Category Archives: CHRISTIAN VALUES

All-Seeing, All-Knowing

Image result for Royalty Free Clip Art of Quill PenThis writing thing. Well, fellow pilgrim, I must say this writing thing is an adventure, with many twists and turns along the way. I intended this poem to be an easy blog post because, lately, writing time has been reduced. Then, I found an answer to something I  have pondered for years– how to make poetry more useful.

Writing poetry blesses me because Bible truths come to my mind, but I could not see how to ensure readers saw the underlying Bible truths. Today, I saw the obvious, i.e., just add the explanation into the  poem. So, here we go.  First, the entire poem alone, and then the poem with Bible truths added in.

And would you do me a favor please? Let me know what you think about this format, either in the comment section below this post or by sending me an email (on the “Email me” tab.) God bless you as you read!

“All Seeing, All Knowing”

All seeing, all knowing, how great is Your name!
It wipes out all fear, all guilt, and all shame.
Oh! Thank You, my Dearest, my beloved Sweet One,
for new life in my soul, through Jesus, Your Son.

May He live deep within by the Spirit’s great grace.
May He guide and correct as I run this great race.
He’ll help me press on. In His strength I’m made whole
forgetting the past, made new in my soul!

No more of old me! That person is dead.
I’m risen with new life, Lord, just as You said!

I’m risen with . . .

. . . new life that arises and shines from within,
that shines through the darkness and keeps me from sin,
that reveals the desires of the flesh and the eyes,
that reveals deadly pride and helps me walk wise.

How I thank You, my Jesus, for all that You’ve done,
for abounding new life, for making us one!
No more are we split by sin’s great divide,
We’re one in the blood that flowed from Your side,

Yes, when I walk in Your way,
when I carry Your Name,
all things are made new, yes, nothing’s the same!

“All Seeing, All Knowing” — Bible Truths Included

All seeing, all knowing, how great is Your name!
It wipes out all fear, all guilt, and all shame.
God sees and knows everything. (Isaiah 40:28-29) That is His nature, part of His name or attributes. A name is a word by which we know or describe someone or something. God’s name means His nature. This is helpful to remember when pondering Scriptures with the “name” of God. For example, Psalm 33:22 (“In him our hearts rejoice for we trust in his holy name”) shows that when we trust in the name, or nature of God, in His good qualities, our hearts will be happy.

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of CrownWhen we are adopted into His kingdom, when we bear His name, all fear, guilt, and shame are wiped out. (I John 1:7)

Oh! Thank You, my Dearest, my beloved Sweet One,
for new life in my soul, through Jesus, Your Son.
May God, who gave us new life through the blood His only begotten Son Jesus, shed on Calvary (John 3:16), be the “Fairest of Ten Thousand” to our souls, as the 1881 hymn “The Lilly of the Valley” by Charles Fry says.

May He live deep within by the Spirit’s great grace.
May He guide and correct as I run this great race.
Before Jesus left this earth, He told us that if we truly love Him and obey His teachings, He and the Father will love us and make their home in our heart. (John 14:23)

Image result for royalty free clip art of feet runningLet us long for Holy Spirit’s guidance as we endeavor, like Paul, “. . . to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and run with patience the race set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

He’ll help me press on. In His strength I’m made whole
forgetting the past, made new in my soul!
Like Paul, let us remember that although we will never attain perfection on earth, we can “press on” toward maturity, putting all our confidence in Christ as we strive to “. . . take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of” us. (Philippians 3:14)

 No more of old me! That person is dead.
I’m risen with new life, Lord, just as You said!
As we learn in Romans 6:1-23, when we were baptized into Christ Jesus, our old self was “. . . crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be done away with in order that “we should no longer be slaves to sin “ (v. 4- 6)

So, we can “count ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore . . . “ we do not have to let sin reign in our mortal bodies. (v. 11) As we follow Jesus, He frees us from enslavement to sin. We are free from its power. (NLT)

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of Empty TombI’m risen with . . .
. . . new life that arises and shines from within,
What a promise 2 Corinthians 5:17 contains. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (NKJV) The AMPC says, “. . . the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away.”

that shines through the darkness and keeps me from sin,
God’s Word cuts through the darkness of our world and lights the way for my next few steps (“Your Word is a lamp to my feet. . . ”) and it also shines light further away, along the path (. . . and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105.) Jesus is the Living Word and when He lives in our hearts – what a bright light we are privileged to have! As I John 1:5b teaches us “. . . God is Light, and there is no darkness in Him [no, not in any way]” AMPC.

Image result for Royalty Free Picture of Lamp On Dark Path

that reveals the desires of the flesh and the eyes,
that reveals deadly pride and helps me walk wise
With the light of God–Light that is God–in our hearts, our eyes are enlightened to see sin as sin. And when we use the Sword of God’s Word (Ephesians 6:17), that Living Word penetrates to the deepest part of our hearts and shows us whether the thoughts and purposes of our hearts are good or evil.

“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 breath of life (soul) and [the immoral] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12, AMPC)

How I thank You, my Jesus, for all that You’ve done,
for abounding new life, for making us one!
Although the enemy of our souls, the devil, always seeks to steal, kill, and destroy, Jesus came to give us a “rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10, ESV) We have that life when we are one with Him. “But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.” (I Corinthians 6:17, ESV)

No more are we split by sin’s great divide,
We’re one in the blood that flowed from Your side,
Sin separates us from God. It is a huge chasm we cannot cross on our own. Isaiah 59:2 tells us that our iniquities have separated us from God; our sins have hidden His face from us, so that He will not hear. But, when we are united in purpose with Jesus, when we are one with Him, when we strive to live like Him and pour out our life for others as He did, our life is united with Him in His life, His blood.

Image result for royalty free picture of walking with jesusYes, when I walk in Your way,
when I carry Your Name,
all things are made new, yes, nothing’s the same!
When we strive, with all our heart, soul and mind, to walk, or live, like Jesus did, when we make His purposes the focus of our life, we share in His likeness. We carry His likeness, His nature, His Name, to the world. As God shines His light and love through us, He uses us for the sake of His Kingdom. And His presence in our life overflows us with blessings.

Once we give up our old life of sin, we are new creatures, and nothing is ever the same again. It just gets “sweeter as the days go by”, as James Poyser attested in his famous song. May we strive to be “. . . to God the sweet aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” (2 Corinthians 2:15, Berean Study Bible).

 

 

What Prophecy Can Do for You . . . What You Can Do for Prophecy

What Prophecy Can Do for You . . . What You Can Do for Prophecy

What prophecy can do for you. Friend, if you do not know what is happening with prophecy today you miss the chance to:

  • Stay calm as God shows you, through His current-day prophets, why so many unbelievable things are happening,
  • Hear what God is doing behind the scenes that the fake news never reports,
  • Increase your faith as you see Biblical as well as modern-day prophecies fulfilled, and
  • Pick up your spiritual weapons, take your God-appointed place in God’s army, and FIGHT “ . . . against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12, NIV)

Resources about the prophetic. Following is a list of resources to acquaint you with what God is doing today in the prophetic realm. I have found these resources to be truthful, honest, and aligned with God’s Word.

https://marycolbert.us/nation-builders-prayer-host/ – Mary Colbert. Author, Christian activist, ordained minister – National prayer lines dedicated to prayer for the U.S. and for the wisdom of God.

https://elijahlist.com  – Prophet Steve Schultz, began this website decades ago. – Prophecies from around the world, news, prophetic resources, etc.

https://sordrescue.com/ – Prophet Mark Taylor – Prophecies, commentary. He predicted President Trump’s election before he was even running. See Mark’s website for details.

www.comemnistry.org – Denise Williams (hosts one of Nation Builders Prayer Calls) – Apostolic intercessor, Prophet, Chaplain and more. She “shares podcasts . . . with teachings, prophecies and words of knowledge as instructed by Holy Spirit.” (from her website.)

https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news (The Jerusalem Post) – Provides breaking news from Israel, the Middle East and the World. Learn what is happening with Israel so you can intercede. Remember Genesis 12:3, where, speaking of Israel, God says, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse you.” (Genesis 12:3, NIV)

An urgent plea: Please stop listening to the lies and fear tactics of mainstream media. Even if you just skim headlines, you still hear lies that twist your thinking, fill you with fear, and darken your heart to the truth. Get your news from some of the resources above and so-called “far right” sources, like Sean Hannity and Jay Sekulow.

How to Get Involved

  • First, start getting informed. The list above is a good starter list. Ask Holy Spirit to lead you.
  • Second, join some of the world-wide intercessory prayer calls, available every day, at various times (see Mary Colbert above.) You can listen silently and agree in prayer; you do not have to pray out loud.
  • Third, in your daily life pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Pray for our President Donald J. Trump! Pray for our nation and our world! Pray!

 

There’s TRUTH in them ‘ thar hills!

Here I sit. . . Here I sit, surprised by a gift from God! As I write the Image result for Free Pictures of Gold Rushfirst draft of this blog, it is Friday, April 17, 2020, the day after President Trump announced his plans to start reopening our country after the coronavirus shutdown. (Finished this today, 4/29/2020 : – )

So, here I sit, with back and shoulders stiff because my home exercises do not help as much as those at the gym and using the gym’s pool. Here I sit, wheezing although I am taking asthma and allergy medicine to fight spring pollen. I am mindful that asthma, and, uh, age, categorize me as high-risk but I am so grateful for God’s protection and knowing that, if I get the virus, He will take care of me. So, here I sit, day after day, like you, struggling to maintain a semblance of daily life BQ (before quarantine), frustrated with weight gained during extra sedentary time, battling negative thoughts more than usual because relationships with family, friends, and usual activities outside my home are changed.

Image result for free clip art of messy lady at a deskYes, here I sit, my hair REALLY interesting, like yours might be since hair salons are non-essential during our corona virus lockdown. Also, my living space is tangled up since I spend so much time here now and asthma has caused fatigue, another good excuse. Besides, housekeeping, much less house fluffing, was definitely NOT my gifting anyway.

Yet I am also, like you, I hope, trusting and relying on God, keeping my heart on Him all day long, proclaiming aloud my gratitude and dependence on His sovereign and loving nature, knowing this will end and that He is turning it for good all over His world.

So, dear reader, today while I sat at my desk, in my distinctly non-glorious surroundings, writing and digging deeper and deeper into the Word about a topic that keeps expanding, doing my writing work for God, Holy Spirit gave me a gift I want to share with you.

Digging deep is a gift. While writing about affliction (a booklet is Image result for free picture of gift with blue bowcoming!) and digging deeply into Isaiah 30 today, I froze and stared out the window. The ding! in my mind as the lightbulb went on was nearly audible. I realized that Holy Spirit had been able to explain what Isaiah 30 meant about despising God’s Word because I had stopped and dug deeply, pondering, meditating, thinking hard about what He meant in those verses, looking up definitions, using other translations, etc.

What a gift this gift was! God confirmed that my way of studying the Word, for myself, and the way I study when I write for Him, is the right way for me! I tend to be insecure, so having that thought as tangible as a white box with a huge Tiffany-blue bow on top was a true treasure.

Image result for Free Clip Art Of Man Digging a Deep HoleSo what is digging deep? I remember Bible study as a new believer. One of the first times I sensed Holy Spirit giving me understanding (little old me!) was late at night, after my daughter had been bedtime-storied three times. Stretching my exhausted, single-parent self on the bed, I resumed my Bible reading from the night before, with Proverbs 2:1-5:

  • My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,
  • turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,
  • and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,
  • and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure (underline added),
  • Then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. (NIV)

I remember staring intently at verse four. Then I rested the open Bible on my chest, the navy blue New International Version my Mother had given me when I found Jesus. I stared at the ceiling a long time. Thoughts rolled through my mind. “How do you dig for silver? And hidden treasure? Ah! You have to dig and keep digging. You do not find silver or hidden treasure without hard work.” I was thrilled that God would use His Word to speak to me directly. And it is just as thrilling each time, after all these years! How good God is to us!

That night, I understood the passage on a surface level (no pun intended) and have pondered it often, each time, gaining more insight. But today, it was like brand new, as I thought more about it. 

Image result for free clip art of man digging a deep holeDigging deep takes time and effort. You do not search for silver or hidden treasure  by digging one scoop of dirt, flipping it to the ground, then walking 10 yards and digging another shallow scoop, and so on. Neither do you find treasure by walking over the land and scuffing the surface with the toe of your boot. You find treasures in God’s Word when you do like He says and search for it because it is covered up, hidden, and you cannot even see it, much less pick it up and claim it as your own and profit by it, until you do a lot of digging. And! You will not dig deep unless you have faith that something is there, waiting for you, lovingly prepared by God. And! you will not even be there trying to find treasure unless you have faith. It is all by faith!

God has an abundance of truth treasures stored up for each of us. Proverbs 2:7 says, “He hides away sound and godly Wisdom and stores it for the righteous (those who are in right standing with Him); He is a shield to those who walk uprightly and with integrity.” (AMPC)

How to search–DIG DEEP– for wisdom. Many beloved pastors, Bible teachers and other mature saints  have found God’s gold and silver and shared it with us. How do they tell us to mine for wisdom in the Word? Below is a composite of suggestions that have helped me greatly.

[1] Before you begin, pray and ask God for wisdom (James 1:5-8) and commit your study time to God.

[2] Find a list of Scriptures about your biggest area of personal need.

[3] Dig deep and keep thinking and talking with the Lord as you dig.

[4] Meditate on and memorize the verses that Holy Spirit emphasizes for you the most.

[5] Collect your personalized verses in one place and review them regularly.

Five steps to dig deep. Below are details of the five steps that work well for me. If you have used other methods and want to share them, please email me by using the “Email me” tab on the website, or the comments section below this blog post.

Step 1: Before you begin, pray and ask God for wisdom (James 1:5) and commit your study time to Him. If you “commit to the Lord whatever you do. . . He will establish your plans, (Proverbs 16:3, NIV). As the NLT phrases it, “. . . your plans will succeed.”)

Image result for free clip art of a list Step 2: Find a list of Scriptures about your biggest area of personal need (e.g., worry, anger, faith, etc.) To make your list, use a concordance, the alphabetized index in the back of most Bibles. You can also use the internet to find a list of Scriptures by typing into the search window, for example, “Bible verses about anger”. But BE CAREFUL! Your search results will include several internet addresses to click on that, in addition to listing Bible verses about your topic, also give someone’s ideas about that topic. Unless you know or can easily see that the individual shares your faith in the God of the Bible, just write down the book and verse and move on with making your list. Even if you do know that person is sound in the faith , it is far better to get your list, then go directly to the Word, God and you alone, and let Holy Spirit speak to you, personally, through the Word.

I also recommend that, unlike the dude in the clipart above, you make just a short list and then dig into the Word. Do not obsess about the list! 

Trust God’s ability to communicate with you more than you trust your doubts about yourself. God will lead you to find just the verses you as an individual need. He is the same One who led Israel, who numbers the hairs on your head, who has written your name on His heart and Who holds the universe in place. If you seek Him with all your heart, He promises you will find Him. (Deuteronomy 4:29, Jeremiah 29:13).  God cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18).

Image result for free picture of person sitting with a bibleStep 3: Dig deep and keep thinking and talking with the Lord as you dig. 

  • Read your first verse or verses slowly, over and over, and the verses before and after it that seem connected. Pay attention to connecting words, like: therefore, because, for, since, for example, that, then, in order that, so that, so, etc.
  • Then, be still and just think about what it means. Ask God to show you. Take time for just you and God and His Word.
  • After, and only after, you have paused to think, with God, about what the text means,  use other tools. Look up cross references noted in the text. See what a Bible dictionary and an English dictionary say. Look up not only the definition but also synonyms and plug those words into the verse. Look up antonyms. If God uses figurative language, like comparing the work of Holy Spirit to the wind, as in John 3:8, pause and ponder what you know about wind or look it up. Ask God to explain, and He will, just as Jesus explained His parables to His disciples.
  • Use commentaries and other study aids, but again, use caution because all  writers are  human.  Commentaries and Bible handbooks can be a great help because they describe cultural context, customs, geology, archeology, church history, etc. So, do use them. I recommend the highly respected Halley’s Bible Handbook, which has sold more than 6 million copies. However, there is no substitute for trusting the God of the Word of God to speak directly to you. Ensure that you spend the bulk of your study time in the Word, rather than any other book, no matter how good it is. Use other non-Bible time to read those supplemental writings. 

 God obviously is The Supreme Teacher, He loves to teach, and He loves to fellowship with you, to be close to you. He wrote you a love letter, and He is longing to explain those parts that you do not yet understand. Why? It helps you, helps others, and it brings Him pleasure to be closer to You. And do not worry that the enemy might lead you to misunderstand. If you make mistakes, God will correct you. Imagine a young son asking his carpenter father to teach him how to build a bench. Would that not give both father and son great delight? And would not the father show his son the best way to hold a hammer and saw a board?

See the source image

  • Keep chewing on your thoughts about those verses, just like a contented cow in a field, working on her cud. Keep thinking and asking Holy Spirit to help you understand. If you seek wisdom, you will not be disappointed. In Proverbs 8:17 wisdom is personified as a woman who says “I love those who love me, and those who seek me early and diligently shall find me. Proverbs 8:17, (AMPC)
  • And I urge you, dear friend, please do not say that this will not work for you because . . . you are not studious by nature, not able to hear God, lack time or self-discipline, not smart enough or any other flaming arrow of untruth (Ephesians 6:16) the enemy might shoot at your mind! Holy Spirit will show you personally how to dig deep into His truth, and you will know it when He does it. He will use whatever things are available to you and work for you.

Image result for Free Clip Art of Cow in a fieldStep 4: Meditate on and memorize the verses that Holy Spirit emphasizes for you the most. Digging deep is part of meditating, pausing, taking time, thinking about, pondering, and exploring what God means in a Bible passage or a word or a phrase so that you can apply it to your own life. Meditating brings blessings (Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:2, Psalm 105:2)

Meditating on God’s Word is part of loving Him with all our being. Deuteronomy 6 in the NLT is labelled “A Call for Whole-hearted Commitment.” I urge you to read the entire chapter. Moses reminds Israel that they are to follow God’s laws carefully so that things would go well with them and their children. Moses reminds them that the LORD alone is their God, then he says, “And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.” (verse 5)

Image result for free picture of phylacteries

Notice that right after Moses tells them that, he then tells them to meditate on God’s Word all day long. That says to me that doing so is part of loving God with all my heart. Moses said the people must commit themselves wholeheartedly to God’s commands. They were to “Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your foreheads as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Verses 7-9). Then Moses goes on to talk about the blessings God will pour out on them.

Writing some of your personalized verses on index cards, taping them around your house and car and carrying them with you sounds, to me, similar to how Moses instructed Israel to keep God’s Word visible to their eyes all day long. Doing so tremendously blesses me and lots of others I know. Notice the picture of the hand and arm phylacteries above. They were certainly visible reminders, to the person wearing them and to others who saw them.

Image result for free picture of college classroom[5] Collect your personalized verses in one place, and review them regularly, so they do not fade away. I like to think of Bible study as the privilege of being in  school with God as my teacher, for all my life. Throughout a school year, teachers lead students step by step through the basics of a subject, often pausing to repeat and review what was just taught. Why? Review and repetition imprints new knowledge more deeply into the mind. Quizzes and tests serve the same purpose because students are required to recall what they have learned, thus making a deeper neural pathway in their brain. Part-way through the school year, students have reviewed the basics so often that they know them. They can then build more knowledge on top of that solid foundation imprinted in their minds.

Digging deep brings innumerable blessings. Chapters 1 through 9:12 of Proverbs explain the benefits of wisdom and how to obtain it. Can you hear the earnestness of God’s heart? This discourse begins with God pleading “Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you and make you wise.” (Proverbs 1:23, NLT). Halfway through, God says “Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgement.” ( Proverbs 4:7, NLT). God summarizes this discourse on wisdom by saying:

“And so, my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful. Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it. Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home! For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord. But those who miss me injure themselves. All who hate me love death.” (Proverbs 8:32-36)

One last observation. Proverbs has 31 chapters. Each month has 31 days. Hmmm. . .

Image result for free picture of calendar on wall

The heart of that little drummer boy

 Piano lessons. As a girl, I took piano lessons, which meant practice! I began in fourth grade, when practice consisted of a few minutes a day after homework was finished, before I could go play baseball in the empty lot next door with my brothers and other neighborhood kids. As I grew older, practice sessions grew as did my pleasure in playing. I began getting up early to practice before school. Image result for royalty free picture of upright piano

Like many families in those times, we had a living room we seldom used. It could be, and usually was, closed off by a sliding pocket door that disappeared into the wall. On those early mornings, with darkness still at the windows, Daddy already at work, Mom having morning devotions in the family room and my two brothers still sleeping, I slowly slid that door open, relishing the cooler air of that isolated room, the lemony scent of furniture polish wafting from the piano, and that not quite dusty but distinctive smell of infrequently used rooms.

Youthful dreams of a youthful heart. Some mornings, before I crossed the room to the light switch, I stood in front of the picture window, another popular feature of mid-century homes, and gazed at the few lighted windows in the houses of our neighborhood, the sparse street lights, and the brightly lit convenience store at the foot of the rolling hill atop which our house sat, imagining I was gazing at the night-time streets of New York, where I dreamed of living as a writer. Then I turned to the piano and opened the sheet music, edged with purple, with the profile of a little boy and a drum.Image result for royalty free picture of neighborhood at night

That winter of seventh grade, Mrs. Rich was teaching me how to play with more expression, which was proving to be a much-needed outlet for my overly sensitive, adolescent soul. I leaned over the piano, intent on gently playing, four times, the chord that repeats throughout the tender song. Then I sang quietly while I played, “Come, they told me, pa rum pa pum. A newborn king to see, pa rum pa pum. . . “

The anointing God has placed upon that song calmed my heart, even though I did not know Jesus at that time. I played it so often that the entire family could join in. The love and comfort of that tender melody soothed the simmering emotional storms. Fifteen years later, I finally opened my heart to that awesome King I had been singing about and found His gifts of real love and real peace.

A gift fit for our King. Throughout the Christmas season we often hear that much-loved song. What a stirring thought that the little drummer boy perceived the deity of the tiny baby in the manger and wanted to give Him a gift fit for a king! Sweetest of all is the bashful gratitude the little boy expresses as he perceives that playing his drum has pleased the tiny king. “Then, He smiled at me, pa rum pa pum. . . rum pa pum. . . me and my drum.” Image result for royalty free picture of little drummer boy

I, too, have no gift that’s fit to give the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.   However, like the little drummer boy playing his best, I can live my best for our risen Lord. I can fulfill Romans 12:2 which urges “. . . offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–which is your spiritual act of worship. (NIV)”

Listen friend! Do You hear His love, do you perceive His smile of pleasure as you offer yourself a living sacrifice, striving to please Him in all that you do? “Pa rum pa pum, rum pa pum, rum pa pum.”

Dear Father,

Thank You for sending Your Son to be our Savior. Thank You for showing us clearly in the Bible how to please You. Holy Spirit, teach us how to live our lives as a gift. We love You, Lord! Happy Birthday Jesus!

Taking time to reconnoiter. . . with the “God of angel armies”

The word ” reconnoiter” means to examine or survey an area.  That is what I have been doing recently regarding blogging and writing.    Blogging and building an author’s “platform” (that is, a large group of loyal readers) takes so much time and effort that it leaves little time (and energy!) to actually write.   I must find the right balance between these two efforts.

This blog and my other one  http://stopfeelingpoornow.com/ are NOT going away!

I am stopping for time alone with God, to reflect and hear from Him what He wants for this work.  This writing is for Him and for you, not me. So please pray for me as I seek His will for this work.

I pray that you will have daily joy on your individual journey.  None of us know just where the path of life will lead, but we have His assurance that our dear Father in heaven has good plans for us.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

sketch winding road

Trees. . . so pleasing to the human eye!

1treesPEACEFULforestSCENE

Few things are as calming to my soul as trees.  All kinds of trees, in all seasons, in all locations – they all comfort my heart and, “magically”, make me feel secure.   And I can explain why.

Pleasing to the eye

In telling us about creation, God says in Genesis chapter 2, verse 9:

And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye [emphasis added] and good for food.” (New International Version). 

I have always loved the outdoors, though I’ve been a city dweller all my life.  Maybe that’s one reason I’ve always loved trees – they are a part of nature that is in cities and yet remain much as they would be in the woods.    Their branches reach outward from a trunk in the same way, their leaves sway with the wind in the same way, and they stretch their branches up toward heaven in the same way.   Trees do this whether they are in a city or in a wilderness where no one but God sees them.

The Bible tells us that God called all that He created “good”.  I believe God thinks trees are beautiful, too.  I believe that they are pleasing to His eye, just as they are to mine.  Our all-powerful Father in heaven, our Creator and the Creator of the universe, could have made earth obtain its oxygen in an invisible manner.  But He chose to cover the earth with beautiful flowers, bushes, and trees. . . majestic, glorious, upward-reaching trees.

1autumn_trres_PANORAMIC

Whether you live on a mountain with a panoramic view all around or, like me, in an urban area with one tree outside my window, I pray you will pause and let the beauty of trees bring you pleasure, as God intended.  Let them remind you to lift your heart towards heaven, just as the trees lift their branches to heaven.

“The heavens declare the glory of God. . . ” (Psalm 19:1, NIV)

Together with all of creation, let us praise and glorify and love the wonderful One who made us and gave us such a beautiful earth to call our temporary home.

1TREE_ONLYONE_LOOKING UPINTO IT

 

The Best New Year’s Resolutions – Gratitude and Trusting God

obstacle

Christian Values and Goal Setting

My personality type constantly plans and sets goals, sometimes to excess, I admit.  Below are two good links about making goals and plans.  My two main goals for 2016 are to be more grateful and to trust God more.  (Along with trusting God, of  course, goes worrying less!)  I encourage myself often by remembering that nothing is impossible with God.   As Proverbs 16:3 says “Commit to the LORD whatever you do and your plans will succeed (New International Version.)

This fist link regarding goals is entitled “Personal Goal Setting:  Planning to Live Your Life Your Way.” Although this webpage is not about setting goals as a Christ follower, you can adapt it for goals related to your life with God.   http://bit.ly/1LabpRU

The next link entitled “Five Tips for Setting Christian Goals” focuses specifically on spiritual goals.   I found it personally highly  useful and thought-provoking.  http://bit.ly/1Zw3B6P

And Have Fun Planning and Anticipating!

dog jumping obstacleIf you have ever watched the amazing things dogs do during obstacle course competition, one thing is clear:   the dogs are having a great time – doing what they are meant to do.  We, too, are made to be overcomers.  Let’s enjoy the journey!

Trusting God

Dear Father in heaven,

I ask that You would graciously guide each of us, as You promise in James 1.   As we trust You, give us wisdom in setting goals for the next year.  Help us not to get  caught up in the process or  start depending upon ourselves.  Rather, keep reminding us that You are  in charge of our lives and that You have everything in control.  All we need to do is serve you with our whole heart, and soul and mind and trust You for the results.  We love You, Jesus!”

 

Trusting God – Easier Said Than Done!

Trusting God vs. Overplanning

planning papers 2015

This last week I’ve had extra time to work on my blogs because my teacher son-in-law has been home to help with childcare.  I confess I’ve gotten myself overwhelmed by too much planning.  How can I improve my blogs, how can I EVER get comfortable with Facebook and Twitter?  How can I find more time to write and do all the peripheral work related to blogging without sacrificing these next few  precious preschool years with my grandsons? The answer?  I cannot, of course.

Family First 

All my writing is about how to “focus on your family”, which is the God-directed duty of every parent.  I can reduce my family time and try to bulldoze my way to success. Or, I can choose to trust God and keep priorities in line.  Just as He has worked every single thing in my life out for my good (Romans 8:28!!) so He will continue to do so.

It Does Take Faith!

I admit it takes faith to spend hours with the family when I still have not done so much that the expert bloggers recommend.  But I know, day by day, God and I are taking huge steps, and I am learning to “build my  author platform” so that eventually  publishers will be interested.

God NEVER Leaves Us and He NEVER  Forsakes Us – NEVER!

I can no longer stay up late and get up early to do the writing, as I did when Sharon was little.  However, over the years God has graciously shown me the effectiveness of prayer and faith and  committing all that I do to Him.  God has no favorites.  And just as He enabled George Mueller to accomplish a lifetime of miracles through prayer alone, He will help me with the writer’s life to which He has called me.  Below is a link to a description of this amazing believer’s life.  I read an entire book about him years ago.  I have always remembered, that, as this link says:

 “God answered his prayers. The needs of the orphanage were met each day. Sometimes a wealthy person would send a large amount of money, or a child would give a small amount received as a gift or for doing chores. Many times food, supplies or money came at the last minute, but God always provided without George telling anyone about his needs. He just prayed and waited on God.”

http://bit.ly/1NIky6u

By God’s unfathomable grace, may we all spend more time in prayer about our work for God!  As the hymn at the link below says – He never fails, He yet prevails!  Have faith in God. . . have faith in God!”

http://yhoo.it/1QQqjW2

 

Merry Christmas – and Happy Birthday, Jesus!

If you are like me, Christmas brings back childhood memories and, so often, Currier and Ives pictures of Christmas, like the beautiful one below.

currier and ives christmas 1

However, I am sure that no one will have a completely perfect day today, like we long for when we see such happy, wholesome scenes.

We do have reality.   Kids (and adults!) will get cranky waiting on the Christmas dinner,  brothers and sisters will fight over the new toys, someone will say something hurtful, and on and on with our all too human imperfections.   That is reality.

The far greater reality is that Christmas is about Christ, the greatest gift  that has ever or will ever be given.  Reality is that God loved the world so much that He sent His son Jesus to be our Savior and our Redeemer, to show us the way to live as God would have us live.  (That’s the famous “John 3:16” verse.)

How wonderful if we cultivate a grateful heart — in the midst of Christmas day imperfections.   We can, if we choose, focus on thanking and praising our loving Heavenly Father for loving us so!

nativity

Dear Father in Heaven,

Thank You for sending Your Son Jesus into this broken world, to show by His example how we are to live.  Help me to be a channel of Your love to everyone I see.  Help me please You with the “words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart” on this, the most beautiful day.   Happy birthday, Jesus!  I love You!

Psalm 19:14 “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (New International Version, 1973)

Cardinals on My Christmas Card – A Loving Pat on the Head

My daughter sent me the most beautiful Christmas card ever this year.  She knows I have loved cardinals for many years.

cardinal card 2012 from b

Inside the card was a photo of my daughter, her husband and my two darling grandsons, 2 and 4 years old.   Just getting them all together and looking good and sitting still for 10 seconds all at the same time and all together for that photo was a true labor of love, I know.

Her personal note (which is, uh, personal) was also beautiful and the kind that delights every Mother’s heart.  How blessed I am!   But just being reminded that she notices what I like and remembers and gets and does things to make me happy is a priceless gift in itself.  Again I say, how blessed I am!

So. . . why do I adore cardinals?   For two reasons – one, they always remind me of my earthly father, Fred Farmer (yes!  I was named after him : – )    He passed away many, many years ago,  creating a hole in my heart that only God could heal.    Daddy liked cardinals and always pointed them out to me.   Anything my father liked, I liked, too of course.

The Northern Cardinal is listed as one of the 100 common birds in Tennessee, my Dad’s native state.  So I’m sure he saw many growing up, just as I did growing up in Florida.

cardinals in snow male and female

Of course, the ones Daddy saw were possibly seen in snow, like the picture above.  And snow just hardly ever happened in Central Florida!

The second reason I love cardinals is that they remind me of my Heavenly Father’s unending love and presence and tender care.   I gave my heart to Jesus in 1981, and Daddy passed away in 1986.  I think somehow in my mind, the two thoughts and all the feelings associated with cardinals and Daddy and God were woven together in my heart.

All I know is that ever since I met Jesus, when I see a cardinal, even a fleeting glimpse, I feel like God has just given me a loving pat on my head and said, though not audibly, “I love you, Freda, and I am taking care of everything.  Everything is going to be okay. ”

It never, ever fails.  I can be in the bluest of moods or frustrated or stressed or whatever other negative thought pattern we humans so easily fall into, but the sight of a  cardinal works a true miracle in my heart.

Dear Father in heaven, thank You for loving me and reminding me in so many, little ways constantly of that love.  Thank You for such a wonderful earthly Daddy.  You know Daddy was a big and strong “man’s man” but he was so tender and gentle with me.    I know his love prepared a place in my heart for Your love, Father.  Thank You, Lord, for my father and for the way cardinals remind me of both of you.  I love You, Lord!”

cardinals