1 Corinthians 11:1-12 1Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. 2Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you. 3But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. 4Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head. 5But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved. 6For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head. 7For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. 8For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; 9for indeed man was not created for the woman's sake, but woman for the man's sake. 10Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.
When I started thinking about what to write today, I started thinking about independence, because, as you know, Sunday is America's Independence Day. So I looked up the word independence in the Bible. Not one verse has that word in it. Interesting. So I looked up independent. I found one verse. One.verse. Verse 11 of 1 Corinthians 11.
So then I started reading the verses before and after, to get a sense of what the writer is trying to say and what God wants me to get out of it. The very first verse of this chapter says we are to be imitators of Christ. then it goes on to say that we should hold to traditions. Then Paul tells us that God is our originator, Christ is over man, and woman originates from man. But that eleventh verse says that in the Lord, neither man or woman is independent of each other. Then why do we try to be?
Why do we always want to do things ourselves? Okay, I am the first to admit that I am a bit of a loner. I don't mind being alone. In fact, most of the time, I don't mind doing my own thing and going quietly about life. But that is not God's plan. God wants us to depend on each other. He wants us to be able to say, "Hey, I need you." God wants us to know that we need him and need to depend on him.
Independence is fine for a country, but not for an individual. Being independent as a person will not bring you anything but loneliness and sadness. You may get to do what you want, but humans need interaction and companionship. Sometimes being alone is great! Last night for instance. My rib was hurting, and I just wanted to be left alone, so I went into my room, put my Ipod in my ears and read for two or three hours. Tonight, I get to be with my friends at choir practice. It's all about what is needed. Don't be totally independent, don't be all about everyone else. But listen to your attitude, your mind, your soul. You will tell yourself what you want and you need.
Jeremiah 33:3 'Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.'
I was reading a little Jeremiah this morning, looking for inspiration. I came across this verse. The Lord is speaking this. It says that if you call to God, he will answer you and tell you things that you do not know. I don't know about you, but sometimes I don't want to know anything new. Maybe I am tired or do not feel well. Maybe I am stressed and just putting one last piece of info in my brain makes me feel like I will explode!
But those are the times that I should talk to God and ask for help. When I am stressed or sick or tired, I need to be more aware of what God wants me to know. Those may be the 'Ah-ha' moments in our lives. When the light bulb comes on and we realize that things can go a certain way if we turn it over to God. In the chaos of life, we can still hear God. It doesn't have to be a quiet time. We just have to have our mind set right.
It reminds me of that song "Open Our Eyes Lord" by Robert Cull. Sometimes just singing a song like that puts it in to perspective.
Open our eyes, Lord
We want to see Jesus.
To reach out and touch him
And say that we love him.
Open our ears, Lord
And help us to listen,
Open our eyes, Lord
We want to see Jesus.
I have been reading a devotion that I found that a group of women all share in. It's called Seeds of Faith (http://www.seedsoffaithwomen.com/). This group is looking for others to write for the site. I sent in my devotion blog and told them to look at it. They did and asked me to join them. I am pretty excited about this. My first entry will be July 31st. I hope you all take a moment and go to the site. But pray that my post is encouraging to others and that I will be the instrument that God intends.
In doing this, I am stepping out on faith that God is leading me down a new path. I am not sure how confident or good I am at this, but I have faith that God will use me because i am willing and letting him.
Mark 4:31-32 31"It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, 32yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR can NEST UNDER ITS SHADE."
I am only one (now I sound like that commercial), but it only takes one when God is involved. But, becoming a part of something like this will hopefully encourage someone else to take a step out and become one too. So when more than one of us takes that leap of faith, we can all grow like the little mustard seed. It becomes a huge plant. We can become a big plant in God's garden.
During this time, I hope to encourage each of you to read or write something of your own. I am reading a story called "The Help". It's not a religious story, but something I have found interesting is that one of the ladies is known as a great prayer warrior. She doesn't say prayers, she writes them down. Every day, she writes out her prayer list, concerns, and tells God her heart. How cool is that?
Having faith as a mustard seed, that teeny tiny almost miniscule seed, planting it into fertile soil, and seeing it grow into a huge plant that even birds can rest in, is rewarding. It is the same with us. We use just a little of our talent, our resources, and our faith, and it starts to multiply. Pretty soon it's overflowing. That's what my desire is. To grow the talent God has given me and watch it encourage others.
Do you ever wonder if God really hears you? Do you feel that your prayers are said in your mind and into the silence? Sometimes we get so frustrated because that situation we prayed about is not going the way we prayed it to go. We have to remember that we are not in control. We can control what we do, but we can only watch other's as they make decisions and go down the right/wrong paths.
The writer of Psalms 77 seemed to know that God heard him.
1My voice rises to God, and I will cry aloud;
My voice rises to God, and He will hear me.
The writer goes on to ask if God has rejected him or changed. But he realized that God has changed him. 10Then I said, "It is my grief,
That the right hand of the Most High has changed."
The writer starts praising God. He remembers that God is in control of everything. So we too, should read this chapter and try to see that God is control, whether we like it or not!
As Allie was preparing to go to church camp, her friend going with her was telling her that to get to eat, you have to recite Bible verses. Allie stated that she knew John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life."
I said "Do you know any others?"
She quoted, Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning, God made the heavens and the earth."
I said "You know this one too", and started singing, "Be excellent in what is good, be innocent from evil. For the God of peace, will soon crush Satan, yes God will crush him underneath your feet." She smiled started singing with me and said,
I told her, "See, you know more verses from the Bible than you realize." She agreed.
I told her that she could quote the Model prayer, or Psalms 23.
Isn't it strange? I am not sure a lot of us realize how many verses we know at least a part of. Singing the hymns, worship songs, and children's songs have a lot of benefits, one of them being bringing God's word into our hearts and minds. When I am in a situation that I am worried, scared or just wanting to praise God, I turn to songs and scripture.
Remembering God is something he wants. He wants us to keep Him in the forefront of our minds all the time. Will that keep us out of trouble? Maybe. But I think it helps to calm us. If you memorize and think about the scriptures, the more you will have the understanding of it. That is a plus in this world.
Revelation 21:5 And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new " And He said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true."
Job 17:11 My days have passed, my plans are shattered, and so are the desires of my heart.
The other day, I was with my friend and she said, "I don't know what God's plan is for this, but he better start letting me in on it!" She is beyond sad. Her grief is unbearable. She doesn't understand why this has happened and she so wants to. I told her I didn't understand it either. I am just one person. All I can do is listen, cry with her, and be strong. But as we all know, God works in his own time and own way.
Last night I told her that someday she will have to do this for me. It's a fact. Unless the Lord comes back soon, we are all facing death of loved ones. Job did. In one fell swoop all his children were killed. How do you deal with that? Job lost his desire. So has my friend. But just like Job, she will slowly make her way back. It's too soon for us to talk about that. Right now, we are in the present. Today we will bury her father.
Life is full of tragedy. The Bible tells we we go through things to become stronger and someday help others with their experience. We also know that we are to count it all as joy when we go through a valley. Do you have a tragedy that you have gone through? If you hear of someone going through something similar, talk to them. You don't have to spill your story unless you want. Send them a card and tell them you understand. Pray for them. We all can do that.
This is a hard day, but they'll get through it. Pray for them. That's what they need. Prayer and love. Right now they feel like Job, but once time goes on and they go through their grief, they will feel more like themselves. I just pray I am not like Job's friends and more of a comfort.
Job 42:8 - 11 8bMy servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has." 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the LORD told them; and the LORD accepted Job's prayer.
10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before. 11 All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the LORD had brought upon him, and each one gave him a piece of silver [a] and a gold ring.
Sunday, Allie and Alexi went to church camp. Allie was so nervous. It wasn't her first time there (she's practically spent every summer there!). She loves it and always has a great time! But this year, it was just the two of them and she hates to be away from home. She cried Saturday night when she said goodbye to Austin, she cried before church, she cried as she put her hair straightener in her bag to take it. She wouldn't let Timm come with me to drop her off at Jenny & Alexi's house. I tried really hard to act like it didn't bother me. But inside, I was nervous for her. I know she is have the best time and she needs this time away from everyone. I too loved my time at camp. The quietness, the calmness, the communing with God in that beautiful valley.
There are many instances where Jesus went alone to pray. After he fed the crowd of 5,000 he went to be alone.
Mark 6:45-46 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the crowd away. After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray.
Three times in the Garden of Gethsemene Jesus went off and prayed alone. He was alone when Satan took him and tempted him.
Luke 4:1-2 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry.
When Jesus did a big miracle, he needed to go and talk to God. He needed that time to rejuvenate himself. Not his power, but maybe his mindset, his human side. When he was done, he seemed to always be "in the Spirit". We need that too. We need to set aside some time to just be quiet, pray, read a devotion. It helps with our whole being. God wants not just our minds, but our bodies and souls too.
Do you have a time when you go away and be alone? Where you can be quiet and listen for God. I miss the early mornings at camp. The sun just coming up, the birds calling to one another, the dew still on the grass, the fog that sometimes settles in that valley. Before the kids get up and the day begins. For me those mornings are a special time.
My friend is hurting. My friend is trying to understand why. My friend wishes that God would give answers. She is struggling just to get through these past few days. Her sorrow is immense and suffocating. She doesn't know where to turn, her life has been shaken.
I feel that anything I say is trivial. I am there to listen, to let her talk, cry or just sit. God has to get her through this.
2 Corinthians 1:3-7 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.
God knows her need. God knows our needs. He is there if we call on him. But in this hour of need, how can she feel that he is getting her through? That he is able to help her. Maybe it will be through me, or a family member. Maybe it will be an unknown source. This is where we need to lift each other up in prayer. we need to understand that the helpless feeling is self doubt. Through us, God can do anything. We just have to let him. I pray that I can let him do what needs to be done for my friend.
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
A year ago, my father didn't feel like celebrating. He was in the middle of radiation and chemo for throat cancer. He was sick and tired. It was so hard seeing him like that, but it was necessary. People would come to me and tell me how hard it was to see my dad so weak and sick. It was hard, but that didn't bother me. I was more worried about the outcome. Would he even be around in six months or a year?
I prayed and wrote my devotion about his journey every day. I praise and thank God that a year later Dad is still here and back to his old self in a lot of ways. He still has a swollen throat and nothing tastes right. He eats twice as much as any of us and doesn't gain any weight. He jokes around, tries to maintain a good attitude and helps out when he can.
He told me that this was his last year of teaching VBS. He has done that for a lot of years. One year I made a cave for him out of milk cartons and cardboard. My mom acted like Mary, the sister of Lazaraus. She told the story and when it came to the part where Jesus called Lazarus to come out of the grave, Dad popped out of cave! The kids got a big kick out of that. This year he was a shepherd telling about how the angel came to see him on the hills outside of Bethlehem. He has been a lot of fun. Thanks for those memories, Dad.
Through the years, my dad has taught me a lot, and stood up for me a lot. He taught me how to be kind to strangers by giving them roses to make their day. He taught me that having fun should almost always include ice cream, and that you are never too old to be the class clown. He also gave me the example of a great work ethic, how to be a leader and how to be a friend.
He showed me that a father loves, disciplines, and protects. My dad was the man who baptized me into Christ. He is the one who I strive to model my life after. He always gives me a reason to sing, mostly because he tells me what song he wants to hear. I love my dad.
I am grateful that God picked my dad for me. I have never wanted anyone else to be my dad.
Psalm 22:4 In You our fathers trusted;They trusted and You delivered them.
Last night, I got bested by a third grader. Here's the story.
The lesson here is to "Stand up for the truth and tell about Jesus." I make the kids say that many times during the story. The little kids, I make stand up when they say the line. The teenagers, I felt lucky that they actually said the line at all. I also start out with a game about telling the truth. I say a statement, and if it is true, the kids stand up. If they stand up, they get a piece of candy. This has worked well until last night. The 2nd and 3rd graders. I had two children (one in each class) who would not back down. The statement was, "I am always kind to everyone." It's pretty general, but we all have been mean to someone. But each of these children, at least in their minds, do not think that they have been mean.
I went through the list, "You mean that if I talked to your Mom, Dad, brother or sister, they would tell me you were always nice to them?" They both nodded their heads in affirmation.
"You have never made anyone cry or mad?" I asked.
"You know that this is a lesson about telling the truth?" I looked them straight in the eye.
"I don't think I believe you." But, I still had a lesson to teach, so I gave them each a piece of candy and went on. I mean, I think I just got beat by nine year olds.
If someone really believes in their minds that they are telling the truth, I can call them out, but do I want to embarass them or get angry? I went to one of the children's mother and told her what happen. Her response was, "Child is the worst of all my kids. Child is behind everything that goes on in my house."
Yeah, I got beat by a 3rd grader.
1 John 3:18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.
iFellowship was created by the team at Seeds Of Faith. We wanted Christian women to have a place to get to know each other and well, just fellowship! After all, as Christians we're called to fellowship with one another.
So, every Wednesday at 12:00 AM CST, there will be a linky tool provided for Christian women to post links to their blogs, twitter accounts, and facebook accounts.
We are looking for guest bloggers. If you are interested in being a part of our team and being a resident guest blogger on our site for a given day during a 5 week month (days available are Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday), please comment in this post or contact Meghan or Sue- @seedsofaith or @homeschoolsue @meghantucker
You would be part of our team (and only post on your given day during any months that have 5 weeks in it). Your bio, link to personal site, and picture will be shown on our team page. You will also receive a "team badge" for your personal site as well.
This week's featured blogger is Life Matters She is number four on the McLinky. Make sure you take a moment to check out her blog and follow her. You can also find her on twitter at @Resourcefully4U
So, what do I do to participate?
1. Grab the iFellowship button & place it in the post that you would like your iFellowship vistors to comment on.
2. Add your blog name, facebook page, and/or twitter handle link(s) into the McLinky below.
3.Visit the link listed before you in the link up and leave a comment there to let them know you're from iFellowship. After visiting that person, visit as many other sites as you would like. PLEASE DO NOT FORGET TO VISIT THE SITE LISTED BEFORE YOU IN THE LINKY LIST!!!
4. If someone comments on your site, comment back to keep the fellowship going.
For some reason, I have a heart for the young. Especially the teens. I like talking to them, listening to them, and helping them. God has given me some opportunities to do that. This week in Vacation Bible School, one of the verses that we are basing our themes around is 1 Timothy 4:12
Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.
I have read this verse, but this week it has been given meaning to me. My first night of teaching, I taught the teenagers. Though my son was kinda mouthy, it was interesting. There were ten of them. All but two I knew and had mostly watch grow up. These kids are really good examples of what this verse talks about. Even though they are young, adults should take note of them. These kids lead by example. They are showing the adults around them how they should talk (well sorta), behave, love, have faith and keep pure.
These kids are know and are trying to be examples not only for the older believers, but shine as a light on the pathway for the younger kids. The kids behind them are looking towards them and mimicking what they see.I urged these kids to be the example God wants them to be. I encourage each of us to take a closer look at the teens and urge them to follow God's plan for their lives.
I have to comment on this. Last night, a huge storm blew threw SW Ohio. There was lightning, thunder, rain, and sightings of funnel clouds. At 3:37 AM this morning I get a text message stating that TD Jesus was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.
For those of you who are not familiar with Touchdown Jesus, it is a huge statue, 62 feet high that shows Jesus from his torso up, his arms stretched toward the heavens. It cost over $250,000 to construct. It is on Yahoo.com today. It sits beside I-75 on the northbound side.
The church, The Solid Rock Church, is a non-demoninational church that owns the property that the statue sat on and financed it. It is a lot of things to our community and I am in no way putting it down or saying that I believe it is something that it is not. There have been stories done on this statue about people who saw this statue as a sign from God when they were at their lowest. Others have made money off it as a song and it has been a joke for some. Heywood Banks wrote a song called "Sweet Butter Jesus" because he saw it and thought it looked like a big statue of butter.
The community is just waking up to this news and wondering what the church will do next. The controversy will heat up again. Is it right to have an image of Jesus that big? Is it a graven image? Is it really hurting anything? Is it something that we really need to worry about or is it just a work of art?
I admired the vision and the art work of this. I also laughed at the song. I won't lie, it has been a conversation piece and a landmark that I have used. I know that this statue of Jesus is someone's interpretation of what they think Jesus looks like. The Bible uses character descriptions, not physical descriptions for the most part. Sometimes it is noted that someone is hairy or strong or small, but mostly about what they are like as a person. So seeing pictures of Jesus as a kind man, with long hair and a peaceful expression is fine. It may give you a sense of happiness, it may let a child know that they need not be frightened, and the person down on his luck may need that friend. So as a work of art or an image of Jesus, I think as long as we remember that it is someone's interpretation and not something to look to or pray to for guidance, it is fine.
Genesis 1:26-27 26Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
We are made in the image of God. We are called to rule over this earth. We all in some way look like God. I'll bet Adam looked the most like God. In the book I am still reading (yes, Barb I am still reading it), The Shack, the main character, Mac is looking at the stars with Jesus. He looks over and Jesus and says something like, 'you aren't what I expected you to look like.' Jesus responds with, 'what, I'm not as beautiful as you thought I'd be? My family has big noses.' (That's definitely a paraphrase, but you get the gist). That made me think. We always say that no one knows what Jesus looked like. But I think secretly we all have our own idea of his image and what we want him to look like. But it probably won't be like that in heaven. Just like with our offspring. I never expected Timm to have blonde hair as a toddler. Now, his hair is becoming darker and darker every year. Allie is taller than I had anticipated and has the prettiest hair and eyes. She looks a lot like her sister, Jaci. With your own children, you never know where their looks come from, but you love them with all your hearts.
So don't worry about the statue. It will be torn down or replaced. Maybe it is close to the looks of Christ. We won't know until he comes back.
Okay, this must be the Monday because so far things haven't gone according to my plan. But I still feel lucky.
I got up, got ready for work. Since this is VBS, I will be gone for about 14 1/2 hours a day for the first four days this week. So I packed a bag with my clothes in it, gathered up some extra stuff and went out to the car. Where are my keys? Hmm. I haven't seen them since sometime yesterday. Wait, Allie and Austin had my keys and last night they said something about where they put them. Hmmm.
Well, nope, I don't know where they are, so I take the spare key. I start to work late and as I am heading toward the highway, I hear on the radio that there is an accident at my entrance/exit area. Sigh. So as I drive over the freeway, traffic is back up and no one is getting on. All those cars are just sitting there. Luckily, I know my way around pretty good and I maneuver my way around town to get farther south to get on the highway. It's an extra five to ten minutes, but it's better than sitting in traffic.
So as I sit at a light on the highway, I call work and tell them to expect me late. I jump on the road and dash down towards my destination. I make good time because no one is coming south. I make it give or take 5 minutes.
I walking in to the first floor of our seven story building to find out that the elevators are not working. Okay, not biggie, I'm on the third floor. So I walked up the 36 stairs. I get there. Then I am informed and feel for myself that the air conditioning is off too. Great!
So my day was starting out bad, but i could have made it worse by posting an attitude of grumpiness, and just plain meanness. But I haven't. I like Paul. He had troubles all around him, done to him, and yet he could still pen these words.
Philippians 4: 11-13 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
I could have woke Allie up screaming for her to find my car keys. But all that would resolve was that she would be in a bad mood, I would be in a bad mood and who wants that?
I could have sat in traffic and grumbled about not getting to work on time. But, then I think of those who a) where in the accident and b)do not have a car at all. I'm not in that kind of attitude.
I could have been mad that the elevators were not working. I've been trying to go and down the stairs more anyway, so I just started my day off with that.
I could complain that it's too hot in my office, but the guys and gals in the back have it worse.
So instead, I thank God that I had a car, wasn't in an accident, could walk up the stairs and hey, I've been hotter. I drank water instead of my cappuccino I usually fix. I kept my attitude in check and feel more at peace today.
And finally the air is back on. Praise God!
My Jesus, I Love Theeby William R. Featherston My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine. For me all the follies of sin I resign. My precious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou. If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus 'tis now. I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary's tree;
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I love Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.
I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I'll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I'll sing with the glittering crown on my brow,
If ever I love Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.
When I feel lost or down, hymns always come to mind. When I was told my dad had cancer, this song started singing in my head. Whenever I feel lost or worried, this is how I give the problem to God. I sing about how much I love him. I sing about what He has done for me and what I can do to show my love for him. I praise my Lord!
This song talks about how I know I am loved by Jesus. How I know that he is mine and that I will give up everything for him. It tells how he gave his life for me. It tells what I will do in my dying days and how much I will praise him when i get to heaven. I love the last line. I'll sing with the glittering crown on my brow... I can see the sparkles when I close my eyes. I love this song. How do you give your problems to God?
John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, " If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.
I saw this acronym the other day. I wrote it on a post-it note and stuck it on my desk where I would always see it.
It is a reminder. A reminder that saying you have faith isn't enough. Exploring your faith through the challenges of life as well as the celebrations is work. To have faith is to trust. I have faith that I am going to wake up tomorrow morning. But I have no guarantee. The trust has to be full of purpose. I also personally think that you should be intense in your trust of God. I am intense in my trust. I love God and know that through everything my young life has gone through, my faith has always been there, intent on the purpose of living a life pleasing to Him and trusting that He knows what He is doing in my life. I trust Him with that.
1Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD, O my soul! 2I will praise the LORD while I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. 3Do not trust in princes,
In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation. 4His spirit departs, he returns to the earth;
In that very day his thoughts perish. 5How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
Whose hope is in the LORD his God, 6Who made heaven and earth,
The sea and all that is in them;
Who keeps faith forever; 7Who executes justice for the oppressed;
Who gives food to the hungry
The LORD sets the prisoners free. 8The LORD opens the eyes of the blind;
The LORD raises up those who are bowed down;
The LORD loves the righteous; 9The LORD protects the strangers;
He supports the fatherless and the widow,
But He thwarts the way of the wicked. 10The LORD will reign forever,
Your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the LORD!
Psalm 115 1Not to us, O LORD, not to us,
But to Your name give glory
Because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth. 2Why should the nations say,
"Where, now, is their God?" 3But our God is in the heavens;
He does whatever He pleases. 4Their idols are silver and gold,
The work of man's hands. 5They have mouths, but they cannot speak;
They have eyes, but they cannot see; 6They have ears, but they cannot hear;
They have noses, but they cannot smell; 7They have hands, but they cannot feel;
They have feet, but they cannot walk;
They cannot make a sound with their throat. 8Those who make them will become like them,
Everyone who trusts in them. 9O Israel, trust in the LORD;
He is their help and their shield. 10O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD;
He is their help and their shield. 11You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD;
He is their help and their shield. 12The LORD has been mindful of us; He will bless us;
He will bless the house of Israel;
He will bless the house of Aaron. 13He will bless those who fear the LORD,
The small together with the great. 14May the LORD give you increase,
You and your children. 15May you be blessed of the LORD,
Maker of heaven and earth. 16The heavens are the heavens of the LORD,
But the earth He has given to the sons of men. 17The dead do not praise the LORD,
Nor do any who go down into silence; 18But as for us, we will bless the LORD
From this time forth and forever.
Praise the LORD!
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Today, I was getting ready for VBS next week. The lesson I am teaching is on the truth. It's about Paul. So I went to Acts. Acts has Paul's conversion, his missionary trips, his visions, a lot of his Christian life. I stopped at Acts 17. This chapter talks about Paul being at Thessalonica and Berea and being chased by the Jews. That brings him to Athens, where the Lord has him talk about the idols that are all over that city.
Acts 17:16-21 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols. So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present. And also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. Some were saying, "What would this idle babbler wish to say?" Others, "He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,"--because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming? "For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; so we want to know what these things mean." Now all the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new.)
Paul was talking to the philosophers, trying to reason with them. I'll be they had an answer for every point he raise. But he finally talked enough that they were willing to try and understand, or at least listen. Maybe they thought that if he would get his say, then he would leave. They thought the gospel was strange. I can't fathom that the gospel is strange. But I know to peoples around the world it is. Those that have never been reached can not know how much God loves them. I think they do know that there is something "out there" because they seem to have their own reasoning and gods. Even if you have never been exposed to the gospel of Christ, God has set their hearts open and they have to wage the war within themselves on whether they accept it or not.
But that is not just with the untouched. We, who have been exposed to church all our lives, still have to make that conscious acknowledgment whether to follow Christ or not. So will you listen to Paul? Will you listen to the world? I hope you have already made your claim and are my brother or sister.
Yesterday, I was tired. I didn't stay up too late Sunday night. It was a busy weekend though. I only drank one cappaccino, but at 5:30 when I left work, I stopped and got a Mt. Dew. I hardly ever drink them anymore. When I got home, Mike asked me what was wrong. Allie told me I looked really tired. I was. I am still tired, but not like I was. I am wondering if it is just because I knew I had to be at work for ten hours yesterday. Everyone who knows me knows that this is not my favorite time to work. It's rough to get use to until Friday. Then everyone is happy because they get off at noon on Friday. Maybe my body is balking subconsiously.
Even Jesus grew tired, after all, he was human. I always like to think of Jesus as a super-human. Never getting in trouble, never tiring, can leap tall buildings in a single bound. But as I am reading this book, The Shack, it puts in perspective a little the differences and similarities of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus was human. He walked this earth and ate the food. He joked with his friends, he cried, he loved, and he got angry. He slept when he was tired.
John 4:6 Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
The Bible has all kinds of instances that prove to us that he was just like you and me. So why do we put him on a pedestal? Because he did something that none of us could ever do. He chose to die for others. He didn't die for himself, to give himself glory. He died because he wanted us to live with him forever. How can we turn down an offer like that?
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[a] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
This is the first day of summer hours at work. Last year I really didn't like the summer hours. We work four 9 hour days and on Friday, we work 8 to 12. Okay, I'll admit, that Friday's were good. We were busy getting everything done and I got to go home early. I could take my kids to the pool, shopping or whatever in the afternoon.
I am trying really hard not to think negatively about summer hours. This morning I got up at the same time as I did last week, did my normal routine of showering and getting ready, then went out to the dining room. It was quiet. I looked for some bills on the desk, paid a couple of bills, ate my yogurt and looked at the email. That was a nice quiet time.
As long as we are busy at work, no one complains about the nine hour days. But the last hour or so is really quiet because most people do not call after five. They are all trying to get home, fix dinner, or run errands at that time. I will be straightening up the office, cleaning coffee pots and the kitchen area, and preparing for the next day. It is nice to get ahead for the next day.
Preparation is something we all need to do. This is the final week before Vacation Bible School starts. I have lots of prepping to do. Things I need to get done. Plans for setup are in place. Food must be bought, stories read over, lessons prepared.
John the Baptist prepared the way of the people all over the countryside for Christ's coming.
Matthew 11:10 "This is the one about whom it is written,' BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSENGER AHEAD OF YOU,WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY BEFORE YOU.' Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force. For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
God sent John to let them know that he was sending a Savior. The people were receptive, except for those who felt threatened. Sometimes preparing people for what's to come is good. As people hear what or who is coming, they get use to the idea. This is useful for me. I like to know what is coming. I like being prepared.
I am trying to prepare myself for Christ's second coming. Will I be ready? In my heart yes. In my mind, There will always be one more thing to do. Sometimes you just can't worry about the things that do not get done. Be ready as you can. Christ will come soon!
I am reading several books at the moment. One of them is by the actor, Michael J. Fox. It is called A Funny Thing Happend on the Way to the Future: Twists and Turns and Lessons Learned. I am not very far in, but he starts out by tell us that he went back to school and got his GED. That threw me for a loop. I am not judging him, but it surprised me that he never finished high school until his four year-old son encouraged him. Good for him!
My father didn't finish high school. Six weeks before graduation, he quit and went in to the Navy. He realized not to far in to that career that the diploma is important and worth something. He got his GED from a high school in California. He understood that dropping out wasn't the smartest thing he had ever done. He really never told me about dropping out until later in my life, maybe for fear I would follow in his footsteps. I doubt that would have ever happened, but I do worry about stressing the importance of school to my son.
The other day, my aunt got a call saying that she and her husband were needed for an awards assembly for their grandson. It was spur of the moment. When they got there, my aunt saw a lot of older people with caps and gowns (her grandson is in elementary school). She started asking what was going on, and her daughter-in-law looked at her and said, that no, it was for her son. He was getting his GED and graduating that night! What a tremendous gift he gave to his parents, his wife and children that night. I am proud that he too, realized the importance of this and the present he gave himself too.
God has a lot to say on learning and wisdom.
Proverbs 1:5 A wise man will hear and increase in learning,And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel,
Proverbs 9:9 Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser,Teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning.
Ephesians 5:7-10 7Therefore do not be partakers with them; 8for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light 9(for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
Congratulations to all the Graduates. We are so proud of all of you.
Last night, while at church, a big storm blew in. I am fascinated with storms. I love to watch the wind blow the trees back and forth, the rain hitting the pavement with that distinct sound like pebbles dropping, and the thunder. I love storms in the winter too. The ice pelting and sticking too everything, the snow piling up deep, and the wind so cold, you just stay in by the fire drinking hot chocolate.
Storms can sometimes show the power of God's nature. In the Bible, storms were usually something to hide from. A lot of verses talk about taking refuge from the storm.
Isaiah 4:6 There will be a shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain.
Isaiah 25:4 For You have been a defense for the helpless,A defense for the needy in his distress,A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat;For the breath of the ruthless is like a rain storm against a wall.
Storms also showed Jesus' power over the earth.
Matthew 8:24-27 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing!" He said to them, "Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?" Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were amazed, and said, "What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?"
The storm last night was loud, violent and wet. Standing out in the storm would have battered me and probably hurt. We all have storms blow through our lives. We need to learn to seek refuge in God to hide from the worst. He is willing to take on the worst if we let him. Will you let him?
We have lost the key to the shed. Okay, so that is not big deal news. We loose that key all the time. We had it on a key chain and it is suppose to stay on the key holder by the front door. But, Timm has taken up to carrying keys, so he may have been the last one to have it. The only problem with this is that the key to the riding lawn mower was with it. And we do not have a spare to either. Luckily, we have a push mower, so the grass is getting cut.
We have made a little effort to look for the key, but none of us have felt that urgency to find it. Mike made a comment that he guessed that Timm liked pushing because he hasn't seemed to make an effort in finding the key. I think it is probably more like he can get the job done, so what does it really matter?
When we are lost, Christ is totally opposite of this. He has an urgency to leave everything and go find us.
Luke 15:1-10 1Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. 2Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." 3So He told them this parable, saying, 4"What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 5"When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6"And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!' 7"I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
The Lost Coin
8"Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9"When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!' 10"In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
I like the story of the lost coin. This reminds me of me. I will finally get frustrated when I misplace my keys and start cleaning everything in sight until I find what I am looking for. I am not very organized, though I try to be. So when I find something that is lost, I always say, "Look! I found it!" I think that God does the same thing when a sinner becomes a Christian. He looks at all in heaven and says, "Look! He is found!"
I hope you are found. I hope that this will help encourage you to keep praying for those who you are wanting to be found by God. Though it may not be you who helps them find their way, you are definitely an important part of all the lives you touch. Never forget that!
I was reading the book of Matthew the other day and saw this verse.
Matthew 18:10 "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven."
It is actually part of some verses telling us not be stumbling blocks for others. But the part of this verse that caught me was the middle. ...for I say to you that their angels in heaven... Their angels in heaven? I have read that verse many times, skimming over it. But last week, it hit me. Guardian angels for little ones. I have always thought it was a neat idea of the guardian angels. Someone that has been appointed to watch over me and nip at my conscious when I was about to do something stupid. Like Pinnochio had Jiminy Cricket, young ones have a guardian angel. And we as grow, accept Christ, repent and be baptized, we are also given a guardian. The Holy Spirit.
John 14:26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
I hadn't thought much about it, but yes, the Holy Spirit is our Guardian. He helps us in all we do. The best part? He is part of God and he was freely given to us. We just need to accept him as a gift from God. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!