Posts Tagged With: Paul

Promises


La Plana Novella (Olivella) Photo by DagafeSQVT

Good morning, beloved,

15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe,according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1 ESV

I think the first thing I want to do with this passage highlight every instance of you or your and see where that takes me.

Paul is praying for the Ephesians. He has reports of:

  • their faith in the Lord Jesus
  • their love toward all the saints

What is it to you to hear someone is praying for you? For me, it is encouragement.  Paul does not cease to give thanks for them or stop his prayers for them. Then he begins to pray for them. They believe in the Lord Jesus. He prays for revelation.  Next, let’s take what we learn by highlighting all instances of God.

  • God of our Lord Jesus Christ-Paul is stating without a doubt that Jesus was sent from God. Jesus was not a false prophet or liar. He was of God. He is God.
  • Father of glory (doxa) “…in Eph 1:17, “the Father of glory” describes Him as the source from whom all Divine splendor and perfection proceed in their manifestation, and to whom they belong..” (Greek Lexicon, blb.org)
  • God gives us the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of wisdom
  • God gives us revelation, knowledge of Him
  • Our God calls us to hope

Hope. Hope is a very crucial word for me. I find myself again and again and again putting my hope in my circumstances, or my bank account numbers, or my relationships. If one area of my life (that I can see), is not puttering along as I would expect, I begin to get teary, worried. Yuck. My eyes have been taken from the God of glory, the source of Divine splendor, perfection and I’ve climbed into the mud pit and centered my gaze on the mud. Blech.

He calls us to HOPE!

We have riches, friends! We have His glory in us. A glorious. GLORIOUS inheritance. Back to what we learn about God. :)

  • immeasurable greatness of [God's] power toward us who believe.. oh God, help me in unbelief! Are there ever days when you spend more time as doubting Thomas? Immeasurable…I can’t measure His power. I can’t grasp it. So what am I doing doubting?

  • according to the working of [God's] great might-“In Eph 1:19 and Eph 6:10, it is said of the strength of God bestowed upon believers, the phrase “the power of His might” indicating strength afforded by power. ” (Greek Lexicon)
  • [God's] great might that He worked in Christ when He raised him from the dead..so much to ponder here.
  • seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places
  • far above all rule and authority and power and dominion

This …far above all rule, authority, power, dominion…just ponder that for a moment. What we see in front of us is a chain of command, right? Think of authority in your life. Whose has authority in your life? Maybe your parents (if you are young), the police (you see those flashing lights and you pull over), the judge presiding over your case, the senate, the house of reps, the President. Kings, queens, rulers, principalities have nothing on the God of glory. The God of immeasurable power makes it so that I never, ever need to be afraid. He’s above it all. Nothing escapes His rule and dominion.

It’s more than that. He holds this world together. I don’t want to oversimplify God. I don’t want to put Him in my box. Mold Him how I want Him to look. I woke up this morning thinking about my day. Thinking about what went right and why. It isn’t a formula. If I do this and that, then bam, it’s amazing, folks, blessing! However, understanding the incredible depth of blessing of keeping His word close, In repeating it over and over. In the music, proclaiming His power, His dominion over the world! In pausing before I speak, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide.

It’s His name..above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. ooooh! This is so cool! Let me give you some cross refs:

Matthew 28: 19 [e]Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you [f]always, even to the end of the age.”

Acts 4: 11 [j]He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (BTW, catch there is salvation IN NO ONE ELSE. Just Jesus. All you need is Jesus to be saved)

Revelation 19:12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

He is above every name. He is. What more needs to be said? Think the next time you are about to speak His Name. Pause. Reflect. His Name. Remember this day, you are the child of the one true King. Keep His word close to you today. Keep the music playing. Worship Him as you breath.

Pray on. Pray on.

 

Categories: Bible teaching, Cara thoughts..., http://www.hellomornings.org/, Music, Pictures from commons... | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Letters


Good morning, beloved,

Slangkop Lighthouse, near Kommetjie, South Africa. .Photo by Dewet

I received a letter recently. I love receiving letters, handwritten. Isn’t there something just lifting to open the mailbox and receive something other than bills and advertisements? I try keep all my letters. I have a stack of letters in my closet from when I was in college. I remember when I was little being so excited to receive letters from my Grandma. She would send me cute little cards and for certain holidays like Valentine’s day I would get a dollar. That was cool. My brother, when he was very little, sent a card back to my Grandma with a dollar bill for her. He was so thankful for the money she had always sent him so he wanted to return the favor.

Thank you notes, invitations, love letters, newsletters, etc.,  all contain a stated purpose.  Notice, in each, you will find greetings. Maybe a small blessing upon you. Maybe a reminder of what you mean to the writer. As Paul opens his letter to the Ephesians, he begins with his hope for them, for you.

Ephesians 1: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Grace (charis), Paul craves for [his] readers the favor (grace) of God…to which all blessings, esp., spiritual are due. (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, blb.org) May I just share something with you? I long to know His grace, long to understand the favor bestowed upon me because of Jesus, I long to remember in times of great trial, He is the author of all blessings. Paul craves. Think about the last time you craved something. For me, there are times I crave time alone. Crave some food or dessert. It becomes a center focus. I think more about that craving than anything else. So Paul had a singular mind to guide the beloved to understand the grace extended. I wish I could say I crave things like this. How about you?

Peace (eirēnēof Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is.

Remember that song, Peace Like A River? I’ve got peace like a river (repeat, repeat, repeat), in my soul. We would sing this with motions, but I don’t know that I ever connected, as a child, with the idea of His peace flowing through me like a river.

Elwy River, Cefn. Photo: Francis Bedford (1816-1894), 1860s.

Can you connect with the idea of His peace? His tranquility. Paul longed for his readers to grasp the peace available.

Ephesians 3: 4 ·If you read what I wrote then [or By reading this], you can see that I truly understand the ·secret [mystery] ·about [or revealed by; or that consists of; L of] ·Christ [or the Messiah].5 ·People [L The sons of men; C a Hebrew way of referring to people] who lived in other ·times[generations] were not told that secret. But now, through the Spirit, God has ·shown [revealed] that secret to his holy apostles and prophets. 6 This is that ·secret [mystery]: that through the ·Good News [Gospel] the Gentiles ·will share with the Jews in God’s blessing [L are co-heirs]. They belong to the same body, and they share together in the promise that God made in Christ Jesus.

Paul was revealing part of the mystery of Christ! Truly! We (the Gentiles, now Jews) share in God’s blessings. We are co-heirs. We are joined together because of the promise in Christ Jesus.

This is why we need to be on the floor praying diligently for our brothers and sisters in Israel.

Ephesians 4: 12 ·Christ gave those gifts to prepare [L …to equip]God’s holy people for the work of serving, to make the body of Christ stronger.

To equip, a fitting or preparing fully. We have been given all we need to encourage one another through serving. And why do we have these gifts? To bring glory to ourselves? Nah, we are to make the body of Christ stronger. Do you get the sense that Paul longs for unity among the believers? Why? I don’t think it is just to encourage and uplift one another, but to be a community that welcomes those who do not know Jesus. People would crave to know the grace and peace that lives in us!

Ephesians 6:19 Also pray for me that when I ·speak [L open my mouth], God will give me words so that I can tell the ·secret [mystery] of the ·Good News [Gospel] ·without fear [confidently; boldly]. 20 ·For this Good News […for which] I am an ambassador in ·prison [L chains; 3:1]. Pray that I will speak ·it [or for him;or in him] ·without fear [boldly; confidently], as I should.

This prayer that Paul asked to be prayed on his behalf? Yea, that needs to be our prayer. That when we open our mouths we will speak the Good News. Boldly.

Bold Peak, in the Chugach Range of Alaska, as seen from a hanging valley below Thunderbird Peak. Photo by Paxson Woelber

We run with endurance the race set before us! Thank God we have the letters of Paul! Thank God Paul was given this gift of letter writing. Each is precious to  our faith and hope. We can hold tight to the promises found in Ephesians and I look forward to continuing to unwrap Ephesians!

Thankfuls:

278. As I work through this book, I am following a book called Glorious Grace by Lara Williams. So thankful for her guidance.

279. Thankful for time by a lake yesterday with my friend.

280. Thankful that God give beauty for ashes.

Pray on. Pray on.

 

 

Categories: Bible teaching, Cara thoughts..., http://www.hellomornings.org/, New Testament | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Glorious…


Sunrise in Newbury, Berkshire, in 2004 Photo by Joolz

Good morning, beloved,

Tuning my thoughts to Jesus this morning. Remembering this is His time. This is not the time to ponder the day. Or conversations I need to have. Rather, this morning time? I need to dedicate this time. Set aside. Frankly, I could learn a lot from my dog. Do things bother her? Does she get hung up on little things? Right now, she has taken to the couch and is on her back sound asleep. Yes, asleep. Very singular focus, this dog. Me? I’m all over the place. I ask my God to tune my heart. Be my vision. 

On our trip home from vacation, we listened to most of Acts and all of Romans from the Word of Promise audio Bible. There is something about listening to these precious words. Don’t get me wrong, reading and taking apart is my passion…At times, you will hear the pen scribbling on the paper. Doors open and close. Listening to Paul’s story, his conversion, his transformation all over gives me hope. My goal in these next few weeks is to follow Paul’s story and work through Ephesians.  So let’s introduce ourselves to Paul. 

·In Jerusalem [L But; Meanwhile] Saul was still ·threatening [L breathing threats against] the ·followers [disciples] of the Lord by saying he would kill them. So he went to the high priest [C probably Caiaphas; 4:6] 2 and asked him to write letters to the synagogues in the city of Damascus [C in Syria, 135 miles north of Jerusalem]. Then if Saul found any ·followers of Christ’s Way [or who belonged to the Way; C a name for the Christian movement], men or women, he would ·arrest [take them prisoner; L bind]them and bring them back to Jerusalem.  Acts 9 EXB

I have to tell you. If you haven’t read chapter 8 of Acts. Do it. Amazing. The Spirit of God is moving, powerfully.  The mourning of Stephen, the story of Simon (a man who had much to learn), the story of Phillip all encapsulated the early movement in the church. Behind it all, a man was gaining power, prestige and moving to destroy the Way. 

Panoramic View over the Old City Jerusalem from the Austrian Hospice. Photo by 365grad

Saul wasn’t content just ripping apart the Way in Jerusalem. He saw that it was spreading to other regions. He had his goal, his purpose. Look in this passage. How far was he willing to travel? 135 miles? On foot or by horse, still a long way…according to NET Bible, “From Damascus to Jerusalem was a six-day journey. Christianity had now expanded into Syria.”  He was planning to make this a round trip. So, not only was he willing to travel six days, round ‘em all up, then he was willing to come back.

Map

3 So Saul headed toward Damascus. As he came near the city, a bright light from heaven suddenly flashed around him [C in the OT lightning sometimes signaled the appearance of God; Ex. 19:16]. 4 Saul fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”

5 Saul said, “Who are you, ·Lord [or sir]?”

The voice answered, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 Get up now and go into the city. ·Someone there will tell you [L You will be told] what you must do.”

A bright light from heaven suddenly flashed around him…

When Paul is describing this event in Acts 26:13, “I saw a light from heaven. It was brighter than the sun and ·flashed [shone] all around me and those who were traveling with me.” All he could do was fall to the ground. Makes me think of when Daniel encounters the angel in Daniel 8: 17 ·Gabriel [L He] came to where I was standing. When he came close to me, I was ·very afraid [terrified; or overwhelmed] and ·bowed facedown on the ground [L fell on my face]. But ·Gabriel [L he] said to me, “·Human being [L Son of man], understand that this vision is about the time of the end.”

Ray of Light on Cap Haitien, Haiti Photo by Alex Proimos from Sydney, Australia

Just think, friends, Paul met with Jesus. What do we know about the name of Jesus?

In Philippians 2:10 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.

So, now, we have a handle on the holiness of this moment. This was the defining moment of his life. He met Jesus. He heard the emotion as Jesus called to him. And Saul realizes that his persecution, his passion for the destruction Christian church…little did he know he was actually persecuting Jesus! What does that mean to us today? Jesus felt every blow, every whip, every word against the church. He felt every wound. Sweet friend, Jesus feels your every trial, He catches every tear. 

Beautiful. Absolutely! 

7 The ·people [men] traveling with Saul stood there ·but said nothing [speechless; or unable to speak]. They heard the voice, but they saw no one. 8 Saul got up from the ground and opened his eyes, but he could not see. So those with Saul took his hand and led him into Damascus. 9 For three days Saul could not see and did not eat or drink. Acts 9 EXB

Pray on. Pray on.

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

Need freedom?


Reserve Haphalskyy Photo by Balkhovitin

Good morning, beloved of God,

This morning as my computer warmed up, my third was lamenting about his many mosquito bites. He was pointing to every place the mosquitos attacked. He was so tired. He was frustrated. And then a friend called, and my son transformed. He sat up. He began talking excitedly about his newest craze. I watched this rapid transformation and I muse. Get used to this..my husband has had to..;)

Do I think my son was lying? No. I think his misery was based on a singular focus. He still has those pesky, itchy bites, yet his mind switched and he is able to enjoy his conversation. (Tho, I just saw him enter the bathroom with my phone…not sure I’m…)

I don’t like dwelling on the uncomfortable stuff, such as the Holy Spirit zeroing in on my sin or pain.  I prefer to sit in the happy places. Yet, as much as I don’t like to think upon this, some of the storms in my life are of my own doing. My own failings. Just like my son’s mosquito bite, when I am attacked by the little buggers, I long to scratch. Notice how the momentary relief becomes a more persistent itch? Kind of like sin, isn’t it? We give in to the temptation (whatever it is) and all of a sudden, the itch has become our focus. In the back of my mind, I know I should stop itching,  I should not give in and yet I do. James says it so much better:

12 ·When people are tempted and still continue strong, they should be happy [L Blessed is the one who perseveres/endures trials/temptations]. After they have ·proved their faith[stood/endured/passed the test], ·God will reward them with life forever [L they will receive the crown of life; C alludes to the laurel crown given for a victory]. ·God [L He] promised this to all those who love him. 13 When people are ·tempted [undergoing a trial], they should not say, “God is tempting me.”[L For] God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But ·people are[L each person is] tempted when their own evil desire ·leads [lures; drags] them away and ·traps[entices; lures] them. 15 ·This desire leads to sin [L Then, after desire is conceived, it gives birth to sin], and then the sin ·grows [or becomes full-grown] and ·brings [gives birth to] death. James 1 EXB

Now here is the tricky part. Walking through the sin committed with the Holy Spirit, seeing where the temptation snagged me and understanding the root. The place where Satan knows I fall most easily. He hasn’t changed his technique a lot in my life. It all began with ….you answer for yourself. I answer for myself. And then I remember Paul. Thank You, Lord for Paul and his letters.  It is a little long..so stick with him.

14 [L For] We know that the law is spiritual, but I am ·not spiritual [fleshly; carnal] ·since sin rules me as if I were its slave [L sold to sin; C as a slave]. 15 [L For] I do not understand the things I do. [L For] I do not do what I want to do, and I do the things I hate. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, that means I agree that the law is good [C Paul’s acknowledgement that his behavior is wrong confirms the law’s righteous standards]. 17 But [L now] I am not really the one who is doing these hated things; it is sin living in me that does them. 18 ·Yes [L For…], I know that nothing good lives in me—I mean nothing good lives in ·the part of me that is earthly and sinful [my sinful self; my sinful nature; T my flesh]. [L For] I want to do the things that are good, but I ·do not [or cannot] do them. 19 [L For] I do not do the good things I want to do, but I do the ·bad [evil] things I do not want to do. 20 So if I do things I do not want to do, then I am not the one doing them. It is sin living in me that does those things.

21 So I ·have learned this rule [or find this principle/law at work]: When I want to do good, evil is ·there with me [present within me; close at hand]. 22 [L For] In ·my mind [my inmost self; L the person within], I ·am happy with [delight in] God’s law. 23 But I see ·another law [a different standard; oranother power] working in my ·body [or outward actions; L members; parts], which makes war against the ·law [standards] that my mind accepts. That other ·law [standard; or power] working in my ·body[or outward actions; L members; parts] is the law of sin, and it makes me its prisoner. 24 What a ·miserable [wretched] man I am! Who will ·save [free; rescue; deliver] me from this ·body that brings me death [body doomed to die; or burden of death]? 25 ·I thank God for saving me [L Thanks be to God!] through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Ukrainian Steppe Nature Reserve Stone Tombs Photo by Balkhovitin

So [L then] in my mind I am a slave to God’s law, but in my ·sinful self [sinful nature; T flesh] I am a slave to the ·law [principle; or power] of sin. Romans 7 EXB

Paul understands. Paul was there. You may be there. You may be continuing in a sin that the Holy Spirit is pushing you to change. You long to stop. To change. Yet, this is NOT something to be done in your own strength. My own strength, we are saved not on our own merit, but because Christ has saved us! Do you hear that?

So now, those who are in Christ Jesus are not ·judged guilty[a] [condemned; punished for their sins]. 2 [L For] ·Through [or In] Christ Jesus the ·law [principle; or power] of the Spirit that brings life set you[b] free from the ·law [principle; or power] that brings sin and death. Romans 8 EXB

The sun breaks through the clouds. Hope renewed. Lift up a shout! Run after Him!

So, today, the cross before me, my sins forgiven, I walk freely with Him. Satan whispers and I lift up my face, I turn my eyes to Jesus. I replay No Chains On Me! and declare my God saves. I am free. And you know what? So are you. You ask for the forgiveness Jesus so freely offers to you. You accept His very free, yet costly gift (not to you, but to Him).

And your heart can be free!

I gotta go..and dance with my girl.

Pray on! Pray on!

 

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But have not..


Good morning, beloved,

As I think I have shared with you, our family has begun memorizing large chunks of Scripture. We have memorized, the Apostle’s Creed and Psalm 15, this last month. It’s exciting for me, as I seem to have had so much trouble in the past years of AWANA land, to remember, to recall and to now move on to our next challenge. As I listened to the kids working through our next passage, if they could have sang, “watermelon, watermelon”, it would have made less sense. The words at parts are a little fuzzy and I began pausing and asking them questions about what they were able to regurgitate. They didn’t understand.

So, out the white board came, and we began working through the first couple of verses. I will admit that this can be a little frustrating for me as kids move around, touch things and generally appear to not be listening. However, when I asked for a recap, I was pleased by their recollection.

Yet, the blessings were manifold for me. I had never looked at this well known passage by taking it apart as we were doing. At first, I felt a little rocky, but I hit my stride and I think everyone was a little pleased I limited us to two verses. Ahem. (See most of my posts if you don’t know to what I am hinting..)

When I was turning in my mind, praying as to what I was to discuss, this song was the first on Pandora. Okay, Lord, let’s do it. And now this song comes in,

Want to guess what passage we are studying? :)

 

I may speak in ·different languages [L tongues; 12:102930] of people or even angels. But if I do not have love, I am only a ·noisy [resounding] ·bell [gong] or a ·crashing [clanging] cymbal. I may have the gift of prophecy. I may understand all ·the secret things of God [L mysteries] and have all knowledge, and I may have faith so great I can move mountains. But even with all these things, if I do not have love, then I am nothing. 

1 Corinthians 13 EXB

 

So we just dived in.

I may speak in different languages…we know Paul, himself, must have known at least Hebrew, Greek, possibly Aramaic, and possibly Latin. He was an incredibly gifted man. I realize as I try to research these first few verses, not many speak about who is the “I”. Paul was never bashful in sharing the good and the bad (see Romans 7) that was within him. So, he spoke many languages. The word languages (glōssa): 

the tongue, a member of the body, an organ of speech

the language or dialect used by a particular people distinct from that of other nations

You may be able to speak their language. You may EVEN understand the language of the angels. Think of Paul’s life before the road to Emmaus. He was on that road, angry, bitter and revengeful, ready to rout these meddling Christians.  Then Paul met Jesus, or rather, Jesus met Paul. Before? Paul was a gong.  He was a crashing, clanging cymbal. After? welcome to the New Testament, friends. Love.

Love with Jesus standing before, behind and beside you. Me. That’s love. Otherwise, our feeble attempts alone?

Chain sizzlers in position on cymbals. Photo by Andrew Alde

Just sayin’.

I may have the gift of prophecy… Oooh. The kids and I were amazed at the words here. Easy to speak these words..

prophēteiathe gift of “the speaking forth of the mind and counsel of God”

The mind and counsel of God?

33 ·Yes [L O], ·how great are [L the depth of] ·God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge [or the riches of God’s wisdom and knowledge]! ·No one can explain [L How unsearchable are…] ·the things God decides [God’s judgments] ·or understand [L …and untraceable…!] his ·ways [paths]. 34 As the Scripture says,

“[L For] Who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been ·able to give him advice [his counselor; Is. 40:13]?”
35 “·No one [L Or who…?] has ever given God anything
that he must pay back [Job 41:11].”

36 ·Yes, God made all things, and everything continues through him and for him [L Because all things come from him, through him and for him]. To him be the glory forever! Amen. Romans 11 EXB

The Center of the Milky Way

Pause and calmly think of that! Rather then utter words on your own, pray His Word back to Him. This is what I am learning. This is why I am becoming such a huge fan of memorizing. We all have our own ways to memorize, thanks be to God, I’ve found a way. You? You need to find the Word in your heart. I need to KEEP His word in my heart. Then when we pray for people, we don’t suppose to understand the mind of God, we speak the word of God.

I may understand all the secret things of God…

I think I’m just going to let Jesus take this one. :)

10 The ·followers [disciples] came to Jesus and asked, “Why do you ·use stories to teach the people [L speak to them in parables]?”

11 Jesus answered, “·You have been chosen [L It has been granted/given to you] to ·know [understand] the ·secrets[mysteries] about the kingdom of heaven, but ·others cannot know these secrets [L it has not been given/granted to those others]. 12 Those who ·have understanding [L have] will be given more, and they will have ·all they need [an abundance]. But those who do not ·have understanding [L have], even what they have will be taken away from them. 13 This is why I ·use stories to teach the people [L speak in parables]: [L Because] They ·see [look], but they don’t ·really see [perceive]. They hear, but they don’t really hear or understand. 14 ·So they show that the things Isaiah said about them are true [L In them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says]:

‘You will ·listen and listen [keep on hearing; or listen intently], but you will not understand.
You will ·look and look [keep on seeing; or look intently], but you will not ·learn [perceive; comprehend].
15 For the ·minds [hearts] of these people have become ·stubborn [dull; calloused; hardened].
They ·do not [hardly] hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes
and hear with their ears.
They might really understand ·in their minds [with their hearts]
and ·come back [turn; return] to me and ·be healed [I would heal them; Is. 6:9–10].’

16 But ·you [L your eyes] are blessed, because you see with your eyes and hear with your ears. 17 I tell you the truth, many prophets and ·good [righteous; just] people ·wanted [longed] to

Warped Galactic Ring

see the things that you now see, but they did not see them. And they ·wanted [longed] to hear the things that you now hear, but they did not hear them. Matthew 13 EXB

And Paul:

25 ·Glory to God [L Now to the one] who can make you strong in faith ·by [or in accord with] ·the Good News that I tell people[L my Gospel] and ·by [or in accord with] the ·message [preaching; proclamation] about Jesus Christ. The message about Christ is the ·secret [mystery; 11:25] that was hidden for long ages past but is now ·made known [revealed; disclosed]. 26 It has been ·made clear [revealed; disclosed] through the writings of the prophets. And by the command of the eternal God it is ·made known [revealed; disclosed] to all ·nations [Gentiles] ·that they might believe and obey [or for the obedience that follows faith; L for the obedience of faith]. Romans 16 EXB

But, if you understand all of this, but have not love? (Oh, I know I’m skipping..) I am, you are nothing. I don’t want to be nothing. If I am allowed into the mysteries of God, yet I don’t share, I don’t live..love…

I may have a faith that moves mountains…

Now I’m going to James have the floor:

16 [L Therefore,] Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so God can heal you. ·When a believing person prays, great things happen [L The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective]. 17 Elijah was a human being just like us. He prayed [earnestly; L with prayer] that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years! 18 Then Elijah prayed again, and ·the rain came down from the sky[or heaven gave rain], and the land produced crops again [1 Kin. 17—18]. James 5 EXB

That is our faith, friends. That is what is available to us. Elijah was just like us?

No love, though? Judgmental thoughts, gossip, anger held, forgiveness withheld? Ahem.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by a great cloud of ·people whose lives tell us what faith means [L witnesses], let us run the race that is before us ·and never give up [with endurance/perseverance]. ·We should [Let us] ·remove from our lives[get rid of; cast aside] anything that ·would get in the way [impedes/hinders us] and the sin that so easily ·holds us back[entangles/clings to us]. Let us ·look only to [keep our eyes on] Jesus, the ·One who began [Pioneer/Founder of; orLeader/Prince of] our faith and who ·makes it perfect [completes it]. He ·suffered death on [L endured] the cross, ·accepting the shame as if it were nothing [L disregarding/despising the shame] because of the joy that ·God put before [lay ahead for]him. And now he is sitting at the right ·side [L hand] of God’s throne [1:3; 13; Ps. 110:1]. Think about Jesus, who endured such ·hostility [opposition] from sinful people, so that you will not ·get tired [grow weary; get discouraged] and ·stop trying[give up]. Hebrews 12 EXB

See what I mean about keeping myself to two verses? Oh, Lord, steal my show.

Hey, just an update about this family. I continued my road with my injections and since they are confident to the parts of my nerves in my neck that are damaged, we went to the next step yesterday. You can read about it here. I had one side of my neck done yesterday. The next side will be next Thursday, your prayers are coveted. Your encouraging notes are blessing. God’s word is so amazing isn’t it? And we are the body…

Heat restoration in my house began in earnest yesterday. We will be fully ensconced in the warm bliss of heat by next Tuesday. Praise God!

Please keep praying for my boy. He is having such a hard time.

Today’s time in the Word was such life for me.

Ann Voskamp, Joy Dare

Three gifts red:

157. Jesus’ precious blood, the most amazing gift of all.

158. My Minnie Mouse coffee mug, okay, it’s not all red, but what a gift from my kids.

159. My red jammies..love me jammies.

Pray on. Pray on.

 

Categories: Cara thoughts..., Music, New Testament, Pictures from commons..., Romans, Thankfuls | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Joy


Dodecatheon pulchellum ssp. pulchellum alongside Calico seep, Calico Basin, Spring Mountains, southern Nevada (elev. about 1100 m) by Stan Shebs

Good morning, beloved,

Starting my morning off right, playing the praise music and studying Scripture, the best way to begin a day. Overnight, I found resources in coping with a vestibular disorder and I know, confidently, God gave me that gift. I was not alone in my bed last night looking at the pages. I have this picture of Jesus in my mind, light, pointing to each article and saying, Here, look here.

There is freedom in understanding.

What are your struggles?

Read on because I could go on and on..but I think Paul says it quite well.

Romans 12:

1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.

Go to church, beloved. Be with the community of believers today. May God bless your steps. May His beautiful face shine upon you and keep you. Pray on. Pray on.

How is Joy in Suffering Possible?

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Eclipse part 3 :)


Broadway Tower, a folly in the English county of Worcestershire. The “Saxon” tower was designed by James Wyatt in 1794 to resemble a mock castle, and built for Lady Coventry in 1799. Broadway Tower sits on the edge of the second highest point in the Cotswolds overlooking the village of Broadway and the Severn Vale. From the top of the tower, on a clear day, as many as 16 English counties can be identified. by Saffron Blaze

Good morning, beloved,

Well, the rain is pouring down, the thunder is crashing, the lightening is flashing…it is a storm of beautiful proportions! And Noah is supposed to do a car was today…umm, yes, well, I guess the garden is getting a blessing. The car wash? Not so good…

Yesterday was such a lovely day. My first day at Lake Michigan beach..yes, it was a good day. We all got to the beach. I was able to stare out over the water and breath in and out.  The kids dived into the water. I took pictures. Umm, I did not dive in. I believe Luke had a good day. Had his favorite foods, played some Wii, cuddled a fat guinea pig with pleading eyes at Mom (rodents not allowed at Mom’s), beach time, presents, smores over an open fire, worship music in the car with all windows open singing at the top of our lungs….here’s what we sang..it was on klove.

Yes, I believe it was a good day…

Shot with Nikon D7000 at Shawnee Mission Lake in Shawnee, Kansas by Abby182000

We are back in Romans 12! You know it! If you have missed the last two days, go on back and read and come join the party. :)

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and 

well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.

reasonable- “the reasoning faculty, reasonable, rational,” is used in Rom 12:1, of the service (latreia) to be rendered by believers in presenting their bodies “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God.” The sacrifice is to be intelligent, in contrast to those offered by ritual and compulsion; the presentation is to be in accordance with the spiritual intelligence of those who are new creatures in Christ and are mindful of “the mercies of God.”

Anyone want to say English, Cara? LOL…this morning with a cuppa it made a lot more sense then the world rushed in and life began. Now it seems very quiet and maybe I can finish this…

The sacrifice of your body, your living body is a choice, an intelligent choice that you are daily, moment by moment offering to the Lord. This is NOT a bowing down five times a day because you have to, not understanding the text because it is in a different language and never having it translated..this is a real choice made with the God of the universe vitally interested, intrigued and loving the socks off ya.

You present your body because as you made the choice, the decision to give your life to Christ once, you now are a new creature in Christ and the old is gone and new has come! You are ever, ever mindful of the beautiful, wonderful, ever present gifts/mercies of GOD!

Better? ;) It is to me..I had to work that out in my brain…

Annular eclipse 05/20/2012 as seen from Wolfforth, Texas, USA by Eddie Wimberley

Do not be conformed to this world (this age)…

Fashion (conformed):

“to give the same figure or appearance as, to conform to, signifies “to fashion oneself, to be fashioned,” Rom 12:2,

Note: In Rom 12:2 being outwardly “conformed” to the things of this age is contrasted with being “transformed” (or transfigured) inwardly by the renewal of the thoughts through the Holy Spirit‘s power.

Taken from New Harmony, Utah. May 20, 2012 by makelessnoise from Bountiful, Utah, USA

but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude]…

Oh, beloved, transformed, changed, so wonderful..we don’t want to be wear the filthy rags of this world. We don’t want to fashion ourselves to the things of this age. Rather, Paul has on His mind the Author and Finisher of our faith. You know how I know that? Well, let’s look at the word transformed

…Christ appearance was changed and was resplendent with divine brightness on the mount of transfiguration.  Lovely..:)

…of believers, Rom 12:2, “be ye transformed,” the obligation being to undergo a complete change which, under the power of God, will find expression in character and conduct…the present continuous tenses indicate a process; 

Pay attention to what is in italics, beloved! The present continuous tenses indicate a process…in motion. New ideals, new attitudes..

Annular eclipse (Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan) by Σ64

so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God…

prove-to test, examine, prove, scrutinise (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals

will-what one wishes or has determined shall be done, a) of the purpose of God to bless mankind through Christ, b) of what God wishes to be done by us

even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]…

What a verse! What a promise..So let’s review. Of course…

  1. Always keep in mind the mercies of God
  2. Decide, decisively, to dedicate your body as a LIVING sacrifice
  3. This is a holy and well pleasing act of continuous service and worship to God
  4. With this in mind, do not fashion yourself to this age, this world
  5. Rather be transformed (like your Savior) by the entire renewal of your mind
  6. With this transformation, you will be able to prove for yourselves the good and perfect will of God..
  7. Not only that, EVEN the thing which is GOOD, and ACCEPTABLE, and PERFECT in His sight for you…
Anyone need that today? :) I sure do..
Pray on, beloved.


Categories: Bible teaching, Cara thoughts..., New Testament, Old Testament, Romans, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Behave..


Sunrise over Lake Ontario by Andrew Rivett from Toronto, Canada

Good morning, beloved,

What a sunset last night! What a sunrise this morning! After a day of raining on and off, it was good to see the sun down with such glory! I spent the afternoon in my bedroom. I wasn’t in trouble. I was sorting clothes. Again. And then I hear my neighbor and here she comes with bags upon bags of clothes for our family…God bless her. She insists on not letting me thank her. A single Mom…who has adopted me. Who am I? She has brought me clothes, blankets, books, and she just keeps coming and I just keep hugging on her. I keep on praying for her. Will you join me? Her name is Michelle and her son, Jake..

his was taken from my balcony overlooking Lake Ontario and stitched together using Double Take software. by Andrew Rivett from Toronto, Canada

Colossians 4

Behave yourselves wisely [living prudently and with discretion] in your relations with those of the outside world (the non-Christians), making the very most of the time andseizing (buying up) the opportunity.

Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned [as it were] with salt, [so that you may never be at a loss] to know how you ought to answer anyone [who puts a question to you].

I’ve thought on Michelle a lot. I’ll be honest with you. She talks a lot about being a Christian. I am praying for her and looking over at her house a whole lot. And these are the verses of the day on Biblegateway…interesting.  Look with me at some of the Greek?

Behave yourselvesperipateō-to walk,  to make one’s way, progress; to make due use of opportunities, Hebrew for, to live. 

God cares how I live before my neighbors, for that matter with my family, friends…yet especially with those who do not know Christ intimately. He wants me to make the most of the time. In fact to seize it, buy it up!

Let your speech at all times be graciouscharis..of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues. .

Amen! At first glance it seems as tho Paul is saying it’s up to you, Cara..but the Greek comes through strong…exerting His holy influence, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases…

This is His work. This is His heart. And I need to show up and be willing to help, open the door, invite her in.

Rain over part of Lake Ontario as seen from Olcott Beach. Rain is liquid precipitation. On Earth, it is the condensation of atmospheric water vapor into drops heavy enough to fall, often making it to the surface. This condensation is very clear in the picture as dark bands stretching down to the surface. by Ad Meskens

 

Pray on, friends. Pray on.


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


UFO Galaxy.” NGC 2683 is a spiral galaxy by NASA

Good morning, beloved,

God‘s up to something. :) The blood work on Joshua is back and it is normal and fine and clean. So we just bless the Lord and thank Him and give Him glory!

Romans 12:11 Never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavor; be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord.

Hyacint, Brno, CZ by I.Sáček, senior

Lag in zeal? What does that mean? Glad you asked. ;) (Don’t you love it when we have these conversations early in the morning?)

Well, to lag in means to be: sluggish, slothful, backward and to have zeal: is have : earnestness, zeal,” or sometimes “the haste accompanying this..is translated “diligence”  . So Paul is asking me, you..let’s not lack. Let’s be diligent and careful not to crush our light on this earth.

In earnest endeavor; be aglow and burning with the Spirit…these words are not cold, not tepid, these are hot! And the Greek speaks to the same! Be fervent, to boil with heat, be hot . O friends, let’s burn bright for the kingdom!!

Red Heart photo was taken during the annual Kuala Lumpur Floral and Garden Festival held at Lake Perdana. by LOKE SENG HON

These last few days, I set myself up. At a grocery store near me, they sometimes have bags of apples for cheap (5 lbs for $.79) Well, I decided while we were there to get a lot of bags. Not just a lot…um…14 or 15 bags. So needless to say, these past few days, I’ve been peeling, cutting, dehydrating and we are now filling our cabinets with dehydrated apples, applesauce, apple pie filling and I’m exhausted. And I’ve dropped into bed at night, exhausted. I was fervent! I had a goal. I did not want to lose the apples. Waste this money I spent..last night Joshua and I were considering…probably it will be gone next week. The kids love it all. :) We had a good laugh. The laugh reached his eyes. It made my heart happy…

Romans 12: 12Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer.

Friends, our hope cannot be in what we see. Our steadfastness and patience must stay in the Lord. He’s the only one who can hold us. What you see is so colored, so worldly..please keep coming back to the Word of God. Use the Word like a filter for your eyes, like a pair of glasses. By the world’s eyes, and sometimes my own, I get very overwhelmed by my circumstances yet when I look into the eyes of Jesus…I have no choice but rejoice.  I must, let me say it again, I must be the patient in suffering and tribulation. And continuing and constant in prayer.

Hedge False Bindweed (Calystegia sepium sepium) by André Karwath aka Aka

Romans 12:13Contribute to the needs of God’s people [sharing in the necessities of the saints]; pursue the practice of hospitality.

So, now, beloved, allow your lights to burn brights, hope in Him…and as Bill Hybels said so well last weekend, what do you have in your hands? How can you serve Your God? Well, my friends, hold out your hands and say, God I’m here. Use me. And, my beloved friends, He will. He just needs you to be willing…He needs me to be willing. When my baby girl says, Mommy read me a story..I’m not too busy. When my neighbor needs her dog watched..yep. When another neighbor needs to talk…open my hands. Yes, Lord, use me. When my eldest wants to talk about his favorite video games which then results in a much deeper conversation…yes Lord…but I had to be there..I had to be patient. And sometimes, I’m not..forgive me Lord.

Primroses (primula vulgaris) by the South Wales Main Line at Chipping Sodbury. Own work by mattbuck..

Pray on, beloved. Pray on…

Garden Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus). by George Chernilevsky

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