Monthly Archives: December 2012


A photo-montage of fireworks from a Guy Fawkes Night display at Roundwood Park in Harlesden, London. Eight separate images were merged together into one photo.by Billy Hicks

Good morning, beloved,

If you turn on the radio or television, most likely, you will inundated with a year in review. As I listen, I think back on all God has done this past year. How about you? Are you pondering your year in review? What comes first to your mind? I think there is benefit in reviewing a year, what you have learned, what God has done, ponder and count your blessing one by one.

Being with my brother these last few days, we spent some time remembering humorous stories from our youth. Remembering our grandparents. Remembering times of good and bad, we have a shared history. We all ache with the loss of our loved ones. We ache for times of innocence and yet, I would not ever want to endure puberty again. I would never want to go back to high school again. You get the point. Some things are better left in the rear view mirror.

I heard my girl singing this song the other day, I know I’ve shared it with you. Such a good reminder:

Yet I think God has another plan for our thoughts. Check out these verses from Isaiah 43:

A river in the Ansel Adams Wilderness by Eric T Gunther

18 Do not [earnestly] remember the former things; neither consider the things of old.

19 Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

I wonder about these verses. I wonder. Isaiah 43 is one of my favorite chapters of the Bible to recall and encourage myself and others.

Isaiah 43:

He Who created you, O Jacob, and He Who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you [ransomed you by paying a price instead of leaving you captives]; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you.

For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt [to the Babylonians] for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba [a province of Ethiopia] in exchange [for your release].

Because you are precious in My sight and honored, and because I love you, I will give men in return for you and peoples in exchange for your life.

Even everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed, whom I have made.

Makes me smile every time I read it. I know passing through the waters. I know fires that burn. Yet I also know the God who calls me precious, who loves me. Loves you.

He asks us to look to the new things He is doing.

Revelation 21:

Then I saw a new sky (heaven) and a new earth, for the former sky and the former earth had passed away (vanished), and there no longer existed any sea.

And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, all arrayed like a bride beautified and adorned for her husband;

Then I heard a mighty voice from the throne and I perceived its distinct words, saying, See! The abode of God is with men, and He will live (encamp, tent) among them; and they shall be His people, and God shall personally be with them and be their God.

God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be anguish (sorrow and mourning) nor grief nor pain any more, for the old conditionsand the former order of things have passed away.

And He Who is seated on the throne said, See! I make all things new. Also He said, Record this, for these sayings are faithful (accurate, incorruptible, and trustworthy) and true (genuine).

So maybe this year, I need to be thinking more about what He is about to do. More longing for what is to come. Less mourning for the past, less looking back over my shoulder, sad for what is gone…God has new things He is doing. Are we looking for the new? Or always pondering the old…

My thankfuls today:

82. Kid’s giggles

83. Phones

84. Cortisone shots

Happy New Year, friends. Pray on. Pray on.

 

 

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Overcome..


A Snowy Ski lift on top of Åreskutan, in Sweden. by Anders Carlsson

Good morning, beloved,

Such a cold morning! Brrrrr…Walked the dogs this morning with my Dad and watched the sunrise. Watched the sun…RISE! We have the sun again. It is lovely to watch the sun cast its rays across the frost and snow. My brother and his family are here this weekend and we are enjoying the fellowship and laughter of family together. I am so grateful for family.

Thank you for all of your prayers on my behalf and my family’s behalf. I had a new type of injection in my neck with cortisone. Not fun. very painful, but yesterday was the first day I was able to play a dance game with my kids. I can’t remember the last time I was able to jump or dance without horrible effects. Praise God! I’m functioning and not in pain today. I’m so grateful for no pain.

After the injection, I must admit I was shaken and in much pain. As I lay there on the gurney, tears rolling down my face, I remembered what I wrote about in my blog. I remembered the gift of His words and they covered me like warm blankets. The gift of His Spirit that He was with me. I was not alone. Friends, that is the power of His word in our lives. If we allow Him to teach us, if we ask His word to be our guide, oh, friends, what a gift.

John 16:

31 Jesus answered them, Do you now believe? [Do you believe it at last?]

Category F5 tornado (upgraded from initial estimate of F4) viewed from the southeast as it approached Elie, Manitoba on Friday, June 22nd, 2007. Justin Hobson

32 But take notice, the hour is coming, and it has arrived, when you will all be dispersed and scattered, every man to his own home, leaving Me alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.33 I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

Do you know believe? Can you let go of the thoughts that filter through your mind that cause you to worry, have guilt…?

Just as Jesus said, He was never, ever alone. You, my dear readers, are never alone. All the teachings that we have from His Word, (remember clearly the Beatitudes), do not take the garbage the evil one throws at you as truth. Jesus said. Jesus SAID. Ergo, you can have perfect, perfect, wonderful, glorious peace. Know that you will have..tribulation, trials, distress, frustration…why do we allow ourselves to hear the lies?

Jesus has overcome the WORLD.

The photo was taken by the crew of Apollo 17 on their way to the Moon. Antarctica, Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Madagascar, and part of Asia are visible. NASA

I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.

My thankfuls today:

80. A son who brightens at his Momma‘s touch still.

81. My brother’s tears over missing our Grandma..balm.

82. Reviewing this past year and seeing God’s hand in it all.

I need you to know how this blog has changed me this year. Now with writing my thankfuls each day, blessing upon blessing.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for praying. I would be so honored to pray for you. Please email me if I can.

Much love,

Cara

Pray on. Pray on.

 

 

 

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Good morning, beloved,

A Winter Landscape by George Smith (1714 – 1776)

We haven’t seen the sun around here for a long time. I look, I gaze, I wait and long for the beautiful sunrises, beautiful sunsets. I know that behind the blanket of clouds, the sun shines. It will come back. I will see it again. You will see it again.

Sunrise from Pine Springs Campground in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas. by Fredlyfish4

I love my Father in heaven. I love how He uses word pictures to aid His sheep in understanding. (See? ;) ) You and I can look at the cloudy skies and remember the sun shines behind it. We can link that truth with our understanding of the Word.

Malachi 4: For behold, the day comes that shall burn like an oven, and all the proud and arrogant, yes, and all that do wickedly and are lawless, shall be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.

But unto you who revere and worshipfully fear My name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings and His beams, and you shall go forth and gambol like calves [released] from the stall and leap for joy.

He has come. He is coming. We have hope, we have comfort in knowing, expecting Jesus’ return…I think what means the most to me is the healing that is coming. Healing from the inside out. Do you long for healing? From physical or emotional pain? I do, friends. I hope and long for the touch of Jesus on this body.

Hearing the heartaches of dear friends yesterday, I long for their burdens to be lifted. This morning I woke thinking and praying for the burdens and I opened biblegateway.com and saw these verses:

Matthew 11:

27 All things have been entrusted and delivered to Me by My Father; and no one fully knows andaccurately understands the Son except the Father, and no one fully knows andaccurately understands the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son deliberately wills to make Him known.

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]

29 Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.

When I have looked at these verses in years past, I have always focused on the yoke. I have always focused on who is encouraged to come. I’ve never really focused on this phrase: Learn of Me…

The word learn:

(a) “to learn” (akin to mathetes, “a disciple”), “to increase one’s knowledge,” or “be increased in knowledge,” frequently “to learn by inquiry, or observation,” e.g., Mat 9:13; 11:29; 24:32; Mar 13:28; Jhn 7:15; Rom 16:17; 1Cr 4:6; 14:35; Phl 4:9; 2Ti 3:14; Rev 14:3; said of “learning” Christ, Eph 4:20, not simply the doctrine of Christ, but Christ Himself, a process not merely of getting to know the person but of so applying the knowledge as to walk differently from the rest of the Gentiles;

Hey, doctrines are great. We need to know the doctrines of our faith. This passage suggests that understanding Jesus more, discovering Him results in rest, refreshment, blessed quiet. (I think that is my favorite, the concept of blessed quiet). What is He asking us to understand?

Gentle (praus) : denotes “gentle, mild, meek;” for its significance see the corresponding noun, below, B. Christ uses it of His own disposition, Mat 11:29; He gives it in the third of His Beatitudes, Mat 5:5; it is said of Him as the King Messiah, Mat 21:5, from Zec 9:9; it is an adornment of the Christian profession, 1Pe 3:4. Cp. epios, “gentle, of a soothing disposition,” 1Th 2:7; 2Ti 2:24.

Meekness toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. In the OT, the meek are those wholly relying on God rather than their own strength to defend against injustice. Thus, meekness toward evil people means knowing God is permitting the injuries they inflict, that He is using them to purify His elect, and that He will deliver His elect in His time (Isa 41:17, Luk 18:1-8). Gentleness or meekness is the opposite to self-assertiveness and self-interest. It stems from trust in God’s goodness and control over the situation. The gentle person is not occupied with self at all. This is a work of the Holy Spirit, not of the human will (Gal 5:23).
 
Humble (tapeinos): primarily signifies “low-lying.” It is used always in a good sense in the NT, metaphorically, to denote humble in spirit, Mat 11:29
 The more we understand who He is, the more we can find blessed rest. Peace. In Jeremiah 6, we find the verse Jesus was quoting when He said, you will find rest for your souls. Look with me:
 
Jeremiah 6:16 Thus says the Lord: Stand by the roads and look; and ask for the eternal paths, where the good, old way is; then walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.
Friends, may this be an encouragement for you!! God be praised. We can know Him, we can ask for the hope of Jesus which by His death and His resurrection we have the hope of eternal paths. We can know the good, old way! We can walk in the truth and find rest for our souls. Our weary, tired, sad souls…
 
I have to include some more verses about our Jesus. Please read them out loud with me.
 

Isaiah 42: Behold my [a]Servant, Whom I uphold, My elect in Whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice and right and reveal truth to the nations.He will not cry or shout aloud or cause His voice to be heard in the street.

A bruised reed He will not break, and a dimly burning wick He will not quench; He will bring forth justice in truth.

He will not fail or become weak or be crushed and discouraged till He has established justice in the earth; and the islands and coastal regions shall wait hopefully for Him and expect His direction and law.

Thus says God the Lord—He Who created the heavens and stretched them forth, He Who spread abroad the earth and that which comes out of it, He Who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it:

I the Lord have called You [the Messiah] for a righteous purpose and in righteousness; I will take You by the hand and will keep You; I will give You for a covenant to the people [Israel], for a light to the nations [Gentiles],

To open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon, and those who sit in darkness from the prison.

I am the Lord; that is My name! And My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to graven images.

Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.

Take a moment and just dwell in His plan. His wonderful, beautiful plan for our freedom…we are those Gentiles. He is our light. He has set us free. The God who created the heavens and the earth, oh my, has given us breath. Given us spirit!

Who is this Jesus? He is the Servant. He is our justice. When life has struck hard blows, when it seems like we have no options, we can remember He will prevail. He will have the victory.

I needed to remember this today. I needed to remember who my Jesus is today.

That’s my King. Inhale. Exhale.

My thankfuls today:

75. I’m so thankful for friends who understand.

76. I’m so thankful that this is not the best.

77. I’m so incredibly thankful for Jesus today.

78. I’m thankful for the audio Bible.

79. I’m thankful for snow that has come. Not much, but it put a smile on my kiddos faces.

Pray on. Pray on.

 

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Blazing…


Merry Christmas, beloved!

Luke 2:

8-12 There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”

13-14 At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:

Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.

15-18 As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.

19-20 Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!

It’s not often that we are able to shock a child with a gift. Usually, they have some idea of the gift, we try to get what they wished for, within reason. This year we are going to shock one child this year and the rest of the family is in on the secret. Every time the child walks out of the room, the discussion rushes back to when the present is opened. Planning. Pondering. Hoping.

I wonder if the angels of heaven felt the same way. They had the most incredible announcement to make. They had a gift to reveal from the Lord of heavenly hosts. Imagine the moment when the heavens were opened and God’s angel made the announcement to the humblest of servants.

Imagine God’s glory blazing through the skies. I wonder if we have a taste of this blazing glory as the sun rises across the skies and as the sun sets. God was in the mood that night to show His glory! He was in the mood to celebrate!

Ponder His glory today. Please slow down. Please don’t let this day go by without reading His story. Celebrating.

Thankfuls:

66. I’m thankful for the little coffee shop, the guitar that strummed the carols.

67. I’m thankful for eggnog.

68. I’m thankful for the chance to surprise.

69. I’m thankful for Joshua being home.

70. I’m thankful for snow on the ground.

71. I’m thankful for a dog who smiles.

72. Thank YOU for reading.

73. Thankful for the pictures in my mind of God’s glory blazing.

74. I am thankful for beautiful songs in which to praise.

Pray on. Pray on.

Categories: Bible teaching | 1 Comment


 

Good morning, beloved,

The wind is very strong this morning. These tall trees that surround our house move with the wind’s guidance and strength. Last night, as we drove home, I watched lit trees dance and sway. It was lovely. Each movement is guided by the loving hands of our Father in heaven. His creative touch gives me a perspective I need today.

Yesterday was a wild day. My computer died. My Kindle Fire died. I found ants. I am having trouble getting an appointment with my neurologist. I kinda got fired from physical therapy. One thing after another, found me reeling a bit. What’s up, Lord?

Yet, in the midst of all of this crazy, I had so much fun. I created gifts for family members. I, popsicle stick cross girl, made stuff.  I hope my family will be blessed. I was blessed to make each thing. Pray over each thing for the person who would next touch that gift. My eldest helped me, talked with me, encouraged me to not overdo, and I looked at this boy, becoming a man, and just thanked God for such a gift. He has this habit of asking me how I’m doing over and over. It drove me a bit batty until I realized how much Noah needs to know everything is safe.

I need that knowledge too. I crave that knowledge. The wind moving the trees is safely outside of my house. I can listen and not fear. I trust the integrity of this house to keep me warm. I trust. Trust this house. Trust the computer. Trust a product. Trust a doctor.  Friends, all on that list can fail. People can fail. Houses fail. Computers fail. Bugs, I believe, must have come after the fall. A perfect Eden would never have such blech. (My version..)

Psalm 20:

Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand.

Some trust in and boast of chariots and some of horses, but we will trust in and boast of the name of the Lord our God.

I know the Lord saves. I want to remember these truths in my heart and my soul.  I received an email this morning, encouraging me to memorize the story of Jesus’ birth in its entirety with my family.  I have some amazing memorizers in my family and I wonder if I can find it in a musical format. This email got me thinking, the more we practice His Word in our mind, the more we become like Him, think like Him, respond.

Psalm 25:

Unto You, O Lord, do I bring my life.

O my God, I trust, lean on, rely on, and am confident in You. Let me not be put to shame or [my hope in You] be disappointed; let not my enemies triumph over me.

Yes, let none who trust and wait hopefully and look for You be put to shame or be disappointed; let them be ashamed who forsake the right or deal treacherously without cause.

Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths.

Guide me in Your truth and faithfulness and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You [You only and altogether] do I wait [expectantly] all the day long.

Friends, we bring Him our lives. I bring You my life. Lord, help me to trust, (I love this picture)..lean on, rely on…Lord, I want my whole confidence to be in You. Not in money, or things, but in You. Will You show me Your ways? Teach me, Lord. Guide me, You are my deliverance.

My thankfuls today:

63. For home-made bread…

64. For snow on the ground…

65. For faithfulness…

Pray on. Pray on.

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Darvasa gas crater by Tormod Sandtorv derivative work: Hellbus

Good morning, beloved,

The rain is pelting down, pouring out of the sky this morning. I think it is one of my favorite sounds in the world. My new phone has the sound of the beach. I think I just plain like water. One of my favorite songs is so titled, Water by Brad Paisley.  So why include a fire picture? Dunno. I was kind of amazed at the man who stands there NEXT to the crater. Ahem. Courage? Stupidity?

I woke up very, very early this morning and thought this was it. I was awake and began to read. I am aware of the battle, the spiritual battle raging inside my head. I longed to clear it. I realized I needed to pray and began to pray for others in my life. No, praise. What? Praise Him from whom all blessings flow. So I began with a Psalm I memorized so long ago.

Psalm 103:

1-2 O my soul, bless God.    From head to toe, I’ll bless his holy name!O my soul, bless God,  don’t forget a single blessing!

3-5 He forgives your sins—every one.
    He heals your diseases—every one.
    He redeems you from hell—saves your life!
    He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.
    He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal.
    He renews your youth—you’re always young in his presence.

And then I was asleep. I gave you a different version than I know, but this morning I think, Eugene Peterson has it right. Bless Him from head to toe. Remember all He has done and all He will do. I remember pain, physical pain, in my youth. Yet I can count it on one hand, the times of sharp pain. I long for heaven where my youth will be renewed. Where pain is gone, and I am set free. I struggle with pain now. I struggle to not be discouraged. I struggle when people ask and I can’t say I’m better. I want to! I want to, but then the Lord reminds me of all the blessings He is accomplishing through this season.

So this morning, keeping it real, pain is my new coat. Maybe not forever, but I will wear it. I’m asking the Lord for joy, joy in the pain. It’s not easy. I get weepy, but as I walked through Target last night, I realized how sincerely blessed I am.

My thankfuls first today (I’m on 60!! woohoo!)

60. I’m thankful that I get time with my eldest. Time is a gift. He is growing so fast and we get to spend the day together.

61. I’m thankful for the joy that comes in the morning.

62. I’m thankful for the pain. (That was very had to write.) I know Him more, love Him more…

I decided to also share Mary’s song in the MSG version. I know I’ve gone verse by verse, but read this in its entirety and smile. Praise Him with her words.

Luke 1:

I’m bursting with God-news;
    I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
    I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
    the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
    on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
    scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
    pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
    the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
    he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It’s exactly what he promised,
    beginning with Abraham and right up to now.

What God has done for me…

His mercy flows in wave after wave…

The starving sit down to a banquet…

He remembered and piled on the mercies…

This is our gift today, friends. Will you receive it? Will you receive His mercy, wave after wave?

Pray on. Pray on.

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Mary and remembering…


Sunset in Cartagena, Colombia by Igvir

Good morning, beloved,

As the stories unfold surrounding Newton, Connecticut, I have noticed an inevitable internalization.  These parents could be us. These teachers could be our children’s teacher. This school could be our school. We see pictures of wild fear, tears and we crack.  We hold our children tighter. We pray for God to keep the tragedy away from us. May I suggest remembering and reminding ourselves and families:

Psalm 18:

I love You fervently and devotedly, O Lord, my Strength.

The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my keen and firm Strength in Whom I will trust and take refuge, my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my High Tower.

I will call upon the Lord, Who is to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.

We read the paper, read Facebook, watch the news and silently breathe a sigh of relief that it’s not us. What is that response? We utter, “There but for the grace go I”..(John Bradford). Does that mean we are grateful God’s grace is on us and somehow it slipped  coverage on the people of Connecticut?

2 Thessalonians 2:

Sunset at Härmälä, Tampere. View over Pyhäjärvi Lake to Pispala Ridge by Nikolaus Drees

16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who loved us and gave us everlasting consolation and encouragement and well-founded hope through [His] grace (unmerited favor),

17 Comfort and encourage your hearts and strengthen them [make them steadfast and keep them unswerving] in every good work and word.

We form opinions based on knowledge gleaned from radio, newspapers, word of mouth. I want to suggest to you, as a culture of Christians, I believe we’ve become ensconced in a culture we were never meant to adopt. We are surprised by people’s actions. We are horrified by violence.  Let us instead remind ourselves of God’s power. I love, love, love to remember this picture:

2 Kings 6:

12 One of his servants said, None, my lord O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedchamber.

13 He said, Go and see where he is, that I may send and seize him. And it was told him, He is in Dothan.

14 So [the Syrian king] sent there horses, chariots, and a great army. They came by night and surrounded the city.

15 When the servant of the man of God rose early and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was around the city. Elisha’s servant said to him, Alas, my master! What shall we do?

16 [Elisha] answered, Fear not; for those with us are more than those with them.

17 Then Elisha prayed, Lord, I pray You, open his eyes that he may see. And the Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and he saw, and

Midsummer festival bonfire closeup by Janne Karaste

behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

18 And when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, Smite this people with blindness, I pray You. And God smote them with blindness, as Elisha asked.

19 Elisha said to the Syrians, This is not the way or the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek. And he led them to Samaria.

20 And when they had come into Samaria, Elisha said, Lord, open the eyes of these men that they may see. And the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw. Behold, they were in the midst of Samaria!

21 When the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, My father, shall I slay them? Shall I slay them?

22 [Elisha] answered, You shall not slay them. Would you slay those you have taken captive with your sword and bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and return to their master.

23 So [the king] prepared great provision for them, and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel.

We need not fear the world crumbling around us. We need not quake with terror! Rather than read story after story from your local newspaper or read how your best friend from high school’s daughter (who you haven’t spoken to since then) has been toilet trained…we can open the living and active Word of God. His Words bring life, give hope and fill you with knowledge that this world is most certainly not the end. Jesus reminds us to not lost heart. Not to lose hope!

Matthew 24:

Jesus answered them, Be careful that no one misleads you [deceiving you and leading you into error].

Beach at St. Andrews by rob bishop

For many will come in (on the strength of) My name [appropriating the name which belongs to Me], saying, I am the Christ (the Messiah), and they will lead many astray.

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened or troubled, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in place after place;

All this is but the beginning [the early pains] of the birth pangs [of the intolerable anguish].

Then they will hand you over to suffer affliction and tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.

10 And then many will be offended and repelled and will begin to distrust and desert [Him Whom they ought to trust and obey] and will stumble and fall away and betray one another and pursue one another with hatred.

11 And many false prophets will rise up and deceive and lead many into error.

12 And the love of the great body of people will grow cold because of the multiplied lawlessness and iniquity,

13 But he who endures to the end will be saved.

Hold on, friends. Hold on. Our perspective must remain on the truth! The Word! I think Mary might have been on to something with her song of praise. ;) We can teach the next generation to fear life or place our hope in the mercy of God.

Luke 1:50 And His mercy (His compassion and kindness toward the miserable and afflicted) is on those who fear Him with godly reverence, from generation to generation and age to age.

mercy (eleos): of God towards men: in general providence; the mercy and clemency of God in providing and offering to men salvation by Christ.

I’ve read comics that state, Where was God in all of this? the response is He wasn’t invited. As Christians, we ask, but why? This is, for me, not the conversation we should be having on Facebook or other social media sites. I would like to suggest that we allow God’s Word to be the commentary. God’s word to be the balm. God’s word to guide the discussion. Posting God’s word as encouragement. We read the names of these precious children and their teachers and our hearts clench. Yet, friends, in our city of Chicago (an hour away from yours truly) by October of this year 436 people had died, which puts the average around 43 people a month.

436 men, women and children…snuffed out by murder. Christians around the world right now, as I type, suffering for our common faith. They are dying for our faith. These are our sisters and brothers! Ugh, it is a yucky world we live in, friends. The media would like us to believe Newton is an anomaly. We gasp at how many school shootings there have been. Oh friends, let’s get back to the truth. Not as a liberal or conservative, let’s reveal God’s compassion, and His kindness to this hurting world.

His mercy is true. It will never, ever fade. Let’s teach our next generation THAT.

Psalm 31:

19 Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear, revere, and worship You, goodness which You have wrought for those who trust and take refuge in You before the sons of men!

20 In the secret place of Your presence You hide them from the plots of men; You keep them secretly in Your pavilion from the strife of tongues.

21 Blessed be the Lord! For He has shown me His marvelous loving favor when I was beset as in a besieged city.

22 As for me, I said in my haste and alarm, I am cut off from before Your eyes. But You heard the voice of my supplications when I cried to You for aid.

My thankfuls:

54. I’m so very thankful for my Dad who drove me to my appointment and drove me home and then drove himself home.

55. I’m thankful for my Ella who dances and sings and giggles her way through life.

56. I’m thankful for nerve blocks.

57. I’m thankful for hope found in Him.

58. I’m thankful for clean dish towels.

59. I’m thankful for my brothers and sisters in Nigeria standing firm.

Pray on. Don’t forget your thankfuls.

 

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Mary part 3


Christmas tree by Leslie Layton Coslet

Christmas tree by Leslie Layton Coslet

Good morning, beloved,

I am, for some reason, up very early.  My mind is scattered in many directions. Parents this morning packing and organizing their children for school, holding tight, fearful, unsure. Schools trying to cope with security and calming frayed nerves. We, as a nation, are watching this unfold like a train wreck. Newton, Connecticut shattered. All sorts of  ideas, opinions given a voice through social media. Pictures of the children being led into Jesus’ arms, pictures of the victims…ugh.

We went to a Christmas concert last night and for me, remembering to treasure this moment, this season, this breath is critical.  I am grateful, for today. For this moment, quiet with the Lord to ponder His Word, His power, His strength.

2 Corinthians 4:

16 Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though

A Danish Christmas tree illuminated with burning candles, adorned with homemade Christmas decorations such as red hearts, white paper snowflakes, a golden star at the top, and gifts stacked underneath. by Malene Thyssen

our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day.

17 For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparingand producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!],

18 Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.

So, as we start our day, do we start it in fear? Or do we remember… Paul’s words are perfect. We are being renewed. We are being prepared for glory (we can’t even fathom it). So we look to the unseen, the unfading, deathless, everlasting. What is before us now? The seen, yet we need to remember these eyes are viewing what is very brief, and very fleeting.

This makes me think of the Christmas tree. :) We pick it out, we place ornaments on it, lights, we make it beautiful. Yet after Christmas, this tree either gets packed away or put to the curb. We need to treat our life more like a Christmas tree. The moment we are in, we decorate it with joy. We light it up with a joy only found in Him. We make our life beautiful by plugging into the Spirit of God. We sparkle with His radiance. Today. Now. We have a gift. It’s not wrapped under any tree, it’s open, it’s beautiful, it’s available to all: We have hope because of Jesus. We share it. We invite others to come in and enjoy the peace. We place the Christmas tree in front of the window for all to see. Our faith should be like that too.

Mary’s song recorded in Luke 1 gives us a gift. Let’s look.

Christmas tree with real candles in Switzerland by Traumrune

49 For He Who is almighty has done great things for me—and holy is His name [to be venerated in His purity, majesty and glory]!

Almighty-(dynatos) of God, Luk 1:49, “mighty;” Rom 9:22, “power” (here the neuter of the adjective is used with the article, as a noun, equivalent to dunamis); frequently with the meaning “able”.

Genesis 17: When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, I am the Almighty God; walk and live habitually before Me and be perfect (blameless, wholehearted, complete).

Psalm 24: Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.

Jeremiah 10: None at all is like You, O Lord; You are great, and Your name is great in might.

Mary remembered that Her God was great. He was (and is and will always be) magnificent. He is strong. He is mighty. Good things to remember today as the day unfolds.

Has done-poieō-to do a thing unto one

Psalm 71:

19 Your righteousness also, O God, is very high [reaching to the heavens], You Who have done great things; O God, who is like You, or who is Your equal?

20 You Who have shown us [all] troubles great and sore will quicken us again and will bring us up again from the depths of the earth. 21 Increase my greatness (my honor) and turn and comfort me.

Psalm 126:

Then were our mouths filled with laughter, and our tongues with singing. Then they said among the nations, The Lord has

Brazilian Christmas tree

done great things for them.

The Lord has done great things for us! We are glad!

Holy- (hagios) in Scripture in its moral and spiritual significance, separated from sin and therefore consecrated to God, sacred. (a) It is predicted of God (as the absolutely “Holy” One, in His purity, majesty and glory)…

Exodus 15: 11 Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, awesome in splendor, doing wonders?

Psalm 99: Let them confess and praise Your great name, awesome and reverence inspiring! It is holy, and holy is He!

Isaiah 6: And one cried to another and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!

Isaiah 57: 15 For thus says the high and lofty One—He Who inhabits eternity, Whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, but with him also who is of a thoroughly penitent and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the thoroughly penitent [bruised with sorrow for sin].

This day, today, remember whom we serve. Whom we praise. Whom we adore. The temporal? It’ll fade. The beautiful? It’ll get old and wrinkly. Yet, God? Friends, He’ll never fade. He’ll never get old. He’ll never get wrinkly.

Our God lives and so we can face this day.

My thankfuls:

51. I’m so thankful the chance to listen to my kids belt out the Christmas Carols last night.

52. I’m thankful for church members who care deeply and remind me they are praying.

53. I’m thankful for home-made ice cream. :)

Pray on. Pray on.

 

 

Categories: Bible teaching, Cara thoughts... | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mary part 2


Gígjökull, an outlet glacier extending from Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland. Lónið is the lake visible in the foreground.by Andreas Tille

Good morning, beloved,

We went to the mall yesterday. I’m not sure what came over us but we went to a store that was all decked out for Christmas. There were crafts to make, toys to try, and Santa to visit. Of course, when we learned it would be three hours before we could greet the jolly old elf, we exited stage left. We then entered the mall. We had a mission: each sibling to find a gift for another sibling. We separated and I took two. Joshua took two. Overwhelming. Danny found the gift for his sister. It was perfect. The store mystified me for a moment until I realized there were two security guards patrolling the tiny place. There were people near the counter where we were paying and I was amazed to watch the guards carefully see every movement. They were afraid that an object was about to be stolen.

The Beeston Christmas tree.by mattbuck

Now me? They didn’t really pay attention to me other than to help Daniel pick out the gift and check us out.  The guards made assumptions of both the people by the counter and of me with my kids. They regarded us and found one party untrustworthy.  It was a shock to my system.

In our continuing work through Mary’s Magnificat, Mary speaks to her lowly state and how the Lord regarded her.

Luke 1:

48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.

Looked: (epiblepō) to turn the eyes upon, to look upon, gaze upon on. The root word of epiblepō is  blepō which means, to turn the thoughts or direct the mind to a thing, to consider, contemplate, to look at, to weigh carefully, examine.

Humble estate: (tapeinōsis) spiritual abasement, leading one to perceive and lament his (moral) littleness and guilt

Servant: (doulos) one who gives himself up to another’s will those whose service is used by Christ in extending and advancing his cause among men

Mary knew the Lord had considered her, examined her. She was humbled by His gaze, humbled He thought of her, because she knew her heart had sin, she understood her need of forgiveness and mercy from the Lord. She regarded herself as lowly, unworthy, yet willing to be used however God saw fit. God saw fit to trust her with His Son.

What verses was she referring to? She was quoting the Old Testament…let’s look at some possibilities.

Psalm 136:

23 To Him Who [earnestly] remembered us in our low estate and imprinted us [on His heart], for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever;

24 And rescued us from our enemies, for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever;

Isaiah 66:

For all these things My hand has made, and so all these things have come into being [by and for Me], says the Lord. But this is the man to whom I will look and have regard: he who is humble and of a broken or wounded spirit, and who trembles at My word and reveres My commands.

49 For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;

Will call me: (makarizō)- to pronounce blessed. from a root mak–, meaning “large, lengthy,” found also inmakros, “long,” mekos, “length,” hence denotes “to pronounce happy, blessed,”

So the words here, I love this..Mary knew that from this point on in history she would be regarded by the generations. It is interesting to me that “will call me” and “blessed” are the same word.  The word is repeated. This only happens one other time in the New Testament:

Christmas decorations, Astir Palace Hotel, Vouliagmeni, Athens, Greece, Christmas 2009 by Vouliagmeni

James 5:

11 You know how we call those blessed (happy) who were steadfast [who endured]. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the Lord’s [purpose and how He richly blessed him in the] end, inasmuch as the Lord is full of pity and compassion and tenderness and mercy.

We will never, ever truly understand the majesty and wonder of God with us, will we? Mary knew she was blessed. Do you know you are blessed? Feel it or not, you are blessed with Emmanuel, God with us. God sees us in our lowly state now and loves us. As we are, He reaching out His hand for us to hold. We are so blessed to have His Spirit.  Let’s be a blessing.

48. I am thankful for books that make me laugh.

49. I am thankful for yummy fudge.

50. I am thankful for Christmas lights.

Christmas Lights and Christmas Ornaments with Cool Light Effect by ParentingPatch

Pray on. Pray on.

 

Categories: Bible teaching, Music, New Testament | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mary


Though astronauts and cosmonauts often encounter striking scenes of Earth’s limb, this unique image, part of a series over Earth’s colorful horizon, has the added feature of a silhouette of the space shuttle Endeavour. The image was photographed by an Expedition 22 crew member prior to STS-130 rendezvous and docking operations with the International Space Station. Docking occurred at 11:06 p.m. (CST) on Feb. 9, 2010. The orbital outpost was at 46.9 south latitude and 80.5 west longitude, over the South Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern Chile, with an altitude of 183 nautical miles when the image was recorded. The orange layer is the troposphere, where all of the weather and clouds which we typically watch and experience are generated and contained. This orange layer gives way to the whitish Stratosphere and then into the Mesosphere. In some frames the black color is part of a window frame rather than the blackness of space. by NASA/Crew of Expedition 22

Good morning, friends,

I’m sure I have told you I’m a hymn girl. Love me some hymns. My kids sing the hymn. Their Momma loves hymns.  Their Daddy bought a hymnal..and we used to sing hymns every night. I’m thinking we need to pick that up again. Music has a calming effect on us. This morning two songs ring in my head. One is a hymn. One is not. Yet both speak truth that helps us cope with our world.

If you read the video while listening you would have seen the hymn writer’s biography. Unspeakable horror. Yet, in the pain, Mr. Spafford wrote a hymn that speaks directly to my heart, maybe yours as well.

This next video was in a beautiful movie I watched last night.

The reason for the world is to make us long for home. Yesterday was one of those days for our nation, wasn’t it? We watched the horror unfold against these precious people. I was very dizzy yesterday and a lump on the couch so my eyes were on the horror a lot yesterday.

Then I found a quote by Tim Sinclair, radio morning host of WBGLWhen tragedies like this happen at Christmas, I can’t help but think that tragedies like this are the very reason Christmas happened at all.

Today is a very good day to remember He has come. He will  come again. Let us not lose sight of the hope within us. Let us share the hope. Social media can be used for the glory and edification of our God. We can show the world where our hope is found. Mary‘s magnificat in Luke 1 keeps my eyes focused. Come join me as we look at the words of a humble Jewish girl who knew the Word of God and praised Him accordingly.

Luke 1:

46 And Mary said, My soul magnifies and extols the Lord,

47 And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

48 For He has looked upon the low station and humiliation of His handmaiden. For behold, from now on all generations [of all ages] will call me blessed and declare me happy and to be envied!

49 For He Who is almighty has done great things for me—and holy is His name [to be venerated in His purity, majesty and glory]!

50 And His mercy (His compassion and kindness toward the miserable and afflicted) is on those who fear Him with godly reverence, from generation to generation and age to age.

51 He has shown strength and made might with His arm; He has scattered the proud and haughty in and by the imagination and purpose and designs of their hearts.

52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of low degree.

53 He has filled and satisfied the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty-handed [without a gift].

54 He has laid hold on His servant Israel [to help him, to espouse his cause], in remembrance of His mercy,

55 Even as He promised to our forefathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.

And Mary said, My soul magnifies and extols the Lord...friends, let’s look at the words she is quoting.

1 Samuel 2: 1 Hannah prayed, and said, My heart exults and triumphs in the Lord; my horn (my strength) is lifted up in the Lord. My mouth is no longer silent, for it is opened wide over my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation.

Magnify-(megalynō)-to make great, magnify, to esteem highly, to extol, laud, celebrate

Psalm 34:

My life makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble and afflicted hear and be glad.

O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.

And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

Isaiah 12:

Behold, God, my salvation! I will trust and not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and song; yes, He has become my salvation.

Therefore with joy will you draw water from the wells of salvation.

Zephaniah 3:

14 Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice, be in high spirits and glory with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem [in that day].

15 [For then it will be that] the Lord has taken away the judgments against you; He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, even the Lord [Himself], is in the midst of you; [and after He has come to you] you shall not experience or fear evil any more.

16 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear not, O Zion. Let not your hands sink downor be slow and listless.

17 The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing.

My thankfuls today:

45. I’m thankful for rain today.

46. I’m thankful for sleep.

47. I’m thankful for a call from my brother.

I will pick up more tomorrow. Everyone is awake. ;)

Pray on. Pray on.

 

 

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