Blue Letter Bible

It Is Written…

Posted on Updated on


Good morning, beloved,

A bit of business to attend…I’ve been getting feedback lately that it has been difficult to comment on my blog. So I’ve switched up the comment section to make it easier and smoother. Will you try it out for me and let me know? Many thanks. I am so grateful to each one of you for reading these words of mine.

A couple of years ago, the History Channel caused a stir in the Christian community with its production of the Bible miniseries. The opinions, the controversies, the arguments volleyed back and forth. Our family watched the miniseries. We enjoyed the series, honestly, not for the inaccuracies, but for the excitement. Our family had fun discussing the Old Testament together. What did they get right? What did they miss? Do you really think that’s what Moses looked like? THE ANGELS?!?!?

The stories of Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph came alive. We, as a nation, saw them not just as words on a page. How often have we heard the Old Testament is so boring. It doesn’t apply to me. I don’t understand it. The God of the New Testament is much nicer, less judgement.

Jesus and the New Testament writers felt very differently than you and I. According to Pam Gillespie,

Researchers tell us that the New Testament writers make 224 direct references to the Old Testament and cite allusions to Old Testament scriptures anywhere from 600 to 1,600 times. In round numbers about 10% of the New Testament either quotes the Old directly or makes clear allusion to it. (Voices: Hearing God In A World Of Impostors New Testament, p. 45)

Let’s look at some of the ways Jesus does quote the Old Testament.

It is written

Matthew 4 reveals the temptation of Jesus. In a earlier post, I discussed the prayers of Jesus. And now, watch this chapter unfold with me.

Matthew 4

Then the Spirit led Jesus [L up; out] into the ·desert [wilderness] to be tempted [or tested] by the devil. Jesus fasted for forty days and nights[C analogous to Israel’s forty years in the desert]. After this, he was ·very hungry [famished]. The ·devil came to Jesus to tempt him [L tempter/tester came to Jesus], saying, “If you are the Son of God, ·tell [command] these rocks to ·become bread [turn into loaves].”

Jesus answered, “It is written in the Scriptures, ‘A person lives not on bread alone, but by ·everything God says [L every word that comes out of God’s mouth; Deut. 8:3].’”

Satan comes to Jesus at His weakest. Not when He is strong. Take note, my friend. When you are sick, tired, hungry, alone, I bet you can attest to the temptations yourself. Read Jesus’ response. We don’t have an emotion attached to this response. He isn’t weepy, or sad. He has an answer and it is straight from the Word. It is written…

1. Jesus knew the plan. He knew the plan because He knew the word of God.

2. Jesus knew the Word of God. How often when we are weak and frail and then under attack, words from the Bible fail to come to us? Oh, friend, we need to have His Word close to our heart and mind. If not memorized, let’s write it on notecards and keep in our back pockets or purses or wallets.

3. Jesus knew feelings from truth. We need to get this one! The mutterings of our mind compared to the truth of Scripture. NO COMPARISON. We have to line up, speak out what is going on in our mind. I’m amazed when I actually say aloud what is going on in my mind how false it can be.

Then the devil ·led [took] Jesus to the holy city [C Jerusalem] and put him on ·a high place [the highest point; the pinnacle] of the Temple. The devil said, “If you are the Son of God, ·jump [L throw yourself] down, because it is written in the Scriptures:

‘He ·has put his angels in charge of you [or will order his angels to protect you; L will command his angel concerning you].
    They will ·catch you in [lift you up with] their hands
so that you will not hit your foot on a rock [Ps. 91:11–12].’”

Jesus answered him, “It also says in the Scriptures, ‘Do not test the Lord your God [Deut. 6:16].’”

What throws me here, but doesn’t throw Jesus..the tempter knows the word of God and uses it craftily. He continues to taunt and test. Very interesting. However! Jesus knows exactly how to answer. And lest you think that only Jesus can answer Satan, let me remind you of the power of the Holy Spirit within you. And the power of the knowledge of the word of God!

·Then [Again] the devil took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and all their ·splendor [glory]. The devil said, “If you will ·bow [fall] down and worship me, I will give you all these things.”

10 Jesus said to him, “·Go away from me [Get out of here; Be gone], Satan![L For] It is written in the Scriptures, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him [Deut. 6:13].’”

I love this. Go away from me Satan. HE casts Satan away from Himself. HE asks Satan to leave. I love that. He has had enough of Satan’s wiles and temptations. And notice that each one of the passages Jesus quotes can be found in Deuteronomy. Another fascinating aspect..He chooses Law to fight Satan’s temptations. What amazes me is how Jesus fights each attack with Scripture, Satan has no real retort, no come back and so three times he tries a different front and three times he fails. What a lesson for us in our lives.

What a lesson for me today. I hope for you as well. I only have scratched the surface today. I have a busy day ahead. We have an extra couple of boys all whom are sword fighting in the basement as I type away. Later this afternoon we head to Feed My Starving Children in Libertyville. I love that place. I love serving there with my kids. So a busy day, full day. Thankful.

Thankful for the whole Scripture today. How about you, friend? How do you feel about the Old Testament? A difficult part of Scripture? DO you prefer the New Testament? Will you venture into the Old? Does your church teach the Old? I’d love to hear from you!

Prayers of Jesus

Posted on


Good morning, beloved,

We had gotten very busy. Every night packed with activities, places to take the kids, we were going in a million different directions and the important, the really important was beginning to fall away. It was amazing how what had once been habits in our family became distant memories as the nights became later and family members were tugged in opposite directions.

As all of our activities began to wind down, and we began to breath again, our Danny came into our room very late one night. He confessed that he missed our nightly times of prayer together as a family and wondered why we weren’t doing it anymore. He wasn’t sleeping as well. He missed his family.

Out of the mouths of babes.

So, we have begun again. And so we start as we mean to go on. On our bed last night, sprawled across, four very sleepy children praying with us. It’s not perfect, it’s messy. They don’t all pray. This isn’t a five hour long worship service. But we are together and we are ending the day in prayer. In fact, some complained.

Prayer. What a word. How often it slips from our mouth, right? I’ll pray for you. Can you? In times of national tragedy.. Say your prayers. What is effective prayer? We search for it. What touches the heart of God? How do we pray? Where is the best place? SO many questions.

Jesus walked this earth and in scouring the Gospels I believe we learn a blessed amount about prayer. Join me.

He worshiped His heavenly Father. Always.

Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.

Luke 3:21 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened.. 

He went to be alone to pray. Jesus understood the necessity of time alone with the Father.

Matthew 14:23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone…

Mark 135 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.

Luke 5:16 But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.

Luke 6: 12 In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.

Luke 9: 18 Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”

In deep sorrow…

Matthew 26:39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me;nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again.

Before eating…

Matthew 15: 36 he took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.

Matthew 2626 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you,

Pray over others…

Matthew 19:13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray.

How do you categorize this one? :)

Luke 9: 28 Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white.30 And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure,b]”>[b] which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him.

Teaching us to pray…

Luke 11:Now Jesus[a] was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”And he said to them, “When you pray, say:

“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread,b]”>[b]
and forgive us our sins,
    for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”

One prayer I have failed to mention and one of my favorites, is the one found in John 17. This prayer of Jesus’ has most commonly been called the High Priestly Prayer.

John 17

More on this prayer soon.

For now, what has captured me is this: when didn’t Jesus pray? And if the Son of God prayed all the time how much more do I need constant communication with the Father?

Pray on. pray on…

This is My Son

Posted on Updated on


Baptism-of-JesusGood morning, beloved,

Imagine the day with me. The Bible doesn’t tell us the time of day, but I’d like to think John the Baptist has been hard at work all day, teaching, baptizing and guiding people to the truth. He is exhausted. Yet, he knows his purpose. He knows the plan. He will not give up. He pushes his hair from his eyes and looks up to the horizon and there he sees a man. This was not just any man. I wonder if the Spirit stirred within him as He did when John jumped for joy in the womb upon seeing Mary. He came to the water’s edge.

John 3

13 ·At that time [Then] Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan River ·and wanted John to baptize him [L to be baptized by John]. 14 But John tried to ·stop [deter; dissuade; prevent] him, saying, “·Why do [Do] you come to me to be baptized? I need to be baptized by you!”

15 Jesus answered, “Let it ·be this way for [happen] now. ·We should do all things that are God’s will [or In this way we will do what God requires; L For thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness].” So John ·agreed to baptize Jesus [gave in; consented; allowed it].

This was to be no ordinary baptism, no ordinary encounter. Listen to Jesus’ words even here.

Let it be… In a way, Jesus was calming the storms within John. Peace, be still. This is your calling.

Do all things that are God’s will…God has seen fit that John baptize Jesus. In doing so, we learn and see the Trinity.

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he came up out of the water. Then ·heaven[the sky/heavens] opened, and he saw God’s Spirit ·coming down [descending and lighting/settling] on him like a dove [C either in the form of a dove, or in bird-like descent]. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my ·Son, whom I love [dearly beloved Son; Ps. 2:7; Gen. 22:2], and I am ·very [well] pleased with him [Is. 42:1].”

Jesus, the Son..as soon as Jesus was baptized..

God’s Spirit…coming down lighting on him like a dove..

God the Father…a voice from heaven, This is my Son…

Jesus, there’s just about that name. From Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words:

  • Greek: iesous
  • is a transliteration of the Heb. “Joshua,” meaning “Jehovah is salvation,”
  • Thus ‘Christ Jesus’ describes the Exalted One who emptied Himself, Phl 2:5, and testifies to His pre-existence; ‘Jesus Christ’ describes the despised and rejected One Who was afterwards glorified, Phl 2:11, and testifies to His resurrection. ‘Christ Jesus’ suggests His grace, ‘Jesus Christ’ suggests His glory.” *

Spirit of God. From Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words:

  • Greek: pneuma
    1. the third person of the triune God, the Holy Spirit, coequal, coeternal with the Father and the Son

      1. sometimes referred to in a way which emphasises his personality and character (the “Holy” Spirit)

      2. sometimes referred to in a way which emphasises his work and power (the Spirit of “Truth”)

      3. never referred to as a depersonalized force

How can I be so sure that we see the Trinity here? I know, the words. This is my Son. I’ve heard the argument, maybe it was an angel. Maybe it was the Holy Spirit speaking on God’s behalf. We can look no further than the Greek itself. Beautiful.

Voice:

“a sound,” is used of the voice

(a) of God, Mat 3:17;

Friends, the voice? The voice was God’s. And, so Matthew has recorded here in his beautiful gospel the Trinity together in one place for us all to behold.

A voice from heaven said, this is my Son with whom I am well pleased.

We can learn so much by study and reflection into the word of God. By learning and loving His word, join me, won’t you?

Pray on. pray on.

John The Baptizer

Posted on Updated on


I must admit posting a video of Handel’s Messiah on the cusp of June feels a bit like walking into a store in October with Christmas decorations. Bear with me.

When our President comes to town, roads close, traffic comes to a halt. Here’s an example from a recent trip to Chicago:

http://www.nbcchicago.com/portableplayer/?cmsID=253610081&videoID=jir5R8bRn8Fv&origin=nbcchicago.com&sec=blogs&subsec=ward-room&width=600&height=360

The town prepares. I don’t even know what the Secret Service and government does. I’m not going to even try to research that.

When Mark introduces us to the Beautiful, he tells us about His messenger first. And He starts by reminding us about a prophecy in Isaiah.

This passage in Isaiah is a comfort passage. The Messiah is coming, beloved. Your God has not forgotten about you. Your God has not abandoned you. Make the roads ready. In the Old Testament times, when the people knew that their king was coming they would prepare the roads, fill in the holes, make the kingdom ready! They wanted to be ready for their king.

Well, John is the messenger. According to David Guzik,

John the Baptist’s was the one crying in the wilderness, and through his message of repentance, he worked to prepare the way of the LORD. We often fail to appreciate how important the preparing work of the LORD is. Any great work of God begins with great preparation. John wonderfully fulfilled this important ministry. “John was God’s bulldozer to build that highway.” (Steadman)

Who is John the Baptist?

The Prophecies

Malachi Behold, I send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me. And the Lord [the Messiah], Whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; the Messenger or Angel of the covenant, Whom you desire, behold, He shall come, says the Lord of hosts.

But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap;

He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He will purify the priests, the sons of Levi, and refine them like gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord offerings in righteousness.

Parentage

We’ve looked at his parents in my earlier blog. John comes from a priestly heritage on both sides. Zacharias came from the division of Abijah. There were 24 divisions of priesthood according to 1 Chronicles 24. Elizabeth was a daughter of Aaron.

Description

Matthew 3:This same John’s garments were made of camel’s hair, and he wore a leather girdle about his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.

Jesus described John best. :)

Matthew 11

Then as these men went their way, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: What did you go out in the wilderness (desert) to see? A reed swayed by the wind?

What did you go out to see then? A man clothed in soft garments? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in the houses of kings.

But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one [[b]out of the common, more eminent, more remarkable, and] [c]superior to a prophet.

10 This is the one of whom it is written, Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, who shall make ready Your way before You.

11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

12 And from the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [as a precious prize—a [d]share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion].

13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied up until John.

14 And if you are willing to receive and accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come [before the kingdom].

His work

  • Temporary…Matthew 3 In those days there appeared John the Baptist, preaching in the Wilderness (Desert) of Judea

And saying, Repent ([a]think differently; change your mind, regretting your sins and changing your conduct), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

This is he who was mentioned by the prophet Isaiah when he said, The voice of one crying in the wilderness (shouting in the desert), Prepare the road for the Lord, make His highways straight (level, [b]direct).

28 You yourselves are my witnesses [you personally bear me out] that I stated, I am not the Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah), but I have [only] been sent before Him [in advance of Him, to be His appointed forerunner, His messenger, His announcer].

29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the groomsman who stands by and listens to him rejoices greatly and heartily on account of the bridegroom’s voice. This then is my pleasure and joy, and it is now complete.

30 He must increase, but I must decrease. [He must grow more prominent; I must grow less so.]

33 You yourselves have sent [an inquiry] to John and he has been a witness to the truth.

34 But I do not receive [a mere] human witness [the evidence which I accept on My behalf is not from man]; but I simply mention all these things in order that you may be saved (made and kept safe and sound).

35 John was the lamp that kept on burning and shining [to show you the way], and you were willing for a while to delight (sun) yourselves in his light.

The fame

Matthew 3

Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the country round about the Jordan went out to him;

And they were baptized in the Jordan by him, confessing their sins.

Jesus heard. Jesus came. And just as quickly as John’s flame burst on to scene? It was swept away…

Luke 3:

19 But Herod the tetrarch, who had been [repeatedly] told about his fault and reproved with rebuke [h]producing conviction by [John] for [having] Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the wicked things that Herod had done,

20 Added this to them all—that he shut up John in prison.

John then spends eleven chapters of Matthew in prison and we hear nothing of John the baptizer. Then, we hear. John is having doubts. The man who pointed Jesus out to all of his followers in the beginning? He isn’t sure.

Matthew 11

When Jesus had finished His charge to His twelve disciples, He left there to teach and to preach in their [Galilean] cities.

Now when John in prison heard about the activities of Christ, he sent a message by his disciples

And asked Him, Are You the One Who was to come, or should we keep on expecting a different one?

And then…

Matthew 14

And he said to his attendants, This is John the Baptist; He has been raised from the dead, and that is why the powers [a]of performing miracles are at work in Him.

For Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison [to [b]stow him out of the way] on account and for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife,

For John had said to him, It is not lawful or right for you to have her.

Although he wished to have him put to death, he was afraid of the people, for they regarded John as a prophet.

But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced in the midst [before the company] and pleased and fascinated Herod,

And so he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask.

And she, being put forward and prompted by her mother, said, Give me the head of John the Baptist right here on a [c]platter.

And the king was distressed and sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests, he ordered it to be given her;

10 He sent and had John beheaded in the prison.

11 And his head was brought in on a [d]platter and given [e]to the little maid, and she brought it to her mother.

Whoosh. That was a ton of reading. Hope you learned a little about John. All in one place.

Zacharias’ Monologue

Posted on


Good morning, friends,

So the Bible study began two nights ago, it was a beautiful thing to see all the women come out discuss, discover and uncover truths in the word. Those that have done Pam’s studies before, the seasoned look, yep, lots of work. Those who are new have a more “deer in the headlights” look or “what have I gotten myself into” look or “how can I dash outta here and look cool” look.

We did the first week together, discussing the events surrounding the birth of Jesus. Now, this week the ladies on on their own. We read these events so frequently, don’t we? That we forget how shocking they really are to the system. Angels, teenagers with babies, love came to earth and changed it all.

Recently, Noah took a class with our local drama club and studied Shakespeare. Be still my heart, he loved it The woman who taught his class brought Shakespeare alive with many different methods and ideas and techniques. He memorized some brief monologues to recite in class and then perform at the end of season show. What struck me about Shakespeare this time around, because, well, I love Shakespeare, I teach him to my kids, I’ve taught a class in my co-op…I get pretty passionate about igniting a love for him, the beauty of his monologue. Oh, it’s witty, it’s beautiful, it’s gorgeous.

I got to thinking about some of the “monologues” that greet us in the first few chapters of the New Testaments, especially the one ignited by the Holy Spirit. Let’s look at that one together. By the way, you heard me right, ignited by the Holy Spirit. First part of the New Testament, not in Acts, not part of the sweeping, powerful movement of Pentecost, this was Zacharias. Check it out.

Luke 1

67 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:

68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people,
69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of David His servant—
70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old—
71 aq]”>[aq]Salvation from our enemies,
And from the hand of all who hate us;
72 To show mercy toward our fathers,
And to remember His holy covenant,
73 The oath which He swore to Abraham our father,
74 To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.
76 “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
For you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways;
77 To give to His people the knowledge of salvation
ar]”>[ar]By the forgiveness of their sins,
78 Because of the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Sunrise from on high will visit us,
79 To shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Remember Zacharias, right? He was serving in the temple, visited by the angel Gabriel and told that his wife would bear a son who turn the hearts back to the Lord and make way for the Messiah. Oh, yeah? How can I be certain? (FACE PALM) Well, easy for me to say, as I’m sitting here comfortably in my pjs, with my cup of coffee, dog at my heels, typing away at my laptop making judgments and NOT in a temple with the angel Gabriel.

Anyway, go back up to verse 67, and let’s pull this text apart together. His name, Zacharias, means God remembers. So, even as Z was entering this world God was blessing the world by reminding us all that He remembers. He doesn’t forget His promises. He won’t let go. Elizabeth was old! And yet, God had a plan, a beautiful plan for this couple that included a baby.

was filled with the Holy Spirit. Before Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was bestowed for certain times, on certain people. On Saul, who can forget when the Holy Spirit was removed? On David, when the Spirit entered…See 1 Samuel 16 for further study.

And so the song, the monologue begins. John’s name means grace of God and so this song, we shall see, shows us the loving grace of God.

accomplished redemption. Deliverance, release, purchase from slavery for His people.

raised up a horn of salvation. picture of horns of a most powerful beast, symbol of power, strength, used in battle and where is this coming from? The house of David, lineage of the tribe of Judah, Mary and Joseph are both from the line of David.

salvation, deliverance. All prophesied ahead of time, friends, now coming true in the Messiah. It’s all happening, in their time.

mercy, remember what John’s name meant? Grace. And remember what Zacharias’ name meant? God remembers. His holy covenant. He was bringing all together. Oh, and Elizabeth’s name means oath of God.

oath which He swore. 

grant us rescue. Deliverance from danger! Salvation! Serve Him.

Now imagine this next part, Z holding his precious child, after nine months of being mute, able to bless this child and see the promise come true. The promise he scoffed. Yet, here was the gift. Oh, how gracious is our God.

John…this is who you will be.

  • prophet of the Most High
  • go on before Him
  • prepare His ways
  • to give His people the knowledge of salvation (words of life, hope)
  • he grew, he became strong in spirit, lived in the deserts until his appearance in Israel

Jesus…what does Zacharias say about Jesus.

  • He is the redemption
  • He is the horn of salvation
  • He is the fulfillment spoken by the prophets of old
  • He is the salvation from the enemies and from the hand of all the enemies who hate us
  • He is mercy
  • He is the fulfillment of the covenant
  • He is our rescue, the oath
  • The Lord, the forgiveness of our sins
  • The Sunrise…the anatole, the dawn from on high who will visit us..oh, that’s lovely…
  • To shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death
  • A guide for our feet into the way of peace…

That is quite a list. Over the night I had a dear one request prayer. It was not specified. It was not quantified. That’s okay. God knows. I love this list to pray over someone in dark times, to remember the truth in dark times. Darkness will not win, my dear one. I wasn’t going to include this image but I am…John Piper in a message on this passage describes the horn of salvation this way: (This is written in my Bible from 5 years ago so please allow for some error…)

This symbol of power can be best summed up as a wild ox seven feet tall. The crown of his head is nine feet tall. Both sides of his horn curving up and out, six feet long, twelve inches thick at the base. He stands at the top of the hill, sunlight shooting out all around him, his massive neck slightly cocked. And impaled at the end of his right horn hangs a lion, dead. A conqueror. Imagine the power.

Our God is strength. Our God is power. No matter what our circumstances may seem right now, He is over them and He loves you. Cling to Him.

Pray on. Pray.

Mercy

Posted on


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.

 

A new day

Posted on


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.