Monday, October 24, 2016

Hope's Inbred Ability


God calls us “prisoners of hope”. (Zeph. 9:12)

If you are a prisoner, there you stay - no leaving.  The privilege to come and go as you please is revoked.

Our God is a God of Hope and we are “prisoners” of that hope.  But, the key is to stay in that place of hopefulness. In the hope-filled place, we will be experientially filled with joy and peace to keep on believing and to keep on abounding in hope.  
Now may the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit~ Apostle Paul, as recorded in Romans 15:13 
STAY in that place of HOPEFULNESS!



Because of Him and Unto Him, 




Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Nature's Green Room

There is a photographer in my church.  His name is Donald Case.  He travels the USA and searches for what I call God moments (instead of Kodak moments) when scenery, lighting, and stillness all come together through his lens. He captures moments in time for our breathless enjoyment.

As I sat looking at his latest photography book, a few photos caught my spirit and words flowed.  Here is one.


Benched  


There is something about this bare bench and its setting that beckons to me. “Come. Sit. Rest the soul. Inhale fresh air, exhale stress.”

Maybe it’s the varying shades of green-age that frames the bench that de-stresses me.  Did you know that the color of green is a calming, refreshing color? People waiting to appear on TV shows sit in “green rooms” to relax and hospitals use green because it relaxes the patients, so the color experts tell me.

I can picture myself in this particular setting - on this particular bench.  With legs stretched out and crossed at the ankles, head back, eyes closed as the cool air soothes my weary soul. I seem to breathe easier and see clearer as my spirit speaks to Abba.

When I open my eyes I take in the forms of all the various sizes and shaped trees around me. Oh, how my soul rejoices when it sees a huge, old tree.  My fingers run over its bark like I was reading Braille; my eyes follow the branches to their soaring heights; my soul wonders what secrets the old tree may hold. I allow my imagination to “watch” the children of yesteryear as they climb higher and higher laughing and calling to each other.  Like a spider dangling from above, I “watch” the boy give his first young kiss to the girl. 

Ahh…childhood.  

Trees are for children. Benches are for “old” people. “Old” people who need to destress and be reminded of their youth.  

I think I will come back here often. Back to nature’s green room and its beckoning bench.
~~~

What does this photo speak to you?

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Monday, October 17, 2016

got thorns?


And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me - a messenger of Satan - to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.  Concerning this thing, I pleaded with The Lord three times that it might depart from me.  And He said to me, "My Grace is sufficient for you, for My Strength is made perfect in weakness." ~ Apostle Paul, as recorded in 2 Cor. 12:7-9
We have all heard sermons on this portion of Scripture. And what I have been taught is that the "thorn in the flesh" is sickness or disease. That is not what these verses allude to. The word "flesh" means "human nature".  A thorn in our human nature.

Think of how we physically and emotionally react when we get stuck with a thorn.  It hurts. It pricks. It annoys us.  It can get infected.  And it continues to annoy, prick, and hurt us until we get that thing out of our flesh.

And what else has that same affect on us?

Other human beings.  Some people truly are like a thorn stuck in your thumb.

The LORD God Almighty says, as recorded in Judges 2:2-3:
And you shall make no Covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.  But, you have not obeyed My Voice.  Why have you done this?  Therefore, I also said, I will not drive them out before you, but they shall be thorns in your side.
Spouses.  Family.  Co-workers.  Neighbors.  Those who sit alongside us on Sunday mornings. People.  Relationships. That is the thorn in our sides or flesh - the annoyance and pricking to our human nature.

And most of the time, these "thorns" show us exactly how WE are NOT Christ-like. And that is what we have to deal with - US.  Not them.  God allows the "thorns" for a reason. Satan buffets us (which means he pounds, pounds, pounds us) through certain people in our lives. And God desires us to be Christ-like.  Our reactions to what has been said or done shows us something about
ourselves, not just about them.

What better way to bring about Christ-likeness in us than to allow the "thorns" to keep buffeting us until we deal with ourselves.  Our Father's Grace IS sufficient toward us as we allow His Holy Presence to shine His Light on the dark places of our souls and reveal what must change within us.

Is anyone dealing with some "thorns" in their life?  (My hand is raised.)

Because of Him and Unto Him,






Monday, October 10, 2016

Endurance to Endure

Life can be, at times, so overwhelming.  There are seasons where one God-awful thing after another occurs.  Sometimes, it can seem as if we are in the ocean in the middle of a raging storm getting pounded with wave after wave.  The temptation to "let go" and drift off into the ocean's abyss is there, but we keep in swimming, holding our head above water with the hope of being rescued.

What keeps us "keeping on"?

What allows us to keep getting up, morning after dreadful morning?

What triggers the endurance to endure?

Seeing Him Who is unseen.
Hebrews 11:27 speaks of Moses going before the pharaoh time after exhausting time. "By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him Who is unseen." 
We "see" God, our Creator and Father, as He cradles us close to His Heart.  We "see" Him as His Spirit comforts us through His Holy Scriptures, and we "see" Him when we stop and reflect on all Jesus Christ endured in the last 24 hours of His Holy Life. Christ's ability to endure was the same as it is for you and me. He "saw" the unseen.
For the joy set before Him, He endured the Cross, scorning It's shame, and sat down at the right hand of The Throne of God. ~Hebrews 12:2
We endure because we know one day we, too, will see God visibly.  We will stand in His Holy Presence. There will be no more tears. No more sorrows. No more struggling to keep on swimming. The same joy that was set before Jesus is set before us, too. May we all keep our eyes on that joy of the revelation of Jesus Christ.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials that the genuineness of your faith - being much more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire - may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, Whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory receiving the end of your faith - the salvation of your souls.  ~ 1 Peter 1:6-9
Great will be our reward for enduring.  And may that thought allow us to have joy in the midst of the raging storms.

Because of Him and Unto Him,







Monday, October 3, 2016

The Dew-ness of Life

One of God’s provisions for sustaining life on planet Earth is dew. Tiny droplets of water formed during “perfect” conditions that occur during the night. 

I have been meditating on this Scripture verse for days now: 

Therefore may God give you of the dew of Heaven, of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine.  
~ Genesis 27:28

This is, in part, the blessings of Issac over his son, Jacob, before Issac takes his last earthly breath.

“The dew of Heaven” is poetic and symbolic.  Heaven’s dew is symbolic of God’s Perfect Provision, and God’s Perfect Provision is here upon earth for us now. 

Dew is not anything I normally think about unless I’m walking in the grass early in the morning or in the cold of wintertime when I need to defrost the car window.  It’s just there, early in the mornings, as
needed. 

God’s provision for you and I is similar.  It shouldn't be something I need to think about if I’m living up to His conditions.
John 14:23 says:  Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him."
Obedience to The Word of God is the condition for God's Blessings in our life.  Obedience is what proves our love for God.  Anyone can say the love God, but we know actions speak louder than words.  And if we are obedient, then The Perfect Holy Presence and Provision of our God is available to us. And since Provision is within us, we need not think about it. Kind of like dew, it is just there.  Before we even realize we need His provision, it is already in place for us.

In fear and desperation, we cry out to God to provide for us.  But, that IS fear and desperation talking, not faith.  Faith is KNOWING (fully assured) the Dew of Heaven is upon my life - that His Blessing is upon my life and that His Provision is already in place.  

Dew of Heaven, please forgive me for all the times in fear and desperation I've cried out to You.  May I walk in this assurance from this day forward: Your provision for the rest of my life is already in place.  I thank You and bless You and praise You for You are the Dew-ness of my life.

Because of Him and Unto Him,