~reflections~musings~inspirations~insights~and life lessons learned by one who is
whole-heartedly, steadfastly, firmly in HIS grip~

Romans 1:6 "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes..."

Thursday, September 30, 2010

If God is for us, Who can be against us?

"And we know that in all things God works together for the good of those who have been called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28
 My heart is heavily burdened as I set my Bible aside and take up my laptop.  I had another post in mind this morning but that has all changed now.  My blogger friend, Susan, has had some horrible news. Her daughter has been diagnosed with lung cancer.  Please pray now for this family.

It seems there have been a few bumps in the road of late for this dear friend of mine.  Why not?  I mean, she demonstrates her love of and faith in Christ with every stroke of her pen. (or tap of her keyboard) And she and her husband Mickey, just recently began a new ministry to feed the people in need of their neighborhood and from what I have read, it is quite successful...feeding the body and the soul of everyone who receives a meal. You know that must have gotten the old deceiver and his minions stirred up! Looks to me like Susan is under attack at her very heart...her mother's heart.

Kinda reminds me of Job. He was just a Godly man, serving God with his heart and seemingly out of nowhere, BAM, he was under attack...and for what? Being a Godly man! But he made it through and on the other side the blessings were so much more than he could have ever expected. I bet it will be the same with Susan.  We see attacks on and suffering by the saints it in the new testament as well.  Let's face it...those new Christians, the ones setting up the church of Jesus, were definitely persecuted... beheaded, imprisoned, stoned, crucified... all because they were obeying the call... their call... HIS call. Why would it not be the case now?
Matthew 5:11 "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Then I think about the way Jesus healed the man who was born blind. [John 9] when his disciples asked who had sinned to cause the blindness, the man or his parents. Jesus' answer in verse 3 was simple, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life." Now that is an assurance! I pray the mighty work of God will be displayed in the life of my friends daughter.  I am almost on shouting ground now!

When I was younger my husband and I did a little stint of service as children's [ages 3-8] church ministers. Man, I loved those kids, still do... even though they are teenagers and young adults now.  For a short time a little boy named Elijah attended with his mother.

The circumstance of his presence in our church was one that looked hopeless to the outside world... his tiny body was riddled with cancer.  They lived across the street from our Pastor's sister, Faith, and because both parents were in the Air Force she would babysit from time to time.  When once again the cancer returned, Faith brought them to church in more ways than one.

For the first time in my life I was a part of a service where the elders of the church gathered, anointed someone, and prayed for healing.  It was the most powerful thing I had ever experienced. The hairs on the back of my neck stand as I vividly remember the service.  The next morning Elijah was scheduled for surgery to remove a spot and a mass that had grown in the place where a kidney had been removed.

I had an early meeting that morning and so was running a bit late to the hospital.  By the time I got there he was already in surgery.  I had barely gotten my coffee when the doctor came into the waiting room. We all knew this could be good news or very bad news... We waited with the preliminary words... then he took off that cap thingie and said, "I don't know what happened. Last week, there was a mass, this morning...nothing.  There was a little spot on his diaphragm, that was not malignant but we removed it anyway.  Other than that, everything is good there are no signs of cancer at this time. We don't need to see him for another six months."

Now that doctor might not have known what happened but we knew! God's power was manifested in that little boy so an unbelieving mother would come to know Him.  Praise the Lord! The family has since been transferred but as far as I know... Elijah is still cancer free.  That's the kind of God we serve.  I have seen His healing power with my own eyes and know He is still in the healing business to this day! And so I pray it shall be with Suzette.
Romans 8:31 "What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?"
I rebuke the devil in the the name of Jesus and claim a victory over this illness. Glory and honor and praise to the King, that His power is shone to all who meet this woman, Suzette. May her faith be deepened, her walk expanded, and the glory of the Lord surround her and shine, shine, shine!
 Romans 5:1-5 "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us,"
And so for now, a little suffering tempered with prayer and grounded in faith, hope and the Love which is Christ. And soon, very soon, a joyful victory!
Romans 8:35-37 "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardships or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger of the sword? As it is written: 'For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all thing we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any power, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Exercise Routine

Psalm 91:1) He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2) I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust."

Jeremiah 6:16 "This is what the Lord says: 'Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.'"

Matthew 11-28-30 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29) Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30) For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Now that is an exercise routine I can live with! How about you?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Prepare to Meet your Maker!

No, this is not some dooms day post...not yet anyway. 

During the Arkansas v. Alabama half-time I was talking to my oldest son, Richard.  After he talked about the first part of the game (Arkansas is winning so far, Go Hogs!) he mentioned he had to be at the church later for practice.  He is not the usual drummer so when he does play he likes a little extra time with the other members of the worship team.

When my phone rang I was in the middle of making my grocery list, which is followed usually by my weekly menu, and then combined with the list we keep on the fridge of things we are running out of or have completely used.  I thought, now that is a lot of preparation for one quick trip into town. 

I mean, we all make many preparations every day, don't we? And if you are a "recovering" planner like me it can sometimes get intense.  But think about it... even chef's have a prep-cook.  Their whole job is cutting and dicing veggies, getting everything ready for the chef to use as he/she needs for the rush of diners. 

As Christians we study and pray to make ourselves ready to be of service to the Lord.  How then do we prepare for that Sunday morning church service?  Is it a state of mind? A state of the heart? 

I think back to when our children were home and I was working a full time job.  Just getting up and making sure everyone was ready to go and still clean when we got in the car could be a harrowing experience, no matter how early we woke up! I shudder at the memory of snotty noses, crying...and why did you have to jump in the mud puddle on the way to the car THIS morning...we are already running late...start to any given Sunday.  Sound familiar?

Now church service can not, should not ever take the place of a personal relationship with the Lord. I mean nothing can replace my one-on-one time, I love the connection I get when I sit here at the desk with my Bible in one hand, cup of coffee in the other, ink pen tucked behind my ear, and Christian music playing softly (sometimes blasting) in the background.  It is where I am shaped and molded, inspired...and where sometimes, I get a little spankin' cause I am not paying attention or I'm trying to do things my way.

But there is just something about the collective worship service.  A group of people, no matter how small or large the crowd, singing down the Spirit until the entire room is filled, sitting with rapt attention as the Pastor brings the Word, then the congregation sings softly, sometimes swaying, as the saints pray silently for the salvation of the seekers in attendance...it is at that altar where lives are forever altered.
Pass me not, O gentle Savior,
hear my humble cry;
while on others thou art calling,
do not pass me by.

Savior, Savior, hear my humble cry;
while on others thou art calling,
do not pass me by.

Remember one thing...this Sunday morning...IN the morning... take a little time out, listen to some good Christian music, whisper a prayer before your feet even hit the floor.  "This is Your day, Lord... I'm gonna focus on you and not worry where we are going to eat lunch, I don't even care if those kids get dirty this morning.  After all, you look on the inside and not the outside. I love you, Lord... thank you for loving me first."

Then take a deep breath and remind yourself, this is the time, the place where I meet my Savior. Reach out and grab hold and do not let Him pass you by...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Are You A Branch or Just Up A Tree?

John 15:4 
"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, neither can you, unless you abide in Me."

John 15:5 
"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing."

John 15:9
"As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love."

John 15:11,12 
"These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Perfecting Process

I began this morning thinking wouldn't it be wonderful if we were perfect? If we never said anything that hurt someone's feelings... if everything we did or attempted to do produced good results... now that would be a wonderful life would it not?

It would be fantastic to never disappoint anyone, especially God, our family, friends, and even strangers. Then maybe we wouldn't be disappointed in ourselves either. It is such a sinking feeling to realize that something we've said or done has damaged our witness to the lost and dieing. I mean, really, why are we held to such a high and great standard that the world, the worldly think we should be perfect, flawless? It sometimes gets so tedious... this searching, this striving for perfection.

I decided to do a little research...
Hebrews 10:12 "But when this priest [Jesus] had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13-Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14-because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. 15- The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: 16-"This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds." ~NIV
It is the innate knowledge of the laws that brings on the disappointment in ourselves, and if we are honest, in others. Even the unsaved, godless, worldly population is aware of these laws; therefore when we claim Christ, claim the title Christian, profess to live as Christ... every flaw is noted... every mistake... every sin... logged for later exposition. It so reminds me of the bumper stickers I see on some people's cars, "I am not perfect - just forgiven."

Of course, Matthew 5:48 states "Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect." I have been a Christian for over twenty years and I have never accomplished that! Maybe that's what the author of Hebrews was talking about when he referred to, "those who are being made holy." I had to do a little more searching. Then I came across one of my favorite verses.
Romans 12:2 "Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will." ~NIV
Ahhh, yes... it is a process, THE process... this living a life for Christ.

I remember when I first became a Christian immediately somethings changed - automatically - they just disappeared. Then as I studied the Bible, it was like I was looking at my life, my actions, my words under a magnifying glass... once I got all those things taken care of I was comfortable, thinking...now this is living the Christian life - and you know what? It was at that time God turned up the magnification and showed me there is still more to take care of.

Now please do not get confused here or take what I am saying wrong... I know that I am saved by grace, once and for all, and that these little corrections, this pruning, is not working out my salvation. It is simply the act of daily dieing to self so I may live for Him. Focus on Him...seek Him...please Him... for truly that is where the perfecting process takes place.

The more I read the more I found that perfect or perfection related to love. Not the love that is casually tossed about in the world but unconditional, true love... or should I say, the Truth Love. The Romans 12:9-21 kind of love... the 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love. For now we know in part then we shall know fully even as we are fully known...

I'm feeling a little better now... I am resolved to run this race, this marathon that is the life of a CHRISTIAN - this march toward perfection, tempered in forgiveness and love - continuing to seek and search and do - always moving forward into the life for which I have been called. And so, I leave you with this challenge...
Hebrews 12:1-3 " Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witness, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus, the authr and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your soul." ~NKJ

Monday, September 20, 2010

Draw me,Lord,Draw Me Nearer!

I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice,
And it told Thy love to me;
But I long to rise in the arms of faith,
And be closer drawn to Thee.

Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,
To the cross where Thou hast died;
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,
To Thy precious, bleeding side.

Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord,
By the pow'r of grace divine;
Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,
And my will be lost in Thine.

O the pure delight of a single hour
That before Thy throne I spend,
When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God,
I commune as friend with friend!

There are depths of love that I yet may know
Ere Thee face to face I see;
There are heights of joy that I yet may reach
Ere I rest in peace with Thee.

Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,
To the cross where Thou hast died;
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,
To Thy precious, bleeding side.

Sing with me, pray with me! Oh, that this would be the mainframe of all Christians prayer. Then we would change the world... one person at a time... and it would start with me... with you!