Monday, December 31, 2012

Forgetting (what lies behind) and Not Fretting in 2013

Considering I am no longer a spring chicken, I have spent a good portion of the first half of my life being a worry wart and filling my mind with "What if's..." Those "what if's" never got me anywhere, except maybe up to the drug store to buy more wrinkle cream! Last night, I was listening to a very wise woman, my friend who taught a ladies study when I was younger, Mrs. Judy Seligman. She talks about how the nature of women is to have "what if's" occupy our mind, filling them with anxiety. She suffered this herself many years ago, but quickly found the antidote in casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself agains the the knowledge of God.

I listened (or actually re-listened to a ladies study) last night while typing away at my keyboard.

This morning when I got up, anxious thoughts started to permeate my mind, taking away my peace. I thought to myself,

"Am I just going to keep on thinking the same old way, getting myself all worked up over nothing?" The thoughts kept on invading.

In her message, Judy gave a life saving truth that would help so many if only they could hear it. As Christians, the enemy shoots all kinds of thoughts in our heads. But we do NOT have to accept them. We can say no to them and not dwell on them. We have the power to refuse them and combat them with the Scriptures of Truth.
I said no to the thought and God by His grace took the anxiety and worry over the thing out of my mind. It was gone, not by striving, but by His grace.

The next minute, the very thing I had been worried about, getting an important phone call, came, without one minute's agitation or stewing or fretting.

This has taken me half of my life to turn. I am a S L O W learner. Thank God for His patience.

I love this Word from the book of Zechariah:

Zec 4:6 So he answered and said to me: "This [is] the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the LORD of hosts.

Zec 4:7 'Who [are] you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel [you shall become] a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone With shouts of "Grace, grace to it!" ' "

It is not by any great attempt on my part, but by God's Spirit that I overcome the spirit of anxiety. Shout "Grace!" at the mountain that seems impossible.

Jesus says:

Mat 6:34 "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day [is] its own trouble.

I guess He really means it!! I always had to overthink that verse. That verse just seemed too simple for me. No, if I would have just believed that verse, I could have saved myself a lot of heartache.

Well, the end of 2012 fast approaches. I have been taught a lot of wisdom. I don't want to let it slip away as the new year rolls on in. Happy New Year everyone! Here's to forgetting (what lies behind) not fretting in 2013!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Hope I Always Have Room in my Inn

Luke 2: 7

"And she brought for her firstborn Son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because


Hmmmm. I've read that verse a million times. Dare I say I've grown familiar with it? Yes, baby Jesus was born in a cold dark stable. God knew it was going to happen from eternity past.

But do I grasp what it means for me personally? The Lord of all Lords, King of all Kings, had to be born in a filthy barn with dirty animals surrounding Him because humanity had no place for Him. Thus it has always been so. Rignt down to this very moment in church history.

OK, without raising too many eyebrows here, if I were to suggest we were living in the church of Laodecia (at least in most Western cultures), could it be that Jesus may not be welcome in our inns either? For He does say to His church (not the world, if you look carefully)in Revelation 3: 20:

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me."

You see, previously He addressed six other churches. Laodecia is the last church He speaks to.He wasn't exactly pleased with Laodecia. They are out of fellowship with Him. They have lots of "Christian" things going on. But yet He is outside, knocking on the door, waiting to be invited in, so that He can fellowship with them...(us??)

I just read an amazing book from Voice of the Martyrs called These are the Generations
by Mr and Mrs.Bae as told to Rev. Eric Foley:

It tells of a generation of a family in North Korea who has managed to stay fervently Christian in spite of their antichrist government. The believers there say they pray for us in Western countries because we are so distracted by our materialism. They hear the knock of Jesus better than we do. He is drowned out by the call of materialism here.

He is no longer in that manger. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. (Rev. 19: 16) He is coming back quickly. He has His reward with Him.(Rev. 22: 12) My prayer is that I would make room in my inn for Him this day and every day.

Merriest of Christmases everyone. The most blessed fact is no matter how much we have failed in the past, today it is always 70x7 (meaning infinite) with our God. If you never made room, or never believed on Him before, there is nothing like Today for:

2Cr 6:2 For He says: "In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you. Behold, now [is] the accepted time; behold, now [is] the day of salvation."

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fear Not...

Luke 2: 10-14

"And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great
joy which, which shall be unto all people

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is CHRIST THE LORD.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,


When I was a little girl, my sisters and I would yearly put on a Christmas show for my parents after our Christmas service at our Presbyterian church. My older sister had us recite the entire Christmas story from the book of Luke. We sang Christmas carols, while she played the piano. We wore red corduroy skirts that she had sewn. What fond memories I have of those days! It was a blessing more for us to "give" by practicing the Scripture recitation, copying down the carol verses and buying goodies to serve afterwards at the grocery store after church service. You see, we girls anticipated that night for weeks ahead. Though it was a little thing, it meant a lot to us. It is a vivid memory of Christmas past in all of our minds...

Thus the passage in Luke became near and dear to my heart. The angel's words to the shepherds are especially meaningful this Christmas, however. Last time I shared how I was not really in the "Christmas spirit" in light of world events. Well, if you look around, the angels words telling us to "fear not" are especially comforting today.

There was a Christian pastor from Romania named Reverend Richard Wurmbrand who was persecuted by the Communists for speaking for, and preaching Christ, behind the Iron Curtain after the end of World War II. He shared in his book, Tortured for Christ:

"In the Bible, the words “Don’t be afraid” occur 366 times. Once for every day of the year. And because there is the extra day for the leap year, it is not 365 times, but 366 times. I knew that even in the hands of the secret police, I am in the hands of the almighty God and this gave quiet to my heart."

Isn't that a "God thing?" One of these days, I want to find all of them and write them all down. Now that would be a worthwhile challenge! Anyone up for it?

In this Age of Anxiety, God gives us 366 fear nots, one for every day, even leap day. I am trying to stay away from the media and want to spend more time in God's Divine Message. If I was to spend the rest of my life immersed in it, doing nothing else, I would not even scratch the surface! I guess that is why John the Beloved Apostle, speaking of Jesus' works, ended His Gospel with:

"And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written." John 21: 25

Look not to media and shudder. Look at His Message of Glorious Great News and rejoice with "exceeding great joy." Matthew 2: 10

Friday, December 14, 2012

It's beginning to NOT look like Christmas...

Are you scratching your head in shock, like I am, at the awful tragedy that unfolded on the innocent young children today in Sandy Creek, CT? Or the mall shooting in Portland just a couple days ago? Or the Black Friday mobs which resulted in injuries and the shootings in the parking lots around Thanksgiving?

How about the insanity of the marketing to get just the right present or to be flashy enough for the company Christmas party? Overindulging in goodies and imbibing strong drink, forgetting the pain hidden inside for a while? Is that what the season represents?

What happened to Christmas? What happened to celebrating Jesus' birth on this planet? Or thinking about peace on earth and good will toward men?

I feel a disconnectedness with the whole thing this year, to be honest. Not about the Christ part. But getting excited about the celebrating part. Even decorating has been mostly a chore for me.

"Where's your Christmas spirit?" you say.

It kind of went away with the daily reports of disasters everywhere. The Phillipines being hit by the huge typhoons and hundreds upon hundreds losing their homes. Earthquakes occurring everywhere. The North Korean Christians that are starving in their prison cells, while their government shoots off missiles. These are brothers and sisters I cannot forget.

You could probably call me a Scrooge, but I think Christmas has fundamentally changed since we took God out of our schools, since it has been proclaimed that we are no longer a Christian nation.

I celebrate Christmas because He came. His first advent is an undisputed fact, no matter what men try to tell us in the history books. Those little children in Connecticut never had a chance to grow up and find out for themselves what those books said.

All I know is that the world in which I grew up and celebrated Christmas is no more. There are very few constants, like death and taxes. The one thing that's constant, in which I rely is my Savior. He promised that He would never change, and that He would be faithful to be all I need Him to be, even when everything around me crumbles.

Let's face it: this is an excruciatingly sad day for many people. Their Christmas, no, their very lives are completely shattered. We need to pray for them and for this country.

Let us hang on to the ONE thing that remains the same yesterday, today and forever: THE SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST. He alone is the light in this darkened world.

If you're not sure if you know Him, TODAY you can receive Him by believing that He came into this world to pay for your sin debt and mine (indeed all the world's) when He died upon the cross, bearing our sins. As the events of this world get scarier and more uncertain,(because God will eventually judge His enemy the devil and his evil works and the unbelievers), there is no better time than NOW to put your trust in Christ (John 3:16-17). In spite of the terrible tragedy that occurred today, you can be sure that Christmas is meaningful in that Christ came down having YOU in His mind when He went to that cross.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Oh, Come let us adore Him!

I once took a Bible study course called The Way of Agape, based on the book by Mrs. Nancy Missler. Learning the definition of agape of in I Corinthians 13 caught me up short on the difference between God's love and human love.We are told in Isa. 55:8 "For My thoughts [are] not your thoughts, Nor [are] your ways My ways," says the LORD.

How I could meditate on that one verse for a lifetime, especially in regard to God's agape love versus my own human love. My human love, oh how it falls so very short of God's kind of love.

The very best human love is no match for God's love. If you really want to know what God's love is like you need look no further than Jesus. Sometimes, when we do something nice, we may be tempted to think that we have pleased God because of that. But if we are not fulfilling I Corinthians 13 perfectly, then we need the rightousness of Another. Thank God there is One who did fulfill it perfectly on our behalf, and offers His own righteousness as a free gift. (II Corinthians 5: 21)

Now we are in the supposed "season of good cheer." It saddens me though as I see the twinkle of lights, the glitter, the rush in finding the perfect present. Is this the way to find and give agape love? It always reminds me of a kind of desperation. The days of December on my part of the planet are short, gloomy and dark. Men seem to try to comfort themselves in the giving of gifts, feasting and decorating.

Is that what its all about? Or is agape about the Kenosis of the Savior?

Consider Philippians 2: 3-11:

3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men, 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of a cross.
9 Therefore God has highly exalted HIM and given HIM the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of JESUS every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is LORD, to the glory of God the Father.

In verse 6 of Philippians 2 we hear of the kenosis of Christ, which comes from the root word kenoo (#2756). From the Blue Letter Bible study helps, we see that the Strong's definition of this word means to:

1) to empty, make empty

a) of Christ, he laid aside equality with or the form of God

That is our example, our role model. He didn't think about Himself. Ahhh, so very much unlike me, whose first thought is for her own comfort.

As He lay in the manger, He was holding the molecules together that kept the universe in existence, yet He chose to limit Himself to being a baby. He chose to feel the things we feel: hunger, pain, betrayal, loneliness, all the sufferings of being a human on this tiny planet spinning in the universe. He had to leave the adoration of all the angels and the love of His Father, and He chose to do so, for our sakes, willingly.

His thoughts are not our thoughts. His love is not human love. Oh, to know Him (Phil. 3:10) and to show that kind of love to others. My life is in vain if that is not my daily aspiration.

In John 6: 67, it says:"Then Jesus said to the twelve,"Do you also want to go away?'"

68 But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go, You have the words of eternal life."

He alone has the words of eternal life. As we take in His Words and make them a part of us, may His thoughts become our thoughts, so that out of our hearts shall flow
rivers of living water. (John 7: 38)

It is so very right to sing: "Oh, come let us adore HIM!"

Friday, December 7, 2012

Staring into the Heavens One Night...

Have you ever beheld a starlit night so beautiful it took your breath away?

One night I was on a hayride out in the middle of nowhere on a ranch in Northern Arizona. All my mountains of problems were put in place instantly when I viewed the night sky, as I could say nothing but, "Thank you, Lord."

In the town where we live, we don't see too many stars usually because of clouds and light pollution. Out there, there was none of that. I was at a low point in life: my marriage was on shaky ground, I had trouble with my children, and overall, I was pretty devastated. Yet God says " a bruised reed shall He will not break..." Matt. 12: 20.

My family of origin and their children were at this lovely ranch along with my parents in honor of my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. We rode horses, ate delicious food, hiked, and enjoyed the lovely mountain climate of Northern Arizona.But inside I was hiding inner pain. Only my younger son was with me. My older son was on tour in Iraq. that year. Others wouldn't/couldn't come. My sisters had all their families with them. There was a barn dance going on but I really had no one to dance with because it was just me and my teenager, while my sisters had their husbands and all of their children. I was feeling a bit sorry for myself.

All of a sudden, I heard one of the cheery camp leaders call out that they were going on a hayride, would any of us care to join them? I didn't have any one to dance with anyway, so I slipped away from the square dance and joined some strangers on the hayride. I got on with a wrong attitude, poor little old me.

But as I held my head up, peering into the heavens, I saw the glowing ring of the Milky Way that I had never seen before. Quite simply, I was in awe of God, His magnificent creation, and my own human fraigility.

I thought of the verses which told me that His thoughts were so higher than my thoughts, they were as high as the heaven was above the earth.(Isaiah 55:9) That is how much greater God thinks than my little old mind does. If I need wisdom, why do I think I would have one scintilla of the knowledge He would to know how to solve my problems?(Psalm 39: 4)

David told us in the book of Psalms, "The heavens declare the glory of God..." (Psalm 19:1) As I rode that little wagon that night, I tasted the majesty of God in viewing the beauty of His starry creation, and acknowledging Him as the Mighty Creator.

Scripture also tells us "The fool says in his heart there is no God." Psalm 53:1 I could not fathom how anyone could have looked up into the Milky Way that night and deny that a Creator had put that into existence. How could that have come just form a flash of matter, like the evolutionists claim?

Two thousand years ago, some Kings from the East saw a beautiful, new star in the heavens. One that they had never seen before. They carefully calculated and travelled to the place where the star shone its light, over the city of Bethlehem. I love what it says in the book of Matthew about these Oriental kings: When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy." Matthew 2:10 These men were rich, they had knowledge, but when...they found the babv, a brand new joy came to them, something this world could not and would not ever give.

The Bible says God's ways are not our ways. We would have Christ come as a King, but He came as helpless baby. The stars above reflect not their own glory, but His.

He is the very reason all things in this world are held together. (Colossians 1: 17)

Just like the wisemen from the East,we, too, are happiest when we are busy revealing His glory and not our own.