Skogskyrkogården in Stockholm on a nice summer day Photo by Michael Caven from Stockholm, Sweden

 

45 Then Jesus opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He said to them, “It is written that the ·Christ [Messiah] would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day 47 and that ·a change of hearts and lives and [L repentance for the] forgiveness of sins would be preached in his name to all nations, starting at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. Luke 24 EXB

Good Friday.

I have to admit I’ve always cringed at this day’s title.  How can this be a good day? Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve wondered. Today can be like every other day. We can go about our business, live our lives, work through our checklists OR we can stop, be present in the amazing good of this day.

PCG Great I Am

It changes everything.

I have a story to tell you. We are moving. We decided this about two months ago. Thus began a two month battle of the mind, everyday I would spend countless amounts of time (I hate to think how much) consumed with worry about the landlord’s response to how we have cared for their house. No matter how much my husband, parents, friends would try to reassure me…I stressed. I worried. What if we don’t get the deposit back? What if they won’t give us a recommendation? What if? What if? It’s been awful. I’ve brought it to Jesus only to take it back over and over.

It’s been rough.

Well, the landlord emailed us (mind you, we’ve never had a speck of trouble with her in the four years we’ve been here) earlier this week saying she would like to come assess the house. They are selling the house and would like to know what they need to do. Then she never emailed back until midnight last night. I didn’t get the email. I relaxed. So, all of a sudden, last night, at 5pm, my husband comes home and reminds me, she’s coming.

So here’s the first gift. I didn’t stress all day.

Second gift? My parents were here. So all of us pitched in and cleaned and cleaned and cleaned for the next hour and a half. It was amazing.

Third gift? She came and was very happy with the house. She was familiar with all the details of the house, walked through, it was good.

Fourth gift? We asked her if she would be willing to give us a recommendation. YES.

Fifth gift? The Lord’s grace and mercy as He showed me these past weeks how much I lost in worry which is, of course, sin. Yet as He showed me, He revealed. It was amazing.

Friend, is there worry in your life? Are you waking at night, cycling through the what ifs, what wills? God has such a better plan. And it was crucified on the cross 2000 years ago.

The verses today:

45 Then Jesus opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He said to them, “It is written that the ·Christ [Messiah] would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day 47 and that ·a change of hearts and lives and [L repentance for the] forgiveness of sins would be preached in his name to all nations, starting at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. Luke 24 EXB 

Jesus opened their minds. How cool this? The Word revealed the word.  What draws me is this idea…it all begins here. On Good Friday, all His suffering…that is our focus today. We approach the throne of grace today thankful. Thankful for this good day. This day that the Son of Man gave it all for you, for me.

So, stay in this day. Don’t become so preoccupied with your own “stuff” to forget Jesus today. Keep your eyes of Jesus.

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Thanks be to God


1 Peter 1:·Praise be to [L Blessed be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In God’s ·great[abundant] mercy he has caused us to be born ·again [anew; John 3:5–8] into a living hope, ·because Jesus Christ rose [or by means of the resurrection of Jesus Christ] from the dead. ·Now we hope for [or This new birth provides us with] ·the blessings God has for his children [L an inheritance]. ·These blessings [or This inheritance], which cannot be destroyed or be ·spoiled [corrupted; defiled] or lose their beauty, ·are [is] kept in heaven for you [Matt. 6:19–21Luke 12:33]God’s power protects you through your faith until ·salvation is shown to you [or the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed] ·at the end of [in the last] time. 

Beginning my day with praise, blessings to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Loaded with blessings just in this statement, God is the Father. God is the Father of the only begotten Son, Jesus. The Son of God…the man of sorrows, what a name! What a beautiful name. I was studying the word, sons in the Bible dictionary on the Blue Letter Bible. This quote is from Easton’s Bible Dictionary

Son of God:

The plural, “sons of God,” is used (Gen 6:2,4) to denote the pious descendants of Seth. In (Job 1:6;38:7) this name is applied to the angels. Hosea uses the phrase (Hsa 1:10) to designate the gracious relation in which men stand to God.

In the New Testament this phrase frequently denotes the relation into which we are brought to God by adoption (Rom 8:14,192Cr 6:18Gal 4:5,6Phl 2:151Jo 3:1,2). It occurs thirty-seven times in the New Testament as the distinctive title of our Saviour. He does not bear this title in consequence of his miraculous birth, nor of his incarnation, his resurrection, and exaltation to the Father’s right hand. This is a title of nature and not of office. The sonship of Christ denotes his equality with the Father. To call Christ the Son of God is to assert his true and proper divinity. The second Person of the Trinity, because of his eternal relation to the first Person, is the Son of God. He is the Son of God as to his divine nature, while as to his human nature he is the Son of David (Rom 1:3,4Gal 4:4Jhn 1:1-14;5:18-2510:30-38), which prove that Christ was the Son of God before his incarnation, and that his claim to this title is a claim of equality with God.

When used with reference to creatures, whether men or angels, this word is always in the plural. In the singular it is always used of the second Person of the Trinity, with the single exception of Luk 3:38, where it is used of Adam.

So often I have flown past this blessing, how rich to pause and reflect. He truly is the Son of God. He is God. He is Divine. Yet, He was also fully human. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. When we call upon the name of Jesus, what does the Bible say about His Name?

So God ·raised [exalted] him to the highest place.
    God ·made his name [or gave him the name] ·greater than [far above] every other name
10 so that every knee will bow to the name of Jesus—
    everyone in heaven, on earth, and under the earth.
11 And ·everyone [L every tongue] will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord
    and bring glory to God the Father. Philippians 2 eXB

Mercy. Mercy defined:

(3) In the New Testament “mercy” (eleos, usually the Septuagint translation of checedh) is associated with “grace” (charis) in the apostolical greetings and elsewhere. Trench points out that the difference between them is that the freeness of God’s love is the central point of charis, while eleos has in view misery and its relief; charis is His free grace and gift displayed in the forgiveness of sins-extended to men as they are guilty; His eleos (is extended to them) as they are miserable. The lower creation may be the object of His mercy (eleos), but man alone of His grace (charis); he alone needs it and is capable of receiving it (Synonyms of the New Testament, 163 f).

Abundant mercy. Abundant, plentiful. Oh, friend, how often do we fall for the trap of forgetfulness? Denial of this gift of mercy? His mercy is extended to us. He is our relief. Our relief. Do you need relief today? Relief from pain (physical or emotional), relief from circumstances, relief from, well, you fill in the blank. He is our relief. Praise God!!!

Why? Peter tells us because…Jesus Christ rose [or by means of the resurrection of Jesus Christ] from the dead. 

So as we arrive on Maundy Thursday, let’s reflect on Jesus. Let’s pause and give thanks for all that the cross has meant for our lives. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4uyNNDkEeI

We have hope, my friends. May that carry you today. God bless you. 

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God’s peace


Good morning, friend,

Orange clouds and a bright yellow setting sun with silhouetted flying waterfowl and trees Photo by Hillebrand Steve, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

I took my nine-year old daughter to see Frozen last night. LOVED it. Her speech therapist had used Frozen books to practice her reading and this past week gave her the soundtrack to the movie. We’ve only heard that every moment of the day that hasn’t been used for school or sleeping. She was singing the songs when she wasn’t listening to the songs, arms thrown open wide, I’m sure envisioning herself as Anna or Elsa. However, there was a HUGE difference seeing the movie and experiencing it and just listening to the soundtrack. Guess who just came in to listen to said soundtrack? I rest my case.

Okay, now this might be too big of a leap, but I’m going to attempt it.  We have this huge Bible in our hands full of life-giving truths, God’s voice throughout, spoken for each one of us, and we are willing to listen to people pick a verse for us to cling to for life on Facebook. Or we allow our pastor on Sunday to be our only contact with His word. It’s as though we keep listening to a really nice soundtrack but we have watched the amazing movie.

I will give an example of how exciting it can be to not just listen to the nice soundtrack of one verse and what we miss. We talked about Philippians 4:8 yesterday. It’s a verse full of life-giving truth. Let’s look at the verses around it and we did add verses 6 and 7 as well…let’s add 9. :)

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

The Lord guided Paul to write these words, every last one of them. Here are His directives to us:

  1. Be anxious for NOTHING
  2. In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

And what will be the result? God’s peace, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus

  1. Meditate on: whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, good report, virtue, praiseworthy
  2. What you have learned, received, heard, saw in Paul, do these

And what will be the result? God’s peace will be with you.

God’s peace…we crave peace. We long for peace. Peace. Peace. And Paul says, the equation is simple.

However for this Mom, listening to Frozen for the umpteenth time….well….

Pray on. pray on.

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Prayers


To commemorate Hubble Telescope’s 20th Birthday, NASA, along with ESA and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI), released several of Hubble’s findings. NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)

Good morning, friend,

This morning I woke up praying for my kids. I woke up remembering a post written by  Brooke McGlothlin, she wrote it with her boys in mind, yet girls and boys would benefit from these ten prayers. Here’s the link : 10 Prayers For Your Son. You see, I forget too, as Brooke said so eloquently that our fight is not with our sons it is…

12 For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. Ephesians 6 AMP

How quickly I forget this fact, jump in, and start fighting for my rights.

He’s not your enemy. But there is an enemy. McGlothlin

Each one of these prayers is wonderful. I love them all but the one that jumps out at me that not only can I pray over him, but over me AND sing a song to keep the verses in my head all day today? Number 10.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Here’s the song:

Now, to take it a step further for me, because for ME, the verses ahead of Philippians 4:8 are just as critical to my being ABLE to fixing my mind and praying for my kids to fix their minds on what is noble, just, pure, lovely, good report…let’s look…

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

How about a song to help us memorize some of those verses too? (Sorry, folks, no Ginsu knives…)

And friend, peace, when we look at our children, or wait, not just our children, how about co-workers, or family members, or church  family or you fill in the blank…we don’t wage war against flesh and blood. Maybe they are not our enemy. Maybe we are wrestling with an enemy we cannot see.

Join me, won’t you? Pray, memorize these Scriptures, get yourself into the word of God and be transformed by the renewing of your mind!

Thankful today for a day at home.

Thankful for fresh bread today.

Thankful for a perspective shift today.

Pray on, pray on.

 

Categories: Bible teaching, Cara thoughts..., Music, New Testament | 2 Comments

B-I-B-L-E


Example of groin vault in medieval architecture: the portico to the church of Santa Maria Maggiore at Guardiagrele in the Abruzzo region of southern Italy.

Good morning, friend,

As a child, I remember learning the song, B-I-B-L-E, yes, that’s the book for me, I stand alone on the word of God, the B-I-B-L-E, BIBLE! I’m sure you’ve heard and sung that song. VBS’ of old and Sunday schools would start us off with this rousing song.  We were  taught  this song  but did we have any idea what in the world this song meant? We were taught  Moses parting the Red Sea. Joseph and His Amazing Coat of Many Colors. Noah and the Ark. Daniel and the Lion’s Den. Jesus’ parable of Good Samaritan. Of course, Jesus living, dying, rising from the dead. I came from a generation that didn’t teach the entirety of the Bible, just what seemed safe. Oh, yes, because what happened to the thousands of soldiers who were after Moses and the Israelites was very cheery. Or, the destruction of the entire world taught to children…

Am I on my high horse? Am I criticizing Mrs. Smith or Mrs. Gavin or my parents? No, no. As my family works harder and harder to create this habit, this daily routine of listening to the Bible, some nights, I will be honest, it’s not easy. Some nights, we get home late and it would be so easy to just, well, not. I know that sometimes my daughter will drift off before she hears the whole thing. There is something about hearing the entire story. Not just picking out the parts you like. Or want to read over and over and over again.

This man who reads to us every night, Brian Hardin, has been reading for the Daily Audio Bible for nine years. Nine years! Nine times reading through the whole Bible. You know, friend, I think somethings in my heart are changing about  knowing the entirety of His word. My children knowing His word. Reading it over and over again. There is good reason for it. Do I get excited to read Leviticus? Not especially. Yet, friend, God,  my God, has placed it in His word for me, for you. Maybe it’s time I read it all. I think that’s why I love reading part of the Old Testament, part of the New, Psalm and a Proverb.

A friend shared with me that she had no idea that these stories all connected and you know, I didn’t understand how they all connected until I started studying the Bible in-depth with Precepts. We have to stop taking a verse we like and making it our “favorite” verse and not knowing it’s context. We can’t keep plastering Noah and the ark on our children’s bedroom walls without stopping and thinking of the worldwide destruction. Cute little pictures of Noah and a little boat (trust I have them, I have a Noah) with a giraffe smiling, a lion, an elephant…this all puts the Eternal One, Mighty God in a box, our neat tidy box where He can be safe and happy. And when we separate the Bible into stories and not into THE story, we miss the LOVE story that God has been pursuing with us all along.

So, may I urge you, exhort you, come with me, yes, it’s the 16th, grab a…

1. Computer and listen to the Daily Audio Bible, so you are a little late? Whoopdeedoo!  http://dabplayer.com/

2. Bible..read on your own with a plan of your choosing.

3. Chronological Bible…

Just don’t miss out on the Love story that Jesus died to tell you.

Love,

Cara

Categories: Cara thoughts... | 4 Comments

Rubble


Ruins of ancient Capernum in Israel. Orthodox church is built on top of traditional site of Saint Peter’s house.

Good morning, friend,

Isn’t there something just so cool looking at a pile of rocks that claim to be Peter’s house? Well, the rocks don’t jump up, but the archaeologists have their reasons and arguments. People who have been to Israel say it changes their faith, to walk where Jesus walked, where the apostles walked, to see the history of our faith. I can well imagine. In a very small way, being also a lover of British literature and being able to visit England and Scotland, walking through Shakespeare’s hometown, seeing his grave, walking about the hometowns and such of many of my beloved authors is a memory I cherish. I loved looking at samples of their handwriting, places where they sat, forks they used, I mean crazy things like that. They are not just authors, then, they are real people, who lived and breathed.

And bringing it back to Jesus, that I believe, might be a beautiful thing for me about visiting Israel. Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, visited us. He walked upon this earth, breathed in the air…I gaze at the picture above and wonder, could Jesus have visited this house? Could He had stepped through the front doors and taken off His sandals? Is this where He healed Peter’s mother-in-law?

14 And when Jesus went into Peter’s house, He saw his mother-in-law lying ill with a fever.

15 He touched her hand and the fever left her; and she got up and began waiting on Him.

16 When evening came, they brought to Him many who were under the power of demons, and He drove out the spirits with a word and restored to health all who were sick.

17 And thus He fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, He Himself took [in order to carry away] our weaknesses and infirmities and bore away our diseases. Matthew 8 AMP

Throughout the book of Matthew, one of Matthew’s purposes is to showcase of Jesus as the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament. This specific one to which Matthew speaks can be found in Isaiah 53:

4 Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].

He saw Peter’s mother-in-law. I know, I know, it’s not really that profound, but look again. He saw her. He could have walked past. He could have not gone to Peter’s house. He could have done so many other things that night. He went there. He saw her. He touched her hand. Maybe you need to remember that today, that He sees you today. Remember His name, the God who sees you (Genesis 16).  He bears your griefs, your weaknesses, your sorrows, your pains.

Peter knew this truth, but added this praise,

24 He personally bore our sins in His [own] body on the tree [as on an altar and offered Himself on it], that we might die (cease to exist) to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were going astray like [so many] sheep, but now you have come back to the Shepherd and Guardian (the Bishop) of your souls. 1 Peter 2 AMP

Your griefs, weaknesses, sorrows, pains were born His body on the tree…this all has to die, friends, we need to live to righteousness. We are healed. We live in the light of eternity and grace and mercy.

So, when I see the rubble of Peter’s house, it makes me think. I want to walk where Jesus walked. I want to go to Israel, but now? Not in the budget. So, the next best thing? Walk in the shadow of His feet. Walk where He tells me to walk each moment of the day.

So I begin, with thanks,

I’m thankful for the joy of watching my kids play basketball and love it.

I’m thankful for the joy of friends who just give to us even when it’s inconvenient.

I’m thankful for time with the Lord this morning, for the rubble of Peter’s house, for Your fresh reminders. I love you, Lord.

 

Categories: 1 Peter, Bible teaching, Cara thoughts..., New Testament, Old Testament, Pictures from commons..., Prophecies, Thankfuls | 1 Comment

Mercy


Shandrivs’kyi Falls Photo by Vovavovk1

Good morning, friend,

Today begins a new week. A fresh week, a fresh start. What are you thankful for this day? How do you begin this day today?

I am so very thankful today to have caught a Matt Redman concert on KLOVE last night as I drove to pick up my son from youth group.

I am thankful for Upwards basketball, HRK basketball and the impact both are having in my children’s lives this year. What a gift.

I am thankful for our church, to see our pews filling, see our children worshipping, my eldest up with me playing his guitar…we, as a church, voted to financially support TWR missionaries Mike and Wendy Lambert yesterday. If you haven’t had a chance to see the work that Mike will be doing in Guam for TWR, please check out his website. The need for Mike is critical. Right now, they have only one engineer working on the equipment that serves a huge audience of nearly two billion people and to work effectively the station should have three technicians. Please be praying.

What I am chewing on today…

a song that I heard for the first time last night by Matt Redman…Mercy. You know I have to share it with you. :)

May I never lose the wonder of Your mercy…

Do I ever just pause and wonder at the amazing depth and beauty of His mercy?

11 As high as the ·sky [heaven] is above the earth,
so great is his ·love [loyalty] for those who ·respect [fear] him [Prov. 1:7].
12 He has taken our ·sins [transgressions] away from us
as far as the east is from west.
13 The Lord has ·mercy [compassion] on those who ·respect [fear] him [Prov. 1:7],
as a father has ·mercy [compassion] on his children. Psalm 103 EXB

What sparks my interest, what motivates me, what keeps me studying are phrases such as we find in these verses in Psalms.

As high as the sky is above the earth (picture that with me) so great is His love…now, I think, we like to stop there. We like to stop with His love. So great is His love. And it is great. It is magnificent. And there are A LOT of verses about His love. Last night, Chuck Swindoll was talking about the reality of hell. Can I just be honest with you and tell you how badly, in the quiet of my house, I wanted to turn off the preacher and turn on worship music? It’s uncomfortable. I don’t like thinking about it. However, if we are going to think about His great love, we also have to think about sharing that great love with those that need to hear it most desperately?

So great is His love for those who respect and fear Him…

7 The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; but fools despise skillful and godly Wisdom, instruction, and discipline. Proverbs 1:7 AMP

So, reverent, worshipful fear of the Lord, starting with an awe of Him, going back to the song that started this whole journey of mercy for me.

I will kneel in the dust, at the foot of the cross, where mercy paid for me.http://www.songlyrics.com/matt-redman/mercy-lyrics/

That’s the start, that’s the beginning, the best part of this knowledge of the Lord that He loves. And the blessings just flow, my friends, we give Him this reverent fear. That’s where we need to be, covered in His dust. Covered in His mercy.

As you begin this day, His compassion, His mercy covers you. Now, who can you show compassion to this day? Who can see the grace and love of the Lord Jesus this day?

Pray on..pray on.

 

Categories: Bible teaching, Cara thoughts..., Music, Old Testament, Pictures from commons..., Thankfuls | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

You lifted me out


View of American Falls seen looking across top of Bridal Veil Falls and Luna Island from Goat Island on the New York side. Rainbow Bridge in the background; Ontario side at left across the Niagara River. (Sept. 25, 2004) Photo by © 2004 Matthew Trump

Good morning, friend,

We showed up to basketball practice on Thursday. Normally, I try to bring a water bottle with my son. This time, I brought my water (nice) and we didn’t bring his bottle. I relied on the church having drinking fountains, that they had water. Strolled in to see signs all over the place NO WATER, BOIL ORDER, drinking fountains had garbage bags taped over them. Ugh. I had forgotten. A pipe had burst. Grayslake had no water. It was unnerving.

Yesterday, news reports flash:

Hundreds in W. Va. report exposure symptoms after crippling chemical spill

Which reports that 300,000 people are without water, they can’t boil it, touch it, be near it. It’s awful. It’s scary.  There is not an end in sight to this scare.  The pictures on the television show people scrambling for ice, bottled water, chemicals floating on the river…frightening images…

I was in ·trouble [distress], so I ·called [prayed] to the Lord. The Lord answered me and set me ·free [ I will not ·be afraid [fear], because the Lord is with me [Rom. 8:31]. ·People can’t do anything [L What can people do…?]to me [Heb. 13:6]. Psalm 118:5-6 EXB

 31 So what should we say ·about this [in response to these things]? If God is for us, ·no one can defeat us [L who is against us?]. 32 He did not spare his own Son but ·gave him [or delivered him over;C to death] for us all. So with Jesus, ·God will surely [how could he not…?] give us all things. Romans 8 EXB

Burst pipes, chemical spills can send us spiraling into fear and worry. It doesn’t even need to be something as severe as a spill or pipe, but friends, freedom is not found in focusing our attention on what is wrong in our lives and in the world around us.

I was in trouble…so I sat and stewed and worried and fretted and stayed up all night and had terrible heartburn.No…..

I was in trouble…so I called ( love this word here A primitive root [rather identical with קָרָא(H7122) through the idea of accosting a person met]) so literally the Psalmist is pestering the Lord! Not letting Him go. Lord! Lord! Lord! Does the Lord ignore His beloved? No, friend, He does not ignore His beloved! Whether it is a chemical spill or a basketball game or a pimple or a test or an argument with a friend, no matter what the reason, we call, He answers.

The Lord answered me and set me free.

The Lord answered me and set me free.

What if we enjoyed this day God gave us? What if we were not afraid of the day ahead? What if we believed what we read? Believe it, friend! Claim it! Live it!

Today is a new day. It is a good day.

Thankful for this day, it is my Mom’s birthday and I’m so thankful for her.

Thankful for this day, my kids’ first day of their basketball games, I think I’m more nervous than they are!

Thankful for a day with my husband today to enjoy time and space. We need a day!

Pray on. Pray on.

Categories: Cara thoughts..., Psalms, Thankfuls | Leave a comment

A new day


Good morning, friend,

Snow-covered field Photo by Jimfbleak

Seek (inquire for and require) good and not evil that you may live, and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said. Hate the evil and love the good and establish justice in the [court of the city’s] gate. It may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph [the northern kingdom]. Amos 5:14-15AMP

Sometimes, I wish I could get a landscape view of my life while I’m in the midst of all the stress. That I could just stop, put a pause button on the chaos, confusion, fighting, whatever, step back and take a breath and wonder, what am I after now? As I struggle with a child, separate this squabble or that testy remark , help another with this problem, review  his Awana sections, or have a child speak back to me in frustration…at that moment, that is the moment for me, what I do in that moment, I believe, can bring honor to the Lord or well, not. This is my mission field. These four lives, these are my field. Do I get a do over button? Nope. Is there grace? Yes.

I have found in my readings these past few days that it isn’t so much about doing better, being better, looking better. No, that’s not it. We are looking to a heavenly goal. Making our Father God in Heaven proud. Keeping our minds focused on the gift of grace. Preparing our minds for action. How do I do this in the middle of stressful situations? I go back to what I know to be true.

I am thankful. I am thankful today for God’s continuing grace that brought me through the day. It was not a perfect day, yet we accomplished our goals.

I am thankful for the gift of clean drawers in my kitchen. Not sure how long it will last, but I sure do appreciate opening a drawer and finding what I need.

I am thankful for heat. As we launch into day three of being in the house, I’m very grateful to be warm.

We stay thankful. No matter what.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice!

5 Let all men know and perceive and recognize your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit). The Lord is near [He is [a]coming soon]. Philippians 4 AMP

We remain focused, prepared for action.

A Call to Holy Living ] ·So [Therefore; For this reason] ·prepare your minds for service [prepare your minds for action; or, be alert; L gird the loins of your mind]and ·have self-control [be disciplined]. ·All your hope should be for [Focus all your hope on] the gift of grace that will be ·yours [brought/given to you] ·when Jesus Christ is shown to you [L at the revelation of Jesus Christ].1 Peter 1:13EXB

We live in the light.

Living in the Light ] You are God’s children whom he loves, so ·try to be like [imitate] him. ·Live a life of love [Walk in love] just as Christ loved us and gave himself for us as a ·sweet-smelling [fragrant] offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2EXB

And I don’t know about you, but I sing. My family is a bunch of singers. We may sing off-key, but we love to sing and we love to listen to music. The song that I shared with you yesterday rang through our house several times. Silly songs. Songs that bring joy and laughter and reminders of the One who is in control and who loves us.

The most powerful lesson I am learning is the beautiful gift of forgiveness. Listening to the DAB last night (1/7/2014), Brian Hardin was speaking of how forgiveness on our part isn’t a choice, it’s a requirement. We fight the act of forgiving others. We hold back, we could never forgive this or that. Yet, what we fail to see, what we fail to realize as we hope to keep the one who hurt us in chains with bitterness and anger, the one who is in chains is, well, us. Gulp.

14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6 NKJV

That may sound harsh. Yet, freedom awaits us when forgiveness flows. The Father knows this lesson all to well. How do I teach that to my boys who hurt one another so often? How do I help them understand the gift of friendship and brotherhood? Yes, well, I am still learning these lessons as their mother so it is a flowing lesson, isn’t it?

So, many things to ponder this day, as I begin anew. Start again. Pray on. Pray on.

 

 

Categories: Bible teaching | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Man of Sorrows


Primula vulgaris in snow. By “color line”

Good morning, friend,

Living in the Light ] You are God’s children whom he loves, so ·try to be like [imitate] him. ·Live a life of love [Walk in love] just as Christ loved us and gave himself for us as a ·sweet-smelling [fragrant] offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2 EXB

We have another day of crazy cold around here. Yesterday was filled with experiments like throwing boiling water into the air and watching it freeze, seeing how long a wet wash cloth takes to become a solid and for good measure, we wanted to see how long it would take for an egg. A friend on Facebook gave us the idea..it has been amazing to see our community react to these temperatures. Our area has just shut down. No classes, no basketball, the kids are a little antsy to get back into the swing.

I am thankful today for a day at home with all four, to getting back into our routines and schedules. It begins again.

I am thankful for  the Daily Audio Bible to my whole family. It is good to hear the Bible spoken at night across our house.

I am thankful for alarm clocks! My teenager is up and getting his day going! LOL

These past few nights have found me awake in the middle of the night. Have you ever noticed how, in the hours before dawn, you really cannot think clearly? Rational thought is not my best friend. Very often I turn to praying for family and loved ones,  last night, though, my mind traced on old routes of worry and stress. The chains that had been gone for so long seemed to be creeping back in. I lay there stunned as the thoughts tumbled one after the other. I cried out, Jesus! And this song popped into my head, Man of Sorrows. Now there are two versions I know, one we sang on Sunday by Hillsong and a very old version by Phillip Bliss (another favorite.)

I kept singing what I could remember to myself. Over and over.  The focus in my head became Jesus, Man of Sorrows rather than my worries. Check this out:

Now my debt is paid
It is paid in full
By the precious blood
That my Jesus spilled

Now the curse of sin
Has no hold on me
Whom the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed Lyric Freak

Free indeed! Whom the Son sets free! I throw my hands out in worship and thank Jesus for His precious, precious blood spilled. Yesterday, my daughter and I were discussing grace and she needed to write in her own words the definition. Grace is one of those words for me…a cue…grace=unmerited favor. Another one for me, salvation=deliverance, for some reason the words on the right of the equal sign keep the definition close. However, my girl wanted to just use my words. Ahh, no. So, how do you describe grace?

Grace (charis)-

  1. of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues

Of course, my girl was wishing she could copy that, which then led to entirely new conversation..I digress. Mom! He loves me! I don’t deserve it, do I? It’s a gift! She’ll learn more and more about His merciful kindness that turns her to Jesus as she grows. What is important now for her to remember, she is loved. It’s a crazy, wild love, she hasn’t done anything to earn it, yet it’s hers.

How I need that truth in the middle of the night!

Oh that rugged cross
My salvation
Where Your love poured out over me
Now my soul cries out
Hallelujah
Praise and honour unto Thee

Man of Sorrows…

3 He was ·hated [despised] and rejected by people.
·He had much pain [L A man of pain/suffering/T sorrows] and ·suffering [one who knew/was acquainted with pain/grief].
People ·would not even look at [turned their backs on; L hid their faces from] him.
He was ·hated [despised], and we ·didn’t even notice him [or did not esteem him].

4 But he ·took [bore] our suffering on him
and ·felt our pain for us [carried our sorrows/sickness].
·We saw his suffering
and thought God was punishing him [L …stricken and afflicted by him; C God].
5 But he was wounded for ·the wrong we did [T our transgressions];
he was crushed for ·the evil we did [T our iniquities].
The punishment, which ·made us well [brought us wholeness/peace], was given to him,
and we are healed because of his ·wounds [lacerations; T stripes; 1 Pet. 2:24].
6 We all have ·wandered away [T gone astray] like sheep;
each of us has gone his own way [1 Pet. 2:25].
But the Lord has put on him ·the punishment
for all the evil we have done [L all of our sins/iniquity].

7 He was ·beaten down [oppressed] and ·punished [treated harshly; T afflicted   

but he didn’t ·say a word [L open his mouth].

He was like a lamb being led to be ·killed [slaughtered].
He was quiet, as a sheep is quiet ·while its wool is being cut [L before its shearers; Acts 8:32Matt. 26:63Mark 14:61John 19:91 Pet. 2:23];
he never opened his mouth. Isaiah 53 EXB

Today, I begin this day weary, but encouraged. I know Jesus feels my pain. His punishment brought me wholeness and peace..so this creeping thought of worry and unrest, it is not welcome, nor is it from the Lord. I am healed because of His wounds. I am well! I am thankful. Today, a new day, the sun shines even with this incredible cold and reminds me I am free indeed. Yet, friends, this is not just for me! We!

Remember that beautiful definition of grace?

.. merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues”

Remember that today. We are kept. We are strengthened. We are being increased in our faith, in our knowledge, and our affection! Not for the things of this world, not for the earthly pleasures that fade away, but for the Man of Sorrows, Lamb of God. 

Pray on. Pray on.

 

 

Categories: Bible teaching, Cara thoughts..., Music, Old Testament, Prophecies, Thankfuls | Leave a comment

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