Posts Tagged With: Bible

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

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


Thunderstorm near Pritzerbe (Germany). Photo by Mathias Krumbholz

Good morning, friend!

I want to a couple of resources that have helped me over the past night. Nighttime seems to have become a time, when quiet, where my thoughts assail me. Normally, I have listened to Focus on the Family or FamilyLife Today, but these were not available. (Don’t ask, new phone) However frustrating my phone can be, I have discovered the gift of podcasts.  I tell you what, anyone can host a podcast. Not only that, I am surprised and saddened by what gets filed under Religion and Spirituality! I think my dog might be eligible for a podcast. Sheesh.

I digress. Last night, I came to find the Daily Audio Bible. Lovely. Just lovely. Listening to different sections of the Bible (with the goal of reading the Bible in a year)! The man who reads has a gift. The other gift that I has been such blessing to me is Pandora. This morning, as I began my study, the first song to play was…

Sometimes, do you ever wonder if you will ever learn the lesson that God has taught you your whole life? Yeah, me neither.

I love the Lord,
because he ·listens to my prayers for help [L hears/or heard my voice, my prayer of supplication].
2 He ·paid attention [L extends his ear] to me,
so I will ·call to him for help [call; pray] ·as long as I live [L in my days].
3 The ·ropes [cords] of death ·bound [encompass] me,
and the ·fear [hardship; distress] of ·the grave [L Sheol; C the grave or the underworld] ·took hold of [reached; found] me.
I ·was troubled and sad [L found distress and sadness]. Psalm 116 EXB

Hear me, friends. We need to stop putting our thoughts as truth. We need to keep the promises of God in the forefront of our minds. Do you love Him? Do you remember at all times He hears your cries for help? I am reminded of a lesson the Lord taught me early in my time as a Mama. The Lord has been with me through it all. There is not one person on this earth that has been with me my whole life. Think about this for a second. Family, friends, co-workers all have been with me some of the time but the Lord has always been with me. All the stages of my life…daughter, student, wife, mother, friend, worker…He has walked through every bit of it. The same is true for you.

14 So [C Paul begins again the prayer he started in v. 1] I ·bow in prayer [kneel] before the Father 15 from whom ·every [or the whole] ·family [C a play on words, since the words “father” and “family” are related] in heaven and on earth gets its true name. 16 I ask the Father ·in his great glory [or from the treasures of his glory; or out of his glorious riches] to give you the power to be strong ·inwardly[L in the inner person] through his Spirit. 17 I pray that Christ will ·live [make his home] in your hearts by faith and that your life will be ·strong in love and be built on love [L rooted and grounded in love].18 And I pray that you and all ·God’s holy people [T the saints] will have the power to ·understand[comprehend; grasp] the greatness of Christ’s love—how wide and how long and how high and how deep that love is. 19 Christ’s love is ·greater than anyone can ever know [beyond comprehension/knowledge], but I pray that you will be able to know that love. ·Then [L …so that] you can be filled with the fullness of God.

 I ·bow in prayer [kneel] before the Father…

54 Solomon prayed this prayer and ·plea [request; supplication] to the Lord, kneeling in front of the altar with his ·arms raised [hands spread] toward heaven. When he finished praying, he got up. 1 Kings 8 EXB

6 Come, let’s ·worship him [bow down] and ·bow down [bend the knee].
Let’s kneel before the Lord who made us,
7 because he is our God
and we are the people ·he takes care of [L of his pasture],
the sheep ·that he tends [L of his hand; 74:179:13100:3John 10:11–14]. Psalm 95 EXB

… from whom ·every [or the whole] ·family [C a play on words, since the words “father” and “family” are related] in heaven and on earth gets its true name. 

9 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

20 God ·used [exerted] to raise Christ from the dead and ·put [L seat] him at his right ·side [L hand; Ps. 110:1Acts 2:34] in the heavenly ·world [realm; places]. 21 God has put Christ ·over [far above] all rulers, authorities, powers, and ·kings [lords; dominion], and every other ·title given [L name that is named] not only in this ·world [age] but also in the ·next [coming one]. Ephesians 1 EXB

I ask the Father ·in his great glory [or from the treasures of his glory; or out of his glorious riches]…

In ·Christ [L him] we ·are set free [have been redeemed/purchased] by ·the blood of his death [L his blood; C blood signifies his sacrificial death], and so we have forgiveness of sins. ·How rich is [or This redemption reveals the wealth of; L …according to the riches of] God’s grace…Ephesians 1 EXB

23 He waited with patience so that he could make known ·his rich glory [the riches of his glory] to the ·people who receive his [L vessels/objects of] mercy. He has prepared these people ·to have his glory[to experience his glory; L for glory], 24 and we are those people whom God called. He called us not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles.  Romans 9 EXB

…to give you the power to be strong ·inwardly[L in the inner person] through his Spirit. 

28 ·Surely you [L Do you not…?] know.
·Surely you have [L Have you not…?] heard.
The Lord is the ·God who lives forever [everlasting God],
who created ·all [L the ends of] the ·world [earth].
He does not become tired or ·need to rest [weary].
No one can ·understand [fathom; comprehend] how great his ·wisdom [knowledge] is.
29 He gives strength to those who are tired
and more power to those who are weak.
30 Even ·children [youths; young people] become tired and ·need to rest [weary],
and young ·people [men] ·trip and fall [fall in exhaustion].
31 But the people who ·trust [hope in; wait on] the Lord will become strong again.
They will rise up ·as an eagle in the sky [L with wings like eagles];
they will run and not ·need rest [grow weary];
they will walk and not ·become tired [T faint]. Isaiah 40 EXB

Remember yesterday’s prayer? Remember Ephesians 1:17 asking the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, to give you ·a spirit of wisdom[or spiritual wisdom; or the Spirit of wisdom] and revelation so that you will know him better? We cannot be strong in our own strength. We cannot muster enough to endure these life’s trials alone. His Spirit! His Spirit can give you the strength and wisdom.

I pray that Christ will ·live [make his home] in your hearts by faith and that your life will be ·strong in love and be built on love [L rooted and grounded in love].

 And I pray that you and all ·God’s holy people [T the saints] will have the power to ·understand[comprehend; grasp] the greatness of Christ’s love—how wide and how long and how high and how deep that love is.

Remember Standing on the Promises of God? Paul’s prayer, Paul’s petition on our behalf reverberates through the entire Bible. His love.

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

8 The Lord says, “My thoughts are not like your thoughts.
Your ways are not like my ways.
9 Just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts [Ps. 103:11]. Isaiah 55 EXB

And today, before I sign off,

Thankfuls

285. Thankful for Noah’s curriculum for high school.

286. Thankful for the gift of belly aching laughter.

287. Thankful for the splint in my mouth, that keeps the migraines at bay.

Today, friends, stand on His promises! Repeat them over and over.

Christ’s love is ·greater than anyone can ever know [beyond comprehension/knowledge], but I pray that you will be able to know that love. ·Then [L …so that] you can be filled with the fullness of God.

Be filled. Pray on. Pray on.

 

Categories: Bible teaching, Cara thoughts..., http://www.hellomornings.org/, Old Testament, Pictures from commons..., Thankfuls | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stronger


Reserve Dzhanhulskyy shear Coast by Balkhovitin

Good morning, beloved,

I began, in earnest, to organize school and co-op activities.  For our co-op, I co-teach a history/craft combo class and the time had come to finish my work on the class. One time period that I studied yesterday was the early 1800s, when many were flooding the banks of the eastern United States. I shudder to think how this girl would do with the circumstances of the character.  Three weeks on a tiny freight ship…moldy food, not much fresh air…or even better, the clothing worn, petticoats, skirts…I like my jeans. I like my sweatshirts and thick socks (it’s cold this morning). I like my fans that cool our house. I like refrigerators that cool our food and stoves that cook. Blender that crushes and smoothies. As I sat, reading through the character’s trials and joys, I was delighted to look up and see children reading books. Turning on lights to find their way, switching over laundry, loading the dishwasher…

Do you ever stop and thank God for what you have that you almost take for granted? When something breaks down in my house (which happens often), I realize all over again how grateful I am. This morning as I peer out through the trees listening to cars and trains, I am grateful. As I watch my hubby and early riser boy make themselves breakfast, all the while chatting, I am grateful. I am grateful for a puppy who just fits with our family. God has given me much.

Pause. Breathe. Look around you. Look at the lights that guide your way. Toilets that flush (sorry, but the character we were studying just had outhouses).

Outhouses in student’s tourist tent base in Jawornik, Beskid Niski, Poland Photo by Tomasz Kuran aka Meteor2017

:) (Couldn’t help myself)

All of these blessings…I bet you could add more.

What if it was all stripped away? What if…

all you had was Jesus? Would He be enough? How did Peter answer this question?

66 After Jesus said this, many of his ·followers [disciples] ·left him [L turned back to previous things] and ·stopped following [L no longer walked with] him.

67 Jesus asked ·the twelve followers [the Twelve], “Do you want to leave, too?”

68 Simon Peter answered him,Lord [or Master], who would we go to? You have the words that give eternal life. 69 We believe and know that you are the Holy One from God.”

Christians around the world are following Him no matter the cost.

Pastor Saeed Abedini is a good example. Or take a peek at the website for Voice of the Martyrs…our brothers, our sisters suffering for their love and devotion our Jesus. Our Lord.

So as you begin your day. As you gaze around breathing in and giving thanks, never forget the Amazing Grace you have been given.

There is this scene in The Bible (recently aired on the History Channel) where John is on the island. All alone. And we see Jesus coming for him. John’s eyes fill with tears. His years of sacrifice, trials and such are over. Jesus reaches out for him and John runs into His embrace. It was all worth it. It was all for His glory.

We need an eternal perspective on our lives. Our trials, our afflictions are momentary in the light of eternity.

All of this, these blessings are nothing if we just take, take, take and never give back, back, back. So today, may I urge you to give God the glory for the blessings in your life? May I urge you to ask the Lord today, how can I give back? How can I bless someone who comes in my path today? Let the Name of Jesus be lifted higher in your life today. We know we serve the God who is stronger, mightier, more wonderful that we can ever imagine. He will give us all we need for this day.

Join me in praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters. Don’t turn your back. Don’t allow busyness to distract you.

Pray on. Pray on.

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Love like a river


Good morning, beloved,

Mossman River and Gorge Photo by Photnart

Your love is like a river…

37 On the last and ·most important [L greatest] day of the feast Jesus stood up and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. [C The feast of Shelters/Tabernacles featured a water pouring ritual that may stand in the background of Jesus’ speech.] 38 If anyone believes in me, rivers of living water will flow out from that person’s ·heart [L belly; gut], as the Scripture says[Is. 55:158:11Ezek. 47:1–12Zech. 14:8, compare John 4:10–11Rev. 7:1722:1].” 39 Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit. The Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet been ·raised to glory [glorified]. But later, those who believed in Jesus would receive the Spirit. John 7 EXB

I didn’t know where the Lord was taking me this morning with this song.  Yet He had a plan, and I needed to listen. Come with me? Water is a powerful metaphor in the Bible. We can all agree on this. I think where we fall short is our understanding of the context of this beautiful passage.  The Expanded Bible gave me some hints of the depth of this passage.  Notice in the brackets in verse 37, I’ve highlighted them. The feast of Tabernacles was nearing the end. This feast...

The Bible reveals dual significance in the Feast of Tabernacles. Agriculturally, Sukkot is Israel’s “thanksgiving,” a joyous harvest festival to celebrate the ingathering of grain and wine. As an historical feast, it’s main characteristic is the requirement to dwell in temporary shelters or booths in remembrance of God’s protection, provision and care during their 40 years in the wilderness. There are many interesting customs associated with the celebration of Sukkot. These are explained in detail by About.com’s Judaism Guide, Ariela Pelaia.

Jesus and Sukkot:

During Sukkot, two important ceremonies took place. The Hebrew people carried torches around the temple, illuminating bright candelabrum along the walls of the temple to demonstrate that the Messiah would be a light to the Gentiles. Also, the priest would draw water from the pool of Siloam and carry it to the temple where it was poured into a silver basin beside the altar. The priest would call upon the Lord to provide heavenly water in the form of rain for their supply. During this ceremony the people looked forward to the pouring out of the Holy Spirit.  (Feast of Tabernacles, Mary Fairchild)

So as the Jews were looking forward to the time of the Messiah, looking forward to an outpouring of God’s favor by bringing the Messiah to them, Jesus stood and provided the answer. He was the source of living water!  So when Jesus spoke these words, He was declaring Himself  as the Messiah and the fulfillment of these promises, these prophecies.

·Spoken words [L The words of a person’s mouth] can be like deep water, ·but [or and] the fountain of wisdom is like a flowing stream. Proverbs 18:4 EXB

The Banias Waterfall on Israel. Author: Nahum Dam (2004) Photo by NahumDam

Isaiah 44: 3 I will pour out water for the thirsty land and make streams flow on dry land. I will pour out my Spirit ·into your children [on your descendants/offspring/seed] and my blessing on your ·descendants [offspring].

I realize as I get older how much I love to be near water. I grew up spending time on the shores of Lake Michigan every summer. The warm sand, the cold water, the waves, the stillness, the thunderstorms that would fly across the water…so much of the Lord speaking to me. Now, as I take my children to Lake Michigan, as we live very close to a small lake, as we vacation (courtesy of my sweet neighbor) God draws me to Himself by way of His waters. I listen to music today and He declares to me, His Love is Like a River. Then I hear this one:

Isaiah declares the word of the Lord! He will pour forth water, streams will flow, His Spirit will pour out. And then jump back to Jesus’ words, Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink!
I’ve heard it said,

I really like the message of the Bible, I just don’t think Jesus is the only way to God. There are many pathways to God.

Oh, my friends, if we truly look through the Old Testament, searching the clues, there is no way that we can come to this conclusion. I found this amazing article that discusses how Jesus is the only way.  He is the way, the truth and the life. Right?

17 “The poor and needy people look for water,    but ·they can’t find any [there is none].    Their tongues are ·dry [parched] with thirst.But I, the Lord, will answer ·their prayers [L them];    I, the God of Israel, will not ·leave them to die [L abandon/forsake them].18 I will ·make rivers flow [L open rivers] on the ·dry hills [barren heights]    and springs flow through the valleys.I will change the ·desert [wilderness] into ·a lake [pools] of water and the ·dry [arid; parched] land into ·fountains [springs] of water.John 7

So, we come. I come, Lord Jesus. I know that my help comes only from the Lord. I can face this day with You. I can show love and kindness, not in my strength, but in Yours alone. You are the rays of sunshine bursting through the trees.  Friends, what if it is all true? We never, ever need to be afraid. His love never fails. It never gives up. Mathematical Probability aside, Jesus fills. He restores. He will not leave you ever. Can anyone else make promises like this?

Dunwich Heath. Gorse Bushes on Dunwich Heath Photo by Edward

Pray on. Pray on.

 

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Worship. Worship. Worship!


NGC 2467 and Surroundings by ESO

Good morning, beloved!

How’s that for a statement? Exclamation point! Ha! Take that stress! I wake up in the knowledge that I am loved by Creator God who makes such stunning displays of beauty. He reigns.

I remember when this song came out, my kids would belt this song out and one day I asked them what it meant that He reigns. O, Mom, you know, it means we are so thankful that it “rains”.  The song  takes on some interesting new connotations…

My kids all have certain ways that they like to go to bed. We have routines. They don’t like falling asleep without them. As they get older, the need for a certain routine seems to fade but the younger ones need the stability. Love you, see you in the morning, have a good night, it’s going to be a good night…repeated by each of them (well, except for my eldest). Each need, I believe, the assurance that they are loved.

When my world is caving in, I need reassurances that no matter how much rain falls, my God reigns. He makes it rain. He made this world.

The Lord ·is king [reigns; 47:296:1097:198:699:1Rev. 19:6]. He is ·clothed [robed] in majesty.
The Lord is ·clothed [robed] in majesty
and ·armed [girded] with strength.
The world is ·set [established],
and it ·cannot be moved [will not totter].
Lord, your ·kingdom [L throne] was ·set up [established] long ago;
you are everlasting. Psalm 93 EXB

Tears may flow from my eyes from life’s messes but I know, I know, I declare that my God is faithful! He is Lord Almighty!

My Pandora mix today are all these songs. I think maybe my Lord wants to me remember this all. SO I’m sharing these songs because they are such good reminders. Remember, beloved. Nothing compares to His embrace. Light of the World He forever rains. (Just kidding..)

·Worship [Bow down to] the Lord ·because he is holy [L in the splendor of his holiness].
Tremble before him, everyone on earth.
10 Tell the nations, “The Lord ·is king [reigns; 47:293:197:198:699:1Rev. 19:6].”
The earth is ·set [established], and it cannot be moved. Psalm 96 EXB

Worship Him. Tell the world that our Lord is King.

There was a whole lotta hoopla about History Channel’s The Bible debut of Satan this week. That the man’s makeup is designed to make him look like Obama. Whatever. For my brain, remembering that our God’s power is triumphant. Are Satan’s tactics hard to cope with? Yes. God lifts us higher. Lifts you higher than your circumstances.

So my thankfuls today:

230. A beautiful bathroom painted by my lovely Mother..

231. A neighbor who brought me yummy slippers and workout pants.

232. What’s In the Bible with Buck Denver..what a gift.

Praying for our Pastors and their wives:

Pray that your pastor and his wife will practice servant leadership, edifying the congregation with wisdom and serving with God’s “agape” love. (Gal. 5:13b; Eph. 6:7; Mark 10:43b-45, 9:23-24; John 13:5-9; Phil. 2:3-4) (ROH)

God bless you today..pray on. Pray on.

 

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


European Bee-eater, Ariège, France. The female (in front) awaits the offering which the male will make. Photo by Pierre Dalous

Good morning!

I have decided these are my new favorite birds. They eat bees! How fabulous is that! I think we should, as Americans, raise a petition. Bring these birds here! Especially to Illinois. We, okay, I, need these birds, instead of these woodpeckers that keep trying to build there homes in our siding of our house. They are so cute. They bang the stinger out of the bees and then eat them. Maybe we could train them to eat mosquitoes too. I’d be willing to pay them. Seriously.

Yesterday, we spent the afternoon watching the second round of the Bible brought to you by Wal-Mart, and the History Channel, and Mark Burnett. I can’t say I was as thrilled with the second portion as I was the first. No spoilers, I promise, but I found myself wishing I had my Bible with me. I kept thinking and saying out loud, really, was it like that? Did it happen that way? Yet, friends, what I was left with, what I needed to remind myself of, the Bible is coming alive, especially the Old Testament.  How many of us as children (if we went to church) were taught the events of the Old Testament outside of the regular Sunday School stories? It’s amazing to see His Word outside of my imagination or flannel graphs!

As David walked among the Israelites, he was speaking the Word to himself, as he faced off with Goliath, he was fearless.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…

I will fear no evil…

For You are with me…

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me…

Of course, this is Psalm 23. All of the my kids memorized this Psalm, so I had plenty of practice but even if I didn’t, this is an incredibly popular Psalm.  It was powerful watching David chose to walk towards this man/beast.  As Goliath disparaged the one true God, on David walked. The entire army parted ways to bring David to this man. He saw David and threw aside his helmet. Powerful. He was not afraid of a little kid. And that proved to be his demise.

I am told, time and time again. Do not be afraid. Cease striving. Cease the constant conversation of fear.  Yet to watch the men of the Old Testament face their demons, sometimes they failed, which to me, is a good reminder. They were men. Men whom God used. (Women too..)  Pictures in my mind are helpful. Remembering this scene in my mind, I know, I know my God, our God, our faithful, true God will never, ever forsake His children. We can walk through the valleys. We can be without fear.

This is not the story of men. This is the love story of our God dwelling among us.

He fights for us.

Pray on. Pray on.

 

 

 

 

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Everything


Panoramic image looking south from the upper deck of the ‘Top of the Rock’ observation deck on Rockefeller Center. Lower deck is visible on the right edge of the frame. Photo by Daniel Schwen

Good morning beloved,

A friend opened her house to anyone in our co-op to come over yesterday and view History Channel‘s The Bible. I sat and watched scenes that until this moment have just been pictured in my imagination. It would be easy for me to criticize or wish for pieces to be shown differently. However, I cannot. Why? Abraham.

The impact of watching the scene play out from Genesis 22 hit me hard as I drove home. You see, you know what is unfolding, but to watch Abraham pick up his beloved son, lay him on the altar they both designed and pick up his knife. We wait for God‘s messenger to deliver. As Abraham begins to drive the knife into his son, he covers Isaac‘s eyes and the angel cries out. Abraham’s hand plunges into the wood rather than his beloved. They turn and they see a beautiful, spotless, white lamb.

It hurts my heart. I see that lamb as Jesus. A foreshadowing of what is to come. God will not hold His own hand.

Does it ever just hurt your heart to think of God’s Son was not held back? Do you ever ponder the wonder of a love so great?

13 Then Abraham ·looked up [L lifted his eyes] and saw ·a [or another] ·male sheep [ram] caught in a ·bush [thicket] by its horns. So Abraham went and took the sheep offering it as a whole burnt offering to God, ·and his son was saved [L  … in the place of his son]. 14 So Abraham named that place The Lord ·Provides [or Sees; C Hebrew: Yahweh Yireh]. Even today people say, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be ·provided [or seen].”

15 The ·angel [messenger] of the Lord [16:7] called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “The Lord says, ‘Because you did not ·keep back [withhold] your son, your ·only [precious] son, from me, I ·make you this promise by my own name [L swear by myself]: 17 I will surely bless you and ·give you many descendants [L multiply your seed]. They will be as many as the stars in the ·sky[heavens] and the sand on the seashore, and they will ·capture [L possess] the ·cities [L gates] of their enemies. 18 Through your ·descendants [L seed] all the nations on the earth will be blessed, because you ·obeyed [listened to] me [12:1–3].’ ” Genesis 22

Hard video, friends, I have trouble even watching, but the song, the lyrics speak exactly to what I am trying to write.

Just to be with you, I (God) would give anything. He gave everything.

Here I am. Thankful.

My thankfuls:

214. For Precepts Bible studies where I truly understood the word covenant.

215. Your hand, Lord, Your hand not holding Your Son back.

216. I am thankful that this series is being shown on the History Channel.

Praying for your pastor and his wife today:

Pray that God will build a hedge of protection around your pastor’s marriage, and that he and his wife will be aware of the potential for any improper relationships. Pray that their family time will be protected. (Ezek. 22:30a; 2 Cor. 10:4-5; Matt. 19:6)  (Revive Our Hearts)

Pray on. Pray on.

 

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


Italy, Sicily, Agrigento, Valley of the Temples, Temple of Juno Lacinia photo by Berthold Werner

Good morning, beloved,

Last night, two of our bunch were out at Superbowl parties. The rest of us might have cared if, say, Phineas and Ferb were hosting the SB. However, since this was not in the plans, we chose to watch Fractured Fairy Tales.  Surprisingly, we ALL agreed they were fun. What caught my attention was how uncomfortable I became as they twisted and remade these well-known tales. We know Cinderella, Rapunzel and we know how they should begin and end. I waited for the right ending and the credits popped up instead. I began thinking about other books that are made into movies and it occurs to me I don’t like many of those either. I have a picture in my mind of how the set should be, how the characters should look and what parts of the book should come alive.

I read parts of the Bible, I pray in certain ways, I hope God to move this way or that…I get a picture in my mind of how His help should come. Keepin’ it real. I don’t even realize how often I do this, until I sit and look at decisions I have made in this past week. My husband asked me yesterday, what if God wants to bless you in this way? Nope, I don’t think He would do that. REALLY? Who made me the Author of salvation? Freedom, for me, I pray, is that I welcome what He is doing, His will be done. Not mine. NO matter how much I moan and complain. May His will be done.

I am really struggling with this concept. No matter how my circumstances seem, seriously, I want to follow. I don’t want to keep telling God, hey let’s try it this way. (Now, you know I don’t say that, but my heart, my attitudes, my actions…) When has GOD ever made a wrong turn or decision? Why can’t I trust Him fully? What is stopping me?

16 But I will sing about your strength.
In the morning I will sing about your ·love [loyalty].
You are my ·defender [refuge],
my place of safety in ·times of trouble [L the day of distress].
17 God, my strength, I will sing ·praises [a psalm] to you.
God, my ·defender [refuge], you are the God who ·loves [is loyal to] me. Psalm 59 EXB

So join me in singing. Reminding ourselves…

He is our strength… Remembering His strength carried the cross..

Jerusalem, Via Dolorosa, Station IX – Crosses left after walking the Stations of the Cross by Berthold Werner

He is our love…. He is here. He is watching. He is…

Shepherd and Sheep by Anton Mauve

He is our defender…our place of safety…

The walls of Chlemoutsi Castle, built by Geoffrey Villehardouin in 1223 AD, overlooks the port of Kylini, from where ferries run to Zakynthos and Kefalonia. by Robert Wallace

I am full of earth
You are heaven’s worth
I am stained with dirt, prone to depravity
You are everything that is bright and clean
The antonym for me
You are divinity
But a certain sign of grace is this
From the broken earth flowers come up
Pushing through the dirt

http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/d/david_crowder_band/

You know what else I need to keep reminding myself? His Word. Using it, wielding it, holding on to it in the midst of the chaos and storms of life. It isn’t just for nice words, it is for use in my battles all day long.

Today is busy. This week is..busy. I have the opportunity to start right here.

I love you, Lord. You are my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my ·protection [L fortress], my ·Savior [rescuer; T deliverer].
My God is my rock.
·I can run to him for safety [L …in whom I find protection/take refuge].
He is my shield and ·my saving strength [L the horn of my salvation; C symbolizing strength based on an animal lifting its head triumphantly], my ·defender [stronghold]. Psalm 18 EXB

Thank you for praying for my family. Heat is almost installed and we will be ensconced in warmth by tomorrow…hopefully. We have heat upstairs in the two bedrooms and the loft is warmish. My boy is back home and we will be working hard to re-establish  routines and boundaries. My next round of injections is Thursday. No migraine since my last round. Grateful. :)

My thankfuls:

Ann Voskamp, Joy Dare

Three gifts found in writing:

163. Watching my kids write letters to friends.

164. Finding letters from loved ones.

165. Paul’s letters :)

Three gifts found when bent down:

166. The blessing found in kneeling to pray..

167. The intricate patterns of a single snowflake…

168. A snowball!

Pray on. Pray on.

 

Categories: Bible teaching, Pictures from commons..., Thankfuls | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Contrasts


Pig’s Ear (Cotyledon orbiculata) by JJ Harrison

Good morning, beloved,

We let the kids stay up late last night. Shockingly, some are still sleeping so I am hiding out in my room watching the sky lighten and planning my week. Listening to worship music and allowing my mind to drift. I keep coming back to this Psalm. God, Creator of the universe, forming me, molding me, knowing me intricately and loving me. How often to we pause to just thank God for our life? How often do we look in the mirror and realize just how beautifully God made us?

I have the divine pleasure of looking out my window now and seeing a beautiful male cardinal. He is a stark contrast to the browns, grays of the barren trees.

 

13 You ·made [created] my ·whole being [inward parts];
you ·formed [knitted] me in my mother’s ·body [belly; womb].
14 I ·praise [thank] you because you made me in an ·amazing [awesome] and wonderful way.
What you have done is wonderful.
I know this very well.
15 ·You saw my bones being formed [L My bones were not hidden from you]
as I ·took shape [was made] in ·my mother’s body [L secret].
When I was ·put together [L woven] ·there [L in the depths of the earth],
16     ·you [L your eyes] saw my ·body as it was formed [L embyro].
All the days ·planned [L formed] for me
were written in your book
·before I was one day old [not one of them existed]. Psalm 139 EXB

Stop. Pause. Breathe. You have a marvelous Creator God who knows you. Loves you. Nothing remains hidden from Him, and He still remain faithful and loves you.

Good grief, now I have two male cardinals outside in my trees. So beautiful! Now the female is close by. How can I marvel at His creation outside my window and not marvel at the creation that is me?

Friends, the battle of the mind is so fierce. I am so very convinced of this. Our thought life can transform us either way. We can be transformed by the renewing of our mind with Scripture or transformed by negative thoughts of criticism for self and others, fear, doubt and worry.

Today, my family will wrap up (I hope) our memorization of Psalm 15 and will continue to 1 Corinthians 13. I say that not for a pat on the back but because I am convinced of the power of His WORD in my family’s mind and especially mine. What Scripture is going to be the sword you will use when the evil one whispers today?

My Thankfuls:

A Gift in Sky, Water, Memory Ann Voskamp Joy Dare

127. My thankful in sky are the beautiful birds that have joined me for my quiet time this morning.

128. I’m thankful to have stepped out on the ice last night and watched my girl ice skate for the very first time.

129. I’m thankful for my memories of my friend, Jo.

Pray on. Pray on.

 

Categories: Cara thoughts..., Music, Thankfuls | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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