Saturday, March 28, 2015

think on these things

I read a great blog entry this week by my friend Natasha Grimes about putting things in perspective. Putting Things In Perspective Link 
Thank you, Natasha, for sharing. I hope you don't mind my borrowing your idea!
I was so encouraged and I quickly thought of the verse Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

I have this verse posted on my wall by the kitchen door. We use that door to go in and out and I put it there to hopefully remind me every time I leave the house to think about the good stuff. As Natasha pointed out, we get so busy and caught in things happening.  I heard from several people this week about how crazy of a week it was. I agree. It was a very busy week. We can get our focused on the busyness, on the things we didn't plan on, on the difficult things, or on all the tasks that life brings.  It is so easy to get distracted by the things of life. We can feel bogged down, worn out and just plain tired.

But God reminds us several times to think on the things that are of good report. Think of the virtue, praise!
I realize it is easy to get caught up in complaints. It is easy to see what went wrong.  We are always so eager to share what went wrong today.  When someone asks, "How are you?" it is so easy to start with a complaint.  "I'm tired."  "Wish this day would be over." or something similar.  I have caught myself so many times starting with a negative.
Yesterday as I was thinking about what Natasha had written, I remembered a dear sweet lady I grew up  knowing.  Edith Mayes was elderly and one of the most powerful praying women I have ever known.  Everyone knew that if prayer was needed, call her.  One of the things I will never forget about her is whenever anyone asked her how she was doing her immediate response was, "I am blessed!"  Even when her son was shot and in surgery, she still responded,"I am blessed!"  She had story after story of God's mighty blessings, how he raised her dead baby back to life, how he had groceries delivered when they had none, how God provided in the most dire of moments. Many would look at her life and not see blessings.  She was a widow, did not have a lot of earthly goods, and had a small, old home. But, she had a relationship with her Savior that was amazing!  She was  indeed one of the most spiritual women I knew.  She spoke of the good things of God no matter what happened. She praised him every day in any situation. She really knew how to Rejoice evermore!  I Thessalonians 5:16.

I feel some conviction as I have not rejoiced in the hard times. I have not been thankful in difficult situations. I have not reported that I am blessed.  Revelations 12:11 talks about becoming overcomers by the blood of the Lamb and the word of testimony.

Testimony is what we say. It is our statement or declaration of witness.  If my testimony every day is about the negative stuff going on, I am not overcoming anything.

I am feeling so challenged to change my words, change my thoughts and change my focus.  If my testimony becomes one of blessing, one of victory, then my witness will be greater.  Why would anyone be drawn to God, if they do not hear me speaking of His blessings and His  power in my life?

I want my testimony to be one of joy, peace, faith, and blessing.  I do not want anyone to think that God does not bless His people based on my testimony of how my life is going.
I want to think on the good things, the true things, the lovely things, the things of good report. I want to speak them and tell about them.

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

What I say has power:  Power to destroy and power to bring life.

I want to bring life. I want to bring peace. I want to encourage others.  Ultimately, I want what I say and do, encourage others to turn to Christ.

I have so much room to grow here. In James chapter 3 it says:

8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.
10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?

Oh how dreadful to think I have brought forth bitter when I should bring forth sweet.
Knowing that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks,  Luke 6:45,   I need to change what my heart is holding.  My heart should also be rejoicing in the blessings of God and the good reports rather than being affected by the drudgeries of life.

I pray that my heart is taking on a new perspective so my mouth will speak a new perspective.
I pray that my words become blessing and not cursing.
I pray that my testimony is one that brings life.

Will you join me in speaking life to situations and lives that need hope? Will we see God's Hand moving in those moments that before we only saw struggle?  Will we see opportunity in those situations that before felt overwhelming?

I pray for a new perspective to take over.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

the Lord will do great things

I am full of expectation today.
Yesterday morning, I had a quick, but wonderful conversation with my dear friend, Rita Perry. She was sharing how God has been showing her that because he first loved us, we need to love him in return with every part of our being.  When we really love Him, we will be able to love others with the love of God, even those that seem unlovable. I was really blessed and also challenged to seek more of His love to be manifest in me. It was a wonderful blessing.

 I started out this morning listening to a sermon as I was getting ready for church.  This minister was speaking of the blood of Jesus being shed and how we must begin to live for him, Not just say we are christians, but be christians. We must live it and love God first.  He spoke about God sending revival and it was time to respond and awaken.  I felt energized.

Then I went to church.  I had a blessed time in my Sunday School class.  I was speaking to the kiddos about Peter denying Jesus three times. I was explaining that Peter was afraid, but when he realized what he had done, he went and repented, wept and God empowered him.  He became a bold speaker of the gospel.  I used the verse For God does not give a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7.  I felt God's presence as we spoke of God giving boldness to speak His word and live for him.
Next, began morning worship and oh, was it rich.  God's presence was felt so strongly.  Several were at the alter in sincere worship of our Savior. As we were singing and praising, I heard the voice of God speaking to me.  I kept hearing the verses found in Joel chapter 2.

27 And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.
28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.

I was so moved that when I left the piano, I immediately opened up my bible to these verses.  As the pastor began to speak, I became more and more excited and moved.
He spoke on moving out in boldness to love others. We need to love so much that we even love our enemies just as Jesus did. As he was crucified he still loved them. He used the same verse from 2 Timothy 1:7.  He used some of same references I used.  My son was quick to point out that it was said in class too.  The sermon was about loving and putting aside our fear of being hurt or rejected.

As the day has gone on,I have done nothing but thought on these things and prayed about it. My dishes are still waiting as I had to get this written down. I realized God was telling me that we will not be ashamed when we love.  When we move in God's love, we are obeying His greatest commandments. First to love God and Second to love others.
I then realized that God was showing me that when we are obedient in love, we will begin to operate in realms of the spirit that only He can bring. It says in verse 28 it shall come to pass afterward that he will pour out his upon all flesh.
Joel was talking about a return to God but his people, a group of repentant hearts, that humbled themselves, prayed, fasted and began to worship God.  They began to express their love to him.
This is talking about revival.
When the body of Christ is revived, love begins to pour forth and God's spirit is then poured out.  Great and mighty works will come forth!  Great miracle will happen! The Body of Christ will arise and move in one accord and function as God intended!

I was reminded of a scene from the movie, Here Comes the Boom.  The teacher, Mr. Boss is standing up on his desk talking about dead cells. He spoke about how an inactive cell is no good, but as other cells begin to move, it causes a rumbling amongst the cells. This rumbling causes cells to start moving and shaking, bumping into one another and action takes place.  As this happens, the cells then begin to fall into a rhythm. They begin working together, flowing together in sync.  His last question was "What happens with this rhythm?"  The student answered, the body can be healed.

Wow!!! What an awesome thought!!! We are cells in the Body of Christ. We have been inactive, but there is a rumbling of revival!! There is a moving happening! There is a shaking happening! There is a call for unity in love for one another! There is a call for the body of Christ to begin to move as one in love to reach this world.  There is something amazing taking place.  The body of Christ has healing on the way so it can be used of God effectively.
I see something so big happening that I cannot comprehend just what it is, but GOD can see it!!
God has a mighty plan for these last days.  He is calling!
Do you hear him? Do you feel this urgency for revival in your life?  Do you feel a sense of excitement and renewal?  Do you feel a call to deeper worship, prayer, fasting and focused attention on the spiritual matters?
I am so excited in my soul. I cannot even explain it, but I sense it, I feel it, I know it.
God has spent the last few days preparing messages for me to hear just a piece of this.  I am doing my best to pay attention.  Praise God for His mighty deeds!
Joel 2:21 Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the Lord will do great things.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

accessing the great treasure

I have some things I treasure. Don't you?  I have some items that have been given to me, that I treasure. I have some people I treasure. I treasure memories and remembering things. I treasure old photos.
One of my little treasures is a candy dish that had belonged to my grandmother. When my grandmother went into nursing care, my mom went to help go through her stuff.  She brought me back this candy dish.  I remember this candy dish sitting in my grandmother's home.  I always thought it was beautiful.  I was so honored to get this candy dish.  It may not be worth a lot, but it holds memories and is a treasure to me. I get to use this candy dish right here in my home.  I have access to it and whatever it holds.

Speaking of treasure reminded me of this verse. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21 We have a greater treasure than just things we can collect and remember. We have salvation.  We have the word of God, We have Jesus.  I recently watched a video of some christians in a small village on the other side of the world. This small village was gathered eagerly awaiting a plane landing on their island.  They had prepared a great celebration, the honored pastor and leaders were arranged with great ceremony.  For arriving on this plane, was the Holy Bible in their own language for the first time.  A whole new testament in their own language was a treasure.  The bible was greeted with great celebration, shouts of joy and honor.  The whole village wept, rejoiced and praised God for this great treasure that had arrived. Copies were handed out to the elderly grandmothers and grandfathers. These would then be shared, read and passed down through those families as their most precious treasure.   I have seen other pictures and videos of people from around the world receiving a bible and it would be treasured, wept over and rejoiced over in much the same manner.

I am sitting here with at least two bibles here in my living room, a bible app open on my phone and access to on my computer as I type.  I have great treasures sitting ready for access. It is not enough just to have these. It was given for us to access. Jesus said, Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  (Matthew 6:19-21)  He also spoke a parable about a pearl of great price in Matthew 13. Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to a treasure hidden in a field and to fine pearls. When a merchant found one pearl of great value, he sold everything he had to go purchase this one fine pearl.
I do believe we have the pearl of great price. We have the word of God. We have access to the Father. We have Jesus.  Have we recognized this as a treasure?
Have I been willing to sell all I have to purchase the greatest treasure of all?
Would I give up all I have and know, if it means I have Jesus as my savior and friend?
Do I treasure the word of God as my greatest treasure?
Would I celebrate over His Word or do I treat it as another book on the shelf?
Do I realize what a great privilege I have with the word of God at easy access in my life, anytime, any moment?
Please Lord, help me to treasure your word. Help me access this great treasure and value it. Let me read it, learn it, live it. Let it permeate how I live and how I think. Let your word take over my life and live in me. Let your word change me and make me who you intend me to be. Be my greatest treasure to share with those around me.
 Let your word be found in my heart. Let my heart be found in my greatest treasure:You Jesus.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

thou shalt write it upon the posts and gates

While flipping through Facebook this week, I came across this statement on the "Ready To Die for Christ" page:
Doubt and unbelief come from considering things other than the Word. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Rom 10:17).

Immediately, it caught my attention and I have thought about that statement. I am thinking about a few months ago in Sunday School class.  I was beginning a lesson about Joshua.  As I started to talk about Joshua, my sweet son raised his hand and said, "I know a verse from Joshua.  As me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15." In amazement, I asked how he knew that. He explained, that it is on the wall in our living room.  I realized quickly, that he was right.  I have that verse on the wall in the pretty vinyl letters.  I realized that the Word set before my son was indeed getting into his heart and mind.  He had that verse memorized because he sees it everyday on our wall.

In Deuteronomy chapter 6 it says:
5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

There is a reason God instructed the Israelites to post His word on the posts and gates. There is a reason he wanted the word to in front of their eyes. There is a reason He wanted the word be ever present before them. If they had done so, many of the struggles may not have happened. It was to teach them, guide them and protect them. It was for relationship building.

What we see is what gets into our heart and our mind.

I remember that little song, O be careful little eyes what you see, O be careful little eyes what you see. For the Father up above is looking down in love, O be careful little eyes what you see.

What we take in, gets planted in our hearts and minds.  I have told my children to be careful and aware of the things they take into their hearts and minds for that is the thing that will be planted and come forth from them.
Jesus warned in Mark 7:20 He went on: “What comes out of a person& is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

I don't want all that in my heart or coming out of me.
I want the word of life to come forth out of me.

In Philippians 4:8  it says Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

If you want peace, think on the good, the lovely, the pure, the praiseworthy.  I want to think on the things of God. I want relationship, guidance amd protection.The only way to know the things of God, is to see it, read it, hear it, study it.

I want the word of God to saturate me, flow through me, fill my thoughts, fill my heart and fill my life.  I not only want that for me, I want that for my children. I want that for you reading this.
I am amazed at what happens when I really allow the Word of God into my life.  My husband was sharing with me that he had a discussion with a coworker about reading the Bible. She said she needed to read her bible more but struggled to understand it.  He told her the key was to pray first for God to help her understand.  She was surprised by that.  But how true it is.  When I pray over my reading and study of the word, It blesses me and comes to life for me. It  reaches my soul and becomes important to my everyday life.  I seek for it and crave for more. It speaks life to my soul.

There is nothing more important than knowing what God promised in His word. We can stand on those promises. We can begin to understand the nature of God. We can understand His will for relationship with people. We can recognize our sin and need for salvation. We can be lead into relationship, purpose and fulfillment.  We find joy, peace, and truth in the word. We find life.

There are some that seek understanding by reading lots of other kinds of books. I do enjoy reading books that bring encouragement and great stories. I do enjoy reading.  I don't, however, think we can really get to know God without ever reading the Word of God intently, earnestly and daily. There is no replacement.

There are some who find fault in the Word of God, they do not believe it is relevant or important.  I find I cannot really live the life of purpose God has for me without it.  The more I read it, the more I understand God has a purpose.  Do I completely understand it all?  No, not by any means.  Does that mean God is not the author and finisher of my faith? No. Isaiah said: For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9)I don' t think I will ever fully understand the ways of God while here on this earth.  I do know beyond a shadow of doubt that he has asked that I fully trust him, fully rely on Him and  fully follow Him.  To be able to do that I must know Him.   I can only know Him through relationship.  Relationship built through prayer, reading His word and spending time in His presence.

I am becoming ever aware that His word is powerful and strong. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

I want to be able to wield the Word of God correctly and rightly. I want it change me and help me. I want it to mean something to me. I want it to be found in my life, and the lives of my family.  I want my children to know His word and be able to call upon it in those hard moments and in those grand moments. I want them to find comfort and joy in knowing that every promise in the book is for them. I want them to know that God's word is truth and relevant. I want them to have the experience of finding life in the word of God.

I will post it upon my walls and the gates. I will post it upon my heart. I will post it upon my life for others to read, learn and remember. I will build my faith by hearing the word of God. I will ever remain diligent in reading God's word. I encourage you, if you do not have a daily time of reading and studying God's word, to begin to make time for it. Begin with prayer. Ask God to speak to you through His word. Ask him for understanding and wisdom. Ask him to show you who he is and how much he loves through His word. He will answer. Doubt and unbelief will flee and faith and trust in God will grow. It will keep you.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

what I learned from a wise man this week

I had the great privilege of hearing T. F. Tenny preach this weekend.  I am so challenged and encouraged to mature in my relationship with Christ.  What fantastic messages I have heard and been challenged to mature in God.   I want to share one of the things he preached.  I am completely impacted and my thought process is completely changed by the words he spoke. I am still feeding on a table full of wisdom that was laid out before us. But, I want to share this great pearl of wisdom that resonated, rolled around inside me, crushed everything I thought before and caused me to emerge with a completely different perspective.

We are created for God's pleasure.

Let that sink in.

Philippians 2:15 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Revelations 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

It is God's plan to find pleasure with his people. We were created to bring Him pleasure.  I think if we go back to when he created man in the first place, He was wanting more.   He already had angels worshipping at all times, He obviously has heaven and all that existed.  But he did not have anyone choosing to love him, choosing to be with him and choosing to have a relationship with him.

I think about finding that one person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life.  I already knew I was loved by my parents and siblings. But we start longing for that love that chooses you.  I imagined that day when someone would want to marry me and what it would be like.  When that day came and that  nervous young man proposed, every emotion floods through.  Wow! He is choosing to me!  Choosing to love me! Choosing to spend the rest of his life with me! I also got to choose him.
In this marriage relationship,  one of the best things you can do to make a great marriage is do things that are all about pleasing your spouse.   I love making things for my husband.  I like to make his favorite foods and I like to get him things I know he wants.  I love to hear him say, "That's so nice, thank you."  I know that because he finds pleasure here with me,  He will definitely continue to return. He also does wonderful things for me, like sending my flowers at work, taking care of me when I am ill, taking out the trash, airing up my tire, etc. etc.  He makes sure he brings happiness to me.  When someone makes you happy and brings pleasure to you, you will return and be there.
Bishop T. F. Tenny spoke so eloquently on how Jesus wants to find pleasure with us.  He will be pleased with the time he spends with us.  When he hears our praise, and sees what we do that brings him pleasure, he is eager to be with us.  He is eager to 'come by.' He will 'need' to be with us, because we bring pleasure, just as we were intended.

I want everything I do, to bring pleasure to my Savior.  He is a friend who sticks closer than a brother, He is the giver of life, He is our creator.  He does meet our needs and can do all things.  But do we spend more time asking and begging and nagging him for our needs that we forget to meet God's need?

God needs to find pleasure in us.

I am so thankful for what I heard from T. F. Tenny.  My life will be forever changed by this word.  My perspective of God is forever flipped and opened in new light of understanding.  I am more than just a human created to hope that God notices my prayers.  I was created for His pleasure.  My praise brings him pleasure. My acts of obedience and service bring him pleasure. My time in bible study and prayer bring him pleasure.  I never want to do anything that would displease him ever again.  I want to be pleasing, completely, utterly, forever, bringing pleasure to the Giver of my life.

Thank you Bishop T. F. Tenny for your great wisdom and sharing the words that God poured into you.
I completely give credit to this man for this post.

Monday, March 2, 2015

draw near

As we draw nearer to God, He draws nearer to us. (James 4:8) I am beginning to understand what that means.  I know we experience His presence and His glory as we worship and pray.  I know we feel Him even more at some times than others.  But what does it mean to draw near?  Psalms 73:28 says it is good for me to draw near to God.  It is putting trust in the Lord, making him our refuge and our friend.  He will the first one we turn to when we need to tell about something good and something bad.  He will be our first love. He will be our first thought in the morning and our first thought lying down in the evening.

Drawing near is getting as close as possible. "Draw" means moving in a particular direction or pull, "near" means close to a point or place not far away.

One of my favorite places to be in near my husband. I love to sit next to him with his arm around me. I love to feel his warmth and even hear his heart beat. I can hear his whisper and he can hear mine. It is intimate. I am learning that it is the same with God.  We can draw so close to God that we can feel His arm around us, feel His warmth and even hear His heart beat.  I can hear him whisper and speak to me intimately when I am that close.  There is no need to search, strain and wonder when you are that close.  I will know immediately I am in His presence and He is near. He is intimate to us.

I think of the old hymn, "Draw me nearer, nearer precious Lord to the cross where thou hast died, Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer precious Lord, to thy precious bleeding side."  To be near our precious Lord, To be near our dearest friend, To be near our God.  Our how wonderful it is to be right there in His presence.

I think time with my Savior is becoming more precious as I become more familiar with Him.  I think time in prayer, time in His word, time in worship is the most precious time of the day.  I find strength, comfort, joy, peace, support, power, grace, energy and more when I am near God.

Draw near and rest in His arms.  He is waiting with arms open wide. He is calling to you: "Come, my child, sit with me, talk with me, lean on me, listen to me.  I already know what you need."