Monday, January 30, 2012

God's Thoughts.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. Know him in all your ways and he will direct your paths."
 Proverbs 3:5-6

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."
 Isaiah 55:8-9

I am always trying to understand the world and God - sometimes I am trying to understand God's dealings with the world.  I always want to know the "why" of everything. Sometimes I "lean on my own understanding" instead of trusting the Lord with all my heart. I do find however,  if something bothers me a lot and I ask God about it he usually shows me the answer.

When I look at photos of the galaxies and I see that God made the billions of stars I realize I need to let go of my understanding and always believe he knows what he is doing.  His ways are higher than mine. His thoughts are higher than mine. He has all the answers to all my questions, and if I don't know the answer now, I will know one day.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Wind and the Spirit.

"Do not be surprised I said to you, "You must be born again. The wind blows wherever it wants and you hear the sound of it but do not know where it comes from or where it is going; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."
John 3:7-8

The wind is a powerful force. It blows the seeds and pollinates the earth with plants, it causes the waves to roll on the sea, it keeps the air clean and moves the sand dunes. We cannot see it, but we can see what it does.

We cannot see the Holy Spirit, but we can see the results of his work on human beings. He begins to whisper to us as children, moving upon our minds to do good and think good thoughts. He leads us to people, books or movies that tell us about God. We consider these things and he impresses us with the truth. If we turn ourselves towards the Spirit of God and surrender to God we are born again. We enjoy spiritual things, we enjoy doing right, we change slowly into God's image.

When did our conversion begin? Who can say? Jesus seems to say we cannot pinpoint the exact time. I thank God he works so hard for us. I thank him for his patience. I thank him for his deep love.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The End of the World.

Picture found at:

I remember as a little girl being taught about the end of the world and Jesus coming back to take us to himself. At our church and in our home we had pictures of this event and I would stare at them and wonder when he would return. This teaching never frightened me because of Jesus. I wanted to see him, and many times I would look up to the sky and hope this was the day he would return. I still look up and imagine him coming and look forward to that day with hope and joy

`Look, He is coming with the clouds and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him. And all the families of the earth will mourn because of him. So be it! Amen.`
Revelation 1:7

Àfter he had said these things, he was lifted up while they were looking on and a cloud took him out of their sight...An angel said, `This same Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come back the same way you have seen him go to heaven.`
Acts 1:9-11

Jesus said, `See, I have told you ahead of time. If anyone tells you, `There he is, out in the desert!` Do not go. Or, `Here he is in the inner rooms!` Do not believe it. For as the lightening flashes from the east and shines to the west, so it will be when the Son of Man comes.
`Matthew 24:25-`27

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Having Faith When You are Sick.

I read this story a few weeks ago. The bed-ridden man in this story had great faith and peace with God. I thought I would share it with you.

One of the happiest men I ever knew was a man in Dundee, Scotland, who had fallen and broken his back when he was a boy of fifteen. He had lain on his bed for about forty years, and could not be moved without a good deal of pain. Probably not a day had passed in all those years without acute suffering. But day after day the grace of God had been granted to him, and when I was in his chamber it seemed as if I was as near heaven as I could get on earth. I can imagine that when the angels passed over Dundee, they had to stop there to get refreshed.

When I saw him, I thought he must be beyond the reach of the tempter, and I asked him: "Doesn't Satan ever tempt you to doubt God, and to think that He is a hard Master?"
"Oh, yes," he said, "he does try to tempt me. I lie here and see my old schoolmates driving along in their carriages, and Satan says: 'If God is so good, why does He keep you here all these years? You might have been a rich man, riding in your own carriage.' Then I see a man who was young when I was walk by in perfect health, and Satan whispers: 'If God loved you, couldn't He have kept you from breaking your back?'"
"What do you do when Satan tempts you?"
"Ah, I just take him to Calvary, and I show him Christ, and I point out those wounds in His hands and feet and side, and say, 'Doesn't He love me?' and the fact is, he got such a scare there eighteen hundred years ago that he cannot stand it; he leaves me every time."
That bedridden saint had not much trouble with doubts; he was too full of the grace of God.

D.L. Moody

Monday, January 23, 2012

Growing in Grace.

I think every Christian wants to grow in grace. They want to become more like Jesus. When we seem to be so slow at growing; when we look at ourselves in despair; we need to remember it is Jesus who provides the growth. 

One of my sisters told me she didn't think she was changing for the better after a year of praying to be more loving. I told her she was wrong. I had seen a great change in her. She had more patience and kindness than ever before but she couldn't see it. I think we should look at Jesus and look away from ourselves. Perhaps we don't see ourselves the way God and others see us and we will  be discouraged.

These are some quotes from Henry Drummond on Christian growth.

Violent efforts to grow are right in earnestness, but wholly wrong in principle. There is but one principle of growth both for the natural and spiritual, for animal and plant, for body and soul. For all growth is an organic thing. And the principle of growing in grace is once more this, "Consider the lilies how they grow." 

The lilies grow, Christ says, of themselves; they toil not, neither do they spin. They grow, that is, automatically, spontaneously, without trying, without fretting, without thinking.

Earnest souls who are attempting sanctification by struggle, instead of sanctification by faith, might be spared much humiliation by learning the botany of the Sermon on the Mount.

If God is spending work upon a Christian, let him be still and know that it is God. And if he wants work, he will find it there—in the being still. 

Natural Law, Natural Growth, by Henry Drummond.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Who is for Me?

I read these verses last night and they encouraged my spirit.

"Who rises up for me against the wicked? Who will stand up for me against the workers of sin? Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul would have dwelt in silence like the grave.

When I said, 'My feet are slipping,' your loving kindness held me up O Lord.
When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul."

Psalm 94:16-19

I believe God stands up for us against the powers of darkness. Satan would have us discouraged and rebellious, but the Lord stands up against him and helps us. Where would I be without God? In the depths of despair.

When we are slipping in our faith, when our feet slip and we make mistakes or do wrong, God is there helping us. When we are depressed and discouraged, his words and Spirit cheer our souls. What a wonderful God we worship!

Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
When I said, My foot slippeth - When I found myself so weak and my enemy so strong, that I got first off my guard, and then off my center of gravity, and my fall appeared inevitable: -
Thy mercy, O Lord, held me up - יסעדני yisadeni, propped me. It is a metaphor taken from any thing falling, that is propped, shored up, or buttressed. How often does the mercy of God thus prevent the ruin of weak believers, and of those who have been unfaithful!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Loving Jesus More.

 In the Song of Solomon, the woman who is betrothed speaks of the man she loves in beautiful language. She represents the followers of Jesus.

She says, "My love is dark and dazzling, better than ten thousand others...His mouth is most sweet, (that is the words of his mouth) yes he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved and this is my friend."

Song of Solomon 5:10, 16

I was reading an essay by John Flavel called, "Christ Altogether Lovely." It moved me to want to love Jesus more and truly appreciate him as I should. This is an excerpt from the essay.

 Esteem nothing lovely except as it is enjoyed in Christ, or used for the sake of Christ. Love nothing for itself, love nothing separate from Jesus Christ. In two things we all sin in love of created things. We sin in the excess of our affections, loving them above the proper value of mere created things. We also sin in the inordinacy of our affections, that is to say we give our love for created things a priority it should never have.

3. Let us all be humbled for the corruption of our hearts that are so eager in their affections for vanities and trifles and so hard to be persuaded to the love of Christ, who is altogether lovely. O how many pour out streams of love and delight upon the vain and empty created thing; while no arguments can draw forth one drop of love from their stubborn and unbelieving hearts to Jesus Christ! I have read of one Joannes Mollius, who was observed to go often alone, and weep bitterly; and being pressed by a friend to know the cause of his troubles, said "O! it grieves me that I cannot bring this heart of mine to love Jesus Christ more fervently."

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Build Your Life on the Rock.

These are the last words Jesus spoke in the Sermon on the Mount.

"Everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them may be compared to a wise man who built his house on solid rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house, and yet it did not fall for it was founded on the rock."

"Everyone who hears these words of mind and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it."

"When the crowds heard it, they were amazed at his teaching because he taught with great authority, unlike their teachers of the law." Matthew 7:24-29

Where I grew up in California, there used to be torrential rains that would come maybe once or twice a year. The cities built cement culverts to catch the rivers of waters that would flood the towns. We once lived in a house by a small stream. The year after we moved out the rains came, the stream swelled into a river and the house was gone. This also happened in the area where Jesus lived so the people there could relate to his story of the two houses.

Jesus is the rock on which to build the foundation of our life. If we do this we will be safe from any storm that hits us. The storms of life can be hard to bear: the death of a loved one, divorce, abuse from someone we love, friends who betray us, children who turn to many things can happen to us in this life, but with Jesus as our foundation we can weather the storm. He will be our strength and guide.

To rely on people or this world is trusting in shifting sand. It cannot hold us up, it moves beneath our feet, it slides between our fingers. Build your life on Jesus. He will never let you down.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

"I Never Knew You."

Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven will enter. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name and do many mighty works in your name?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. depart from me, you who break God's laws.'" Matthew 7:21-23

Not everyone who says they believe in Jesus or preach and do work in His name are truly his followers. They may believe God exists, but they do not have him in their hearts. Jesus says, "I never knew you." They never asked Jesus in or knew him as their Savior.

Without knowing Jesus we cannot have the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The people Jesus is speaking of are carnal, still living under sin no matter what they may say. Most of us have known, seen or heard of  so-called Christians like these. It is a sad and horrible thing to live a life in this way.

How does this happen? I don't know. I don't understand the human heart with the depth and wisdom of God, but I trust him to judge rightly.  God wants us to do his will. Why? Because it is the best and most beautiful way to live our lives. Because then we can love everyone and do good. Because then we become a blessing to the world instead of a curse. Jesus once said that without him we can do nothing good. I believe him.

Friday, January 13, 2012

False Teachers.

Jesus said, "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you dressed like sheep, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit. A bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit nor a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into a fire. Thus, you will know them by their fruits." Matthew 7: 15-20

False prophets are those who teach incorrect doctrine or who are a teacher of religion in order to have money and prestige. Ravenous wolves are hungry - and a false teacher is hungry for people's money and honor. Some of the Pharisees were like this and Jesus accused them of "devouring widow's houses." Mark 12:40

"You will recognize them by their fruit." I would say this means the fruit of the Spirit which is: ", joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22-23

If a preacher does not have the fruit of the Spirit there is something wrong. Of course, preachers are only human and we can't expect perfection. But hopefully a preacher would have many of the fruits Paul spoke about.

We would do well to heed Jesus' warning when we choose to follow a church or a leader of a church. We must be careful and have our eyes open. I remember hearing preachers on TV that teach the very opposite of what the Bible teaches. Just this year I heard one say, "Jesus was wealthy and so were his disciples. And Jesus wants all of us to be rich." This preacher is on TV right before Joyce Meyer is on so I catch the end of his program quite frequently. His main teaching is about getting rich. His fruit is covetousness.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Narrow Gate.

Jesus said, "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it." Matthew 7:13-14

This verse always makes me sad because Jesus says few people will choose to follow God. God sheds his light on every person, but most will reject him. He also says this in the parable of the man who sowed seed in his field. (Matthew 13:18-23)

Paul talks about how those who have never heard of God. They have a conscience they can follow, "For when the Gentiles, who do not have the law, do instinctively what the law requires, they are a law unto themselves...They show that what the law requires is written in their hearts a fact to which their conscience testifies, and their thoughts will either accuse or excuse them." Romans 2:14-15

Jesus said, "I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved." John 10:9

Monday, January 9, 2012

What Do God's Laws Mean?

"Always do for other people everything you want them to do for you. That is the meaning of Moses' teachings and the Prophets." Matthew 7:12

This verse has been named, "The Golden Rule" because of its great value. Something similar was said by the ancient Jews. The rabbi Hillel said to a young man who wanted to understand the whole law, "Whatever is hateful to you, do not do it to another." The Greeks, Romans and Confucius had similar sayings, which shows how people have been touched by the Spirit of God all through the ages as to what is right and good.

But what Jesus taught goes much farther than not harming people. He says to go out and do something for others that you would want done for you. It is not a passive saying, but an active one. God is actively doing good and so should we.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

God - The Giver of Gifts.

Jesus said. "Ask and it will be given you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks the door will be opened.  Which of you if your son asks for bread will give him a stone? Or if your child asks for a fish will you give him a snake?

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?
 Matthew 7:7-11

Ask, seek and knock. We are dependent upon God for the very breath we take. We need him in order to live a good life and be a blessing in this world. We need him for our daily food and drink. Most people don't realize this and so he rains his blessings upon those people also. Every good thought, every good deed comes from God. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above coming down from the Father of lights in whom there is no inconsistency or shifting shadows." James 1:17

"Good gifts, perfect gifts," this is the key to understanding these verses. We may ask God for something we want but he may not give it to us if it is not "good and perfect" for us. Some things we ask for we can be perfectly sure of receiving ,such as asking Him to be with us to guide us and to make us be like him. We can be sure he will comfort us, strengthen us, and forgive us.

In asking things from God I am careful to say, "Your will be done." We don't know God's will about some things and it is best if we leave everything up to him.

I often remember those who died for Jesus. I remember those who died in the Holocaust. I'm sure they prayed for deliverance. I remember Jesus asking God to take away his cup of suffering.

I think we need to realize that when we pray we also need to accept the perfect will of God. Whatever he gives as his answer will be perfect for us.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pearls Can be Trampled Underfoot.

Jesus said, "Do not give what is holy to dogs or throw your pearls before pigs. Otherwise, they will trample them with their feet and turn around and attack you." Matthew 7:6

This has always been a verse that has been hard for me to understand, for how do you know if you are wasting your time telling someone about God? The commentaries had this to say:

"The meaning of this proverb, then, is, do not offer your doctrine to those violent and abusive people who would growl and curse you; nor to those especially debased and profligate who would not perceive its value, would trample it down, and would abuse you."

I remember my mother telling me about her older sister Mae. She was not a believer and my mother tried to witness to her of the love of God. Her sister, who had been a Christian once and knew the Bible, said, "Don't cast your pearls before swine."

It was a shocking thing to hear her say. I would think Jesus is saying that if we have tried once to talk with someone about God and they get angry that we should then just pray for them that the Spirit of God will work on their hearts. We cannot argue a person into belief.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Do Not Judge Others.

Jesus said, "Do not judge others and you will not be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged."

" Why do you see a piece of sawdust in your brother's eye, but not notice the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, "Let me take the speck of dust out of your eye when you have a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the plank out of your own eye, then you will see clearly to take a speck out of your brother's eye."
Matthew 7:1-5

I used to judge people when I was a young Christian. I would say to myself, "I would never do that!" It wasn't long before I realized I had done something worse than what they did! The Lord had to humble me before I realized what a sinner I was and how easy it was to fall.

When I used to go to church there was a lot of judging going on. People would come up to others and tell them they were doing wrong in front of everyone. People did that to us also. Yet, the people judging usually had a spirit of anger as they did this. Which is worse? Me letting my daughter take dance lessons (a no-no in our church) or being an angry, judgmental person who sowed strife wherever they went?

It seems like Jesus is saying too that if you are going to talk with someone about their sin problems, then you better make sure you don't have any. I'm not sure if there is anyone like that! But I think we can present Jesus' life as an example to everyone. We can admit we are sinners too and then point others to him.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

God Will Supply All Our Needs.

Jesus said, "So do not worry saying, 'What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or What shall we wear?'
These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. But seek first his kingdom and his goodness and he will give you everything you need. So, don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's troubles is enough for today."

I think of these verses often. I need to learn to lean on God and not worry when thinks look dark. One time, my husband and I had fifty cents to buy food and that was all. I bought some stale bread and thanked God for it. That evening my husband brought home money from his new job. He had asked for an advance and they had given it to him. I was so grateful. It was the only time we had to do that. We also had no place to live and no money, we slept in the car one night but it was hard to sleep.  Hubby asked a motel guy if we could live there and pay later. God gave us favor in this man's mind and he man said yes. We now had a temporary home. During this hard time our daughters were visiting their real father for a month so they never knew how bad it got. I was thankful for that also. God did supply our needs.