s sight, just as his father, Amaziah, had done. But he did not destroy the pagan shrines, and the people still offered sacrifices and burned incense there.

But Menahem did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight. During his entire reign, he refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit. (2 Kings 15:3, 4, 18 NLT)

Observation:

There definitely was a difference in kings, from utterly wicked to the few that did not do only that which was right in God's sight, but destroyed pagan worship out of the land. 

Application: 

I want to be like those righteous kings so devoted to their God they couldn't turn a blind eye to the evil around them. And definitely not like the kings that, while they themselves kept the law, tolerated all manner of wickedness in their kingdoms. There's a difference in their levels of devotion and motivation. 

I've seen a difference between those two types of people. And it's tectonic in nature. It's like the second group have, like the KJV says, the word written upon their inward parts, as opposed to keeping the word carefully contained in their phylacteries. 

Prayer:

God, lead me to You. Show me the way to deeper belief and a more convicted heart. Where You lead, I will follow. When You command, I will obey. You bless me so richly, and Your love literally has changed me into someone completely new . . . my life is fresh and my optimism has returned. And it's so, so good. Thank You for this rebirth--this wholly new life in Christ. I love You! :-) In Jesus' name, amen!

03 July 2013

Might and Power

Scripture: 2 Chronicles 27:6

NLT: King Jotham became powerful because he was careful to live in obedience to the LORD his God.

ESV: So Jotham became mighty, because he ordered his ways before the LORD his God.

Observation: This stood out to me starkly today . . . that God will honor obedience.  Not performance, but willing obedience.

Application: I've felt pretty powerless today.  Children fighting and giving in to despair over the smallest things, a whole avalanche of things getting in the way of my time in the Word.  (I finally had to lock myself in the bathroom in order to read the last three chapters. lol)  The enemy has gone from tactics of confusion to chaos. But we're overcoming in Christ.  And He rocks my world. :o)  And this verse served to remind me that as I obey (out of love, in dilligence), my God will honor that, and will make sure that I have what I need.  I'll learn from every mistake and hardship, and He will carry me through.

Prayer: Oh, Lord my God, sustain me today.  Sustain me always.  Pour our Your strength upon me and my household so we can stand unmoved in the face of the chaos and shadow-puppet attacks of the trickster, and see YOUR salvation for us made real.  In Jesus name, so be it!!! Amen.

(Can I just say, ever since my Life Journal buddy Dustin used the old Greek name of "trickster" for the enemy, it has just seemed so shiveringly appropriate? I don't use it often, because it gives me the willies, but man-oh-man, is it true!)