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Showing posts from December, 2011

To Follow His Example

If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself. 2 Timothy 11-13 “He cannot disown himself.” We are God’s children. As our Father He sees us as a part of Him. We can make mistakes as well as conscious bad choices and He will forgive us. What a great feeling to know that every time I turn back to Him, repent, God will accept me with open arms. I have been disowned. Let me assure you, it’s as painful and nasty as it sounds. The worst of it is that it isn’t a once for all thing, as it sounds. It’s a continuous pattern. Certainly the event of being told, that’s it, we’re done with you was a once for all event but as life goes on, so does the reality that I am no longer a part of a whole that should have a spot for me. The niche that was mine is closed. For me the words of Thomas Wolfe are very true, you can’t go home again.

Kingdom Now

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11 There is a worship song that talks about a time when everyone will realize the sovereignty of God. It says that even given that truth, the best life is lived by those who know God now. I think of the story of the vineyard workers. It illustrates the fact that it is never too late to seek God. Losing a friend who seemingly did not know God my husband and I have prayed that the truth of that verse would carry him home. So, if I can get to the kingdom at the absolute last minute why worry about loving and serving God now? Is there any truth in the statement that life is better lived with God in it? Too many people have told me that they don’t want a relationship with God because then they couldn’t enjo

Getting Prepared

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:11-12 In the song “Joy to the World” there are two lines that stand out for me every Christmas season. One is “let Earth receive her King.” Those words are a thrill to me. I see it as my children’s reaction when their grandparents arrive. “They’re here! They’re here!” Last year our oldest son had a significant birthday and his grandparents surprised him by coming to his party, from the other end of the East coast. He was as thrilled then as he was when he was a child. Of course we received them. We changed our plans for the next several days to enjoy their visit. That’s the emotion I have when I hear “let Earth receive her King.” Jesus is here! Yay! Sadly that is not everyone’s reaction. Some sing along with the words but don’t get it. Others are offended by the idea of Jesus. To me that is tragic. Parts of

Holiday Inn

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in the manger, because there was no room in the inn. Luke 2:6-7 December is here. It’s Christmas time. I know that because my street is alive with colored lights and every store I pass by is busy. I hear conversations about this party, that dinner and who is giving what to whom. I hear very little if anything at all about Jesus. Due to the eagerness of advertisers and businesses we have all been primed for the season since the middle of October and each day that brings us closer to the 25th intensifies the onslaught. I hear about stress and too many commitments. I wonder myself if we can celebrate the holiday without any harsh words about where, how and with whom to celebrate. Our pastor has a tradition of basing his Christmas sermon around some trinket he can give as a reminder of his message, the message that we are who we are beca

Every Knee Shall Bow

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Philippians 2:9-10 There is an item in the news this morning that is frankly making me ill. Somewhere in New York several boys were suspended from school for bowing their knee in what looks like prayer. It isn’t prayer however; it is an imitation of sports figure, Tim Tebow. Putting aside for a moment the basic problem I have with the fact that the boys would not be allowed to bend their knees in AMERICA a country founded on and for religious freedom …. Let me say that I am not a sports fan. I don’t follow sports and ordinarily would never have heard of Tim Tebow except that I live in Orange Park, Florida just a bit over an hour away from Gainesville where Gators rule baby and Tim used to be their king aka, the quarterback. My children are rabid Ga

The One Who Always Watches Over Us

For he will command his angels concerning you To guard you in all your ways; They will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. Psalm 91:11-12 My granddaughter Faith has had an experience of some kind with God. I’m not sure exactly what happened but I know it’s real. She knows things about God that a child of her age, who is fairly unchurched, would not know. Further, she knows things about people who died long before she was born, that none of us have told her. One night while she was sharing some of her experience with me she referred to God as “the one who always watches over us.” When I asked her who she meant she said, “God” in a voice that suggested that I might be a bit less than intelligent, not in a sassy way but more in the way of a teacher to reluctant student. I then asked her why she didn’t just say God and she told me that “the one who watches over us” is one of God’s names. She informed me that lots of people call Him that. M

Christmas

For to us a child is born, to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 A few days ago I was reviewing some Christmas messages I have written. I hate to repeat myself too closely. Granted the message is the same year after year but if I state it the same way twice that could be bad. My kids already accuse me of being senile sometimes. While reviewing the messages I saw Christmas over the last few years. A lot of them deal with Mary’s feelings about the whole thing. That seemed right to me, as I am a mother and two of my sons were born either side of Christmas, one in the beginning of January and one at the very end of November. I can relate to Mary’s pregnancy on some level. A few of the messages were about the commercialization of Christmas, the emphasis on the ordinary rather than the sacred. One of my favorites uses the image of my

Saints of God

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be opened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints. Ephesians 1:18 Saints are very important to the people of the Catholic Church. I know this because I was raised Catholic. In my teen years I found the whole thing quite amusing and as I grew to truly know Jesus I found it a little sad. Now I have to admit I find it all interesting. No, I don’t believe a certain saint can bring a certain result but I bet they did while they were alive. They got those credentials from somewhere. Think about it, when we have a specific prayer request we think of a person we know who was healed or helped through something similar. We wonder who prayed for them and we want the same person praying for us. When my oldest son Paul was born and experienced complications a woman named Melissa prayed for him. Her daughter had just been healed of an inoperable brain tumor. I believed that ha

How Many Times

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21-22 There are a couple of relationships in my life that continue to fall into a less than positive pattern. Things go well for awhile and then they get stale, to put it tactfully and that brings difficulty and hurt feelings. In praying about one of them today I realized how much God puts up with in having relationships with us. On any given day I can be totally devoted to Him at one point and fairly ignorant of Him in the next section of the day. Although it may not be the first image that comes to mind when you hear or see the word ignorant, one of the synonyms for it is unaware. I think that fits what I’m talking about perfectly. It isn’t that I don’t love God or appreciate Him. It is that in certain moments I am unaware of Him and the worst of those is when I c

He Does It His Way

I know that the Lord is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods. The Lord does whatever pleases him, in the heavens, and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. Psalm135:5-6 “The Lord does whatever pleases him.” That sounds a bit arrogant taken out of context. If I say of someone, he does whatever pleases him, most likely I am describing someone selfish or thoughtless. These words are describing God, who is neither selfish nor thoughtless. Reading this psalm however, I wondered what a person who is just coming to know God or opens the Bible for no reason other than to disprove it, thinks of that passage. It would be pretty scary to serve a god who “does what pleases him” if that god didn’t care about people. Thankfully what pleases God, the one true God, is to care for us, teach us, prosper us and bring us home. Jeremiah 29:11 is a verse a lot of people know and love. It says “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you

The Gift Box

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 I read an account of children in El Salvador receiving Christmas gift boxes prepared by American children. It was in a book by Max Lucado. He spoke of the excitement the children feel at receiving toys, books and personal items but that the part they enjoy the most is the letter that comes from the other child. He made many eloquent and touching points comparing that gift to the gift that God gave to us in the form of Jesus. There was one line though with which I disagreed. He said that for us the box, which is Jesus doesn’t come with toys, books etc that Jesus is the gift. While I agree that Jesus is the main gift and in fact the only gift we need I believe there are other gifts involved. In fact I believe that every good thing in my life comes from that gift box from God. My family, my home, my health all of those are gifts from a lo

Receive the King

Today in the town of David a Savior is born to you; he is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given and the government of the world will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. Isaiah 9:7 “Joy to the world the Lord is come. Let Earth receive her King.” Christian and non-Christian alike are singing these words today. It’s Christmastime and people who don’t give Christ a single thought all year long are singing about His birth. I love Christmas. I love the colors, the smells and the songs. Unlike some other people I realize that the songs like the season itself are two sided. There are songs about Santa and jingling bells and there are songs/hymns about Jesus. So we sing, “let Earth receive her King.” Long years ago Earth received that King with little excitement. Sure, the whole thing touched a few shepherds an

Truth (Re)Revealed

And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved Joel 2:32a Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. John 8:32 I was reminded this morning of a very simple teaching and that reminder exposed a huge lie, a lie which I have believed and been bruised by for quite awhile now. The teaching was this, when times are hard, go to the Word of God. The lie was this, when I feel overwhelmed, sad or frightened and I go to God’s Word, written or sung, I am putting a bandage on the problem. A few years ago I had an injury. The doctor I saw told me to wear a pressure bandage. Bryan, a physical therapist with whom I work, told me that bandage wasn’t doing me any good. He explained that all the bandage did was compress the area to make it feel better when in fact it wasn’t. That was true and was also excellent advice. It would seem that what the enemy was telling me was similar. In going to the Word of God I could get lost in the comfort of the familiar stories. In s