“AWWW… YOU’RE BROKEN”, 12MAY – #478

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 “AWWW… YOU’RE BROKEN”, 12MAY

Silver linings are showing up in a thousand ways while I am recovering from rotator cuff surgery… And I try to remember that one hundred years ago I would have been stuck for life without use of this left arm… This arthroscopic surgery surely made a rainbow bridge connection reattachment within my shoulder.   I’m blessed, despite the pain, to be healing…

Here is a silver lining – a chance to spend time with friends who come to help – I got a trip to the Amish Market yesterday. YAY! A friend called me out of the blue, scooped me up in her car… I didn’t even have time to change out of my pajama-like leggings, crazy green with circling things – I, of all people, can pull off crazy clothes, but these are a bit extreme that I bought to cheer me up in recovery and because leggings are easy getting dressed with one hand… I thought, “Well the sling will distract anyone from noticing the pants!!”…

Walking in, my friend gave me $20 as a gift “just because” right in front of the Amish pretzel place and went off to do her own shopping at the next stall…

I stood there – just happy in the moment – just happy to have God smiling on me… I smiled because I have the best of friends and I smiled while holding the money ready to get goodies – a cinnamon pretzel, some Amish salads, corn on the cob, and pieces of chocolate covered bacon to share… YUMMY!

See, I was already SMILING even before this, I had just told this friend about an opportunity two nights prior that i got a re-affirmation of my faith, verbally stating how i really am needing Jesus as a savior, and how a rainbow video had arrived in my messages box just at the perfect Holy Spirited-time to let me know God was thinking about me and yes Jesus saved me, and yes Jesus saves us… It made me smile then and now – it makes me SMILE at salvation…

So at that moment, I was SMILING WIDE – inside and out… And then this woman sees me as I turn from the pretzel place and immediately she sees my big black sling and blurts out uncontrollably in a motherly fashion: “AWWW…. YOU’RE BROKEN!!!…” I stopped dead in my tracks, ummm… OK, wow, ummm…  Well, what she blurted out wasn’t intended to be mean, those who heard it could have considered it rude but it truly was NOT meant to harm me, it was NOT a cut down, she spoke instantly, openly, like she couldn’t help it pouring out of her head and mouth – and said it very very truthfully….

She certainly had no way knowing what was running thru my brain at that very exact moment… But God did… God knows all… See, my mind at that very moment was in a healing place, just like my shoulder is in healing… It is by the grace of God that we are healing from what is our biggest riff – the riff caused by our sins pushing us away, but Jesus the fisherman is casting His net to catch us back… It is the truth that mentally the Lord heals us… My mind was reaffirmed at that moment and I was able to say internally to myself: “Yes, I AM broken… I am a Sinner… I do need a Savior… Jesus is my Savior… I need healing in more ways than she could ever know… God loves me so much He gave His only Son… God knows we are a BROKEN people”…

God gave of Himself – gave us Jesus – to advocate for the sins of all of us – both the known sins and ones we that have no idea that we are doing… at that moment I was STILLED… I was stopped dead in my tracks… I was exposed… I WAS STILL because I knew God made that register to me in that way – God wanted me to understand my brokenness is true – but His healing is real…

BE STILL and KNOW I AM GOD…

BE STILL… I simply smiled back at the lady…. A BIG SMILE… I smiled because the truth was spoken at that very moment… I answered to inform her, “It’s OK. It’s OK because I am healing”… I smiled at her and off she went…

It’s so clear that we all have the greatest of healers in our Lord… We are a saved people BUT we need to realize it and be remorseful and we realize our human-ness… And WE MUST REACH FOR OUR SAVIOR! And we must ask for healing. “But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” John 3:21 NIV

I am bounced even higher in life by going down the road to admit my faults known and unknown… At the end of the road (and even during the rainstorms of life) shines a rainbow… I smiled…

After this encounter I turned to an Amish woman selling chocolate covered bacon and told her a condensed version of what happened, of what the lady blurted out uncontrollably – and that I was not offended – i was OK because I was healing… and reaffirmed that God is good because I can see so many silver linings and blessings from this “downtime”… She agreed… I smiled…

I can’t possibly process this amazement of being saved without speaking it out at times… I can be STILLED internally, but I must speak it out… I must write it out… and thank the Lord I have so many open faith friends to chat with plus these random strangers who might only see me smile, my joy bubbling out… It was a Jewish friend who sent me the rainbow video… I am blessed with angels…

And guess what? No one noticed these crazy crazy leggings – at least they didn’t say anything…

BUT, I am certain people noticed my SMILE that day… Perhaps they will smile too…


P.S.

That night, I sat at my son’s school band concert, it was great but I was in pain in my left arm from the shoulder surgery was bothering me… I closed my eyes, absorbed the budding musicians’ music, and when I opened my eyes I noticed green color in the sea of children –  a left arm of a child playing cello… He was playing with a green prosthetic arm… I was humbled… I have to remember to reduce my complaints about this repaired and healing shoulder… I’ll take my pain and remember that green arm – a mechanical fix to his brokenness which brightens this child’s future… An opportunity for this child to live to his fullest – and an opportunity for all of us to see how we are to count our blessings…

God is GOOD…

AMEN


John 3:17 -21 NKJV

17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

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Holy-Spirited Peace and Understanding… #477

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I have had this idea resting on my brain about the Holy Spirit… The Lord STILL wakes me up to write my processing and devotions out – my scripture thoughts often are not new to the world, but I enjoy feeling them re-percolating thru my head… So now I routinely wake after about six hours good sleep, although now in pain post surgery early in the morning causing me to switch from the bed to the chair to get the blood flowing – then after a while, the pain subsides… Blessedly it’s my right arm which writes by swyping on my phone – All 500 pieces one phone (a miracle of technology)! After this Holy Spirit distraction, I hopefully will enter the “second sleep”…

Holy-Spirited Peace and Understanding…

John 14: 15-17 “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth.”

Here’s my thought about that crazy fabulous Holy Spirit, who/that replaces Jesus as “another” – in addition to the support given to the disciples and us, it ALSO means the Holy Spirit, like Jesus, does not judge, and has forgiving ways – the Holy Spirit brings out the truth – and lends advice…

The Holy Spirit can be the love that manifests itself in the thousands of people whom come alongside you in your grief, let you vent in your anger, and people who say “I understand”! They may say:”Hey, I don’t blame you”, “no one can walk in your shoes”, “you know what’s best”, “it will all work out in the end”… etc… etc… People who are not afraid to tell you the truth… People who are there expressing their prayers for you to heal your soul by the love of God… Only God can heal…

People have been “Holy-Spirited” into my life for me this week/month (and forever) – they have brought us food for my family post-surgery and sensed when I seriously needed a mental break… people who gave us rides, people who just stopped by to see how we were are doing… My daughter who forced me to rest and just watch TV… My boss who says “don’t worry, just get better”… Ever blessed… These are all the Holy Spirit in action… People are Holy Spirited into place “… And we are those people too!  – we can share the Lord thru our souls, not just “to our souls” (that is how the “Loved by You” song lyric goes…

The Holy Spirit can use anything and everything that moves us forward into peace…

Holy Spirit – thank you for bringing Jesus home to us today – everyday!

Peace…

 

Work in Progress, 25APR – #476

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I thank the Lord for giving me the peace of early mornings once again – I would have never written by choice, but know I wouldn’t have it any other way – even now I only write when the spirit pushes me… I plan to edit and post many when I am home after surgery for a couple weeks… I plan to sleep much too when I am recovery from surgery – and then I will really be a “work in progress” of regaining mobility and strength…

If writing from tasting scriptures is due to my soul wanting to eat healthy and wanting to grow and blossom – then it’s surely because my soul is a “work in progress”…

Work in Progress, 25APR

I love YouTube – God uses it a lot on me… “You will begin again – take comfort from me – it will take time…” – that was the new song clip a few weeks back but it popped up again this morning EXACTLY when I started piecing together a piece called “work in progress” and wow, the title states the same “work in progress”, as it’s a clip of the artists practicing – the song lyric fits the scriptures that fell into my sight this morning as well – about us being renewed in Christ and it also all fits with a construction sign in a dilapidated window that I felt compelled to take a photo of – “Work in Progress” – yeah the Lord lit the light bulb in my head that morning  but I said “wait wait Lord” – because I was racing to get home to get to NYC with my daughter so I promised the Lord that I would come back to write this piece – and so now with convergent scriptures, song, spirit guidance all together, I am forced to get this writing out…

And the scriptures match not JUST the sign in the window but our pastor’s sermon from a couple days ago – about the Lord calling NOT the perfect people, but the imperfect… Then the Lord qualifies the people whom He calls… Essentially we are all works in progress… The Lord equips those called to share the good news because the Lord loves us, reminding us that Jesus came to heal us, that the Holy Spirit is responsible to move us… One more convergent event for this thought – it is a “new to me” song that we are leaning in band: ” I will boast in the Lord”…. That scripture lyric is ALSO in today’s scriptures too – cool Lord, cool….

And we are all works in progress – we are developing and maturing in Christ…

Apostle Paul reminds us:

 “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel (Colossians 1)”

We are God’s children – we are His “works in progress” – we are not yet complete but we have the best carpenter working on us – and that is Jesus… We are gently being worked upon from the inside out – like a dilapidated building being renovated with the best intentions, it still takes time…

There is a sparked interest for a contractor to improve a dilapidated building – and we know they decided to save it rather than tear it down and start over…   Surely we are like that building too, are  piquing the interest of our  creator  who sent Jesus  to post a shining work-in-progress sign in us -yes, the Lord wants Christ shining thru you – except He’s requesting you help him wash the window of your soiled soul… clear the way for the LIGHT to shine out… Then keep working… All healing comes from the Lord.

Boast NOT in your progress or life achievements – but always boast in the Lord, as He’s the one enabling you to share the gifts that He bestowed on you… It’s good to freely admit that you are under His contract to improve… Not for your own boasting but as an example of the Lord making something out of nothing – from dust you came and dust you shall return… And does light shines brightly in those who realize that God wants them?… Yes God wants you…. ALL of you…

“28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” (Corinthians)”

Apostle Paul asked God to fill the people with “the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1)

Paul reminds us all that we are changed people, we are pariahs no more, and we are works in progress to be presented “holy and without blemish” to God – the Lord is asking us to allow Jesus to help us stay recycled reconciled and redeemed…

“21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of  your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.”

Thank you Lord for working on us… Thank you Lord for noticing the beauty within us which You created and then You reclaimed… We thank You for bringing us back to You… Please keep working on us, we love you Lord… And we know You love us.

Amen

 


Here are the song clips and the full scriptures…

https://youtu.be/dEFvI-Tmezo Steve Wilson and Ninet Tayeb – “Pariah”

— I Will Boast in the Lord, Paul Baloche https://youtu.be/pBfOcJGEKUU


Colossians 1 (NIV)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you  to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

The Supremacy of the Son of God

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of  your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

1 Corinthians 1 NIV

Christ Crucified Is God’s Power and Wisdom

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

 

Children from Rocks, 21Apr – #475

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Whew, I’m glad already wrote this during the afternoon, it was so out of the blue to write because usually the Lord doesn’t make me stop in the middle of the day, but for some reason I had to write this out today and I’m so glad I did because just now a truck on the turnpike almost hit me (after yesterday that also happened)… Whew… Freaky… Blessed to have the save, but whew Lord that was close!… Fear and joy of the Lord… Thanks for the save Lord!

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Date: Apr 21, 3:45 PM
Children from Rocks, 21Apr

It’s such a blessing when we get to share spirit in an uplifting way like by singing praises… that’s the kind of permanent memory marks that currently and future-ly will permeate my mind when I feel those dark stormy times… Light overcomes darkness, always… Music feeds in to feed the soul…

I don’t ever want to take life for granted, certainly life on earth is a short window of time… It’s a blessing to sing the Lord’s praises everyday… And it’s also a praise that each of us all woke up today… An important pause and praise that I didn’t get taken out by a tractor trailer on the turnpike yesterday, as traffic has been sketchy lately, whew… Thanks for the save Lord…

I believe we all need to thank the Lord for His saving hand, and the joy of life He gives… And the appropriate praise song lyric is: “I bow my heart to sing” (from Your Mercy by Paul Balouche)… And to me that means I fear the Lord, so I best to come in Him in repentance…

Repentance… That is us wanting to change our sinful ways… That is where Jesus comes to help us, but we must ask for forgiveness… We ask for His help and He is very willing to run to us with His mercy.

Scripture tells us that John the Baptist asked for people to repent – offering them baptism in the Lord’s name – he saw the hypocrites of the day and essentially warned them to stop leaning on their entitlement to life as “children of Abraham”, and reminded them that the rocks can be made into children of Abraham, yeah they can… So drop the entitlement and repent… Yeah, fear the Lord for He is really that powerful, and fear and love the Lord for He is good… He loves us sinners and gives us mercy and grace, and forgiveness – and keeps us around another day living for His will… It’s His plan, not ours…

And John the Baptist taught about Jesus… for the purpose of baptizing us with the Holy Spirit… Jesus came, and Jesus also had to leave. Jesus had to leave His disciples so that the Holy Spirit would come to them… He sends the Holy Spirit to us too – we are called to open ourselves to the Holy Spirit moving in our lives – called to be living for His will… It’s His plan, not ours…

Surviving swerving tractor trailers and my own driving distractedness too, these shows me that we don’t know the plan… We just know that we should appreciate that we are in it!

We should ask Jesus to lift our sinful lives. We should also ask the Holy Spirit to guide us…

We are blessed when we repent, our repentance lightens our loads… Jesus lightens our load…

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11

Continued repentance shows our continued devotion to Jesus. Repentance frees us to be children again… We are free to be children of our Lord…

Amen


Matthew 3

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’”

John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist.His food was locusts and wild honey.People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan.Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 “I baptize you with water for repentance.But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”


John 14:15 (NIV)

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

15 “If you love me, keep my commands.16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[a] in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”


John 16

… But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin,because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer;11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

 

The Show Must Go On… the Lord Sayeth So, 18APR – #474

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The Show Must Go On… the Lord Sayeth So, 18APR

Wow, I got a surprise award at work, the “speed, responsiveness and flexibility award” (which I think translates to I get to “wing-it” at work everyday LOL)… $250… Blessed… perfect on the day that I just mistakenly bounced my checking account, oops… this mini financial relief is just amazing, another reminder of God’s grace and mercy, and that the Lord sometimes provides so fast it makes my head spin…

This means I can now take my daughter guilt-free this weekend to see the behind-the-scenes tour of Radio City Music Hall (she’s researching a paper for school about it’s architecture, so I said “let’s go!”)…. blessed blessed blessed… bonus money is meant to be blown on fun things especially your kids.

What was icing on the cake today was that the big boss CEO of our company is in charge of tons of employees said that I “had the best smile of anybody” – wow – I can’t take credit for that! That’s from the Lord! I just fell the most blessed ever to be able to smile for Him! Blessed… All the credit and glory to Him!

I also just found out that I made the cut as a chaperone for the enrichment class field trip with my son to see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway in June, so this bonus money is also paying for that trip… I guess the Lord just loves funding the time I get to spend with my kids… Broadway is a nice way to do that…  money in – money out – memories made… Blessed…

What’s extra cool is that putting the finishing touches on this blog together, I just drove by a train station which I remember from many many years ago… my car was dying and overheated and I had already been driving stuck in traffic for an hour going less than 5 miles, I was so anxious to get to a concert it was the big reunion tour of the Police, oh awesome concert that I ALMOST missed… it was summertime in a giant outdoor venue and I was stuck in traffic like 2 hours away and at 90 degrees I chugged along when the check engine light came on in my beloved green Subaru Forester… I pulled over to the side of the road and endured honking horns and made my exit to the first available exit…. I didn’t know what to do – until I saw the train station!!! I parked my car at the gas station across the street, put a sign in it and let the guy know inside that I would be back the next day for it… and then I started my venture out on my own two feet… but of course with the Lord taking care of me, as he always does with all of us. I only had a destination to get to and I knew I would figure it out on the way… so I hopped on the train…. I didn’t have exact change – only a $20 bill – so a lady paid my token for me. I thanked her so much and gave her a dollar coin and a Staples coupon for a dollar – that’s all I could offer her. The people on the train instructed me on all the different connections I had to make to get down to the stadium for the concert. I ended up taking the train, a bus and two subways and then walking the last 5 minutes…  I checked with people along the way constantly rechecking… I gained an amazing story to tell about this journey, just like I do now! I know we all have amazing stories to tell of the times when the Lord smiled in us, gave us a lift and got us to where were were supposed to be – just in the nick of time – the show must go on…

I stepped right into the concert as the lights went down and Sting started singing – the drum started drumming my steps down to my seat and I danced the rest of the night.

The Lord says “The Show Must Go On!”… This I know for a fact… This I know as a blessing…

All good things are from God, how can we stay silent?

Blessed…

Blessed…

 

Good Friday, Sheep to Slaughter, 14Apr – #473

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Good Friday, Sheep to Slaughter, 14Apr

The Stations of the Cross was presented in a very calm and austere fashion in this 1711 church that I attended today, near work at lunchtime, it was a very convenient location where I’ve also walked for exercise… The church has sheep in its cemetery too… The service was silent, but it was so nice that afterwards the pastor and a kind woman named Holly greeted me.   (Surely not a coincidence that the woman who greeted me at my home church fifteen years ago is also named Holly)…

The station reading that touched me the most was that Jesus was led like a sheep to slaughter… He had to accept it – He had to be quiet about it – and He had to give up His will to God… often I think people focus on the physical pain of the crucifixion – but that was probably minimal compared to the 30 years on earth and forever the emotional pain that Jesus bore, knowing that there’s so many people to be saved that don’t even hear Him, they don’t know Him, let alone those who haven’t heard of Him… How blessed we are to hear, to want to listen, to reach, and to tell of HIS LOVE…

They have a prayer Labyrinth on this church grounds, and I was thinking that entering into relationship with Jesus is freeing, BUT it’s not like God gave us a “free pass” to Salvation – it’s more like God gave us a “work order” to start our journey….

We are blessed to have such a work order to work on our faith journey…

Blessed to journey this Easter week and always…

A Good Friday to reflect the stations of life we are in…

The LOVE we all share in came at a price to our heavenly Father, but all we need to do is pick up our cross and start to walk towards Him…

Amen

Easter salvation realization…. Apr 12, #472

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Easter salvation realization…. Apr 12

I think the increased peace of the Lord that I have recently gained in the mornings may re-start my writing, maybe only short windows of writing as I’ve actually asked for time to edit these 500 blogs, but either way it’s all praise… And pause… Jesus reminds us to pause and reflect on how we best follow Him… A daily reminder…   each morning is newly gifted, to restart our lives to serve the Lord the best we can…

Easter…. What does Easter mean to you? That’s the Facebook question a dear friend asked…. And that’s EXACTLY what Easter is – it’s all about YOU – because it’s all about God’s plan – and His plan is all about YOU, His children… Easter reminds us that daily we have a personal choice to follow Jesus… to believe in Him and also believe in and follow His teachings…

Then Jesus said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. Luke 9

To accept Christ, I first had to acknowledge that Christ was and is real…

And this also meant I had to and still have to realize that I am human, VERY HUMAN…. and that God made all of us human and loves us immensely even though we have human failings…

I have to humbly accept and know that I really need a Savior…. When I realize the immense LOVE He gave, and I get to live a new day for Him? That is when I feel the JOY…

Easter means the Lord Jesus humbled himself just for us… We could and should look to His example to pay attention to what God’s direction for our own lives is as well… I bet Jesus could have said – “hey, give me a few more years here to preach” – but God’s plan involved this short window of opportunity for Jesus, and Jesus accepted His Father’s Will… And since then spreading the Good News is a trickle effect of personal salvation realization – spreading the Good News has been tasked to God’s people – who require being moved by and relying upon the Holy Spirit…

Jesus is born anew for each person in their heart… It’s up to each person to realize Easter is a personal gift rather than a blanket free pass to the world… It’s individual realization…. One has to actually participate in reaching for Jesus – DAILY. We have to pick up our crosses daily – but Jesus is the ultimate savior – a tiny faith is a huge faith…. And He’s got you covered…

EASTER… Part of God’s plan… You are part of God’s plan…

God loves you. Jesus is there for you.

EASTER… Christ is Risen! We are SAVED… FOREVER…

HALLELUJAH!

Leaning on God like Gideon, 11APR – VBS time! #471

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Leaning on God like Gideon, 11APR – VBS time!

We are so blessed that we get to work for our Lord… and the theme of Maker Fun Factory is perfect this year’s Vacation Bible School: You are God’s precious creation—one that He has promised to be with forever! I know God is with me and wants me to acknowledge that He is the one who brought me down this road… thank you all in advance for helping VBS share the GOOD NEWS that God is with us!

This morning I woke in pain sleeping wrong on my bad shoulder and I reached emotionally for Psalm 23 (and ibuprofen) –-I always wanted a song for Psalm 23 and turns out Michael Card sings one – it is beautiful and as I have met him a few times, I personally hear the devotion in his voice…   Michael Card’s music is one of the many comforting gifts from God placed into my life. Here is the song  https://youtu.be/jgVB96fdUJE

In addition to Psalm 23, this VBS devotion is speaking to me this morning as I prepare mentally for shoulder surgery and VBS – I wanted to share it with you all and I am gratefully placed as His messenger to share:

Day 3:  Bible Point: God is always with you, Bible Story: God is with Gideon (Judges 6:11–7:25), Key Verse: “The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

God opened my eyes to this story about Gideon, I have NEVER learned this or most of these vbs stories and so I am excited to learn…  Gideon asked God for signs – and God showed him signs…  God provided guidance, comfort and a plan… God came thru… Yes, God comes thru big time…

I gleaned background info from the web: Gideon came just after Deborah (go figure, my own name brings me into this story) and we learn “As is the pattern throughout the Book of Judges, the Israelites again turned away from Yahweh after 40 years of peace brought by Deborah’s victory over Canaan, and Midianites, Amalekites and other Bedouin peoples… God chose Gideon to free the people of Israel and to condemn their idolatry. The Angel of the Lord came “in the character of a traveller who sat down in the shade [of the terebinth tree] to enjoy a little refreshment and repose” and entered into conversation with Gideon….”

The take home message to me on that wiki page was: “God informed Gideon that the men he had gathered were too many – with so many men, there would be reason for the Israelites to claim the victory as their own instead of acknowledging that God had saved them.” – OH….. that is what speaks to me – God wants us to acknowledge that God is the one who saves us both here on Earth and eternally – and that is 100% the truth, we enter our lives with limited power of our own – and sometimes we are distracted and confused too – but GOD IS STILL WITH US…  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

More VBS devotion scriptures from the Group VBS website:

God is with you… At Home

“You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.” (Psalm 139:3)

God is with you… When You’re Confused

“And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27)

God is with you… In Dark Times

“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.” (Psalm 23:4)

God is with you… Because God Loves You “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)


Scriptures:

Judges 6 (NIV)

Gideon

The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country. They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys. They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count them or their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it. Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help.

When the Israelites cried out to the Lord because of Midian, he sent them a prophet, who said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians. And I delivered you from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.”

11 The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”

17 Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. 18 Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.”

And the Lord said, “I will wait until you return.”

19 Gideon went inside, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak.

20 The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And Gideon did so. 21 Then the angel of the Lord touched the meat and the unleavened bread with the tip of the staff that was in his hand. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the Lord disappeared. 22 When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the Lord, he exclaimed, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!”

23 But the Lord said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.”

24 So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

25 That same night the Lord said to him, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old. Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. 26 Then build a proper kind of altar to the Lord your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second bull as a burnt offering.”

27 So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the Lord told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the townspeople, he did it at night rather than in the daytime.

28 In the morning when the people of the town got up, there was Baal’s altar, demolished, with the Asherah pole beside it cut down and the second bull sacrificed on the newly built altar!

29 They asked each other, “Who did this?”

When they carefully investigated, they were told, “Gideon son of Joash did it.”

30 The people of the town demanded of Joash, “Bring out your son. He must die, because he has broken down Baal’s altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.”

31 But Joash replied to the hostile crowd around him, “Are you going to plead Baal’s cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.” 32 So because Gideon broke down Baal’s altar, they gave him the name Jerub-Baal that day, saying, “Let Baal contend with him.”

33 Now all the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples joined forces and crossed over the Jordan and camped in the Valley of Jezreel. 34 Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Gideon, and he blew a trumpet, summoning the Abiezrites to follow him. 35 He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, calling them to arms, and also into Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali, so that they too went up to meet them.

36 Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised— 37 look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.” 38 And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water.

39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece, but this time make the fleece dry and let the ground be covered with dew.” 40 That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew.

Judges 7 (NIV)

Gideon Defeats the Midianites

Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ Now announce to the army, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.

But the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”

So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink.” Three hundred of them drank from cupped hands, lapping like dogs. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.

The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.” So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites home but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others.

Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley. During that night the Lord said to Gideon, “Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands. 10 If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah 11 and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.” So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp. 12 The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.

13 Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.”

14 His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.”

15 When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed down and worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, “Get up! The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands.” 16 Dividing the three hundred men into three companies, he placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them, with torches inside.

17 “Watch me,” he told them. “Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. 18 When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon.’”

19 Gideon and the hundred men with him reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard. They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands. 20 The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” 21 While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled.

22 When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the Lord caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords. The army fled to Beth Shittah toward Zererah as far as the border of Abel Meholahnear Tabbath. 23 Israelites from Naphtali, Asher and all Manasseh were called out, and they pursued the Midianites. 24 Gideon sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim, saying, “Come down against the Midianites and seize the waters of the Jordan ahead of them as far as Beth Barah.”

So all the men of Ephraim were called out and they seized the waters of the Jordan as far as Beth Barah. 25 They also captured two of the Midianite leaders, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb,and Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb. They pursued the Midianites and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon, who was by the Jordan.

Joshua 1 (NIV)

Joshua Installed as Leader

After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west.No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsakeyou. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

—-

Psalm 23 (KJV)

23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Linger with the Lord, 15MAR – #470

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Linger with the Lord, 15MAR

I don’t “beware the ides of March” – but I do know to fear the Lord, for He is all powerful – He is Almighty… (and I appreciate snow storms and Him making time for me to ponder!!!)

But on occasion I wonder: “What if?” – I wonder “what if I had not heard the call?” – “what if I had not allowed Jesus to make me reborn into this child of God and long for His instruction?”…  “what if…”  not knowing Jesus like I do now surely brings me to tears.

Naturally, I am filled with such JOY of the Lord that it pours out of me – and I feel I can’t help it – that it has been truly amplified in an awakening to understanding how His Spirit moves in me and how He moves in you and in all His children – these bring me such JOY! – BUT yes one sure way to bring me to tears are the thoughts of “what if” – what if i never heard? – missed the cues? – what if I never opened my ears to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior?… what if???  Tear are natural – some say tears to women are a gift or a plague – but I feel God gave them to us for a purpose – not just for sorrow but for appreciation…. I truly know the Jesus was given to me to realize that I needed Him…

I KNOW that God loves each of His children… He wants to be with them…

Pausing to marvel at how God orchestrates awakenings, I remember that it wasn’t me who opened my ears – I remember that I had no choice – God did it – God Himself used every crowbar of sight and sound to open my ears!  Yes, God opens our ears, moves us to Jesus and Jesus takes care of the rest – giving rest in His arms…

Jesus said: “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven NOT to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6)

God forces the issues – we hear but then we have to actually listen and head the call…

When we are brought to Jesus, we will then have to learn to LINGER – we have to learn to linger and BE STILL… and only then can we move ahead… We have to learn to listen for the spirit directions for our lives – we have to head the call that “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9). In other words – we have to move when the spirit moves us… the path is narrow but it is sure…

The bible gives us instructions and teachings – we can look to Job to remember to fear the Lord – and love the Lord… and LISTEN for the Lord – what is the use of hearing if we don’t LISTEN  – God wants to fill us with His LIGHT – to turn us back from death…

Job listened and was eternally blessed… we too can listen, we can pray to discern, and we can linger when we feel we should linger and move when we feel we should move – but all in all we are best to move forward as God directs us – we are called and we go – we are ever blessed to hear His call…

The result for us is that we now long to linger – we long to hear God’s call.

Instead of “what if” – we can ask “what now?”

—–

 

In the book of Job, Elihu teaches and warns Job – then the Lord speaks to Job directly – and then Job listens:

Job 33:15 “In a dream, a special dream of the night, when deep sleep comes upon men, while they sleep in their beds, 16 then He opens the ears of men. He teaches them and makes them afraid telling them of danger, 17 that He may turn man away from wrong-doing and keep him from pride. 18 He keeps his soul from going to the place of the dead.” …

29 “See, God does all these things twice, even three times, to a man, 30 to turn back his soul from the grave, that he may see the light of life.”

—–

Job 36:5 “See, God is powerful, but does not hate anyone. He is powerful in strength of understanding. He does not keep the sinful alive, but gives what is right and fair to those who are troubled. He does not turn His eyes away from those who are right with Him. He puts them on the throne with kings and they are honored forever. If they are tied up in chains and caught in the ropes of trouble, then He makes known to them their work and their sins, that they have shown pride. 10 He makes them listen to teaching, and tells them to turn away from sin. 11 If they hear and serve Him, the rest of their days will be filled with what they need and their years with peace. 12 But if they do not hear, they will die by the sword. They will die without learning.

—–

24 “Remember that you should honor His work, of which men have sung. 25 All men have seen it. Man sees it from far away. 26 See, God is honored, and we do not know Him. We are not able to know the number of His years. 27 For He takes up the drops of water that become rain, 28 which the clouds pour down. Much rain falls on man. 29 Can anyone understand how the clouds are spread out, or how He thunders from His tent? 30 See, He spreads His lightning around Him and covers the bottom of the sea. 31 For by these He judges the people and He gives much food. 32 He covers His hands with the lightning, and tells it to hit the mark. 33 His thunder tells of a storm coming, and cattle also know it is coming.

—-

Job 37: 14 “Hear this, O Job. Stop and think about the great works of God”……

21 “Now men cannot look on the light when it is bright in the sky, when the wind has passed and made it clear. 22 A bright gold light is seen in the north. Around God is great power. 23 We cannot come near the All-powerful. He is lifted high with power. And He is right and fair and good and will not make it hard for us. 24 So men honor Him with fear. He has respect for any who are wise in heart.”

Job heard the Lord, listened to the Lord, and prayed to the Lord… the Lord heard Job’s prayer –

10 The Lord returned to Job all the things that he had lost, when he prayed for his friends. The Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. ………… 16 After this Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons, his grandsons, and even their sons. 17 Then Job died, an old man having lived many days.

———-

All my days, I pray to linger with the Lord….

Amen

Cross-net Cross-stitch, 07Mar – #469

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Cross-net Cross-stitch, 07Mar

An idea popped into my head while writing a devotion…an idea for a name for our website committee, “CROSSNet”

When I don’t write a devotion for a long time, then one hits me just as I wake, I know God placed it there and I have to get it out!!!

I’ve been gathering info about our incoming new pastor and the three committee members I’ve spoken to gave me great insight – and it became clear that we are all looking to connect with this new pastor by finding similarities to us – ways we can relate, and truly each person did find something unique to them. Our lay leader picked up on a small but relevant tidbit – maybe irrelevant to others but very very relevant to her at that moment – they connected on their hobby (which also used to be my hobby) – the new pastor likes cross-stitch! Cross-stitch embroidery is specific purposeful grid-pattern work – individual stitches in X shapes are combined for a bigger picture – and it embodies the essence of the devotion that God knitted-crocheted-stitched into my head this morning…

CROSSSTITCH is what God is directing Jesus to do as He is a “Fisher of men”. Jesus is taking God’s colorful detailed plan and following it – each person in God’s timing.

When God brings someone to Jesus, Jesus stitches them into this NET of fellow believers; one by one He finds the thread to pull on our faith and He hooks us in, according to God’s plan. It’s a loop – God brings us to Jesus and Jesus is following God’s plan to bring each of us back to God, eternally….

 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.” (John 6)

… And as each person is crossed into the grid – Jesus uses His “CROSS stitch” made thru His death and resurrection to complete the loop of His love.  It is because of His CROSS that we become part of God’s NET – and we are then in turn directed to work that very NET… The Great Commission is directing us into using our skills to tell and show others the GOOD NEWS of how God has a plan – for them – God has a plan for everyone. And God sent Jesus to execute the plan.

28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8)”

I had a meeting last night about a new web committee – to reinvigorate the church website with pertinent rich content – to display eye catching info with the intent of the soul catching…. That’s the mission, soul- catching we are working God’s Net as Jesus’s brothers and sisters – God’s directing us how to spread the Good News the best we can.

And as we are looking for a committee name – CrossNet came to mind – it’s not flashy but it’s Biblical, meaningful and accurate…

CrossNet is descriptive – active – we are actively pursuing God’s directive – helping to reach across the NET to new people – invite them into this fellowship of believers – in order that Jesus can CROSSstitch each person in. Jesus reaches a CROSS across to us – to me – to you!!! And it’s Jesus who also reinforces our connection to the vine. Jesus came to let the world know of God’s plan. Jesus wants us to realize He and we are stitched into God’s plan because God LOVES us.

God loves us working CROSS-NET. Connecting with each other, watching as a Jesus Connection is made.

Amen

40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”


29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

 

The Lord Questions, 01MAR – #468

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The Lord Questions, 01MAR

Two scripture stories come to mind in a window of peace that I have this morning, scriptures from Genesis and Elijah, where God asks His people questions, then He directs them…. And there are so many instances where the Lord questions His people… The Lord questions us too. He longs to hear our answers.

The Lord knows all things, but He still asks questions of us – we are still called to answer to Him…

Sometimes God comes in a whisper… Out of the cave, He asked Elijah a question first, before He gave Elijah life instructions… The Lord asked: “What are you doing here?”… I know that the Lord asks me the same question… I ask it myself… “What are you doing here?”… I know the questioning is an opportunity to talk with God.

The Lord wants to interact with us, He loves us, He wants to find out where we are emotionally, then to see if we trust Him, perhaps even to see if we are paying attention.  Our LOVE can be shown to Him when we trust Him… And we truly need to trust Him…. He had made a promise with Noah forward to the present time that He will always take care of us. And we need to trust in that… we need to anticipate answers and listen. We need to NOT shut the Lord out, because after His questions to us comes His directions to us. He’s giving us purpose, He helps us with a plan…

Noah got instructions.

Elijah got instructions.

Jesus got instructions.

Jesus then asked His own questions of us too, and gave us instructions too… and then gave us the Holy Spirit to help.

Direction… The Lord questions, the Lord provides direction… Oh those with ears, may they hear.

Help us, Lord, today and all days to hear your voice, help us reach You… Help us to listen and obey…

Thank you Lord for asking us where we are… Thank you for loving us enough to ask. Thank you for loving us regardless of our answers… Thank you for putting us in Your plan.

Amen

—–

Genesis, after the fall…

– But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

– 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

-Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

– Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”

10 The Lord said, “What have you done?

——

From 1st kings 18, Elijah in the cave…

“And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. 13 And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

 

A Subaru Valentine’s, 03FEB – #467

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A Subaru Valentine’s, 03FEB

You know my Subaru is my salvation Subaru… a tool used by God… Today I mail in my last payment… I pay off six years – with the loan maturity on what day? Feb 14th… Good God… On Valentine’s Day!!!… Wow… Wow…  God gave me a sweet Valentine this year… God, I am yours this Valentine’s, and you send SMILES on me and my Subaru everyday…

I LOVE God’s ways… “Lord you are SO precious to me” the lyrics came flying out of my mouth when I saw that maturity date.. Sweet Subaru – which means “to unite”… SMILES for God’s wordplay!

Perfect scripture of the day:  “But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely.” Psalm 59:16

God is infinitely greater than a Subaru fortress… I think back a year or so ago to a road rage incident where this angry guy cut me off violently and punched at my face by hitting the window for not engaging in a fight… I feel awful that didn’t see his dark car with no lights in the biggest rainstorm when I started to change lanes… I pulled back and there was no accident but he was pissed anyway… He swerved to catch up to me – stopped his car in front to force me to stop and eventually after screaming at me he hit the subaru window… I saw his “gun club” bumper sticker on his car and it was a good thing I was already praying because everything happened so fast.. First thing I said was, “is the Subaru window ok?” The strong window armor of God saved my face – and I forgave the guy on the spot because of the sheer pain on his face… And because I was safe – God knows I appreciated my life remaining intact at that moment and everyday… I try to praise in the moment… Look for the praise because even if it’s not obvious, it is there somewhere.

God keeps us under HIS wing, if we choose to be there… No doubt…

Thanks God for Subaru safety, God armor, and debt repayment…. SMILES for God’s Subaru…. SMILES for God…

DRIVE

SUBARU

FEEL THE LOVE

467 subaru valentines.jpg

YES
The More We Live – Let Go
https://youtu.be/7zOxY5lBkwY

You and I can change the world;
The more we live, the more we learn, the more we know.
From this moment on we share the world;
The more we give, the more we love, the more we grow.
The spirit of imagination can lead us through the dark;
The more we see, the more we try, the more we show.
The evidence of our confusion, life has left its mark;
The more we fear, the more we lie, the more we hide.
As we walk into tomorrow
(Turning away from the path we know)
Holding the future with our hands
(We carry the weight of the world we go)
It’s up to you and I — We hold the key; we hold the answers
All our thoughts of doubt and fear are leaving one by one
The more we live, the more we learn, the more we know.
For each of us the road is clear and life has just begun;
The more we give, the more we love, the more we grow.
It’s time to reach the goals we’ve set for ourselves;
The more we fear, the more we lie, the more we hide.
All we need is just to believe in ourselves;
We face the truth, we see it clear, with no disguise.
Cast away our doubt and sorrow
(Turning away from the past we know)
The Universe at our command
(Conserving the fate of the world we grow)
Together you and I, we hold the key to all the answers
Let go
Let go
Let go
Let go
Let go

Seeing Clearly, 17Jan – #466

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Seeing Clearly, 17Jan

A milestone for me today – a big change – you may think this is silly or flippant but I’ve come to the realization that I needed reading glasses my eyesight declined rapidly after hitting 45 – now that I am 47 there is no denial that I am entering a life phase of change… it’s an age change that’s been forced upon me… and it parallels other big changes to all of our lives both forced and chosen…

Sure it’s normal for so many people to have glasses but I’ve been in denial for so long and was/is hard for me to accept this but I must… I must accept and even embrace change… I must move on forward with a good attitude about change…

There many changes in life we did not ask for – but they happened anyway… for me there are many good changes including:

… having certain health issues clarified by losing weight thru healthy eating – it just kind of happened … and

… having my voice clarified by eliminating milk while losing weight and mostly by focusing for who I was truly singing for – it just kind of happened… and

… writing, I didn’t ask to process life this way –  an introverted change shared in an extroverted way – it just kinda happened…

Change – it happens and it’s God-driven… change gives clarity… “I Can See Clearly Now” – a song lyric that rings true…

Clarity – when I put these minimal strength reading glasses on – wow the difference! the fuzzy light gray text becomes crisp, clear and bolder in color… (yeah I know it’s silly they are just 1.25’s but hey this aspect of getting older is new and weird to me – and getting used to them has made me a bit queasy so far)

Clarity – that’s Jesus – our life focused thru our belief in Jesus is the most powerful change anyone could ever experience… Focus, boldness, relief… Queasy? – yeah it is that too – but queasy motivates change…

Is accepting Jesus a forced change? Well even if you are forced to reach to God, you still have to be the one to open your heart to Jesus… Sure it’s not as simple as buying a $20 pair of reading glasses – but actually, you might say accepting Jesus is even simpler because it’s free – Jesus is free – and Jesus is freeing…

Is accepting Jesus a hard change? Well softening your heart might be tough because accepting Jesus surely causes you to change… Jesus wants to clean out your heart – to get busy clearing clutter in your life – He will yield more clarity than JUST thru wearing glasses – Jesus wants to remove your fuzzy guessing thru life existence too – Jesus wants you to have bold but fearful living – Jesus instructs us and He wants us to be God-focused, love-giving, and living life with eyes open – plus He wants us to have and use sober judgment for future temptation awareness…

Clarity comes at a cost – turning your life over to Jesus – that is a cost… Trust me, your new life will surprise you everyday – because your focus is no longer your own – because God will move your sights onto His work, not yours…

Clarity – there’s no better clarity than living your life thru the new lens of Jesus…

Jesus brings God’s Will into view.

Jesus.

Yup.

Singing “I can see clearly now – Jesus is Lord…”

Amen

 

God’s Opportunities, 13JAN – #465

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God’s Opportunities, 13JAN

Spring is NOT just around the corner, but this beautiful delicate daffodil flower opened today in my office…And its beauty reminds me of God’s grace – and our potential to seize the opportunities God gifts to us. We have to recognize God’s grace of forgiveness – and then we have to accept that we need it!

I recently found where they dumped thousands of the old flower bulbs at our corporate center for years, many each spring the fresh crop are sold as a fundraiser, but these were leftovers, just sitting there to rot – for years!… I recovered a few and really made no dent to the pile… and I planted them into pots and also planted dozens in the dug up yard after our sewer replacement… I already had the big bag of bulbs before the yard  was dug up, and so then the opportunity to plant them showed up later! – I was waiting for an opportunity and it came – unexpected but it came. It’s kinda like being Robin Hood in life – I pray God forgives my Robin Hood nature… I call it trash picking… I call it being an opportunist… I even got the soil and flowers pots out of the trash… Yup.  God is like Robin Hood to us too – He moves us around where He deems we are a better fit – where we are of use to His plan – and He puts us in opportunities where we can change situations according to His Will…

Surely, I can see beauty of the one delicate flower – but can you see those dozens that will bloom outside in spring? I can!!!…. They will remind us that they survived… they stored up their resources before winter to survive harsh weather, they hid underground to prevent being wasted or eaten, and they survived what the world threw at them…. And so can we… We can survive these times whether they are easy or harsh by preparing and looking towards the eternal spring, we can anticipate and take the opportunity to accept the greatest gift – the GIFT of knowing God – the whispers of His words – the LIFE given by HIS Son Jesus… We can even hide under HIS wing when needed…

The contrast between people who look to the Lord and those that don’t is that we know eternally life will be good, and we also know that in this world there are gems to be seen, flowers to be beholden and life to appreciate thru our journeys, mud and all… We are called to be distracted by the JOY and tolerate the pain… God had a passion to be with us…

The flowers blooming this spring will remind us of God’s Grace – forgiveness enabling eternal life… and to know that beauty came from seeing an opportunity in a mud field… Ideas planted by the Holy Spirit are beautiful to watch grow…

The mud field of life is full of opportunity…. nutrients are present and ready for use, just add water and add the warmth of the Sun…  God also sees opportunity in us… He sculpts our lives where we might see the beauty in the ordinary… He shows us how to bloom… It’s HIS garden of us earthly souls; He just adds living water – warmth of the Son… And He waits for us to grow…

This mud of life helps me visually anticipate spring… God gives me eyes to see opportunity, and He encourages us to rise above the mud… I know that God sees potential in all HIS children… We are made from dust into HIS children, to grow, to bloom, to live, to LOVE…

Amen

“If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” Romans 14:8

Curls, 08JAN – #464

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Curls, 08JAN

I was scrubbing off paint in a late night shower when I thought I would curl my hair – I was thinking of my dear friend who had worn curlers under her outfit at our church’s outside Living Nativity on Christmas eve, so that she would look nice for bell choir… I texted her this morning saying I was thinking of her, and she texted saying she also was simultaneously using hot curlers and was thinking of me, LOL – that’s awesome… God pairs up us crazy sisters… and of course it figures that I ran into her when I snuck into church between services and I still had my curlers in…

I could say it’s vanity to have curls – but on this day it seemed about being happy – the small things that make you happy like having the time to curl your hair… this scripture from Ecclesiastes and thinking about my soul sister makes me happy – and God makes me happy – with dreaming of eternity in our hearts how could we not smile…

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.  I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it…” Ecclesiastes 3:11-14

“This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.” Ecclesiastes 5:10-20

As David wrote his ponderings in all of Ecclesiastes chapters 1-12, it is a comfort to remember that God is in control –  we are here for such a short time in this world – we should make the best of it – He concluded: No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning. Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it.”

LIGHT Invades Dark, 07Jan – #463

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LIGHT Invades Dark, 07Jan

Haven’t written a devotion in a while, have been focusing on editing and posting the old ones on my blog… But this is new/old because even though each of my writings have come from new thoughts in me of convergent experiences, truly all our LIGHT revelations are all from old LIGHT, a old SPIRIT from before time began… external to time… As God is SPIRIT, He is the creator of all, including time… And He’s a SPIRIT who still wants to illuminate our own darknesses in a new way… it is a LIGHT to catch our attention in a fresh way.

It’s not a surprise that there is a convergence of people’s experiences from finding LIGHT in the darkness – it is not a surprise because it’s the LIGHT that finds them… The bible begins with LIGHT overtaking the darkness… At the appointed time it was and is the LIGHT of Jesus that overcame darkness for all time, Light is trying to seep into every compartmentalized hidden space in the world, Light begins by entering the deepest soul space in us – and it is LIGHT that needs to be pour back out of us into the world.

” Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” John 12

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1

As I read these bible verses… I could speak of many areas of light invading darkness in my personal life, but I like how the scriptures speak individually to each person… each person has new LIGHT invading old darkness… Each soul illumination is a precious moment… Each LIGHT shared brings us back closer to wholeness…

Compartmentalize… often we want to separate our darkness from our happy places… If we are able to keep everything in life easy and LIGHT in life, we can move thru our days… But there’s dark…, there are downtimes, there is grief from loss, sadness, pain, loneliness, and confusion… There are cluttered veils darkening the LIGHT. But all this covering and masking doesn’t change the LIGHT, it CAN’T ever change the LIGHT…

And we CAN’T stay in the dark forever, because LIGHT invades dark… “The LIGHT shines in the darkness, and the darkness has NOT overcome it.” John 1:5

We have seen many who are prisoners in pain, we encourage but cannot heal them, we distract but cannot fix their pain, but we fight dark with sharing of a GIFT… We add LIGHT that’s gifted to us… And we too have to remember to keep walking towards the LIGHT when we are stumbling in our own darkness…

Yes, we ourselves fall into dark places, but we are chosen to SEE… We are chosen to remember to keep the LIGHT burning for others. We were called out of darkness for a purpose that is not even ours to claim… We have no choice – when a fire is lit in our souls we have to feed the fire with openness, it’s not ours to snuff out…

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into HIS wonderful LIGHT.” 1Peter 2:9

“The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27

It’s the truth….The LIGHT of the world cannot be hidden…

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” Matthew 5

“The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” Revelation 21

Lord, thank you for the LIGHT and pulling us from our darkest times. May we always follow the LIGHT. May we always desire to SHINE your eternal LIGHT.

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. 35 See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.” Luke 11

Amen

 

I thought I had a bad day, 17DEC – #462

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I thought I had a bad day, 17DEC

I thought I had a bad day, but God intervened…

I thought I had a bad day, but God sent me into a situation that made me long for my normalcy, made me appreciate little things, and praise that things weren’t worse…

I thought I had a bad day, but God gave me neighbors who opened their homes and hearts to remedy my immediate needs…

I thought I had a bad day, but God gave me a flexible work situation to deal with life…

I thought I had a bad day, but God sent a school crew of a dozen of His special people kids smiling and waving at me after their lunch outing while I waited in the drive thru line…

I thought I had a bad day, but God gave me free coupons for that free lunch too…

I thought I had a bad day, but God keeps my car running for my freedom, my livelihood, my portable tabernacle…

I thought I had a bad day, but God gave me time to think of an action plan out from financial downing, and sent paddle boards so I would keep my head above water…

I thought I had a bad day, but God relocated me for a day to a place where I interacted with and encouraged a dozen other people, others who gives tirelessly to others, including my own pastor…

I thought I had a bad day, but God gave me an unplanned chance to chat with my child in the car after school and to hear him thank me for being home after my business trip so that I could sing to him at night, and pray with him for sweet dreams, because that “made him happy and sleep well”…

I thought I had a bad day, but God made both my children’s growing faiths as an encouragement that His Faith in mankind starts fresh with every gifted child…

I thought I had a bad day, but I had places to go and people to meet, memories to make to last a lifetime…

I thought I had a bad day, but God sent me freedom to sing out in stores and public with catchy Christmas lyrics about His son’s birth, and no one seems to mind…

I thought I had a bad day, but God reminded me to remind the world that He gave HIS son to them because HE loves them…

I thought I had a bad day, but God reminded me that He was the one who pursued me for years, hunted me down to stop ignoring Him, and woke me up with LOVE for LIFE…

I thought I had a bad day, but God reminded me that He gives me Grace I don’t deserve and won’t deserve for my future sins…

I thought I had a bad day, but God reminded me that He gave me this moment to wake up after precious sleep and still hear the sounds of my family sleeping in peace…

I thought I had a bad day, but I can Be Still…

I thought I had a bad day, but God gave me one more day in this LIFE…

I thought I had a bad day, but God gave me this moment to Praise HIM…

I thought I had a bad day, but God gave me ME…

I thought I had a bad day, but God gave me HIM…

I thought I had a bad day, but God doesn’t ever get return love or acknowledgement from likely 99% of the children that He created… Thousands of years, billions of souls are lost… God’s bad day is epically eternally worse than mine…

I know God is going to try His best once again, today, to win more hearts…

I can try my best too God, I can try to live my best today, for me and especially for YOU…

One more day…. One more day to LOVE…

Thankful for the day…

Thankful for God…

Thankful for LOVE…

And God Love It, 04Dec – #461

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Ah, was a great live show held last night at church – always a tidbit of insight to be gained from the re-hearing of a classic tale. I have seen Scrooge – a Christmas Carol – a thousand times – but this one man portrayal last night by Gerald Dickens, the great great grandson of Charles Dickens, was amazing of course – and so I have to take time to write this new devotion due to a couple small sprinkles of “new to me” verbiage – because the artist portraying all the characters was faithful to the original text which is usually omitted from the glitz productions.  It was the line “and God love it” that perked my ears – God loves the turning of hearts – God loves every little mini smile that becomes the biggest heart gushes – us turning to Him – that’s what God loves…  Scrooge is a redemption story certainly – and it has solid bible teachings underlying the text that always intrigued me – as I always have my radar up for scripture subtly added into seemingly secular situations… but it turns out that it was written not in secular times but in times that were faith- filled – faith was publicly displayed as tremendously important in day to day living.

Here’s my devotion – thanks all for letting me continue to share my writings.

And God Love It, 04Dec

A Christmas Carol is a Christian Christ-mas story, of course, and this story does cross different faiths as well. Dickens has the ability to teach, reach and awaken and certainly to entertain in this timeless classic – it’s scripture in story – the best way to perk the ears of the world – Jesus used this classic method as well in His parables – God knows we LOVE a good story with a happy ending…

My favorite of the Dickens’ ghosts is the Ghost of Christmas Present – “the like of which you have never seen before” – that is because every Christmas is new and renewed – each Ghost (“more than 1800” are more than 2000 now) brings the rebirth of SPIRIT that is a blessing to every turned heart – to each reborn in the LIGHT of Christ …  making life fresh and renewed again… Dickens knew improving the lot of life of all the world is what Christmas is all about – Christmas is about finding the lost and saving the world one soul at a time – the Ghost of Christmas present is Dickens’ heartfelt reminder to find PEACE on earth that is in Christmas – that is FROM Christmas…  And a few times the text reminds us about the founder of Christmas – redemption is 100% possible due to Christ’s birth, death and resurrection.

The text that peaked my interest today is about the Ghost of Christmas Present’s torch – not only did this ghost’s torch shed the LIGHT for Scrooge to see – it SHARED the LIGHT in a fantastical way – the torch shared physical light – scented light – and liquid light – the sight, smell and taste of Christ…  This performance by Gerald Dickens – as well as the original text – mentions the Ghost sprinkling incense on people arguing in the streets to make them of good humor and sharing water drops from His torch (living water from Light?) giving needed relief to the poorest of souls  – all these things causing the people to become more friendly jovial and full of LIGHT at Christmas. – here is the text: “sprinkled incense on their dinners from his torch. And it was a very uncommon kind of torch, for once or twice when there were angry words between some dinner-carriers who had jostled each other, he shed a few drops of water on them from it, and their good humour was restored directly. For they said, it was a shame to quarrel upon Christmas Day. And so it was. God love it, so it was.”

The phrase: “And so it was. God love it, so it was” – yeah that sent mini chills because I had never heard that line from and of the many adaptations – and this time I heard it LOUD AND CLEAR because it was confirming that God LOVES “good humor” and God loves PEACE on Earth at Christmas and all days – because that is why He Himself sent Jesus in the first place… Another great line reminds us to take care of the children as Jesus Himself, the founder of Christmas, came as a child.

I had the privilege to discuss with Gerald Dickens (minutes before the show) that the Christmas Carol was written for the Scrooge redemption story of course – but truly it was really written to awaken the people of the era to the awful plight of the poor and the poorest children… that Christmas of all times is when we can repent and repair our ways and make the world better – starting in our own villages – the world needed and needs redemption (and we know the greatest Redeemer. Yes, and Scrooge needed Him too)…

People do remember that Jesus came at Christmas – but we pray that the world would all really remember WHY He came…  I am reminded now from a chat with my biblical professor in the midst of my early awakening (two years ago this week) that advent is mini-lent – to reflect on that fact that Jesus HAD TO COME – because we were and we are LOST – and that there is such sorrow in the lost souls – the cries Jesus had as a baby (as singer Michael Card speculated about when he wrote “What Her Heart Remembered”) and again as a man (from Lazarus scripture “Jesus Wept”) must have been so deep for the loss of souls – so many souls – so little time…  Jesus wept… Sorrow in His witness of so many lost.

The Ghost of Christmas Present converses with Scrooge about what is in the torch – a bible teaching is underlying this text as the Spirit sprinkles the Spirit on the poorest of meals – it is a hint to Beatitude “Blessed are the Poor in Spirit – for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven”…

Another bible teaching is shared in the next few lines – that the Spirit world is not responsible for the evil in the world – that the SPIRIT brings LIGHT and LIFE – that people sadly do evil as if “they had never lived” – it is so clear that LIGHT and LIFE stems from Jesus – and His teachings… Endless bible scriptures point to the evil we should avoid…  At Christmas and always, we are to focus His LIGHT that shines in the darkness – this is how we are able to LIVE and LOVE:

Obviously, there are so many more biblical teachings that are threaded in this timeless Dickens’ tale – that is not a surprise knowing the era of Dickens – but the last one that I will write about is the image of the two children hidden under the Ghost of Christmas Present’s robe – Ignorance and Want – the worst being the boy – “WANT” because “DOOM” is written on his face – yeah that is why Jesus came in a nutshell – because the world and its trappings has doomed people. This is due to no fault of their own but to original sin but then doom continues due to their ignorance – they will be the branches cast into the fire shriveled up dead without connection to the vine – these children not realizing the chance of redemption, of gaining the LIGHT – until they have the realization of Christ’s redemption – of becoming the Children of God. Humankind needs the Great Redeemer that is Christ to give LIFE – and the Ghost of Christmas present wants Scrooge – and us – to know that it’s not too late to be redeemed… We need to turn to our redeeming new life with a realization that we are God’s child.

And we, like Dickens, are blessed to shed some light on the stories of mankind – seek justice – and sprinkle good humor wherever we go – not to quarrel or be in strife – we are to help our fellow man – whether we know them or not – we are to help bring LIGHT on Christmas – and everyday…

“God Bless Us – Everyone”

“And God Love it”

Merry Christmas

———-

http://www.stormfax.com/3dickens.htm has this “original” text

But soon the steeples called good people all, to church and chapel, and away they came, flocking through the streets in their best clothes, and with their gayest faces. And at the same time there emerged from scores of bye-streets, lanes, and nameless turnings, innumerable people, carrying their dinners to the bakers’ shops. The sight of these poor revellers appeared to interest the Spirit very much, for he stood with Scrooge beside him in a baker’s doorway, and taking off the covers as their bearers passed, sprinkled incense on their dinners from his torch. And it was a very uncommon kind of torch, for once or twice when there were angry words between some dinner-carriers who had jostled each other, he shed a few drops of water on them from it, and their good humour was restored directly. For they said, it was a shame to quarrel upon Christmas Day. And so it was. God love it, so it was.

In time the bells ceased, and the bakers were shut up; and yet there was a genial shadowing forth of all these dinners and the progress of their cooking, in the thawed blotch of wet above each baker’s oven; where the pavement smoked as if its stones were cooking too.

“Is there a peculiar flavour in what you sprinkle from your torch?” asked Scrooge.

“There is. My own.”

“Would it apply to any kind of dinner on this day?” asked Scrooge.

“To any kindly given. To a poor one most.”

“Why to a poor one most?” asked Scrooge.

“Because it needs it most.”

“Spirit,” said Scrooge, after a moment’s thought, “I wonder you, of all the beings in the many worlds about us, should desire to cramp these people’s opportunities of innocent enjoyment.”

“I!” cried the Spirit.

“You would deprive them of their means of dining every seventh day, often the only day on which they can be said to dine at all,” said Scrooge. “Wouldn’t you?”

“I!” cried the Spirit.

“You seek to close these places on the Seventh Day,” said Scrooge. “And it comes to the same thing.”

“I seek!” exclaimed the Spirit.

“Forgive me if I am wrong. It has been done in your name, or at least in that of your family,” said Scrooge.

“There are some upon this earth of yours,” returned the Spirit, “who lay claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion, pride, ill-will, hatred, envy, bigotry, and selfishness in our name, who are as strange to us and all our kith and kin, as if they had never lived. Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us.”

—————–

“Oh, Man, look here! Look, look, down here!” exclaimed the Ghost.

They were a boy and a girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled hand, like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dread.

Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to him in this way, he tried to say they were fine children, but the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude.

“Spirit, are they yours?” Scrooge could say no more.

“They are Man’s,” said the Spirit, looking down upon them. “And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!” cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. “Slander those who tell it ye. Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse. And abide the end.”

 

Don’t Throw Away your Confidence, 03Dec – #460

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Don’t Throw Away your Confidence, 03Dec

My head was turned towards Hebrews this morning… I could write a lot but my thoughts have already been placed there in the scripture – so I will just simply share from this verbally verbose apostle Paul, who is always writing devotions and urgings. In his writing, Paul is emotionally freed from his physical trappings by allowing God to take his chains off thru the blood of Christ – thru Him who entered “through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation….. He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.”

So I pray we all can take heart on our focus of the good life to come, promised by our true Father….

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. ”

These are excerpts – but it’s all a good read – promises from God are given to those doing the will of God… We are to run our best race… “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

From Hebrews 10
32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.

36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For,“In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.”
38 And,“But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.”
39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.

—-
From Hebrews 11

13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
——

39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

—–
From Hebrews 12

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
—-
but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”
—-
From Hebrews 13
15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

 

The Word Made Flesh, LIFE – Infinite LIGHT in Finite Entities, 01DEC – #459

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I thought I was just doing advent reading this morning – apparently there are some advent writings in me too at this beautiful peaceful 5AM wake up time…Interesting that I had just finished this piece in peace when the house awoke… God’s timing…

The Word Made Flesh, LIFE – Infinite LIGHT in Finite Entities, 01DEC

I can just imagine God making Jesus like a 3D printer to earth – from ALL in ALL HE took all the elements of HIS Spirit that already existed – truly the WORD was made flesh (John 1)…

We all know the Christmas story – how God made Jesus as a baby – from just those first few cells he grew from Mary’s womb – God does not just disregard the beautiful biological systems that He envisioned/created – God used the same system that He already envisioned to be able to evolve – God is NOT external to all this – it is not pre-destiny but life in motion – God is SPIRIT- SPIRIT is always in motion – and if God planned to make Word into FLESH then HE already had a biological blueprint – a sophisticated system ready to go.  God does not work external to LIFE – and LIFE is not external to God. LIFE is from LIGHT-IN-FINITE-ENTITIES – in finite, temporary, individual beings (us) we can look for His Spirit placed/intercalated as a portion of this amazing infinite LIGHT of Jesus… Jesus is LIGHT – Jesus is human but He is not in finite quantities having limits or bounds – He is INFINITE.

We see an illumination of infinite Spirit by the LIGHT that came into the world. Jesus IS the Way, the Truth and the Life. (John 14). For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Jesus (Colossians 1).

It is my belief that God has purposefully planned so many things that we cannot explain – so that we are able to get EVEN MORE intrigued to study them and therefore we have grand opportunities to discover Him. We are not to be afraid of the science – science is descriptive – science’s original definition was natural theology – we can study the richness of biological and physical systems – the mysteries of not just the dinosaurs but all the fossil plants too (yes there were huge plants too and lots of fossils of them still exist!!!) – we can study the intricacies of this planet and the universe down to the shaking sub-atomic particles underlying it all – we can study the ins and outs of all these amazing details of life and still not understand it all, but we DON’T have to dismiss it – we just don’t have to brush it off… and we don’t have to be afraid of what we don’t understand.  Fear is like stepping stones or sinking sand (Joni Mitchell, “I Think I Understand” lyrics) – we use our non-understanding to step to a next level of understanding – Jesus is LIGHT – each stone is lighted – or perhaps some stones seem dark and stepping out in faith means stepping into the dark and then looking for the light when you get there…  Or perhaps bringing the LIGHT with you… “The LIGHT shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

I wonder, I just wonder of my path in life… and I know God made me a scientist – and I know God gave me JOY – and I know God made my ears open – I was there when He drove me to Jesus.  As I am me – a scientist and a believer, I know I am supposed to question and study to build up – not tear down belief systems. I know that God would not leave us scientists hanging out in left field – HE brings us in on the mysteries on purpose – to give us a chance to describe and then to share the LIGHT of the beauty of life…

Once we see the LIGHT and we realize that we are born again as children of God with Jesus as our brother then we can see what the LIGHT has been illuminating this whole while – it is illuminating ALL that is good – it is illuminating ALL that is YOU Lord…

Jesus brings us to YOU Lord, forever…

Thank You Lord – thanks for the little hints of YOU that you leave hanging around the earth…

Thank You Lord – thanks for the big Mack-truck sized hints that we can’t ignore so that we can just simply see you swirling and designing in one of Your mini sandboxes called Earth…

Earth is not a magic box – Lord, I know You know what is going on inside all of creation – YOU have it covered… We can’t pigeon hole to say that we know what You could have and could not have done – we are given faith to believe what we can’t see – and we need to use that FAITH – we need to study You in real time, not as a relic but in the “here and now”…  We do understand, Lord – we do understand that YOU are more infinite than we could ever imagine – we know we are finite here on earth Lord – we exist as brief bits of LIFE as “Light in finite entities” – each one of us in a plan that fits together to Your great infiniteness… All together we are one with You.

Jesus became Flesh – He came to make God known to us — to speak it out so we could hear – really hear – for when our own ears open then we can truly understand that we have been experiencing God the whole time – all that is good is from god – we can not see Him but Jesus has made Him known to us…  “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.”

Thank You Lord for infinite LIGHT
——–

Colossians 1:15-23 (NIV)

The Supremacy of the Son of God

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.

—–

John 1 (NIV)
The Word Became Flesh

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

———-
From: Bible Gateway Verse of the Day – December 01

John 1:1-2, 14  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
 

Thanking the Babies, 27 Nov – #458

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Well this got this writing all mixed – a devotion about babies with scriptures with an overloaded gush from singing today… I could try to extract just the baby devotion when I get it uploaded (only 200 to go, LOL), but since you folks know the folks I have written about I just left the praise gush in for now… Thanks for letting me release in all praise…

Thanking the Babies, 27 Nov

You know, I find such joy from Go, in His timing and His ways…

Today was a good day to thank the babies… starting and finishing with baby Jesus… But including loving all the babies and all cherished growing children of God…

Matthew 18:10 Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.”

It was my first anniversary of the first day I substituted to sing/audition with the praise band…. And we were scheduled to sing my awakening song today  – “Come to the Cradle” by Michael Card… note – I have sung this song with Michael Card himself, even have a signed copy from him, during another God orchestrated moment, but I KNEW it was my deepest JOY that I wanted to sing this song WITH the band – See, when it was shared it at the Christmas concert two years ago, I missed it – I didn’t hear it live, I was doing kitchen dishes and so when I got a copy of the whole concert to copy to send to our shut ins as a Christmas present from the UMW, I heard the song for the first time where I actually heard it… and played it over and over again on CD a thousand times in my awakening months… I still do… I needed that song, God knew that I needed to hear and take it to heart – and I thank God forever more that He opened my ears… “Come to the Cradle, come and find PEACE!”

What a surprise today for me singing, yes, even though it had been almost a year ALL those nerves just like that first day reappeared INSTANTLY – whew – and then just as instantly, those nerves disappeared “POOF” as I started singing… I remember a year ago that I was singing by chance of substituting for a new mom – but this time, a year later, I was singing watching those twin babies, growing and walking at fifteen months, it was a great distraction for my nerves… And I was of course starring at the exact same Christmas banner that had comforted me that first day… I was remembering of course that I was singing FOR Jesus… God put me there, God made me a member of this band, I know this, this wasn’t in my plans… Everytime I sing I try to do my best, and today it was controlling those nerves, I knew I had practiced, but nerves motivate me to fulfill God’s purpose – not that I know the purpose – but I know that I am in the plan somehow… But showing nervousness when I know what my singing job is, that’s NOT what I wanted to show… People in the audience already know that God changed me, pushed me out if my comfort zone, and plucked me from lost soul to saved child… But today I want to let the words stand alone… It’s the baby inside the others that need spiritual milk, we as a band add our songs as lullabies to God’s children… I thank God for that baby – for those babies – for baby Jesus – for baby Jesus in them – for baby Jesus in me – I thank HIM with ALL my heart because He is IN my heart…

How blessed it is to sing praises, and how blessed to be entrusted to help others’ in worship time… And I remember that singing on Sunday is not for me or for my recognition, it’s for God… Besides, regardless of what we sing Sunday I get to sing in my car and in my head EVERY DAY… But on Sunday I can’t help to smile (and dance a bit) because we share our joy of salvation with these others… Because I know most these people in the pews very well, and I know their praises, and a touch of their sorrows too… They are family…

And I wondered how I would be today nervous-wise: smiling or with tears singing my awakening song?… “Come to the Cradle”… Sure, in the car I’ve had both smiles and tears… Mostly smiles… To realize that I have had my ears and eyes opened by none other than GOD HIMSELF two years ago, wow that’s powerful, to see and feel the changes within my life and then on top of all that to now also open my mouth and praise it back to God, that’s powerful, and to sing JOY when know I don’t deserve any of this, but Jesus took and takes the burden, took the hit, takes the brunt of battling my devil demons… wow… I praise those blessings in tears….

But there were NO tears today in chruch – I was all smiles – warmed by the Sun and Son in my morning Subaru practice in anticipation… During the band practice I closed my eyes in focused praise, whew… Turns out it was JUST another day – another SPECIAL day in God’s timing, which means ALL days are SPECIAL… Because ALL our days are God’s days

At the end of “Come to the Cradle” practice, as we were singing the final chorus “in the innocent, upward, trusting glance of a child”, thoe twins babies were twin-focused faces on us… Mmmm nice… That’s all God… I actually had the opportunity and I thanked the babies later in the parking lot – it is beautiful God’s timing as that piece of God’s puzzle was slid in HIS timing – as I have written previously, I was asked to sing the exact week that they were born early… Mmmm…. All God… I will never tire of telling that story – it’s God’s timing… All God… in a nutshell I tell my shortened version to people: God got my head on straight about my faith – my voice cleared from skipping the sugar-filled milk and ice cream after charging my diet which enabled me to lose tremendous amount of weight – my memorized praise band music became an addiction which turned into an asset – there was a ripple effect only God could have orchestrated… Awakening, writing, working out, weight loss, singing… PRAISE…

In practice this morning, the twins mom did sing so beautiful and oh how I remember her singing a solo verse last Christmas when her babies were just born and in the NICU and she touched my heart and the hearts of all who heard her beautiful and meaningful praise… I knew the NICU, my own baby in the NICU for ten days, I know that praise to see the babies grow up into my now healthy teen and her praises were doubled with two babies…  So “when God gives a gift, wraps it up in a child, He loves them, made them – so wondrously wild”… Oh how that’s a blessed verse to hear her sing out strong today with her babies right there in the sanctuary with the beauty of seeing grandma and grandpa and dad smiling, they are healthy and growing…. That’s God, all God!!! And thanks babies for making the grownups shine too… Babies make you drop facades and formalities… Babies pull the smiles out of your soul…

I’ve learned so much this year – not just about singing but about me… And love to study and enjoy the other children of God too… Yes, I am that “wondrously wild” child of God…  my baby Christian status was a birth through the Word of truth… I had a circle of blessings today… And the circle will still continue to spiral back to home, we are always going to have to refocus on finishing last to begin first… Our praise is not just for the past – it is for the present and it is for the future – having faith to know that God will see us thru new challenges, sweet and not so sweet, I know God will see us thru those dark times to find the LIGHT…

Matthew 18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

And to top off my gifts of the day, singing all the beautiful praises, I now possess the Christmas music song sets that we will start practicing this week, those praises that I have longed to sing openly and not just in my Subaru – because I have been practicing in my Subaru all year… It’s Christmas… All good things come from God… Baby Jesus… beautiful baby born to bring peace thru blood, it’s a breath of baby JOY at Christmas before the conviction and then beauty of rebirth celebrated at Easter…

James 1: “17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.”

Because babies are born to learn, and if they are born from God, then we must know that their first instinctual actions are from God – they have needs and wants, real ones not from years of conditioning, they are fresh examples of God’s timing, His yearning, His blessings… and they take work… God knows the gifts He gives us – and we are to understand that all those good gifts in us are to be developed, cherished and cared for… Did you ever thank a baby for giving you a purpose too? Did you ever thank a baby for giving you a chance to show your outpouring of shared love? Thank an actual baby plus thank the baby God gave you to grow in your heart? If you have then you are directly thanking God… That’s praise… People might just think that are relating to a particular baby just as a person, but they are really sharing a private moment of JOY directed by God… You never saw anyone ohh and awe a baby JUST to please another adult – those baby tickles and toe wiggling impulses are making JOY – JOY is from God shaking out of your soul, using the baby as a vehicle… Kittens and baby animals do that too, yup… That shine from your own face was a gift out of your soul from God to God…

So thank a baby, and that’s thanking God… Thank a child of God, and that’s thanking God. And when you see a genuine smiling adult (not a devilish smile but a clear clean one), well you can know that you just saw God working thru them too…

Thanks God… For the music of course, but thanks for the babies, thanks for the births, the rebirths, the opportunity to thank you and for the SMILES…

Dang… God is good… I just set my phone down after writing and read this favorite little devotion book, I thought how about the first devotion, and you guessed it, this devotion reiterates what I wrote, crazy….
GOD is the ultimate – I can’t help but say that is SO COOL…

458 book

Come and Find PEACE, 25Nov – #457

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Come and Find PEACE, 25Nov

One month until Christmas… Whew… Prince of PEACE is coming, but actually He’s here.  And He’s looking for us.

We wish at this time of year for others to BE at peace, to grow the peace. We wish to share God’s PEACE.

We know Jesus is looking for a place, we hope others will take HIM in as we have… We all wish for HIM to grow in the hearts of all mankind… We wish to grow Him evermore in our hearts too.

If there’s no room in our crowded lives for even more Jesus, then He will wait patiently until we make room… Just like a baby in the stable, asleep in the manger, He will just wait… And like a baby, He will start to wriggle; He will want to be fed…  And when He’s fed He will grow and be even more hungry… Jesus came not just to give peace, He was tasked to GROW – to grow the peace, to change the world – one heart at a time… So to grow peace in our lives we must feed Jesus, we must seek HIM to find PEACE.

When I had gestational diabetes with my daughter I was shocked… Then, when I realized what was happening, I changed my lifestyle for the sake of my baby… Later I felt blessed… This was a correction factor I totally needed… I was eating awful, I had no control over my nutrition, and I was in a stressed state of pregnancy, I was scared and not at peace… This baby was everything to me… everything… I changed… Gestational diabetes was a blessing wakeup call… There is no better motivation then the health of your child… I changed my diet, followed the diabetes plans, peanut butter became my friend… I wore a timer around my neck, I tested my sugar, I made charts and documented like the dutiful scientist I was… I ate healthy… I ate for my baby rather than just for me… I then found out my baby had a single umbilical artery, instead of two… not enough nutrition could enter, every bite I ate was important, like every pregnancy…  As unchecked gestational diabetes would allow the baby to be unhealthy overweight, a single artery might make the baby underweight… I had both to balance, I had to change.  I was the one to hold the balance in how I approached this pregnancy, I had to find PEACE so I changed, my baby born six weeks early from another complication I never saw coming, but my baby was fine, my fifteen year old now is beautiful… My baby had grown to a healthy five pounds… My efforts of balance in eating changed into a new mission of balancing life as a mom, a forever job – a calling – a mission…  being a Mom is a lifestyle… Yes you can always find work with mom skills…

Gestational diabetes was a wake up, my lifestyle change forced. Yet later my eating returned to haphazard, I knew gestational diabetes meant future diabetes, but that seemed so far off. I ate well ONLY when I had a baby to grow, baby two was a completely different pregnancy, and aside from the emergency c-section (he was stuck in a marathon delivery – head turned – I think he was already hungry looking for food), yet it WAS a perfect pregnancy – I had found peace and balance in pregnancy.

Years went by, another pregnancy of divine intervention… This time a Christmas baby of Spirit… Jesus came but I did NOT heed the call. I was veiled as those in 2nd Corinthians, I heard but I did NOT understand.
God called to me to birth His peace. I had no room in my inn… Jesus waited outside my doors – until I opened the door of my mind… Jesus was stuck…
Jesus was hungry, I wasn’t feeding myself in His Word… Jesus waited until God stacked the deck against my denials and crumbled my unbelief… This child was being born, I had to change…

Jesus is crying for the world to hear –  for each of us to hear – Jesus wants us in God’s house for PEACE – HIS peace births our PEACE…

I cracked open the door a little and a MIGHTY WIND BLEW THE DOOR WAY OPEN!

You do anything for a baby… You change…

I had to learn to re-balance, I had to change.  I was the one to hold the balance in how I approached this new life reborn in Christ… We continually are called to change. I changed my focus – I changed my lifestyle – changed my eating – changed how I spend my time –  but it was God who changed my LIFE.

Change, Jesus is a catalyst for change. Jesus wants to grow in us… If our mangers can’t handle a growing Jesus then it’s time for us to make room… For God knows we need room for a grown up savior, one who is strong enough to rescue us when we fall asleep, strong enough to carry us to our eternal home with God… We have to feed our baby, our ravenous teen, and sustain our mighty Prince of PEACE… John 6  “40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

As Michael Card sings: “Come to the Cradle – come and find PEACE”…  We find this baby waiting… waiting to be fed – to grow – this child is “wondrously wild”…

Moms feed their babies with milk and we all must remember to feed ourselves with spiritual milk…  the baby Jesus is so hungry in our souls… Before feeding the world PEACE, we must feed our internal peace by feeding Jesus…. “Let there be PEACE on earth, and let it begin with me…”

We will stumble and we will suffer (Daniel 11, 1 Peter 4), but we look up… We know we are called to be Your child… Lord, and we reach to Christ’s hand for lifting… We pray for PEACE, Your PEACE…

Merry Christmas God, thank you for sharing Your GIFT of Jesus. Our GIFT to You is to work for You, our mission to feed Your sheep, to tell the world of Your PEACE.. Your GIFT to us is to BE one of Your sheep, to open Your GIFT of PEACE… And to share this GIFT forever…

Amen


Scriptures:
2 Corinthians 3
12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

——

Daniel 11:
33 “Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. 34 When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. 35 Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.

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Come to the Cradle, Michael Card, partial lyrics

Come to the cradle
Come and find peace
Alone in the cradle
Simplicity sleeps
Behold perfect wisdom
So gentle and mild
In the innocent upward
Trusting glance of a child

Come hear the call
Of sweet sighs in the dark
Their touches, tender
Touches your heart
The bustle and business
Lasts year after year
But this little baby
Won’t always be here

—–

1 Peter 4 (NIV)

Living for God
4 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. 2 As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4 They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. 5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.

7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Suffering for Being a Christian
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And,
“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

John 6
35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

In the Dark, 19NOV – #456

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In the Dark, 19NOV

Often God keeps us in the dark… Of course I mean the figure of speech because there is no way we know God’s plan, God’s timing… God does has a plan though, I am convinced and convicted to that notion, it’s quite surprising at times, but it’s real… And we are in God’s plan – I feel that for sure…

The how’s and why’s ??? – well keep dreaming – I’ve asked God for a backstage pass when (if) I get to heaven – but it’s not my role to expect these answers here on earth… God is NOT our buddy, He’s our master… And if HE WANTS us to be in the dark about something then we are in the dark…

Yeah though – most definitely HE gives us the LIGHT – this gift of an internalized warming bright survival beacon LIGHT of Jesus!!! But our understanding of the ins and outs of all the tests we endure? of all the twists and turns our lives take and how they fit into His plan??? …well that is shared only on a “need to know basis”…

Our path requires us to live and walk by faith NOT by sight… 2Corinthians

God pulls us thru life despite ourselves; constantly angels must be tweaking the system and saving us, buffering our path… Lord knows I feel these last minute saves to my earthly existence, especially when I jeopardize my own life by being human… Lord knows I am grateful, but I probably don’t have a clue how many saves I’ve gotten… To get a save should increase our meditation of His plan for us… Scares will cause us fear, but do we learn? God wants us to learn – He is Our Father.

He is reminding us that we are to fear His power, and we are to trust and obey… He reminds us we are part of His plan…
“Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling.” Psalm 2

If we were to understand it all? well we would likely be stopped in our tracks in wonder, but God needs us to keep moving, to pick up our crosses and move… We are to live on a “need to know basis”, so that we keep moving forward.

The dark is not so dark when we trust in the one God sent… Our LIGHT is FROM Jesus shining thru us… Our consciousness is our beacon…

Our LIGHT is shined internally; our paths are illuminated as we walk towards LIGHT…

Our LIGHT is shined externally; our paths illuminate this witness to our faith.

The path is ours and ours alone… If we are shedding our old selves, then we can see how the SPIRIT gives us a new identity… This also gives us strength to embrace and to live that new life… “In Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God…” 2Cor5

Michael Card sings and speaks to this in a video about “And Dreams”:
https://youtu.be/KEWxsX7bmz8
That we need Jesus to find us, He gives us a new identity in HIM.

We are in the dark – purposefully – for the LIGHT to find us, after we are open to the LIGHT of Jesus, then it’s up to us to run with it… “7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? 8 That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.” Galatians 5

I thank you Lord for the light, and for the race, please help me to accept Your plans with faith and thanksgiving, let your LIGHT come into the dark – in us and in the world…. Blessed are those who “delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” Psalm1

I trust You Lord… 
I will listen to follow You Lord, to walk by faith…
You give us LIGHT, LIFE, and LOVE… 
You give us strength…

Amen

——
More scriptures:

Hebrews 12: … let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

—-
2Corinthians 5 (NIV)
Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

13 If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.


Psalm 1
1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
——
Psalm 2: “Serve the Lord with fear
and celebrate his rule with trembling.
12 Kiss his son, or he will be angry
and your way will lead to your destruction,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.


Hebrews 13 (NIV):
12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. 13 Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. 14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.

15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Blisters, 17NOV – #455

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I lie awake now, solid six hours of sleep but I don’t feel like writing, but as I think about my blistering leg burn, perhaps this morning’s awakeness and awareness is the blistering of my soul that continuously needs to heal… I sometimes have to write but not always, I sometimes choose to write for some purpose unknown to me… All my writing must be the bubbling of my soul, mostly JOY, but sometimes there’s blistering from a need to heal…

Blisters, 17NOV

Oh blisters… Body heal thyself… Blisters from my scalding leg burn are a remedy that’s coming from within…

God’s healing comes from within… God’s grace abounds but understanding His Grace comes from within… Deep within… God is working inside… Truly the internal convictions, confessions and conversations are our moving souls healing from within…

Brownian motion is the scientific term of the inherent movement of all molecules… they just all move… Life is in motion!

GOD’S movement of us within us is often joyous dancing, Paul Simon sings: “I’m just jittery, it’s just a way of dealing with my joy”…  But perhaps at times God’s movement within us is painful cleaning us out – healing yet painful blistering as an attempt to heal our souls in a fluid way. A spiritual fluid-filled blister would chose to envelop us – to contain all the needed safety and liquidity to heal ourselves, a blister filled with the blessed best Living Water, and it’s our job not to burst the blister and just let it do its job

It’s God’s nature to heal us with His living water, His son, so that we no longer thirst… Jesus is the living water for us to tap into. He came to show us that God is working inside us… His SPIRIT was and is sent to lift us all back to God – bringing us back to the garden – making us whole… We need to hear His voice inside of us – and maintain the blister seal around our wounds – this can help block the noise and invading world and let us hear and heal inside – physically and emotionally… “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” Psalm 147:3

Jesus is like the moon landing astronaut and He has landed onto our individual self planet and staked out and rolled out God’s flag for all to see – marking us to say: “This is God’s turf!!!”… God sent us Jesus as a physical messenger sharing Himself as the Message that He came to quell our blistering souls, teaching us serious wound care, and forgive our seemingly impossible situations with salvation… His Holy Spirit remains with us to nurse us to God’s health.

Jesus’s cross will always be a reminder to us that peace came thru pain… Impossible made possible…  Luke 18: 25-27 “Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”  Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Yes, Peace thru pain… Eternal peace for those who seek to allow Jesus to heal their brokenness.

Blisters…. yeah our skin fills with fluid to heal wounds… Jesus, our living water to rehydrate our stardust-made souls back into and with the fluid forgiveness of God’s love… God wants to love us forever as we are part of His one body…”You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:27

To apply gauze to a blister protects it from the hard pressing of the outside world…And the fluid protects the delicate tissue within… Preserving life… Jesus living water given for life… Jesus’s “life revealed in our mortal body…” God brought us to Jesus to heal us and bring us back to God… Applying God’s armor protects Him inside our mortal selves…
Jesus said “whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Thanks for the blisters, Lord, I will preserve every precious drop of you living water irrigating my wounds from within…

Thanks for the JOY, Lord, I will jitter my JOY outwardly as I move closer to you…

Thank you Lord for my life in You, from You, with You, thru You.

Thank you for healing us all from within.
Amen


FYI

“Brownian motion is named after the botanist Robert Brown, who first observed this in 1827. He used a microscope to look at pollen grains moving randomly in water. At this point, he could not explain why this occurred. But in 1905, physicist Albert Einstein explained that the pollen grains were being moved by individual water molecules. This confirmed that atoms and molecules did exist, and provided evidence for particle theory. http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/guides/zgr2pv4/revision/5

I like how it was a botanist busybody who described that because I am a scientist busybody too with a botany degree, a thirst for knowledge and a thirst for SPIRIT… I witness the miracles of how the living world works and I know God is SPIRIT – because I feel Him moving – we are all suspended in a fluid spirit-filled and spirit-moved existence… I feel this, I love this… God’s existence is not external to life, God isn’t just intercalated or blended with life side by side but GOD IS LIFE itself.


2 Corinthians 4:7-11 (NIV)
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.


John 4:
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”


John 6 (NIV)
35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”


John 7:
37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

40 On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”

41 Others said, “He is the Messiah.”


1 Corinthians 12 (NIRV)
Gifts of the Holy Spirit
12 Brothers and sisters, I want you to know about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. 2 You know that at one time you were unbelievers. You were somehow drawn away to worship statues of gods that couldn’t even speak. 3 So I want you to know that no one who is speaking with the help of God’s Spirit says, “May Jesus be cursed.” And without the help of the Holy Spirit no one can say, “Jesus is Lord.”

4 There are different kinds of gifts. But they are all given to believers by the same Spirit. 5 There are different ways to serve. But they all come from the same Lord. 6 There are different ways the Spirit works. But the same God is working in all these ways and in all people.

7 The Holy Spirit is given to each of us in a special way. That is for the good of all. 8 To some people the Spirit gives a message of wisdom. To others the same Spirit gives a message of knowledge. 9 To others the same Spirit gives faith. To others that one Spirit gives gifts of healing. 10 To others he gives the power to do miracles. To others he gives the ability to prophesy. To others he gives the ability to tell the spirits apart. To others he gives the ability to speak in different kinds of languages they had not known before. And to still others he gives the ability to explain what was said in those languages. 11 All the gifts are produced by one and the same Spirit. He gives gifts to each person, just as he decides.

One Body but Many Parts
12 There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ. 13 We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so we are formed into one body. It didn’t matter whether we were Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free people. We were all given the same Spirit to drink. 14 So the body is not made up of just one part. It has many parts.

 

Working Inside – Blessed are the Peacemakers, 09-13Nov – #454

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A long processing piece or PEACE:

There is double meaning  to a parking pass sign that I got for my car at a visit to a church soup kitchen… “Working Inside” means: 1) People doing the work of God for people, at a no-judgment zone at the soup kitchen.   And 2) … “Working Inside” everyone has God!!! God is working inside – trying to percolate the eternal peace from the inside out with bubbles of His Spirit…

Fittingly a song of peace called “this is my song”, was beautifully played on piano by a seemingly homeless woman with such tremendous JOY on her face… During this music a friend came up to me and remarked that it was interesting how humans judge the outside but God sees how beautiful every person is on the inside… Yup, because God knows they are all HIS children of God… God is working inside them and working them for the benefit of all His children… HE WANTS THEM TO FIND PEACE… God wants them to find God – the kingdom of the heart…
“O hear my song, thou God of all the nations, a song of peace for their land and for mine”…

Luke 17
20 Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, 21 nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.”

Here’s the peace processing piece…

Working Inside – Blessed are the Peacemakers, 09-13Nov

I have busy days but I have peace and quiet pockets from time to time – this morning before church I have a peace-filled pocket for writing… and I appreciate all the PEACE that God is working on constantly within us (if all in the world would only listen – and remember to take Jesus up on His offer of peace…).. Pockets of peace exist so that you can slip into them…

Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God, Matthew 5:9

Peace first needs to be achieved internally for any hope of sharing peace externally… PEACE, we have to work at it and peace does NOT mean there will be no conflict… Peace actually costs us big time… Peace cost God big time, He gave His only son… PEACE is unfinished until we are all with Christ…

I pray everyone PEACE; the world shows that it is going to be rough ahead of us, THIS IS NOT NEW, so I look internally for peace everyday for myself with a newness of heart in Christ, so that I can figure out what I can do about peace on earth…

I sing with my nursing home friends: “Let there be peace on earth, And let it begin with me….To take each moment, And live each moment, With peace eternally.”

Sometimes at the nursing home we sing the Star Spangled Banner and with lyrics of “rockets’ red glare” – it is an interesting dilemma of peace with war…  peace thru conflict… hmm… the devotion book pointed out that God sent Jesus to bring PEACE but Jesus did not experience peace himself – it was certainly not given by humans – Jesus’ human time on Earth ended with a non-peaceful crucifixion – but we are able to persevere with Him as Spirit in us.. Peace thru Christ… Working inside…

At a Veteran’s day ceremony i noticed that God is sliding the pieces of His peace puzzle (that is our lives), and I listened and appreciated the service of our Veterans even more – the speaker told of how it is against human nature to become military folks and having to be trained to be able to engage in conflict – and that it is also the duty of us at home to support the “retraining” and decompression of these soldiers as they transition back to civilian life – we are failing there as a country – we have so many homeless veterans… Peace thru conflict…

We have so much freedom that we take for granted… we really do… I bet fewer and fewer people visit Gettysburg then visit their local malls… schools don’t even take field trips hardly anymore… I decompressed this thought with a fellow photographer at the Revolutionary War cemetery – that the tens of thousands killed in three days at Gettysburg would fill a major college stadium – those were all Americans fighting, wow… We barely remember…

At the homeless soup kitchen in a Center City church the Deaconess spoke of the 20% veterans who walk through the door… Yeah 20% are vets!… She asked us to spread the news and become advocates for fair wages and for fair treatment of citizens… she called for justice which mirrored the devotion of our UMW meeting… Peace thru justice…

All the homeless are marginalized and many of them have been racially profiled as well for criminal offenses which makes it even tougher to find a job at a living wage… there are so many stories so many hurting people… and the people I talk to were so smart and interesting… there is so much peace to be shared with everyone and so much to be learned from all children of God… at least two gentlemen urged a seven year old boy (whom I was working with as a cheerful greeter) to do well in school and go to college… He and I conversed with many folks and we both agreed that our jobs that evening were to be the salt of the earth – to be friendly and kind to everyone just like Jesus would be… A seven year old knows how Jesus acts, we should all learn from these pockets of peace…

A smiling woman carried a backpack of well used piano music, she has played piano since she was 10, plus one of our youth group members also played the piano for her…  this woman and her partner had complete JOY on their faces while she played… she showed me a song and I sang with her and her partner… “This is my song” – a song about peace that is desirable through all the nations…we discussed the songs derivation; she and I shared how people don’t always tap into that internal conversation with God – how important that is… She and I understood how God’s peace is vital to our lives … How God brings peace and JOY and the ability to continue on…

Reading the lyrics reflect my life observations lately – they tell us there is no greater prayer then to pray thru God’s hand for peace internally and throughout the world – Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called Children of God.

God is “Working Inside”; we are to listen to our internal peace keeper… And keep listening…

Amen

—-

This is My Song
https://youtu.be/H8FPOjgX07c

“This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine;
this is my home, the country where my heart is; here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine: but other hearts in other lands are beating with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

“My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean, and sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine; but other lands have sunlight too, and clover, and skies are everywhere as blue as mine: O hear my song, thou God of all the nations, a song of peace for their land and for mine.

“This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a prayer that peace transcends in every place; and yet I pray for my beloved country — the reassurance of continued grace: Lord, help us find our one-ness in the Savior, in spite of differences of age and race.

“May truth and freedom come to every nation; may peace abound where strife has raged so long; that each may seek to love and build together,.a world united, righting every wrong; a world united in its love for freedom,
proclaiming peace together in one song.”

This is my prayer, O Lord of all earth’s kingdoms, thy kingdom come, on earth, thy will be done; let Christ be lifted up ’til all shall serve him, and hearts united, learn to live as one: O hear my prayer, thou God of all the nations, myself I give thee — let thy will be done.

More info on the song at
http://prometheusli.com/musings/a_song_of_peace.htm

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Jesus Wept, 23OCT Message for Women’s Retreat, 05NOV – #453

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Jesus Wept, 23OCT Message for Women’s Retreat, 05NOV

I share these NOTES from a spoken message that I was blessed to share at our Women’s Retreat last month  – about the scriptures from Lazarus – and the HOPE Jesus gives us.  and I like taking the time to “revise and extend my remarks” as they say in congress – which writing and editing allows… these are really NOTE format….

This was a message about Jesus weeping – but getting back up and continuing His job – and this message was/is about us knowing the HOPE that God is there for us, and Jesus even crying with us…. but I feel we are not to take a victim stance in life, because Jesus saved us from that and we are to keep moving forward – remembering that HIS grace is sufficient, 2Corinthians 12…

We have been commissioned by God to love God and to know His love for us –  and that allows us to do HIS work…. a tremendous song by Steve Wilson lyric states – “Come to us, Lazarus It’s time for you to go”… meaning get up, give it up to God, and go.  God kept sending Lazarus references after the weekend retreat – just today, three more Lazarus pieces crossed my sight- a youtube video sent by a friend of the Gospel of John acted out – a youtube video of David Bowie’s “Lazarus” – and thirdly Michael Card’s song “Jesus Wept”.

There was a very focusing moment when learning of my Czech cousin’s death yesterday – at age 93 after a tremendous wonderful life – I have no tears but smiles for Jesus’s huge hug for her – that must feel so wonderful – my cousin was a tremendous believer and witness – and shared that love with her family. She told her family that we (U.S. family members) existed – she was the last letter that got thru in 1946 to her uncle, my great grandfather, she always held HOPE that we could reconnect and I was the blessed one to pull a new string, reconnected us in 1996 and we reap the love of generations of her HOPE – 50 years after losing touch – our LOVE exploded – rebirth to a family –  God didn’t let this connection die… God found a way…

HOPE for life eternally renewed – beloved friends in addition to Savior and Saved – Jesus and Lazarus – to show the world eternal LOVE…

It was a blessing and humbling to be asked to share the message at the service on our Women’s Retreat – because I don’t have a biological sister, I feel God has blesses me with so many sisters in so many facets of my life – and these women have been there for me thru thick and thin for 15 years now…what a blessing to share God’s WORD at our beloved Sunday morning service…

Galatians 6:2 was the perfect emailed “verse of the day” for this retreat – and then later when I told my friend at home about the verse and the message, he pulls out the devotion book he was just about to present to the youth group – same verse – yeah – that happened the previous week too – we both had the same scripture – cool God, cool)

Galatians 6:2(NIV) Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

———–

Jesus Wept, 23OCT

While preparing this message it was crystal clear that God has been looking out for me recently – and forever – as He looks out for all of us…  I guess it’s feels like cheating because I feel that the Holy Spirit pre-prepared this message especially with my busy schedule…I had a morning devotion that I wrote but that I didn’t get to finish in to send out – then my retreat organizing committee ladies asked me that evening to share the message – and this devotion fit perfectly. It was/is about “Lazarus”, a song by progressive rock artist Steve Wilson and about Jesus picking us up… and it was a devotion about overcoming sorrow and loss and it’s completely about us resting our heads on the chest of Jesus and allowing HIM to pick us up…. That’s prayer and care 100%…. Sweet…

And you know, it’s a good saying that we need (I need) a good cry in a retreat, LOL, and then let Jesus build us (me) back up… So driving home that night I thought I should look up scripture about crying. But I didn’t have to because God easily popped it into my head: “Jesus wept” – which of course you know is the shortest scripture of the Bible and comes directly from the story of Lazarus… coincident? I don’t think so – the next day, out of the blue, Pastor separately mentioned Lazarus  to me – it was all fitting together…I can’t look a gift devotion/sermon in the mouth without realizing it’s from God, in God’s timing… When God pre-writes this kind of stuff, and saves me time, I am truly grateful…

This secular song speaks to letting Jesus handle our angst… those times when “moonlight is bleeding from out of your soul” – we are to try to remember Jesus wants us to rest our heads on HIM –  and give our worries to HIM – let me read you the lyrics:

——–
Lazarus, Steve Wilson
https://youtu.be/YMM2Iqvmu_4
As the cheerless towns pass my window
I can see a washed out moon through the fog
And then a voice inside my head, breaks the analogue
And says

“Follow me down to the valley below You know
Moonlight is bleeding from out of your soul”

I survived against the will of my twisted folk
But in the deafness of my world the silence broke
And said

“Follow me down to the valley below You know
Moonlight is bleeding from out of your soul”

“My David don’t you worry
This cold world is not for you
So rest your head upon me
I have strength to carry you”

(Ghosts of the twenties rising Golden summers just holding you)

“Follow me down to the valley below You know
Moonlight is bleeding from out of your soul
Come to us, Lazarus
It’s time for you to go

…………….

So – yeah –  these lyrics call out to the character “David” to pull him out of his angst – to put away worry and like Lazarus, get up and keep moving – we are all this person– and we need to just be ourselves and realize we have a great counselor friend in Jesus – life is about letting go of anger and angst – of letting go of that feeling downtrodden and unable to get up – it’s about stopping being the victim – stop being victimized by our own victim-feeling status – it’s completely about being Lazarus and letting Jesus come rescue us – it’s about listening to that voice in our head that breaks the silence – yeah that is God calling…

We are NOT to hold onto a victim status – even if we feel to be the victim – Jesus came to take that away from us – Jesus is sufficient to raise us back up.

A web-based synopsis of the song lyrics also projected that we give up the failed idolized hopes and dreams that might ALSO be holding us back – about getting over any concepts of what we THINK we should have – removing that internal jealousy of what we wanted – and what had hoped for ourselves that never came true – and we should surrender the sadness of that up to God as well…

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We take stock of our lives (especially here at the retreat) and we acknowledge our brokenness and we acknowledge His GRACE is sufficient to heal us… We take our thorns, we look for the path that is narrow but sure, we change direction as God calls us on purpose to a purpose… He calls us out of His love for us… God’s faith in us is that we accept His golden repair – our brokenness traded for HIS strength.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 (NIV)

That is where we find HOPE – Jesus gives us that HOPE to keep moving – when we are weak we find HIS strength.  Jesus is the one holding the brokenness holes closed – making us whole – so that “moonlight stops bleeding out of our souls” – and Jesus helps us hold our cups up to let God fill it back up.

Let me share the actual scripture (the symbols*** marks where I added interpretation) (and … is where I condensed for time):

John 11 (NIV) The Death of Lazarus

11 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, (***  our retreat is in the building called Bethany ***)  the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”5 6 7 8 9 10

……

11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” (*** See Jesus already knows what is going on with our lives ***)

12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.

14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

Jesus Comforts the Sisters of Lazarus

17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles[b] from Jerusalem,19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside.

…..

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

35 Jesus wept.  (*** see Jesus cries with us!!!!!!   And Jesus knew he was on God’s mission to help the whole world – so many that would never know him – a song from praise band at Christmas has a lyric that speaks to the crying Jesus must have had for the lost in the world: “He would weep – A dark so deep -For all her love – She couldn’t comprehend”***)

36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead

38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (***Jesus was upset and yet still got up to do His mission – He was focused on God’s plan for Him ***)

41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

See, Jesus tells Lazarus – “It’s time for you to go” – just like in the song – it is time for us to keep moving – give it to God and keep moving on our journey…

God gives us HOPE – not for the prayer that He makes our lives EASY but for the HOPE that He makes our lives CLEAR.

God moved the mountain that was me – and He can in you too – God has faith that we all can change and the classic saying holds true: “when we walk toward Him, He is running toward us.”

Searching out scriptures for the word Hope, I came across this statement: “Our earthly desire is to avoid trials and struggles. Indeed, we tend to measure the quality of our salvation by our lack of problems. Yet, HOPE is not measured by the lack of trials, but by what learn about Jesus when we walk through the trials. Suffering produces endurance, endurance shapes our character, and the knowledge that Jesus has successfully led us through trials before, gives us the confidence that he will see us through the next one. This confidence in God’s provision is the kind of hope which does not lead to disappointment.” (Fred Bitner, http://www.faithgateway.com/bible-verses-about-hope-20-scriptures/#.WBeyj0YrLIU)

Yes, we look for the HOPE in the Lord – not in what our earthly desires are – but we know and we HOPE that the Lord will pull us thru – we know that we are strongest when we are weak because we are depending on Jesus – we have to lean NOT on our own understanding –

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) – a vacation bible school verse…

Trust in the Lord with all your heart     and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,     and he will make your paths straight.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 : about HOPE

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

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(For each of the women I handed out these versed about Hope – each person took and read one – then we took time for individual sharing:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. — 1 Peter 1:3 (NIV)

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. —  Romans 5:2-5 (NIV).

Romans 8:24-25 (NIV)
For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Romans 12:12 (NIV)
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 

Romans 15:4 (NIV)
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope

Romans 15:13 (NIV)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. 

Hebrews 11:1 (The Voice)
Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen. 

Titus 1:1-2 (NIV)
Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began. 

Proverbs 24:14 (NIV)
Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off. 

Psalm10:17 (NLT)
LORD, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them.

Psalm 33:18-19 “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine.”

Titus 1:1-2 “Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began.”

First Timothy 4:10 “For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.”

Second Corinthians 1:7, 11 “Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.”

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Psalm 23

A Psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

>———–
FYI here are song links – one from the message and the three that came later:..

Steve Wilson Lazarus
https://youtu.be/YMM2Iqvmu_4

book of John – Lazarus
https://youtu.be/gMdCQ5vwU8E

David Bowie – Lazarus (social media says after his cancer diagnosis he was drawn even closer to a spiritual interest – his song Blackstar also shows his dying interest to understand – he questioned inside his art and in interviews… I am pretty sure from my personal experience that God likes questions because He can get down to business with you as your ears are opening and God loves it when the people are actually listening… And thirsting…
https://youtu.be/y-JqH1M4Ya8

And I love listening to Michael Card speak (in person and in video) probably even more than his singing- I have his books, about the four gospels, in my pile to read list – when you meet Michael, you can tell he is like a great Jesus nerd, he just wants to share all the details he has learned… here’s his song “Jesus Wept”
https://youtu.be/sZPURz3cuP8

Thanks ALL in ALL

 

Keep the LIGHT On, 04Nov – #452

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Keep the LIGHT On, 04Nov

I think about the delight from when I witness so many in Christ, and also the warming hearts when it’s just a few – me and one or two others, it’s still ALL in ALL good… It’s ALL in ALL God…

Even Jesus had only a few physical followers initially for HIS human eyes to see… He did/does have a SPIRIT connection (and so do we) to know that SO many believers did exist then and do exist now even if we don’t know them…  And we, like Jesus, share angst that SO many are lost… His angst must be immeasurable… He works ever harder because if it. The Godhead, three in one, purposed to find the right mix for saving us from ourselves and lifting us for eternal life with Him in JOY.

I think Jesus humanly had joy that He had this small core group of solid followers – but He probably questioned our Father God for why He ONLY got three years, that’s so short a time… perhaps he never questioned but he did pray… HE knew, being God, that there were also those in his close knit group that would eventually fall away (like Peter, Judas, Mark, etc.,) – even those witnessing miracles faded away due to their own humanness…. and so Jesus knew that human pain – on a God-scale!!! His human visual saw doubts and human ears heard verbal angst – such a classic example was the chastising of close disciples Mary and Martha when their brother Lazarus had died – Jesus already knew Lazarus had died, and He had to take the heat – and that this raising was to be used as an example of showing a select group of followers and curious onlookers that He, the Son of God, was sent to demonstrate the almighty power of God… Jesus tears poured out for the lost… Jesus wept… Jesus got back up… Jesus still moved towards HIS mission. SO MUCH to do in such little time…

I don’t know the plan, why did God set up this trickle effect plan of spreading faith… But God does know, He’s an almighty encompassing God with a task of turning individual hearts, one by one these lights of Jesus are turned up inside us.. One by one we feel HIS LOVE meant specifically for us.

Jesus knows He’s tasked to come back, but not when – … The Earth must look like a continually morphing set of glowing hearts… We can and will help stoke the fires of those just around us, as we never know how our beacons of His LIGHT are used by God to spark new hearts… We’re just here for a short time too… Jesus said He had to leave so that the Holy Spirit could come to each of us…

Will Jesus be back anytime soon? not for us to know, just for us to prepare… So in the mean time, “We’ll leave the LIGHT on for YOU” – just like the old Motel 6 commercial said….

We will keep YOUR LIGHT ON Jesus…

We glow so that people know…
YOU grow and they glow…

Amen

Motel 6 https://youtu.be/AnXEZHOhcTY
—-
John 16
5 but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. 7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

—–
20 Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

Philippians 1:6 (NIV)

6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

God is Real, 02NOV – #451

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God is Real, 02NOV

God works my Subaru (a lot) for His Holy Spirit work… this is NOT new, but it’s just so enjoyable to share these occurrences… To have time in the car for real conversations with my kids is a blessing – with focused one on one time -such a good thing… and to listen and discern the Holy Spirit coming through my son, that’s not JUST a good thing that’s a GOD thing!!!!
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights” James 1

So my son picked up a little bit of Wi-Fi on his cell phone and was quizzing me with one of these funny web surveys – “where would you rather go: Germany or Switzerland?” – “who would you rather have dinner with: a famous rock star or famous movie star?” Etcetera… then he said: “this question must have been written by an atheist – ‘who would you rather be real: Pokemon or God?’ ” and he proceeds to read out loud ALL the comments: “God is real, God is real, God is alive, God is real, God is real, God is real, God is real, God is real, God is alive, I would rather see Pokemon real because God is already real, God is real, God is real, God is alive,  God is real, God is real”…. on and on and on…. Yeah he reads ALL the comments to agree that God is real… Yeah, God made me smile with those reiterating affirmations… And tickled me that they vine thru my son – that warms my heart!

Last Sunday, at the nursing home, a shy woman loved singing AMAZING GRACE but she wasn’t sure the next verse – so the woman kept singing “PRAISE GOD, PRAISE GOD, PRAISE GOD, PRAISE GOD, PRAISE GOD” to the tune… And it fits so well… So I sang with her… later she confidently said that she was normally so shy but that was just God who gave her the words… Reiterating affirmations!

The Holy Spirit is like Wi-Fi, the holy spirit is available for you to receive it when your heart and your mind are ready to really hear… when you tune into Christ, this allows you to perceive that God’s signal is strong – you will want to pick up that signal for sure! It is very strong, always… God may come in a whisper or a wide open hot spot but God is there… Everywhere… All good things vine from God!

God is real…

——–
PS
God works my phone too and as I Googled the scripture I needed, I found that listening to chapter 1 in James (which is one of my favorites) gives such a new depth and meaning to the WORD as it comes through my ears as opposed to just through my eyes by reading it… So I’m posting not just the text of the scripture but here is the link to hear it read out loud – an AWESOME use of the internet:

https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/mclean/niv/Jas.1?interface=amp

James 1 (NIV)

1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:

Greetings.

Trials and Temptations
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

9 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.

12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

Listening and Doing
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.