Continuing the theme of spending intentional time WITH God – listening, communing, just being.
Just like friends watching a sunset or fishing buddies spending time together, solitude and silence are part of the joy of being together. We might share some thoughts, we might respond, but watching a sunset for an hour, usually doesn’t include talking every minute. It is the pleasure of JUST BEING together, enjoying each other’s company.
May you enjoy the sweet communion and fellowship with God – NO WORDS REQUIRED! ~ Faye
Once again, I hear God telling me to be quiet and enjoy time with Him from so many sources. Our pastor begins his Lent series on Come and Rest Sunday, February 18 (a worship service I co-planned this week). I created banners for church for this series – Be Still and Know that I am God, from Psalm 46:10. My First15 devotional has been focusing this week on hearing God. Continuing reading from Brennan Manning’s The Furious Longing of God had me reviewing John 15:4 – Abide in Me, and I in You.
So you’d THINK I’d get it that God was encouraging me to spend time with Him, just being in His presence. BUT NO! I enjoyed binge-watching Downton Abbey, read a murder mystery, worked on several good and creative outlets, played games and crafted with my granddaughter …
… However, I didn’t just spend time being WITH God. I didn’t stop and rest in His presence. I kept busy with so many other things, that I kept ignoring His promptings. Yet God is patient. He continues to love me. He won’t leave me. He desires time with me, but He won’t pressure or walk away from me. He gently and lovingly reminds me to spend time with Him. I don’t mean just in devotions, reading a snip-it from God’s word and then someone else’s take on what He is saying (like this blog), but intentionally spending time WITH God.
Recently my husband and I enjoyed time with friends and new acquaintances for an evening. We talked and ate, and ate and talked for 4-5 hours. We got to know each other a little more during that time. If we had spent 15 minutes together, we’d have barely touched the surface. How much more important is God’s time with us?
The world can KEEP us busy. There are always plenty of things to do, many are very good things. But what is better? Spending quality time WITH God. I will be working this week. I will be watching the Olympics. I will spend time with my granddaughter. I will be busy with worship planning, work, and “maybe helping” Rich shovel snow. However, I know God has been encouraging me to find time this week to turn off all the distracts and just enjoy BEING WITH HIM!
Praying you are able to find time to BE WITH GOD this week as well ~ Faye
I LOVE the word COVENANT. Basically, the human covenant is an “oath-bound relationship” between two or more parties (i.e., marriage). The divine covenant is established between God and His people.
There are about 280 references to covenant in the Old Testament and 33 times in the New Testament.
The covenant made between husband and wife before God is meant to be forever. The covenants made between God and His people are to be forever. God keeps His covenant promises with His people ALWAYS!
He is so sincere in His promises that His covenant was given to save each and every one of us.
The old covenant played a vital role in the history of redemption as it showed Israel three things: (1) how they ought to live and worship; (2) their need for a Savior because of their sins; and (3) the grace of God in revealing Himself to them and calling them His “treasured possession.”
The big picture of the covenant of grace, which structures the history of redemption, always maintains the focus on God’s desire to relate to His people, and ultimately to dwell among them and in them. He does this preeminently by His Spirit through His Son, Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:17). ~ Mark Jones
Praying you can keep God’s covenant and enjoy the blessings of a close relationship with Him ~ Faye
In the Old Testament, we are told God’s presence was in The Holy of Holies, also known as the Most Holy Place, the inner room of the Tabernacle, where the Ark of the Covenant was kept. God’s Shekinah-glory was actually seen shining above the Ark of the Covenant between the figures of the cherubim. The purpose of the veil was to keep everyone from entering the symbolic presence of God except the High Priest on the Day of Atonement (only once a year). There is only one way sinful man can enter into God’s holy presence – it is through the blood sacrifice (before Christ came, the blood sacrifice given by the High Priest; after Christ, by believing in the death (blood sacrifice) and resurrection of Jesus Christ as our Savior).
How do Christians KNOW that the veil is no longer keeping God’s Shekinah-glory away from us? When Jesus died on the cross, the veil of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom, signifying God’s presence was no longer contained, but made available to everyone. It meant the true sacrifice had been offered up to Yahweh, the LORD God, and accepted by Him as the perfect offering for our sin.
[Some Bible references: Exodus 26, Leviticus 16:2, 2 Chronicles 3:8-10 Mark 15:37-38, Hebrews 9:3, Hebrews 10:19-24]
Scripture is clear that God is everywhere and that the Holy Spirit dwells within Christ’s believers. His presence is already with you. Encountering Him is as simple as taking some time to become aware of His nearness.
The apostle Paul wrote, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20).
Isn’t that AWESOME! God, His Shekinah-glory, DWELLS in each believer because of Christ’s complete sacrifice for us.
Praying you will be FILLED with God’s incredible glory and presence ~ Faye
I love it when God puts the same thought in front of me from many different venues.
My devotions this morning on First15 app talk about the importance of Having Time Alone with God. Then, I’ve been working with my pastor on his sermon series for lent, which will be Come and Rest. He will be looking at how we can live today with a sense of rest, Sabbath rest, rest from sin, rest from shame, rest from worry and fear, just as Jesus needed rest while He was on earth. He needed time to be refreshed from His ministries by spending time with God. I am also reading A Year with God: Living Out the Spiritual Disciplines, by Richard J. Foster. He looks at several ways to grow in one’s relationship with God – worship, confession, meditation, solitude, and more. I am also looking at, The Furious Longing of God, by Brennan Manning, who asks: “Is your own personal prayer life characterized by the simplicity, childlike candor, boundless trust, and easy familiarly of a little one crawling up in daddy’s lap? An assured knowing that the daddy doesn’t care if the child falls asleep, starts playing with toys or even starts chatting with little friends, because the daddy knows the child has essentially chosen to be with him for that moment? Is that the spirit of your interior prayer life?” So, in a period of a week, God has been reminding me of the importance of spending TIME WITH HIM ALONE.
Some of the thoughts I’ve gleaned from these things:
- God wants me to slow down and enjoy His presence. He wants me to delight in Him. Relish being close. Even in the stillness to just sit and enjoy each other’s company. Like two friends sitting watching a sunset together.
- If Jesus needed time alone with His Heavenly Father, we can all be sure we need it even more.
Mark 1:35 – Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.
Luke 5:16 – Jesus spent time alone with His Heavenly Father.
- Time with God allows us to carry out God’s purpose in our life. Luke 4 tells of the time when Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where He was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus had been fasting and spending time with God. He taught in the synagogues and began His ministry of healing, casting out demons, and performing other miracles.
- When we spend time with God, we clearly and tangibly encounter God’s amazing love for us. We learn what His voice sounds like. We discover His will. In Matthew 6:6, we are told that our Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. One of the best gifts we receive from God is one-on-one communion with our heavenly Father.
- And time with God, fills us with His peace.
Matthew 11:28-30 Then Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
God’s desire to spend time alone with us is not meant to add stress to our life but to relieve us from it. He doesn’t want our time with Him to be just the routine of checking off a to-do list item.
Praying you will take time to focus on God’s nearness, on how it changes your outlook and emotions. And spend time just being overwhelmed by the depth of God’s love for you ~ Faye
The blessing of starting 2018 with the promise of God’s peace filling your hearts is so precious. Trust Him! Believe in Him as the Savior of the world.
Praying God fills your life with His abundant gift of Peace ~ Faye
May you be filled with God’s wondrous JOY
as you ponder the miracle of Christmas!
It’s the season of Advent – anticipation, expectation, and hope of Christ’s coming to earth. First as a baby over 2000 years ago and next as triumphant King and Lord over all. We prepare for Christmas with anticipation and generally with lots of excitement. But what about those who struggle this time of year. Those who feel like they have no hope, no family or friends, nothing to celebrate, feeling all alone …
The word Lament has been on my mind a lot this past month. I’ve watched loved ones and acquaintances struggle with heavy burdens. Physical issues of cancer, miscarriages and chronic pain. Spiritual issues of questioning God, grace, struggling with addictions. Mental issues of loneliness, abandonment, anger, rage and so many other overwhelming feelings. Life is filled with many challenges.
Right now, I am facing a loved one in crisis. Without sharing details, we aren’t sure if this person is getting the help they need or if they have literally disappeared from our lives. Lament. Deep despair. Hopelessness. The definition of lament is: “a passionate expression of grief or sorrow.” Some synonyms are: wailing, moaning, weeping, crying, sobbing. Lament is the ultimate act of surrender to God by opening one’s self with raw emotion and letting God bind the wounds, wrap you in His arms of love and cherish you, His beloved one.
I have two choices right now: stay filled with sorrow and the weight of despair over the situation or I can focus on Advent and Christmas and the HOPE of Jesus’s coming. There are times that I want to just curl up in a ball, sobbing and crying to God – “Why?” And I do. There’s nothing wrong with going to Him with my pain.
In an article by Autumn Kern on Psalm 22, she shares the meaning of Lament.
“Lamenting reveals the core of our humanity; it shows us that we are not God and that we need God.”
Throughout the Psalms, David very openly shares his soul-wrenching grief. Psalm 43 says:
Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise Him again—
my Savior and my God!
Psalm 13:1-2, 5-6
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
But I have trusted in Your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.
Can you tell the relationship between the Psalmist David and his God? Pure, raw honesty. God doesn’t chastise him for crying out “Why?” or “How Long?” David pours out his heart from the pit of his stomach, groaning his anguish. And yet, do you see what he does next? He remembers God’s faithfulness. He praises God. God desires to have the intimate relationship with us He had with Adam and Eve in the Garden. He already knows the heaviness in our hearts and minds. He wants us to openly come to Him and share our deepest needs, burdens, concerns and desires.
In looking for resources to encourage me during this difficult time, I came across two encouraging quotes from Ann Voskamp:
God is so moved by our being entangled in suffering — that He moved Himself into our world and entangled Himself in the suffering with us. God with us.
His glory in the highest always runs down to meet us who are at our lowest.
If you have a loved one who struggles with mental illness, which often seems to be compounded at the holidays, I pray you will pour out your hearts to God. Let Him take your burdens and cares and carry them for you. The God who was the baby in the manger is also the God who died on the cross and rose again to save all who believe in Him. That same God is coming again to make a new heaven and new earth. God is in control of all things. Pour out your hearts to Him and remember with praise the incredible things He has done for you.
Praying for those who are heavy-hearted this season ~ Faye
Here’s some other quotes that I appreciated:
“Lamentation is a powerful, and meaningful, form of worship because it places our love for God above even the worst of circumstances in our life… God does not ask us to deny the existence of our suffering. He does want us to collect it, stand in those things and make Him an offering. The Holy Spirit, our Comforter, helps us to do this: He aligns Himself with our will and says, ‘I will help you to will to worship God.’ The glory of the majesty of God is that He helps us will and do.” – Graham Cooke
“If you are in mourning, you have the opportunity to worship in the most powerful way possible: lamentation. This worship isn’t done in order to have God remove the pain. It simply recognizes that God stands in the moment with us. Lamentation elevates God in the presence of our enemies. It brings out a side of God that other forms of worship simply cannot touch.” – Graham Cooke
“Praising God in the midst of difficulty is so powerful because God stands in the moment with us. The thing that I can testify during those moments of difficulty—when I brought my pain directly to God and walked with Him through it—was the reality that God was really there, and He gave me a deeper revelation of Himself.” – Michael Card
And this passage from Lamentations 2 and 3 has filled my heart as I’ve cried out to God in my pain and rejoiced with Him in His faithfulness.
I have cried until the tears no longer come;
my heart is broken.
My spirit is poured out in agony
as I see the desperate plight of my people.
Little children and tiny babies
are fainting and dying in the streets.
What can I say about you?
Who has ever seen such sorrow?
O daughter of Jerusalem,
to what can I compare your anguish?
O virgin daughter of Zion,
how can I comfort you?
For your wound is as deep as the sea.
Who can heal you?
The thought of my suffering and homelessness
is bitter beyond words.
I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.
Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends![b]
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”
Don’t you love it when God uses a variety of ways in a short amount of time to get you to focus on a specific thing?
Here’s how God’s been getting my attention, encouraging and challenging me just this week:
- Women’s Bible study we were looking at John 15 – ABIDE, DWELL, REMAIN, STAY in Jesus.
- A devotional spoke of spending intentional time with God through prayer and in His Word; just listening. It had the following quote from Mother Teresa: “God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer.”
- Our pastor has been preaching on being WITH God, based on the book by Skye Jepthani, With. During the Advent season, he is looking at Immanuel, God With Us. (Check out his messages here).
- In working on some other Internet research, I came across this quote by Bill Hybels:
“If you lower the ambient noise of your life and listen expectantly for those whispers of God, your ears will hear them. And when you follow their lead, your world will be rocked.”
Expanding on John 15:1-17: Abiding, remaining, or dwelling is our response to Jesus’ words:
4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. 5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.
I appreciate the perspective/reminder of John 15:8:
“When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.”
I love the idea of bringing glory to God for all He has done for me. During our time with God (abiding, remaining, dwelling) we may need to submit to God’s pruning knife where He cuts away things that draw us away from Him, so we may remain in Christ even more. When we do this we are able to produce more fruit so we can bring Him even more glory.
It’s December, generally a very busy season. There are school programs, Christmas parties, gatherings with family and friends, Christmas cards and shopping for presents, baking, volunteering and serving others and so many other good things along with our regular daily activities. So, spending extra time just being with God generally is not our primary focus when there are so many other good things that are demanding our attention. I am praying that you can find some time to just BE WITH God. Remain in His presence. Dwell in His love. Abide in His peace. As you do this, you will be blessed with God’s presence in you and you will bring glory to Him. What a perfect gift for you this Christmas.
Praying you are filled with time to abide, remain and dwell with God ~ Faye
I wonder how it felt …
… Mary, a young teen, in her room and suddenly the angel Gabriel appears to her and says, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” What would your response be? Aside from the fear and shock of seeing the angel, disbelief at his message? The Bible says Mary was confused, disturbed and wondered what the angel meant. Gabriel repeats, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God!
I like how one author says, “She’s so ‘greatly troubled here that the angel asks her to sit down and catch her breath. ‘Fear not,’ he says in an attempt to comfort her. ‘You really are favored by God!'”
Favored (preferred/chosen) – Would you think you were preferred, precious, or chosen? Your whole life would change in a minute. You would be a social outcast as an unwed mother. All of your hopes, plans and dreams would be looking doubtful.
Each and every one of us is a precious and chosen child of God. Psalm 139:13-18 says,
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious (amazing are your thoughts concerning me) to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
What does Mary do after Christ is born? After the reality of all the upside-down life-changing events? She sings, praises and worships her LORD. She realizes Immanuel, God is With Us, has come to earth to be our Savior, Messiah. He actually was WITH her, inside her, a sinner. Mary wasn’t perfect. She wasn’t holy. She was a virgin and she was chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus. Once everything starts to sink in and she holds her baby, Jesus, in her arms, her heart sings. She can only sit in wonder, praising her Lord from the depth of her soul.God talks to you through His word, other people and His creation. Do you hear Him? In this busy season before Christmas, will you be still enough to listen to God? Will your soul and spirit MAGNIFY (praise, glorify) God for all the incredible wonders He has done in your life?
Praying you will find the favor of God in your heart so your soul sings with Joy to your Savior ~ Faye
In writing this blog post, I was going to just put up a picture of a door and put up the verse from John 10:9 where Jesus says,
When I went to Biblegateway.com to make sure I had the quote correct, I looked at several versions of the Bible and was surprised to see: “I am the GATE.” Doing some research, I found that the word in the Greek – Thura – means DOOR or GATE. The definition and usage can be:
- a door or gate where sheep go in and out of the sheepfold
- the open door is also used as – the opportunity of doing something
It doesn’t really matter whether it is door or gate, however, looking at the passage in John and coming from a farming area, I guess I like to think of the gate outside the farmer’s pasture where the sheep are kept safe. I visited sheep on a friend’s farm once and kept thinking about how they follow the leader. They listened to the shepherd/farmer. As soon as he opened the gate and called, they came running. They knew it was time for food (which my granddaughter, Micayla helped to feed to them).
Years ago I studied a book by Chuck Swindoll where he talked about the sheep and the shepherd.
- Sheep are totally dependent upon their shepherd. We are like the sheep – we need a leader: The Good Shepherd (Jesus Christ).
- The flock was kept in a sheep pen in the country. This was a rock circle with a small opening. The shepherd slept across the opening, acting as the gate to keep the sheep in and the predators out.
- When the flock was kept in the city, they would be mixed with several other flocks in a large sheepfold. The doorkeeper would guard the door during the night. The shepherd would return in the morning and call their sheep; each sheep knew their shepherd’s voice. The shepherd would lead them out to pasture.
Jesus is telling us that He is The Shepherd of His sheep (us), and The Door/Gate for the sheep. Salvation is possible only when we go through The Door/Gate believing in Jesus Christ as our Savior through believing in The Shepherd. In John 10:10, Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
What a glorious promise – we have abundant life with Christ when we enter The Gate. There is safety, grace, spiritual nourishment and life everlasting on the other side.
Praying you go in and out and find abundant nourishment, safety, peace and everlasting life in Christ’s pasture ~ Faye
How do you give thanks in all things? Look at all the disasters the past couple of months, how do we give thanks in them? We can only do this through Jesus Christ changing our perspective – allowing us to see things through His eyes.
There is an old song from Back at the Creekbank – Humbly Grateful. It reminds us what our perspective of life should be. The chorus goes:
Are you humbly grateful or grumbly hateful – what’s your attitude? Do you humbly groan or let it be known you’re grateful for all God’s done for you?
It’s a catchy tune, and when my children’s attitude needed some correction, I found myself singing it to them as a reminder to change their perspective. How often do I need that perspective change?
- When I think it’s too cold outside, I remember I have coats, gloves, hats, and boots I can wear.
- When the sink is overflowing with dishes, I need to change my perspective and remember I have plenty of food to eat, a working stove/oven and refrigerator, running water that is pure enough to drink.
- When I am struggling with joint pain, I remind myself I have excellent medical care available to me.
- If I have to vacuum and dust feeling overwhelmed, I remind myself I have the blessing of a warm house.
I pray that this Thanksgiving season you take the time to give thanks in ALL circumstances. When we were flooded in 2008 with 4 feet of water in our basement, nothing seemed like a blessing. But through God we were able to look back on all He provided for us during that time:
- Safety and shelter while our town was evacuated
- Insurance, monetary funds and things to help us rebuild
- Friends and family who worked tirelessly to help with the clean-up and reconstruction
- New friendships made, the ability to help others as they recovered and rebuilt the town.
With God’s perspective working in our hearts, we can GIVE THANKS in EVERYTHING!
Giving thanks for you ~ Faye
In the face of such great loss in Sutherland Springs, Texas people wonder how Christians (believers in Jesus Christ) can find hope for the future. These verse from 1 Thessalonians say it all.
If you don’t know Jesus Christ or have the hope given through Him, ask Jesus into your heart. Ask Him to be Lord over your life. Feel free to message me or check out information from Peace Church’s website
Maybe this is why we are drawn to brilliant sunrises – the reminder that God brings newness every morning. When life is heavy with troubles and trials, pain and grief, we are filled with Joy in the morning.
I’ve been doing some health research after working with a few new doctors, and everything I’ve been reading says to fill your life with JOY. Count your blessings. List things you are grateful for each and every day. See JOY in the world around you – despite the weight and trials of the world. If you don’t focus on the joys in life, it will affect your personal health especially over the long term.
James 1:2-3 says – Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
“The other night I attended His Hands Free Medical Clinic’s Laughter is the Best Medicine fundraiser. We laughed for 30 minutes straight. I can tell you I seem to have had more energy and a more positive focus the next few days than I had before the precious time of laughing with others.
God made us to enjoy Him, His creation and our lives. We weren’t made to worry or fear. That’s why “do not fear” or “fear not” is a command that is mentioned frequently in the Bible. (See the following websites for some of these verses. CrossWalk and BibleStudyTools.)
“A cheerful [joyful, merry] heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” Proverbs 17:22 New Living Translation
God knows how important it is to be joyful, cheerful, merry, happy, abundantly blessed filled with gratitude because it HELPS us, fills us with HOPE and HEALS us. An interesting article on the benefits of laughter can be found at Help Guide.
Let’s try to brighten everyone’s day by being joyful, cheerful and filled with God’s amazing love and laughter ~ Faye
God knew when He made us that we would all be different. We are all made uniquely in His image. That means we have hair that is brown, black, blond or red; we have eyes that are blue, brown, green or grey; we are tall or short; big feet or little; and have a round or stick shape.
We also have differing opinions! Just look at all the difficulties around the world and throughout history. We are proud, shy, angry, hurt, quiet, friendly, loving, caring, jealous. These are things that cause some of our differences. How we grieve God when we fight over flags, broken relationships, money, things, power and so much more.
God tells us it is better for us when we live together in unity! So brothers and sisters, make it your focus to dwell in unity together, work to love each other deeply, and make getting along together a priority.
May God bless you abundantly as you live for Him ~ Faye
How did we get to be a world so divided? Anger and hatred seem to fill people’s hearts – racial prejudice, political unrest, anti-authority, vengeance, religious persecution, status, poverty all come into play. Look at the mass shooting in Las Vegas, looting and price gouging after the natural disasters, suicide bombers, refugees fleeing for their lives, and so much more.
I wonder if some of the reason we are so angry is because we’ve forgotten Jesus teaching about treating others decently when He gave His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Remember the Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Matthew 7:12. I know I have messed up (okay, let’s call it what it is – SIN) many times. In my devotions lately, I’ve spent time in 1 Peter. Recently 1 Peter 3:8-9 touched my heart –
Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and He will grant you His blessing. ~ 1 Peter 3:8-9 NLT
Literally, I felt God pointing a finger at my heart, reminding me of the times I have retaliated with insults and actions when someone has said things or done things that hurt me. At those times, I’ve forgotten that I am a witness of what it means to have Jesus Christ in my heart. I haven’t allowed His love to fill me and treat others with His love. I have since spent time confessing those actions and been assured as a believer of Christ as my Savior, that I am washed clean by His blood – I am forgiven! But I am also challenged by His word to live for Him, as His example.
I remember growing up hearing, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all;” and my parents and teachers reminding us of the T.H.I.N.K. acronym:
When I read 1 Peter 3:8-9 from the Amplified Version,
Finally, all of you be like-minded [united in spirit], sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted [courteous and compassionate toward each other as members of one household], and humble in spirit; and never return evil for evil or insult for insult [avoid scolding, berating, and any kind of abuse], but on the contrary give a blessing [pray for one another’s well-being, contentment, and protection]; for you have been called for this very purpose, that you might inherit a blessing [from God that brings well-being, happiness, and protection].
I was challenged and encouraged by the words – “but on the contrary, give a blessing [pray for one another’s well-being, contentment, and protection];”. When others hurt me, I need to pray for them, for their well-being, contentment and protection. I need to have the perspective of Christ, caring for them. Let’s be the change – God’s Love wins over hate.
Praying you are filled with God’s love so you can bless others ~ Faye
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.
The purple headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning,
That brightens up the sky;−
The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,−
He made them every one:
The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
We gather every day;−
He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell,
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.
Celebrate and enjoy God’s wonderful creation all around you! ~ Faye
Just a word of encouragement to spend time with God in Prayer and Meditation ~ Faye
In the days, weeks, and months ahead there will be many needs following the catastrophic disasters. Realize that God has given you at least one precious gift you can share with others as they rebuild their lives. Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, admits they have sinned and believes in God is filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gifts us with a variety of spiritual gifts such as: hospitality, creative abilities, teaching, knowledge, faith, prophecy and many more. We are to use these spiritual gifts to build up others, help others, and care for each other. However, as 1 Corinthians 13 says, if we do anything for others and we don’t have love, we are nothing. We need to be filled with Christ’s love to help others. Otherwise it is just empty words and actions. Check out 1 Corinthians 12-14.
Praying you will be able to offer something from yourselves to those in need in the next days and weeks ahead. ~ Faye
Really! Did you know the Bible tells us to be truly glad even though we may have to endure many trials?
How in the world can we be “truly glad” when we look at the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and Irma, wildfires in 11 states and Canada, concerns heating up with North Korea, Rohingya refugees trying to escape from Myanmar to Bangladesh, persecution of Christians around the world, a loved one diagnosed with inoperable cancer, another bill that is coming due and the finances are so tight, job insecurity, car accidents, betrayal, hatred, bigotry and so much more.
I’ve been reading through 1 Peter recently. I was struck by verses 6 and 7 when we are told to:
“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must 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.” 1 Peter 1:6-7
All of the trials and struggles of this life are for a purpose. They are for strengthening our faith, the opportunity to see God’s sovereignty and provisions, and to truly know Jesus Christ is the ONLY Savior to all!
Our Bible study group just looked at the life of (Genesis 37-50). Why in the world would Joseph continue to be truly glad during his trials? He had dreams where he saw his brothers and father bowing down to him. He was hated by his brothers. His brothers stripped him of his colorful robe, was thrown into a dry well, sold to a caravan who sold him as a slave to Potiphar. Then when things were starting to look up and he found favor with Potiphar, Potiphar’s wife falsely accuses him of molesting her. Joseph is sent to jail. He is there for a few years when he interprets the dreams of the cup-bearer and baker, which Joseph interprets and the events come true. Again, several years later, Pharoah has a vision and no one can interpret it. The cup-bearer remembers Joseph. He is called from jail to interpret the dream and tells of 7 years of plentiful food in Egypt before 7 years of extreme famine. He is elevated to a position just under Pharoah. His brothers go to Egypt for food during the famine and eventually learn that their brother, Joseph, is very much alive – AFTER they had bowed down to an Egyptian ruler (Joseph) whom they didn’t know (fulfilling his dreams). Joseph forgives his brothers for their actions and tells them:
“I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping.7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. Genesis 45:4b-7
Then many years later when Jacob, Joseph’s father dies, the brothers figure now Joseph will get even with us. Genesis 50:19-20 says,
But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
That’s it! Joseph could remain “truly glad” when throw in a pit, falsely accused, jailed, forgotten, or when he was unwanted or unloved because he knew God had a plan through all of his trials.
We all have burdens, worries, concerns, fears, and trials of some degree and magnitude. Yet when we surrender our lives to Jesus, we can be truly glad because we have the promise of eternal life and the knowledge of God’s having a plan for our lives from before we were born. (Psalm 139:16)
Wildfires: http://www.nfpa.org/public-education/by-topic/wildfire/where-are-the-wildfires-burning and WeatherWizKids
Hurricanes: Harvey – Business Insider
Irma – NOAA and ABC News
New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
I love to worship God. I love to see His glory in His creation.
I saw this beautiful clematis. But it wasn’t until I stopped, moved the camera lens in closer, that I saw the incredible detail. Why does God take the time to create such beauty, that we too often miss? God made us to worship and glorify Him. I think God creates incredible beauty for us to find when we slow down and and enjoy the world around us.
I love how some of the other Bible versions tell how to Ascribe Glory to God – Honor, Worship, Give, Praise.
Honor the Lord for the glory of His name. Worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness. New Living Translation
Give to the Eternal the glory due His name; worship Him with lavish displays of sacred splendor. The Voice
Praise the Lord for the glory of His name; worship the Lord because He is holy. New Century Version
Take some time to spend before the face of God. It is a great time to walk through the park or the woods. Enjoy the flower gardens. Walk down by the creek or lake and look at the rocks and critters. Our 7-year-old gets this. Whenever she is over, she spends a long time looking at all the rocks under the deck, looking for fossils. She’s found some incredibly tiny ones. She was just at a lake and loved finding tiny shells and snails.
One of the best days to do this is on Sunday. God made the Sabbath for rest, recovery and time to spend enjoying Him. Take some time this coming Sunday to enjoy God’s beautifully unique creation up close and personal.
Praying you can find some time to slow down and enjoy God’s creation ~ Faye
I like the saying – “If you can explain God, He wouldn’t be God.” People try to explain the Holy Spirit and His work. Believers in Christ Jesus are given the gift of the Holy Spirit in their lives to help them in their growing relationship with God so they may encourage others in their walk with God. The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 12-14, that the Holy Spirit gives believers spiritual gifts of encouragement, hospitality, faith, healing, and many more gifts. And in Galatians 5:22-23,
“… the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
In John 3, Jesus is talking to Nicodemus, a Jewish Religious Leader. Jesus explained to Nicodemus how a person can enter the Kingdom of God. He said, . . .
“without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.” John 3:5b-8 [New Living Translation]
The Holy Spirit isn’t easy to explain, and neither is how He works to change people’s hearts to believe. That’s where FAITH comes in. We need to surrender our hearts and believe that Jesus Christ is the one and only Son of God. He died to forgive us of ALL of our sins. All we need to do is BELIEVE. When we do that the Holy Spirit lives in us and begins to change us to be more and more like Jesus every day.
Whoever thought they would be encouraged to be grateful for being weak? Recently a godly daughter of God left her earthly home and appeared before Jesus. She received her very own white stone with her specially chosen, unique name.
(Revelation 2:17b – “And I (Jesus) will give to each one (believer) a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.”)
Yvonne was the epitome of being someone who, though being weaker in her body the past few months, was filled with the immense strength of God. When you visited with her, planning to encourage and bless her, you left being blessed by her deep love of God. The spirit of God lived in her and radiated from her.
The thing is, Yvonne, didn’t necessarily “take pleasure” in her weakness. There was a lot of pain some days. When we spoke, she shared that she struggled with the idea that at this time of her life she wasn’t able to serve others but had to rely on the service of others. I would reply that she WAS serving God in a completely different way. She WAS AN ENCOURAGER through her words, smile, and hugs. She would share how God worked in her life and in the lives of others. She was very aware of God working through the prayers of His people. She loved to laugh at the humor in life, always appreciating the gift of Irish blarney. She shared how her 66 years of marriage to Tom were a blessing. Yvonne’s dedication to Tom in his last days was another sign of God’s strength through weakness. She would sing in Tom’s ear in church when his memory was failing. She saw the good in people and didn’t focus on the negative. Yvonne was FILLED with GOD’s STRENGTH.
My life has been so much richer having had Yvonne and Tom in my life.
I pray you will have a wonderful Christian mentor in your life and that you will be filled with the power and strength of God through your lifetime journey ~ Faye
The other day I was dealing with some difficult memories and was really struggling to “see” or ”feel” God’s presence. Now I KNOW full well that God is ALWAYS with me. Psalm 16:8 says:
I know the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me.
AND Hebrews 13:5 says,
“God will never leave us or forsake us.”
However, I had been struggling with feelings of hopelessness and being overwhelmed by some situations. God’s peace was nowhere to be found in my current state of mind.
I walked through the local park and took many pictures of God’s creation. I sat on a swing and read from His word for a few hours and prayed. I sang, did some sketching and took more pictures. I began to feel at rest in trusting God to handle the situation. However, I still was not filled with JOY and wondered if God really heard my desperate heart. Well as I was pouring out my frustrations, worries and fears to God, He saw fit to remind me that He was there, listening to everything I had been saying.
I was about ten feet from my car when a beautiful Black Swallowtail flew around my face and landed on the flowers in front of me. He stayed there sipping from each little flower of the one plant closest to me. As I moved closer, he just moved to another blossom, but he didn’t fly away – until I took the time to thank God for the reminder that He is always with us. He ALWAYS hears us.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t think the butterfly was God or a form of God. It was just “odd” how it showed up when I hadn’t seen any butterflies for the past half hour and then only a Monarch and a Yellow Swallowtail. As I was telling God how I really felt, this beautiful butterfly shows up and stays right where I am for quite a while. And when I thank God for His loving care, guidance and protection, the butterfly flew away.
I must say, I was abundantly blessed by His reminder of His presence through creation.
Praying you will see and know God’s presence in your life today ~ Faye