Sunday, May 26, 2013

Psalm 90:17

"May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us-- yes, establish the work of our hands." Psalm 90:17

What a beautiful prayer!

I pray that for all of us today - that the Lord may establish the work of our hands.

Establish: It means to set up, to make firm or secure.

We are not saved by these works, but it would be wonderful if some of our works were established forever, if some of what we did had eternal good.

'For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light.

It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person's work.If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved--even though only as one escaping through the flames." 1 Corinthians 3:11-15

"Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." John 6:29 This is what saves us - believing. The work of our hands is how we act and what we do. 

May God establish the work of our hands.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Why am I STILL Here?

"All the days of my appointed time will I wait." Job 14:4

Because I have to struggle daily with a mental illness, I was praying the other night about how long this has been going on and how sick I am of the whole thing. I asked God to help me understand why I am still here when I suffer so much and long to be with Him.

He answered me immediately because after I prayed I opened my study book by Charles Spurgeon and the above verse in Job is the first thing I read. Here is a short excerpt from this study:

(Fellowship with Christ) "Fellowship with Christ (in his suffering) is so honorable that the sorest sorrow is a light price by which to procure it.

Another reason for our lingering here is for the good of others. We would not wish to enter heaven till our work is done, and it may be that we are yet ordained to minister light to souls benighted in the wilderness of sin. Our prolonged stay here is doubtless for God's glory. It is for the honor of Jesus that we endure the trial of our faith with sacred joy.

Our time is fixed and settled by eternal decree. Let us not be anxious about it, but wait with patience till the gates of pearl shall open."

From: Works of Charles Spurgeon.

So, fellowship with Jesus' sufferings, the good of others and God's glory are the reasons I am still here. I was thinking this morning these are noble reasons to live and I thank God for helping me to go on in life with joy in my heart.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Do We Look at People or Things to Make Us Happy?

I am reading a study on the Minor Prophets by Hampton Keithley lV and I thought about how I used to look to men to make me happy. Husband or boyfriend. That was the person I felt I needed to feel loved, happy and whole. Of course, I was wrong. I needed all that from God. No human being could fill that need for anyone else. Here is an excerpt from the article on Hosea.

The Problem Explained

If we read between the lines in these references to Jeroboam and Jehu, we see the real problem. The problem was that they were pursuing their own agendas or goals and they changed their concept of God in the process because it was too painful to have the real God around.

Application: Are our own agendas more important than God? We need to recognize that we usually have internal agendas that are deeper than our worship experience.

First we need to back up to Jeremiah 2:27 to set the context. There we see further descriptions of their sinfulness and how they “had their own way.” It says, “They say to a tree, `You are my father' and to a stone, ‘You gave me birth.’” But in a time of trouble, they will say, ‘Arise and save us.’”

Ryrie points out that the words “tree” and “stone” refer to things used in the worship of Baal. So it seems more appropriate to apply this to how they looked to Baal to give them life and happiness. For us it refers to how we look to things or our spouses to give us life. We depend on our own efforts to make life work and when things don't work, we expect God to come through.

Israel was pretty bad. They totally forsook God. We often compare ourselves to them and think we aren't nearly so bad. We certainly haven't totally forsaken God. We certainly don't worship golden calves. Maybe we don't worship golden calves, but we have other false concepts of God and other things we seek after. Maybe we don't totally forsake God, but we mix our dependence on God with our dependence on other things.

We see nothing wrong with depending on our own resources and depending on our bank account, our work, our wife, our kids, our ministry to fulfill us. We only use God as a Force or Genie to help us in our pursuits. Listen to your prayers. How many times do you ask God to “HELP” you do something. When you do that are you saying that you can do most of it ... that you just need a little help to finish the task? It is man's natural tendency to want to make it on his own. Our natural tendency is to want to earn our salvation by being good. But even after we recognize that salvation is totally by faith, we still want to have lists of do's and don'ts. We think if we change our behavior we will be able to accomplish what we want. Whether it is overcoming depression or some bad habit.
We are determined to pursue our own self-interests, so we redefine God. We have decided what it means to really enjoy life - for most of us that is having enough money so we can buy all the things we think will make us happy - so we expect God to bless us.

For others it might be that perfect relationship with the opposite sex, because we think that person will be able to fill our deep longings, so we expect God to bring along the perfect mate. And when He does, and the marriage is not perfect like we had planned, What do we do? What do you do? When you pray for something and you don't get it, who do you blame? Do you blame God?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Freedom of Choice in an Evil World.

 'I have sinned, I have perverted what is right, but I did not get what I deserved. He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light.’ Job 33:28

In the book, "Pastor Dave's Reflections," "Dave Petrescue wrote about his life before he met God: "

"Thirty-two years ago my life was a walking war zone. I was a fight looking for a place to happen. I was an angry young man full of lust, greed, dissatisfaction and pride. Many around me were casualties of my evil. It wasn't my parents' fault, it wasn't the fault of another culture, religion, or political system. It was my fault. When I finally admitted it (very tough to do) and asked Jesus to 
do his work of inner transformation in me He fully cooperated. He removed the corruption I had allowed to build up in my soul. He replaced my inner turbulence with complete peace, transformed my hate into love and filled me with overflowing joy.

Many people wonder why God doesn't just step in and halt all evil intentions and consequences. Yet, if God did that we would not be happy. For God to arbitrarily put a stop to evil among us He would have to take back the wonderful gift He gave us: our freedom of choice.

 Would you want God to forcefully stop you in your tracks every time you wanted to play with a little temptation or indulge in a little evil? If we were forced to be good against our will we are not at all appreciative; we would probably curse God for not leaving us alone to do our own thing. How dare He offend our freedom and dignity!"

Freedom to choose God or not to choose Him is the most important principle of God's kingdom. But look at the results of not choosing Him! Evil angels were thrown out of heaven bringing their hatred here and infecting us.

 Look at evil, then look at goodness.

Saddam Hussein vs Mother Teresa.

Hitler vs Albert Schweitzer

Stalin vs Jimmy Carter

Let us all say with Joshua: 

"But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve... But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."  Joshua 24:15

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Go Up the Mountain.

 "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." Isaiah 2:3

This is an excerpt from Charles Spurgeon:

"It is exceedingly beneficial to our souls to mount above this present evil world to something nobler and better. 

The cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches are apt to choke everything good within us, and we grow fretful, desponding, perhaps proud and carnal.

It is well for us to cut down these thorns and briers, for heavenly seed sown among them is not likely to yield a harvest; 

and where shall we find a better sickle with which to cut them down than communion with God and the things of the kingdom?"

It is so easy to be filled with thoughts of this world. We have to make a strong effort to take our eyes off of it and look towards God each day. But those times are like going up a beautiful mountain where you can see the truth about life and how it is really meant to be lived.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Jesus Learned Obedience Through Suffering.

I'm all moved in to my new apartment and finally feel rested enough to write. I love our new place - it is so roomy and bright with the sun. 

I read this article on Jesus' suffering that helped explain this Bible verse to me: "Though he was a Son, yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered." Hebrews 5:8

Charles Spurgeon writes: "We are told the Captain of our salvation was made perfect through suffering, therefore we who are sinful, and who are far from being perfect, must not wonder if we are called to pass through suffering too. Shall the head be crowned with thorns, and shall the other members of the body be rocked upon the dainty lap of ease? Must Christ pass through the seas of his own blood to win the crown, and are we to walk to heaven dry shod in silver slippers? No, our Master's experience teaches us the suffering is necessary, and the true born child of God must not, would not, escape it if he might.

But there is one very comforting thought in the fact of Christ's suffering - it is that he can have complete sympathy with us. "He is not an high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities."

One of the early martyrs said, "I can bear it all, for Jesus suffered, and he suffers in me now; he sympathizes with me, and this makes me strong." Lay hold of this thought in all times of agony."

Spurgeon says, "Suffering is necessary," even for Jesus, which got me to wondering why? Why would Jesus need to learn from suffering? Doesn't he already know all things?

"He learned obedience." Why would Jesus need to learn obedience? Wasn't he already perfect?

The commentaries at the site below add some insight:

Barnes' Notes on the Bible
 "Though he were a Son - though the Son of God, though he sustained this exalted rank, and was conscious of it, yet he was willing to learn experimentally what is meant by obedience in the midst of sufferings."

People's New Testament

5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience. He claimed no special exemptions because he was the Son, but learned and taught obedience in the supremest test that the world ever saw.
By the things which he suffered. He learned obedience experimentally.

Though he were a Son, yet  learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
He learned in deed what it is to have a Father, whom a man must obey.

 He learned obedience, when be began to suffer; when he applied himself to drink that cup: obedience in suffering and dying.

I sometimes forget Jesus was God and a man. He is called the "second Adam" who came to restore this world. So, perhaps it was as a man he had to accept and feel this great suffering; not as God. It is all hard for me to understand, but I do appreciate what he went through for us. He came into this world he created as one of us; to experience all we experience and of course, not only that, but to take the guilt of the sins of the world on his shoulders. That is something I will only understand when I am in heaven.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Why Heaven?

I was reading a Bible study called, "God, It's Not Fair!" by Steven Cole. It's a great study of the unfairness of life. He puts a question out for readers:

What is it that chiefly makes you want to go to Heaven? Is it so you can talk and be with God?

I asked myself this and I thought, "What would I talk with God about? I couldn't think of anything except to say "Thank you." I guess I want to go to Heaven mainly because of being with family members forever in beautiful nature. I think of having a life with no problems or irritations and traveling heaven and the universe seeing all God has made. I don't think about talking with anyone else but family, but that is probably because I have social phobia. I won't have that up in heaven.

I will say I am sick of the way we run this world. I long for a life with no cars, no shopping, no cooking, no bills, no weeds, not too hot and not too cold, no sickness, no sorrow, no parting. I thank God I can look forward to this.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Two Janitors.

Hello Everyone! I'm busy packing for our move to a new apartment so I've been off-line for awhile. 

We move in May 9th. I was reading a book called, "Let Prayer Change Your Life," by Becky Tirabassi. It's a great book with many stories of how her life changed when she decided to spend one hour praying every morning. 

What I would like to share though is an excerpt of her story of her conversion and how she accepted Christ. Here it is:

"For six years, from the ages of fifteen to twenty-one, I followed all the "popular" trends: going to wild parties, drinking, dancing, bar hopping, and using drugs. I was caught in a downward spiral - going from a normal, happy, all-American kid to becoming an alcoholic drug addict with suicidal tendencies.

An unusual course of events led me to a small church with one born-again, Spirit-filled janitor on its staff who loved to share the person of Christ with the lost. Never, in my wildest thoughts, would I have imagined my life turning 180 degrees one hot, sunny, August California afternoon at the persuasion of this janitor.

How did he convince me to be born again when my boyfriend, lifestyle and future looked so worldly? He spoke these words: "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." And though this janitor knew of my past and present, he told me Jesus loved me - just the way I was."

When I read this, I thought of the janitor of my church school. When he retired, the school told everyone this janitor had given money every year to put a child through school. On his small salary, he had helped many children and teens have their dream of a Christian education.

No matter where we are in life, no matter what our job or status, we can be a shining light for Christ.