Sunday, February 26, 2017

Made by God

Psalm 139:13

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

            Are you confident in your own skin?  Why do we doubt in our created being?  You are an original masterpiece created by God, in His own image.  Isn't that mind-boggling, to know there is no other just like you?  Each of us were designed with His purpose in mind. We often get caught up in 'our' perceived flaws, instead of considering our uniqueness.  Our Creator gave each of us just what we needed for 'His' will to be done.  That's a fundamental issue, we are not here for ourselves, but for Him.
           When we are lacking in a certain area, He blesses us with the help of others.  There is no "I" in the Church.  "Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ."   We help each other as one team working for the kingdom.
           God is the giver of all things, whether we think things are good or bad.. they are blessings from His perspective.  It is hard to perceive sickness as a blessing, but it can be. " It’s worth noting that after all of Job’s trials and even with the lessons God taught him about life, God never told him why he was suffering. It’s enough to say that God doesn’t have to answer to us or explain anything."   Illness can draw both you and others to God in prayer, fellowship, and worship.  Sometimes hitting rock bottom is what we need to look up to the Rock upon which we can stand.
            When we "are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed", God defends us. There is no better way to make sure you are in agreement with God, as you fight your battles, than to turn to Scripture.  His Word stands the test of time, because it comes from God, not man.  From 'The Joshua Code', "“All Scripture . . .”The little three-letter word all is very inclusive. It means what it says: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” The psalmist said, “The law of the LORD is perfect” (Psalm 19:7). King Solomon said, “Every word of God is pure” (Proverbs 30:5). Some find it popular today to contend that they believe only part of the Bible, not necessarily all of it. They say, “The Bible contains the word of God, but it is not necessarily the word of God.” But Scripture defends itself, saying, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.”"
           Who do we turn to for forgiveness of all our sins?  Who could love us despite our daily failings?  Only God loves like that.  Romans 5:8 " But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."   What saving grace He provides to all who believe in Him... an everlasting love through His faithful promises.  "But from everlasting to everlasting  the Lord’s love is with those who fear him."

    Psalm 103: 1-5
Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

       As I apply this blog to my own life, I know that God created me to be an example of strength through Him, despite my physical weaknesses.  My journey has been a time of spiritual growth because of His faithfulness to me.  He has blessed me with family, friends and caregivers that help me to make the most of each day.  He forgives my past, present and future sins because He loves me and paid my debt on the Cross.  So yes, I am confident in my skin because it is just flesh but my soul is secure in Jesus Christ.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Being Patient

2 Peter 3:9  "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

       Patience is one of the nine Fruits of the Spirit.  It is probably my least produced fruit that I struggle to bear,  with the help of the Vine.   “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." Patience for me is like a slippery fish, just when I think I've got a grasp on it then I let it slip out of my hands or my mouth.  Patience is a waiting game of the nerves, either you control it or it controls you and your reactions.

       The caption above gives me something to sit down and think about, just like the teddy bear.  "Be as patient with others as God is with you."  Whoa, whoa, whoa!  That's different, right?  Doesn't God know I have time limits, an agenda with purpose for the day and aren't I important too?  Yes, God might ask those same exact questions of us too. Yet, He is patient beyond measure waiting and working on us to turn to Him.  Why?  Because,  He promises to finish the good work He started in each of us and that takes time.
       Patience is the outcome of a learning process that works on our ability to self-control ourselves during a waiting period.  Do we have the 'willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay?"  We get impatient so quickly.  "It has never been easy to be patient, but it's probably harder now than at any time in history. In a world where messages and information can be sent across the world instantly, everything is available with only a few clicks of the mouse." 
       We not only lose patience with others, but God as well.  How long, Lord, how much longer must I wait?  Our impatience leads to doubt of His faithfulness, failure to continue praying and loss of hope.   From DesiringGod....."“Wait” is the most precious answer God can give us. It makes us cling to him rather than cling to an outcome. God knows what I need. I do not. He sees the future. I cannot. His perspective is eternal. Mine is not. He will give me what is best for me. When it is best for me. As Paul Tripp says, “Waiting is not just about what I get at the end of the wait, but about who I become as I wait.”"
      Is the struggle with patience making you better or bitter?  Do you rush and make life no fun?   "Patience with family is love, Patience with others is respect.  Patience with self is confidence and Patience with God is faith." 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

All You Can Do

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

       Who hasn't been there and said, "I don't know what more I can do."  We all experience things in our lives, where we in no doubt know the situation is out of our hands.  The waiting can be described as uncomfortable at best.  Whoever invented the idea of superpowers must have realized how limited our power over things really is.  "For you can do nothing apart from God."
        One way we try to demonstrate our release of control over life's battles is tough love.  When you've pointed the way and provided the way to a loved one, but it's been rejected time after time.  We sometimes have to give the reins totally over to God through prayer and by stepping aside to let His will be done.
        While I do what I can to reach others with the Good News, it is out of my hands {or anyone else's} to save anyone who doesn't believe in Jesus' saving grace.  Ephesians 2:8-9  "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast."   We pray for the lost, we lead by example, we make resources and ourselves available but in the end it's God who opens their ears to hear, their eyes to see and their hearts to be opened.  "Jesus came to bring us hope in the darkest of circumstances." 
         I think the verses at the beginning of this blog must be my own life verses because the weaker my physical body becomes the stronger my soul relies on my faith. God's grace has been sufficient for me and is greater than all my sin.  I use my weaknesses to plant seeds in my journey with others to show God's grace and faithfulness in my life. That is my job, to declare His praises to the world around me.  What God does to cultivate anything, I or anyone has tried to do for His glory is by His will and grace alone.
         Who better to turn to with our concerns than God?  No problem is too great or too small for our God.  Isaiah 40:28 "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom."

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Sees It All

Psalm 44:20-21
''If we had forgotten the name of our God
    or spread out our hands to a foreign god,
21 would not God have discovered it,
    since he knows the secrets of the heart?''

       What do you call it when you do the right thing when no one is watching? It's called integrity.  Do you have it in your character and daily life?  The truth is... God is omniscient, which means He is all-knowing about everyone and everything.  There is nothing hidden from God.

       Proverbs 10:9  "Whoever walks in integrity   walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out."
       This verse tells us that when we exhibit integrity, we have a divine security around us that gives us a humble boldness.  "He knows what ground he stands on, what guide he follows, what guard he is surrounded with, and what glory he is going to, and therefore proceeds with assurance and great peace."   But when one strays from the ways of God into the ways of man, there will be no hidden secrets on the day of judgement.
         Proverbs 11:3  " The integrity of the upright guides them, the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity."
         I heard a report on the news about a shopping cart gatherer at a store,  who found a forgotten purse in a cart.  While being tempted by other workers to keep the valuables for himself, he rejected their snare and said, 'My parents and God didn't raise me to steal." True integrity guides us to make the right decisions in this fallen world.   "His principles are fixed, his rule is certain, and therefore his way is plain; his sincerity keeps him steady, and he needs not tack about every time the wind turns, having no other end to drive at than to keep a good conscience."
         Honesty and trust are key aspects to integrity.  Jesus is the perfect example of one with integrityMatthew 22:16"They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are."
       Got integrity?  Or do the temptations of the world by people, circumstances and timing stray you away from the narrow way?  Remember, the world sees much but God sees all. "Our actions in obeying God show Him more love, honor, and praise than any empty words we might say to try to appear good."

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Why Worry?

Matthew 6:27
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?


        Why do we worry?  I know I try not to worry, but I do speculate about the possibilities.  Then before I realize it.... I'm breathing faster, my heart is pounding, my mind is racing to and fro, my nerves are twitching... and fear has taken control of me.  Where does that fear come from?  Satan and his arsenal of weapons, that he uses to make us doubt God's plan for us, as believers.  God has promised to finish the good work He started in us.
        Most of us like the feeling of being in control of our lives, even tho it's a false illusion.  God is sovereign over ALL things.  We often feel worrisome when we have to wait.  We are in a rush, but God isn't.  He has His own timing and reasons.  The truth is some waits will not end before we know the answer, but we must turn our worries into steadfast prayers.  We must pray more and worry less. ''God is working even while you are waiting. Think of this time of waiting as a process that will eventually culminate in a victory. In the meantime, remain faithful and know that God is there with you, preparing you for the battles, goals and victories to come.''
      Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3: 5-6
       In my own life, I am so dependent on others that my trust in God's provisions for me is all I can rely on.  Oh, how faithful He has been, even when I am not.  God's Word must trump all my doubts, because I know my future, near and far, is in His hands.
      .“For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.’ So we can say with confidence, ‘The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?’” Hebrews 13:5b-6 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Comeback Feb 2017

Psalm 139: 4-5
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.

     I haven't blogged since October 2015, because of weakness in my arm.  I have a neuromuscular disease that has progressively taken my physical strength away, but my will to share the Truth has never died.  I did think tho that I needed both a break and a time of silence on my part after 4 years of blogging.  I guess my break is over because God has provided me with a new way to type and I am so thankful.  What better way to show my gratitude than to blog again about His faithfulness in my own life.
          James 1;17-18   '' Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.''
      We are told to be thankful in all circumstances, but that's easier said than done.  In December 2016, I lost the use of my typing arm overnight for no explainable reason... for 3 very long weeks.  I couldn't use my computer or the tv remote without help. I wasn't thankful, but frustrated to a whole new level. Desperation leads to research for help.  ICAN is an agency that loans out tools for the disabled.  They are the ones who have helped me type again with an onscreen keyboard, camera and a button clicker.  So now in hindsight, I am thankful for the struggle because it helped me to persevere and receive the joy God intended for me.  Our trials are meant to draw us nearer to God.  When all is stripped away, we are reminded that God is faithful, trustworthy and His timing is perfect... even when we doubt.
      I want my blog to be a source of encouragement for all my readers.  The use of Scripture, various quotes and pictures can help us all to have the right perspective in our daily lives.  I'm excited to see what God lays on my heart to write about and share with you in the coming days.  

      ''Nothing is acted in the world without God's knowledge and the arm of his omnipotence to guide them. Not the most retired corner, the darkest cell, the deepest cavern, the most secret wickedness, but the eye of the Lord beholds it'' (Proverbs 15:3). - Stephen Charnock