Wednesday, September 30, 2015

For your benefit...

[Isa 48:17-18 HCSB]
17 This is what the LORD, your Redeemer,
the Holy One of Israel says: I am Yahweh your God,
who teaches you for your benefit,
who leads you in the way you should go. 
18 If only you had paid attention to My commands.
Then your peace would have been like a river,
and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

When God teaches me, it's for my benefit. It's NOT for my ruin, nor to punish me, nor to swat me if I'm, it's for my BENEFIT. Hebrew word for that is ya'al, which is most commonly translated as PROFIT in the KJV. He will lead me in the way that I should go...because He is leading me for my benefit, and because He says, "I will act for my own sake, indeed, my own, for how can I be defiled? I will not give my glory to another." (Isa. 48:11) He teaches me what I need to know so that I can have a life of peace, and therefore for my benefit. This, in turn, brings glory to God.

This will challenge at least one person's view of God, at least in some way. If we understand the very nature of God in the first place, this verse would be clear and straight-forward. However, if we see him as one who is quick to punish and slow to reward, then it will be hard to believe that He is teaching us things that will benefit us in the long AND short run. It would be hard to submit to His leadership because if we doubt His good intentions and motives, following where He leads will be nearly impossible. But if you understand how much God wants the best for his children, then it would make saying "yes" to him that much easier.

Pay attention to His commands. When God pays attention, he has to respond. So we ought to do the same. If you pay attention to someone, you respond to them. If you are not paying attention, you won't know what's happening to or with them, and you won't respond to them.

If I follow the commands of the Lord, what will happen?
--The benefits will be tangible.
--Peace will flow like a river in your soul
--Righteousness will be like the waves of the sea
    Does this mean abundance? Does this refer to strength? Power? It may be all these things, but it may also have something to do with our influence on other people, because waves have a tendency to move outward from the source of motion. I don't know, but this is what I've come up with. If you have better ideas, let me know in the comments.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

He Carries Us

[Isa 46:4 NLT] 
I will be your God throughout your lifetime--
until your hair is white with age.
I made you, and I will care for you.
I will carry you along and save you.

I ran across this verse during my devotional time this morning, and I had to look up a word that was mentioned in this verse. But first, allow me to give you the same verse, in the NASB:

[Isa 46:4 NASB] 
Even to your old age I will be the same,
And even to your graying years I will bear you!
I have done it, and I will carry you;
And I will bear you and I will deliver you.

Did you see the word "bear" in the second translation? The Hebrew word for bear is "cabal", which means the following:
çâbal, saw-bal'; a primitive root; to carry (literally or figuratively), or (reflexively) be burdensome; specifically, to be gravid:—bear, be a burden, carry, strong to labour. (Strong's definition)
Gravid refers to pregnancy, carrying a child in the womb, literally bearing the child in pregnancy and then laboring towards birth. How much work does the child need to do to stay in the womb of its mother? How much work do we need to do to stay in the hands of our Father, our whole lives? The answer to both questions is the same...none. He says it RIGHT THERE in the verse, in the next line even! I have done it, and I will carry you.
Our salvation does not--I repeat--DOES NOT--DOES NOT depend on us, but on Him, and Him alone. He said it in the last line, doesn't he? "I will carry you along and save you."


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The 5 Ways Silver Describes the Word of God

Psalm 12:6
The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.

In doing some research, I found out that silver has five main properties about it that will shed some light on the verse above. Silver is:
Ductile -- can be drawn into thin wires
Malleable -- hammered out into thin sheets
Able to conduct heat better than any substance
Able to conduct electricity better than any substance
Reflective -- reflects light very well.

How does this expand our understanding of this verse? What's God saying about His words?

With ductility, silver can be drawn into thin wires, as stated above. If the word of God can be "drawn into a thin wire", what would that mean in a more literal sense? What is it saying? Well, the Lord showed me that this is likened to when he speaks to an individual through either the bible, or in a word of knowledge, or leading them  through the Holy Spirit. It's like a silver wire is going from heaven to earth so that he can communicate with us on an individual level. (Whoa.)

With malleability, silver can be hammered out into thin sheets. I asked the Lord what that was. He said that this describes when a corporate word goes out to a body of believers. This could be a word of knowledge, word of wisdom, prophesy, even a sermon or a teaching that comes from the Lord. Wow.

With its ability to conduct heat better than any other metal, I wondered what this could mean. I remembered that, in many cases, healing is often associated with the sensation of heat. Does the word of God back this up? Yes, it does. Psalm 107:20 says, "He sent out his word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death." (NLT) I don't know about you, but that sent chills thru my spine. Amazing.

Silver conducts electricity better than any metal, even copper. What's another word for electricity? Power. So if my thinking is correct, God's word conducts His power to change us and move through us. Hebrews 4:12 backs this up: "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart."

Lastly, silver is highly reflective. What could the word of God reflect? The glory of God. Hebrews 1:3 says, "He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high." John 1:1 states, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." And to confirm this, Jesus is quoted in John 11:40 as saying, "Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”

So, what is God saying about his words? That 1) He speaks to individuals, 2) He speaks corporately too, 3) His word heals, 4) His word brings power to and through us, and 5) His word reflects the glory of God. Praise God!! He is good. :)

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Pray for Nepal

7.8 earthquake has rocked Nepal, home of Mt. Everest. Pray for the people, that they would be rescued, healed, and come to know Christ. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Love in deed and truth (1 Jn 3:16-18)

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in words and talk but in deed and in truth. -1st Jn 3:16-18

Observation: Love is measured by its actions, not words. Love must be done in truth, not deception. Seeing a brother/sister in need and not helping him/her when you are able to do so shows a lack of love.

Application: For so long, I have placed an emphasis on words and saying things to others as a means of showing support and encouragement. Here, though, the Scriptures are clear: Actions borne out of love speak louder and have more meaning than just words. "Let deed and in truth." Showing love in truth. That's not easy many times, because as a human, I get frustrated, I fail at times, and I feel like I don't measure up to the de facto standard set forth in His word. What to do then?

Remember Jesus' words, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life"? He states here that he is the Truth, amongst other things. So what if we love others through Christ? In other words, not requiring it of ourselves to "feel the love", so to speak, but look at the other person through the love of Christ and love them solely because of that? What if...we carry out the love of Christ not through our own feelings but through the Truth of Christ's love?

Prayer: "Lord, help me to love others as you do, not just in words but in what I do and with a pure heart. For those folks I don't like, or I don't get along with very well, help me see them  through your love and not through my own preconceived notions. Change my heart Lord to be more like yours. Amen."

Thursday, April 9, 2015

God is Light...(1st John 1)

1st John 1:5 "This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all."

When we walk in the Light, these things will be present:
-Practicing the truth
-Walking in the light
-Confession of our sins to Him
-Admitting that we sin
-Fellowship with one another
-Blood of Christ cleanses us from sin, not merely covering up sin.

When we do not walk in the Light, these things will be present:
-Darkness (and walking in it)
-Not practicing the truth
-Saying we have no sin (thus deceiving ourselves, calling God a liar and not having His word in us)

This passage (1st John 1:5-10) is so full of truth that pierces my human pride. Applying this scripture is vital. I don't know about anyone else, but I NEED this scripture to become alive in me. I want to walk in the light. But if I find myself lying, I am not in the Light. If I claim to have no sin, I'm doing a world of hurt to myself and calling God a liar. Admitting my sin--acknowledging my sinfulness, looking to him for forgiveness-- is the only way out. Why? Because if you look in verse 9, it states that when we confess our sins, "he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins..." Thank God for that. I need that forgiveness every day. I fail so much on an everyday basis. But only through His grace do I have forgiveness.

But wait, there's more...

"...and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness." Clean. He makes me clean. All the dirty unrighteousness I have, can be cleansed in the blood of the Lamb, Jesus. I can't clean myself. Believe me, I've tried. And failed. But He can do what I can't. So I have to rely on Him to do what I can't. So to make it clear:

MY JOB--Confession of sin.
HIS JOB--Forgiveness of sin, cleansing from all unrighteousness.

My prayer to the Lord today is this: "Father, I have sinned in so many things, like ______. I know I have sinned, but I come to you and confess that it was me. Forgive me, cleanse me and change me, because I can't do it on my own. I need you to come in and do the work that I can't do. Please restore me to the Light so I can walk with You in the light. Thank you Lord, amen."

Friday, April 3, 2015

It is finished

Good Friday.

It's not good because it's Friday.

It's not just another day.

It is when the price was paid for sin, once for all.

A bloody price, a messy price, pain-filled, discomforting and...The requirement for our redemption.

It's not about how good you are. 

It's not about your effort. 

It's the price Christ paid, with his own blood, body, sweat...His payment, for our freedom.

That's why it's called Good Friday. 

"It is finished...." John 19:30

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Endure till the End

13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

This passage primarily reminds me that endurance will set those who are truly following Christ apart from those who are pretending to be a Christian. The prospect of the Gospel being preached and proclaimed in all the world is a miracle; so when it happens, the word says, "then the end will come."

Application is simple: Endure until the end. Pray for endurance. Pray that all your sins are washed clean from your heart. Walk closely with the saviour, for as we read in Matt 24:35, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My word will NEVER pass away." His word stands, his decrees are reliable, and we can certainly trust him.

Lord, surround my heart and soul with your peace, keep me and guard me in Jesus' name. Amen.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Blogging the Bible (Matt 23:12) Asking the hard questions

Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matt 23:12)

This entire chapter revolves around the Pharisees and the scribes, and how Jesus was pointing out their sins. He was making the point and driving it home by giving example after example of where their words were not lining up with their deeds. It also has shined a spotlight  on how much more serious God takes our inner lives than we often do. A lot of times (myself included) we will excuse ourselves of sins that we would find offensive in another person. The pharisees did this a lot, as did the scribes, and they had even gone so far as to believe their own press so to speak. Jesus did not look fondly on their puffed hearts and two-sided-ness (new word), and started telling them what they did not want to, but *needed* to hear. But if one pharisee or scribe heard this and repented of his sins, then he would have saved a life.

The application of this is so profound, it brought me to a place of self examination, as it should. I examined my heart, and wondered if I was in pride or if I am walking humbly with my God. As long as I am following my Lord, and doing what he tells me to do (both in the word and in ministry), then it's logical to think I'm okay. But I have to dig deeper than that. What are my thoughts like when I do them? Am I vying for attention? Do I want praise from men? Or from God?

Heavy questions, things that may not be pleasant to answer, but so necessary. Easy? (lol) No. But useful for the master to shape me into the woman God wants me to be? You bet.


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Blogging the Bible, Matt 22:45. Mind blown.

Matthew 22:45
If then David calls him Lord, how is he His son?

In looking at and meditating on this verse, it is absolutely clear to me that Jesus is making a point about his lineage that probably overwhelmed the average person pondering the question. If then DAVID calls him (Jesus) Lord, HOW is he His Son? This goes way beyond physical bloodlines and gets into what may be considered to be His spiritual lineage. The mere fact that the spiritual lineage went backwards was incomprehensible to them.

In other words, mind blown.

The application of this is to see how this shows the ultimate Kingship of Christ. This is so important, and when we see that He is Lord of all, it spurs us on to respect Him more, therefore giving us more motivation to obey the Lord the first time he gives us direction. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge..." (Prov: 1:7a)

This lesson can then be taken to the story in the beginning of the chapter where it talks about the wedding feast. Those who heard and answered the call of the Lord to the wedding feast were given the wedding garments that the King required. But when he found a wedding crasher (one without a garment), he had to kick him out. He did not fear the King, but tried to get in without giving him due respect by answering the call and going through proper protocol in the first place.

A show of disrespect. Bad form.

Both stories illustrate the Kingship of the Lord Jesus, and how important it is for us to respond to the invitation to the wedding feast while we are still able to do so. Let us walk in humble respect for our King, and answer Him when He calls.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Blogging the Bible, Matt 21:21-22

Matthew 21:21-22
So Jesus answered and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, BELIEVING, you will receive."

Jesus is laying out one of the biggest concepts ever for his disciples, one that is required for salvation: Faith. "If you have faith", that is, if you have not buried it or lost it or succumbed to doubt, then this passage applies. "And do not doubt"...James says that a person who doubts is like a person tossed around at sea, the waves knocking him around and beating him up. Doubt is the devil's work, never to be trusted.

This is King Jesus who is decreeing this statement, and what He says is law.
An executive order, if you will.
If you have faith, you can do what He did and make a tree wither, or even command a mountain (problem) to move aside and it will be done.

"Whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive." Prayer needs to be infused with faith, and when we ask for anything, we need to believe it's possible. That God cares. And listens. And acts on our behalf, in our best interests. Believe that God is who He says He is and will do what He promised. He is King, and He can do anything. Just ask in faith, and do not doubt.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Blogging the Bible, Matthew 17:4-5

Matt 17:4 Then Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it's good for us to be here! If You want, I will make three tabernacles here: one for You, one for Moses and one for Elijah."
Matt17:5 While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him. Listen to Him!"

I find it interesting that God interrupted Peter while he still was talking. In our culture today, that would be considered to be rude. Apparently God didn't care if it was considered rude, He did it anyways. Although Peter thought he had a good idea, God the Father had a better one…instead of building tabernacles to honor Jesus, Moses and Elijah (as if they were all on the same level), He focused on only one person in that triad…Jesus. He did not say to listen to Moses (the Law, even though the Law was from God himself) or Elijah (even though he was a prophet, a mouthpiece that God used). He said to listen to Jesus, because he was the fulfillment of the Law AND the prophets. Moses and Elijah were used BY God; Jesus, however came FROM God. We need to listen to Him.

When many voices are clamoring for our attention, we need to remember the words of the Father regarding Jesus: "Listen to HIM!!!!" Don't listen to voices of advertising, culture, media, talk show hosts, etc. Don't listen to those that encourage you to sin, to eat too much, to take a drink, to have a little tryst, to lie about your whatever. Listen to Jesus, because He is the ultimate fulfillment of all that God wants to do here in the earth. He is God's son.

Father, I listen too often to the voices around me, to outside influences and not enough to You. Jesus, forgive me for not listening as much to you as I need to. Tune my ears to hear more clearly so I can follow You more closely. I love you Lord, amen.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Bible blogging...Matthew 20:33-34

Matt 20:33-34 "They said to him, "Lord, let our eyes be opened." And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed Him."

Jesus heard the two guys calling out to him from the roadside, and after being told to ignore them and move on, he stopped. He stopped. For them. Blind guys. Beggars. (Much like me…I'm blind in so many ways, I'm a beggar because I have nothing of worth to offer to Him, except for one thing--me.) Then, he talked to them, asking them a question. "WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO FOR YOU?" They answered, "Let our eyes be opened." He felt pity for these guys, dirt poor beggars who couldn't even see, so He granted their request. He did it by touching their eyes. Not by saying words, not by patting them on the head, but touching their eyes. The fingerprints of God touched their blindness, and they immediately recovered their sight. And they followed Him after that.

I have areas of blindness, weakness, sin, etc. in my life. I am like the beggars, so poor that I don't have anything of worth to offer to the King of Kings, but I can offer myself to His service to be used in whatever way He sees fit.

Kneeling prayer:
Lord let my eyes be opened so I might see what you want me to see, so I can follow you. Forgive me for the sins I have committed, I want your grace to come in and cover me, and help me to extend that grace to everyone else, especially to my family. I love you Lord, and I bless you. Amen.