Joshua

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The Second Severn Crossing carrying the M4 motorway across the River Severn between Severn Beach near Avonmouth in south west England and Caldicot in south Wales. This view, composed from 16 separate images, is looking west from the English side. The bridge has a total span of 5.1 km and includes a cable-stayed section called the Shoots Bridge which spans the shipping channel between the two towers. The River Severn has a vast tidal range – the point from which this photograph was taken would be covered at high tide. Photo by Yummifruitbat

Good morning, beloved,

Snow day! Beautiful, fluffy snow has covered our landscape. Yesterday was a fun day filled with school, playing outside, listening to our books and shockingly, I made bread. Ok, well, Joshua helped but it worked. I, of course, used a recipe. I am a recipe girl. I cannot seem to veer off the recipe more than just a smidge. We made it and it was good. Gluten free, dairy free bread smells filled our house.There is pleasure for me to have baking work for me.

I want that for my children. I want that we do this and this and this and they will pop out of the oven (well, ok, leave us to make their way in the world) as devoted followers of Christ. I read books, I listen to people farther along in the journey, I want reassurance. I realize what I’m doing. I’m living in our tomorrow when God has given us grace for this day. This moment. Today.

Lamentations 3:

22 The Lord’s ·love [loyalty] never ends;
his ·mercies [compassion] never stop.
23 They are new every morning;
Lord, your ·loyalty [faithfulness] is ·great [abundant; Ps. 33:492:2143:1].

24 I say to myself, “The Lord is ·mine [L my lot/portion],
so I hope in him.”

I cannot place my hope in a program. I cannot place my hope in a book I read and the formula there-within. Friend, where do we place our hope? The Lord.

Living in His love that never ends.

Daily LIfe Verse by http://www.dailylifeverse.com/posts/2012/08/lamentations-3-22-23

His mercies that never stop.

His love, His mercy is new every morning.

His faithfulness, His loyalty is great. Abundant.

So, lets say to ourselves, the Lord is mine. (He’s yours too.)

Place not your hope in your circumstances. Do not allow yourself to wander in the fields of hopelessness. Come back into His mercies. His faithfulness. His loyalty. His hope.

Hearing In Christ Alone…reminding myself, I live in Christ. This is truly living. Not allowing Satan to be the whisper in my mind, but rather His word, His life. Join me today? Step on the snake today. (Ann Voskamp)

My thankfuls (what are yours?)

205. Thankful for worship. Taking my mind off me. Placing it on worship of God Almighty.

206. Thankful for the convictions of the Holy Spirit. Humbled.

207. No matter what the news says, the earth is filled with His glory. Praise God!

Prayers for your Pastor:

Read This: http://www.christianpost.com/news/the-most-dangerous-prayer-for-pastors-91135/

Pray on. Pray on.

 

 

Mary part 2

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

Good morning, beloved,

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

The Beeston Christmas tree.by mattbuck

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

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

Luke 1:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 136:

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

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

Isaiah 66:

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

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

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

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

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

James 5:

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

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

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

49. I am thankful for yummy fudge.

50. I am thankful for Christmas lights.

Christmas Lights and Christmas Ornaments with Cool Light Effect by ParentingPatch

Pray on. Pray on.

 

His Name, His praise

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The Three Country Bridge at night in Huningue (France) and Weil am Rhein (Germany) next to the Tripoint near Basel (Switzerland).by Taxiarchos228

Good morning, friends,

I am home! It is good to be around my family once again. I come home still hurting, still dizzy and without answers, but I made the decision that I must learn how to cope. So I shall in the strength only the Lord can give me. I am thrilled to go to church this morning and be among my church family. We went to the grocery store as a family yesterday and had fun. I just kept grabbing my kids to hug them and love them. They were so cute with their conversations and happiness that Mom was coming home. As we drove home, we listened to one of our favorite books. It was just so good to be together. Joshua and D made us beautiful fire and we ate our dinner staring at the fire.

I went to bed early and had a boy join me. We listened to a podcast of a kids show in the dark. He would wake me every time I would drift off. :) It was good, good, good to be with my boy.

Know (perceive, recognize, and understand with approval) that the Lord is God! It is He Who has made us, not we ourselves [and we are His]! We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering and into His courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name!

For the Lord is good; His mercy and loving-kindness are everlasting, His faithfulness and truth endure to all generations. Psalm 100 AMP

 

As I talked with Joshua yesterday, this may be my cup. God may be giving me a new chapter filled with physical pain but huge blessings with family and friends. This is when I must remember that…

…Lord is God…I must know it deep in my soul. Recognize His breath in my life. He made me. He made you.

…We are His own. I love my family, my friends but I love even more knowing I am the Father’s kid.

…So we wake up, we walk into our day, we give thanks. We praise Him. We affectionately praise His name.

When I think about praising His name, this makes me think about many of His names that mean so much to me. :)

From the Blue Letter Bible,

“Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory [is] above the earth and heaven.” Psa 148:13

In the Old Testament times, a name was not only identification, but an identity as well. Many times a special meaning was attached to the name. Names had, among other purposes, an explanatory purpose (e.g., Nabal, whose name means “fool,” is the target of Abigail’s explanation to David: “For as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him:” – 1Sa 25:25). Throughout Scripture God reveals Himself to us through His names. When we study these names that He reveals to us in the Bible, we will better understand who God really is. The meanings behind God’s names reveal the central personality and nature of the One who bears them.

Who is God to you?

Is He your Most High God, All sufficient One, Master, Lord of Peace, the Lord Who Will Provide? Is He your Father? We must be careful not to make God into an “it” or a “thing” to which we pray. He is our Jehovah Raah, the Lord our Shepherd. God knows us by our name, shouldn’t we know Him by His?

Hallowed be Your name?

To hallow a thing is to make it holy or to set it apart to be exalted as being worthy of absolute devotion. To hallow the name of God is to regard Him with complete devotion and loving admiration. God’s name is of the utmost importance (Neh 9:5); therefore we ought reserve it a position of grave significance in our minds and hearts. We should never take His name lightly (Exd 20:7Lev 22:32), but always rejoice in it and think deeply upon its true meaning.

Please take some time and look at this list on the link I gave you. Well, I’ll give it again. (The Names of God in the Old Testament)

What name means the most to you right now? Print it out. Dwell on the verses. Remind yourself again and again of the truth of God’s Word and the knowledge that God, our God is GOOD! His loving-kindness are FOREVER! He is faithful and true always.

Find a church this morning, beloved. Praise the One who has always existed and will always exist. Devote yourselves to the knowledge of His word. Pray on. Pray on.

The sea at Indre Fure, in the Stad peninsula. Selje municipality, Norway. by Frode Inge Helland

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Catholic Church St. Branch. Cross (dread Chapel) by Florian Fuchs

Greetings, beloved,

The Lord be with you! I remember my early years in the episcopal church when the Priest would welcome us with:

  • Priest: The Lord be with you.
  • People: And with thy spirit.
  • Priest: Lift up your hearts.
  • People: We lift them up unto the Lord.
  • Priest: Let us give thanks unto the Lord our God. (or Let us give thanks unto our Lord God.)
  • People: It is meet and right so to do. (or It is meet and just.)

I love the blessing. I love the encouragement to praise and give thanks and do it corporately.

Well, the otolaryngologist probably had never seen the likes of me yesterday. We sat there dumbfounded as he explained I did not have Superior Canal Dehiscence as he supposed in our previous conversation. I dissolved like an Alka Seltzer tablet. In no way did I want to have a craniotomy, but the prospect of knowing! I left depressed and threw a major hissy fit. Ahem. This season has challenged but I knew there was a light, there was relief coming. By the end of the meeting, I was left with nothing. Or so I thought in the midst of my meltdown.

I thank God for my husband who just let me burn off my frustration. He just held my hand, nodded and squeezed my leg. Yet, after a fortifying Caramel and Cheese Popcorn and working through all my emotions, I knew the Lord had a plan. I needed to trust His plan. The rest of the day I could have hidden, yet the Spirit of the Most High was working, loving me back into His arms. Even when I was kicking and pounding and screaming..ahem.

It was an eye opener for my little guy who struggles with temper tantrums. We took our boy for a long walk and talked it through with him. I mentioned to him that one of us threw a fit and it wasn’t Daddy. He looked at me wide-eyed. I asked him if he thought Jesus would love me through and forgive me for heedless words. He looked at me and said, of course, Mommy. And Joshua turned the tables and said, so if your Mom can be forgiven and loved even before she committed any sin, why could God not love and forgive you continually?

He had a light come into His eyes. He finally understood a concept that we had tried to teach for such a long time. Forgiveness is not based on anything you can do in your strength. It is based on Jesus and His blood.

If nothing else was gained from yesterday, other than my boy understanding God’s love is lavished upon him, that he is forgiven and he is cleansed…it was a good day.

Today, I have understanding as well about the possibilities of my condition and what ails me. That is a relief. The doctor was guiding us to this and as I read up on this condition today, it just helps to know there will be an answer.

Pray on. Pray on.

 

 

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Coucher Soleil d’automne 3ème lac by Halleymario

Good morning, beloved,

Our sunrise this morning is very similar. How often do we sit and ponder the beauty that surrounds us? We get all tied up in our stuff and forget to stop, sit and breathe. To listen for the variety of birds to begin their morning songs, the wind rustling through the trees, moving them as if in a dance.  The crickets salute the Creator. When we sit and listen, watch and allow, the Creator can teach. He can whisper to our needy hearts, when we are still.

I made my plans for this upcoming year. I gave my “yes, I will helps” to many a willing. All of a sudden I was crammed with busyness and not enough silence. They were all good things. Slowly, but surely, God is taking each and every one (leaving a few) and saying no for me. I keep trying to hold on, saying I can do this yet God in His knowledge and all wisdom, pries open my grubby paws and says no. I must listen.

Are you willing to listen? God has done this to me before, He does it every year. This year He got my attention with my jaw.  How will He get your attention?

Rest. Silence. Quiet. Watching the sun set…do you have time to do this? Do I?

We have been, for the past six months, living with one car. Now, there have been times when that has been a true challenge. Yet, the Lord and I agreed I needed three days a week of being home this year. So Joshua will take the car three days a week and I am home. What a wonderful thought! I have been praying for another car and we hope but I know the Lord just knows what is best for His children.

We know this verse, don’t we?

Psalm 46:10 Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!

How can we be still? How can we let be? Won’t the ministries, the soccer teams, the schools be lost without us? Ahem.

Read on…

Psalm 46:

God is our Refuge and Strength [mighty and impenetrable to temptation], a very presentand well-proved help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains be shaken into the midst of the seas,

Though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling andtumult. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!

There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High.

God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God will help her right early [at the dawn of the morning].

The nations raged, the kingdoms tottered and were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted.

The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge (our Fortress and High Tower).Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!

Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has wrought desolations and wonders in the earth.

He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow into pieces and snaps the spear in two; He burns the chariots in the fire.

10 Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!

11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge (our High Tower and Stronghold). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!

Pray on, beloved. Pray on.

 

Coping or thriving?

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Jesus answered, If a person [really] loves Me, he will keep My word [obey My teaching]; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home (abode, special dwelling place) with him.” John 14:23 AMP

Glass beach, Fort Bragg, CA by Jef Poskanzer

Good morning, beloved,

How do we get through the hard times? When the stress bubbles in our lives and threatens to boil over, how can we walk?

My son has been struggling with bursts of anger.  I realized I tell people all the time, like a broken record, put verses on note cards, memorize and speak His Word as you feel yourself slipping.  Yesterday, Joshua and I began to map that out for him. What are your favorite verses? Do you have them memorized? Can you recall them? Our son broke down and began to get very angry and we called out to him to begin saying the verses he chose. And then he did and there was a physical transformation in his body. I watched God‘s Spirit fill him as he began to speak the Word. Is that how it looks in me? I marveled at the power of the Word and he didn’t get angry again last night. We talked about it later. Lights went on in his brain and he connected.

Hebrews 4: 12 For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the [a]breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.

We are to be like Jesus. Jesus quote Scripture all the time. When the Accuser (Satan) was attacking Him in the desert, what was His response? The Word. The Word. ( In my Bible study yesterday, the woman who gave the message gave us verse upon verse encouraging us to read, to study and to hear the Word. I want to share some of the verses with you. )

1 John 3:Beloved, we are [even here and] now God’s children; it is not yet disclosed (made clear) what we shall be [hereafter], but we know that when He comes and is manifested, we shall [[b]as God’s children] resemble and be like Him, for we shall see Him [c]just as He [really] is.

Revelation 1Blessed (happy, [c]to be envied) is the man who reads aloud [in the assemblies] the word of this prophecy; and blessed (happy, [d]to be envied) are those who hear [it read] and who keep themselves true to the things which are written in it [heeding them and laying them to heart], for the time [for them to be fulfilled] is near.

To those who are God’s children, we shall resemble Him. We are blessed when we read aloud, who hear, and who keep themselves true.

Oh, beloved, we cannot stay faithful in our own strength. Remember my son, if that helps, for the power of the Word filled him. The power.

Pray on, pray on.

 

 

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Catalan: Tower Mir (Prats de Mollo and Pay) by Jordiipa

Good morning, beloved,

I woke up this morning to a clean first floor. My Noah cleaned his zone and kitchen. Wow, what a blessing! We decided to go to see Steven Curtis Chapman last night at Willow Creek. He kept saying he was feeling flustered by a bunch of mistakes…he thought the service started an hour later, a guitar string broke during the first song…yet as the night wore on, the blessing was two fold, I hope. He began to get teary as he spoke of his daughter who died, as we gave him a standing ovation in the middle of the concert…he was very real. His heart’s cry was that we would encounter the Living God. I can’t speak for the rest of the audience, but it was so good to be worshiping the Risen Lord last night! As the kids became fidgety, I put Daniel on my lap and held my hands over Luke and Ella…and they were peaceful. All of our family was touched and our conversation last night in the car ride home, was, well, holy. We scraped together 10 bucks and bought his greatest hits. I sat in the back seat to hand out food and was able to talk with my girl.  Joshua was very touched by a few songs..i.e., Cinderella and I Will Be Here. Our family is chatting this morning as I type and it’s good to hear.

Now, today we go and worship with our church. Will you?

I sure hope so. The local church needs you.

Pray on, pray on.