Friday, August 28, 2015

A River of Love.

"Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst."  John 6:35

"Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life."  John:4:14

I read John 6 this morning and I thought about whether I hunger or thirst for anything. I don't, as far as I know. I used to hunger and thirst for love, but I have found that in Jesus. I looked for love from men, but men are fallible human beings who cannot love the way we want them to love. That is too much to ask for from any man or woman.

In our North American culture, we are taught from childhood to seek love from someone. And of course, God has put within each of us a desire for love. Unfortunately, our culture tells us, "You can find the love of your life right here on planet earth!"  Um, no. We can find human love alright, if we are blessed, but Jesus is the only one who can be the love of our life. Once you really believe and accept he loves you, just the way you are; that he loves your company, he loves to talk with you, he "delights in you," as the Bible says; only then do you never thirst or hunger for anything else in this world. He is enough.

River of Love by Don Moen

Thirsty for more of You More of Your Spirit and truth Wash me from all my sin Fill me with Your Spirit again You're the River of Love Flowing with grace and mercy Flooding my soul Filling my heart with peace O River of Love Like streams in the desert Giver of life Giving You life and love To set me free Heal me and I'll be healed Save me and I will be saved You've filled me with songs of praise Forever I will sing of Your grace If anyone is thirsty let him come on in When you drink the living water You will never thirst again Giving Your life and love To set me free Giving Your life and love To set me free.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Songs for God.

Lenny Leblanc - A Shadow In Your Light Lyrics 

Let me be a shadow of Your light
Just a small reflection of a greater love
Let me be a shadow in Your light
That falls on the lost and the lonely

All that I am I lay at the cross
No sacrifice too great a cost
So down on my knees
Lord I ask You please

Let me be a shadow in Your light
Just a small reflection of a greater love
Let me be a shadow in Your light
That falls on the lost and the lonely

Lenny Leblanc - Love You Forever Lyrics 

You came like the wind
Took me to a mountain
From a valley of sin
And my soul patiently waits
For I long to be near You

Jesus Savior
You changed the rhythm of my heart
And I will praise You

Long after the rivers all run dry

And I will love You forever

Lenny Leblanc and Don Moen are my favorite singers right now. I believe God led me to their songs on youtube. I've bought some CDs and will get more. I've often wished I could hear the music that went along with the Psalms. One thing I know, that music will be loud and full of musical instruments, because the Bible describes that.

I come from a church where the old people were offended if even one person used a guitar! Yet, the Bible says to praise the Lord with loud, clashing cymbals.  I'm 65, but I'm a loud music sort of person; I love music that makes me feel like dancing. David danced before the Lord. We should dance before the Lord. He made us to move to music. Thank you God for music.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Songs for Encouragement.

If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you know I have trouble with feelings of sadness. I'm working with God to live in joy with lots of happiness. He is helping me every day. One of the ways he has shown me to feel better is to listen to Christian music. It always lifts my spirit up to God and away from myself, so I thought I'd do some posts with lyrics to my favorite songs. I hope the words will inspire you as they do me.

Lenny Leblanc - I Believe Lyrics 

Like a ship on troubled waters
Many sail alone
Mothers weep for sons and daughters
And pray they will come home
For soon it will be harvest time
And all the storms will pass
O what joy I'll find
When I see You at last

You are my resting place
Along the narrow highway
You are my bridge
Across the open sea
You are my Savior
And my passageway to Heaven
O Jesus I believe in You
O Jesus I believe

Father You have seen my struggles
And You have known my fears
But Lord You've been so faithful
To wipe away my tears
So when the world laughs at me
And says I'm just a fool
I will bow my knee
And worship only You

I believe You are the only answer
To life's questions
Lord help me keep my heart
In the right direction 

You are my resting place
Along the narrow highway
You are my bridge
Across the open sea
You are my Savior
And my passageway to Heaven
O Jesus I believe in You
O Jesus I believe

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Troubled Hearts.

Photo by: Wingchi Poon

 On the eve of his arrest, Jesus told his disciples, "Tonight all of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say, 'God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' Matthew 26:31

Jesus also told the disciples he must now go away. Peter asked to go with him and said he would die for him. Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times. John 13:38

What is amazing is what Jesus said next, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe in Me as well."  John 14:1  Then he told them how he was going to prepare a place for them in heaven and would come back to get them.

So, the disciples were going to deny Jesus and run from him because they were afraid to be arrested too.  And what does our God say about this?  "Let not your hearts be troubled."  In other words, "Don't worry about it. I'm not worried about it."

Today, I felt discouraged because of my lack of love and patience. It was all inside my heart; I didn't say or do anything wrong. But I knew, and Jesus knew what was in my heart. I guess there may be Christians that don't have such a hard battle with themselves. I'm not one of them.

You hear preachers say, "Give your life to Jesus and you will have peace."  Well, yes, you will have peace for awhile, but then the doubts come and the bad thoughts come and you wonder where the peace went. Preachers don't talk about that. They make it sound like you will have no spiritual problems after you are converted.

So, if anyone out there is like me, take heart. "Let not your hearts be troubled." God says to confess our sins, he wipes them out and we start all over again. I believe him. For me it is a daily thing. But that's okay. I say to him, "I can't do anything to be righteous; you will have to do it all." I know he will. I also have to take my eyes off myself and look at Jesus' life, death and resurrection. That will always encourage me.

"And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns."  Phil. 1:6

Thursday, August 20, 2015

I Know My Redeemer Lives.

For I know that my Redeemer lives.
And he shall stand at last on the earth.
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God.

Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold,
and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!

Job 19:25-27

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
"...yet in my flesh shall I see God": he believed, that though he should die and molder into dust in the grave, yet he should rise again, and that in true flesh, not in an aerial celestial body, but in a true body, consisting of flesh, blood, and bones, which spirits have not, and in the same flesh or body he then had, his own flesh and body, and not another's; and so with his fleshly or corporeal eyes see God, even his living Redeemer, in human nature; who, as he would stand upon the earth in that nature, in the fulness of time, and obtain redemption for him, so he would in the latter day appear again, raise him from the dead, and take him to himself, to behold his glory to all eternity: or "out of my flesh" (f), out of my fleshly eyes; from thence and with those shall I behold God manifest in the flesh, my incarnate God; and if Job was one of those saints that rose when Christ did, as some say (g), he saw him in the flesh and with his fleshly eyes. 

"But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. 
My foot has held fast to His path; I have kept His way and not turned aside. 
I have not departed from the command of His lips; 
I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food."
Job 23:10-12

I admire Job. In reading his words, you can see a real person who is suffering terribly and not understanding why. He pours out how he feels; how he wishes he could talk with God and ask him why this is happening to him. He seems to come close to unbelief, but he always recovers and speaks of how he longs to be with God in heaven.

God never does explain to Job why he is suffering. He simply shows Himself to Job and Job says, " "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You; Therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes."

I think if we knew how wise, loving and majestic God is, we would not bother to ask why, we would just accept whatever came from his hand and trust him. I remember someone asking me why God let all these bad things happen to them and I said, "It happens to people all over the world. Why should we be exempt?" I've always known I was just one person in a world full of pain. Still, I've been angry, depressed and despairing about my sufferings.

But I bring all these feelings to God now and he strengthens me to live my life in friendship with him. When I feel unloved and misunderstood by people, I know now that God is my friend. I can spend the whole day with him and share all I think and feel. Sometimes I ask him, "What should we do next?" Whatever I'm doing, I try to remember Jesus is right beside me. 

Sometimes I feel so alone. But Jesus is here, right here with me in this room. He takes me as I am; no harsh judgement, nothing but love. There is a song I listen to that says something like, "How could I face the day if you were not by my side." That's how I feel about God.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Creation, Redemption and the Sabbath.

I listened to a sermon a few weeks ago that opened my mind about the Sabbath commandment.  The preacher reminded us of when God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses. When Moses came down the mountain, he saw Israel worshiping a golden calf idol. He threw down the Ten Commandments and they shattered.

God made another set of commandments but he changed one a bit: the fourth one, the Sabbath commandment. I didn't realize this before. Here is the wording for both commandments:

"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. "Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. 
 Exodus 20:8-11

“Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day."
Deuteronomy 5:12-15

When I was a little girl, we memorized the first one at church and school. But this preacher was saying we were not to only remember and thank God he created us and all things; but we are also to remember we were slaves at one time. Not to humans, but to sin. Jesus set us free from slavery to sin and adopted us as his children. We are free indeed.

He also spoke on how the Sabbath was a rest after creation.  Genesis 2:2,3 says, "By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made."

The Sabbath was a rest for Jesus, after he had gone through his terrible suffering for our redemption:  "Now the women who had come with Him out of Galilee followed, and saw the tomb and how His body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes. And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment."  Luke 23:55,56

Everyone knows Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday morning. They say that is why Christians celebrate the Sabbath on Sunday. Well, there is no scripture for this idea. It wasn't officially changed to Sunday for hundreds of years after Jesus' death: then it was done to placate the pagans who used to worship the sun on Sunday. Emperor Constantine started it. He was a sun worshiper before he became a Christian.

God is a poet. You can see that all through the Bible. He also speaks to us through symbols that have great meaning. The number 7 in scripture symbolizes perfection. So does the number 12. Most say it doesn't matter what day we worship God as long as we worship him. Yes, we need to worship him every day of the week. But there is a special blessing on the 7th Day. God says there is; we may not understand why, but he says it is a special day so I believe it. No one has the right to change God's law. 

Another law of God's that was changed was the second commandment against making idols. This was changed so they could make statues of Mary, the apostles and Jesus and bow down to them and pray to them. Man has thought to change God's laws, but they have not. They are the same as the day he wrote them on the mountain and gave them to Moses.

The preacher's name is Ty Gibson. He speaks of how God loves us so much that his sermons have helped me believe that. I've kind of thought God put up with me. It was hard to believe he loved me. But after listening to this man's sermons I know God loves me so very much. I feel adored by God.
You can listen to his sermons here:

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Brothers of Jesus.

We know from scripture that Jesus had brothers and sisters. His brother's names are written down for us. Most scholars believe the book of Jude was written by Jesus' brother Judas. But Judas didn't always believe in Jesus. In fact, he may have thought Jesus was crazy.

"And He (Jesus) came home, and the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal. And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, 'He is out of his mind.'"   Mark 3:20,21

What must it have been like for Jesus, knowing his brothers didn't believe he was the Messiah? It must have saddened him. Who know all that they said to him; they were probably even embarrassed by Jesus. The leaders of the church hated Jesus. How did this affect his brothers and his mother too.

Early in his ministry, Jesus came to Nazareth to preach. After his teaching, the men of the church grew angry and murderous.

"Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?  And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?”  Matthew 13:55-56  (In other words, he is just a man.)

"When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. but he passed right through the crowd and went on his way." Luke 4:28-30

Jesus' brothers must have been there when this happened. His mother was probably there too. What a shock this all must have been to them. How did their neighbors treat them after Jesus left? I would guess the whole town was in an uproar discussing Jesus and his family.

We know that at one time none of his brothers believed in Jesus because of this verse:

"So his brothers said to him, 'Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.' For not even his brothers believed in him."  John 7:3-5

Pulpit Commentary
They appeared here to criticize their Brother's prolonged absence from Jerusalem, and his abstention from the Passover and other national festivals. They would, perhaps sincerely, hurry forward his public demonstration, and compel him to say to the great world what he had been saying in Galilaean villages, in the borders of Tyre, and in the cities of Decapolis. Depart hence, and go into Judea. "This is the time and place." 

Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The bluntness of this suggestion, given almost as a command, shews that they presumed upon their near relationship. It would be more natural in the mouths of men older than Christ, and therefore is in favour of their being sons of Joseph by a former marriage rather than sons of Joseph and Mary (comp. Mark 3:21Mark 3:31). They shared the ordinary beliefs of the Jews about the Messiah, and therefore did not believe in their Brother. But His miracles perplexed them, and they wished the point brought to a decisive issue. There is no treachery in their suggestion; its object is not to put Him in the power of His enemies. (thy disciples also) His brethren seem to imply that they themselves are not His disciples even nominally. 

But, in spite of his brother's unbelief all during Jesus ministry, it seems they all believed in him as their Savior after his resurrection!  What a wonderful thing for Jesus. This must have made him so happy, for his heart is filled with love for everyone, but he must have especially loved his brothers whom he had grown up with in Nazareth.

All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.  Acts 1:14

But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother.  Galatians 1:19

I was picturing in my mind, Jesus welcoming his brothers to heaven!  What great joy for them and for him.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Do the Poor Have to Act Righteous Before We Help Them?

I've read a few posters and articles online concerning giving to the poor. These posters usually say something about how if a person won't work, or if they smoke and drink, then Christians shouldn't help them.

I've thought this over a few times. I have given to people who I know are probably going to waste the money. I talked with God about this last week and here is what I believe he said to me, "I give and give and most of what I give is wasted. But I still give."

That's good enough for me. And I can see it all the time! He gives me money and I buy an un-needed scarf, earrings, candy, movie, picture frame, craft kit, soda pop, an extra purse, another pair of shoes, another pair of jeans, another blouse when I already have 15.  All the money I have spent on things I don't need could feed a village.

Jesus once said, "If you have two coats, give one away." Plain language. I've tried to do that with coats. If I get a new winter coat, I give my old one away. But, of course he didn't mean just coats. He meant everything. I keep too much; I don't give enough.

My mother knew a man at her church in California. He was very wealthy. He gave away 90% of what he made. This man is a beautiful example of what a rich man can do. But most of us can do more than what we do. C.S. Lewis said to give until it hurts. That's when you are really giving.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Little Miracles - Or are they Little?

Many times I see miracles from God. He gives me answers to questions, he does things for those I pray for and he brings me comfort in the midst of confusion.

This week, I've been visiting my daughter in Princeton, BC. Her two daughters, Hope and Faith, left Thursday morning for a music festival in Squamish. They would be tenting there for three nights. It should have been a 4 or 5 hour drive to Squamish, so we kept waiting for them to call and tell us they got there safely.

By 6:00 pm, we were getting worried. We tried to call and text them, but it said, "No service." My daughter, Christine, couldn't understand how there could be no service. I said, "It must be because there are thousands of people there using phones." Sometimes, that shuts down cell phone service.

I went online and looked up the festival on the internet. Someone had taken photos of the crowds and there was a girl that looked like my Faith!  I passed my laptop to Christine and asked, "Isn't that Faith?"  She looked hard and said, "There is a red Coopers bag beside this girl and Faith took one and there is also a tent bag like ours."  I said, "See, the girls are there and are safe."

But Christine couldn't believe it. She said she couldn't believe out of all the thousands of people at the festival a picture of her daughter would show up.  I said, "It's a gift from God to you." But she doubted it. She also became very, very upset and didn't know what to do. She wondered if we should drive there.

Finally, at 11:00 pm Christine remembered Hope had a bracelet to buy stuff at the festival and she could look online and see if Hope had used it. At first the password was wrong, but Christine finally remembered it; and yes, Hope had used it. So, now she knew for sure they were okay.

I am so used to God`s little miracles that I knew the photo was from him. I never felt really worried because I`ve also learned through the years to trust my family to God. That hasn`t been easy to learn, believe me. Mothers have the hardest time leaving their children in God`s hands. It isn`t that I know God won`t let anything bad happen to them; it is that I trust God that whatever happens he will be with them and me. My grandson died 4 years ago; so I know this from experience. God was with him, and he was with our family.

Monday, August 3, 2015

To be Raptured or Not? That is the Question.

Historically, there are two beliefs about "The Rapture."  The earliest was the belief in the raising of of the dead and the taking up of the living saints occur at the same time: when Jesus returns.

This is the belief of the Seventh-Day-Adventist Church. The newer teaching says the two events are separate. Here is what Wikipedia writes:

Authors generally maintain that the pre-tribulation Rapture doctrine originated in the eighteenth century, with the Puritan preachers Increase and Cotton Mather, and was then popularized in the 1830s by John Darby.[14][15] Others, including Grant Jeffrey, maintain that an earlier document called Ephraem or Pseudo-Ephraem already supported a pre-tribulation rapture.[16]
Pre-tribulation rapture theology was popularized extensively in the 1830s by John Nelson Darby and the Plymouth Brethren,[17]and further popularized in the United States in the early 20th century by the wide circulation of the Scofield Reference Bible.[18]
The exact meaning, timing and impact of the event are disputed among Christians[4] and the term is used in at least two senses. In the pre-tribulation view, a group of people will be left behind on earth after another group literally leaves "to meet the Lord in the air." This is now the most common use of the term, especially among fundamentalist Christians in the United States.
So, that is the history of the teaching of the Rapture, a word that does not appear in the Bible. This is the verse Fundamentalists use: "I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left. There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.”  Luke 17:34,35
I've heard the "Rapture" called the "Secret Rapture." But there is nothing secret about Jesus returning to get his people.
I'll just quote the Bible now and let you make up your own mind on which view seems correct:
"Behold, he comes with clouds; and every eye shall see him." Revelation 1:7.
 "For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." Matthew 24:27.
Matthew 24:30 says, "They shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."
"Behold, he comes with clouds; and every eye shall see him." Revelation 1:7
"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven ... and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." 1 Thessalonians 4:1617.
 "We shall all be changed, ... and the dead shall be raised incorruptible. For ... this mortal must put on immortality." 1 Corinthians 15:51-53
"We look for ... the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body." Philippians 3:2021.