Tag Archives: Love

EXTEND GRACE

Have you ever come across a situation that God is telling you to “Extend Grace”? Whether it be a work life, personal life or otherwise, there are many times in life that we need to hear from God and extend grace … His grace that can come through us. God is a Good God and loves His children and doesn’t want any to suffer or have pain that is not quenchable. He provides ways to extend grace through His instruments here on earth… us. His children that walk around on this big, blue, revolving globe called earth that He created. We are His instruments of grace and love and if we call ourselves a Christian, a Christ follower, then we need to learn more and more how to extend grace to our brothers and sisters that share our space and time. That also calls for extending grace to some that may not be believers. Sometimes… just maybe, God has placed some folks in your path that are not believers. More than likely He has – because He wants us to share our grace that He has given us.grace-of-god-550x320

I have not written in quite a while due to my work being pretty consuming at this time in my life. I have begun a new job and it is a wonderful one. I love my job, the people I work with and my manager, who is one of a kind. I know some of you may say you like your manager as well, but I think God has triple blessed me with a job I love, work that I love and a manager that knows Him and lets Him lead her in her daily walk. Yes, she is human and yes, sometimes she has to regroup and say, “I was wrong” but overall, my days are filled with joy, new knowledge, stretching, learning, stretching, more joy, some pain and stress along the way and so much intrigue and most of all … Grace! This job takes a lot of my time and energy and I know the longer I am there the better it will get because I will learn and grow. I just feel so blessed to have the job I have, the manager I have and the opportunities I have before me.Picture3

Recently, I have been confronted with the need for me to extend grace upon grace to a certain situation in my work life. It has me a bit confounded. Not that I don’t want to extend this grace to this particular situation … albeit one that I need to learn from, it seems to allude me how to do this … well, with grace. Part of my personality is a very assertive and “get it done” type and the other is a tender, compassionate and caring type. Sometimes they struggle with each other. This situation screams at my compassionate, caring side and I find myself needing to slow down and listen to God and sometimes God’s voice comes through my manager. She is a wonderful instrument of peace in my life.hqdefault

You see, I believe everyone is on a journey to find peace and tranquility in their life. As a believer, that peace and tranquility for me is knowing my Savior, Jesus Christ. He calms my spirit and eases my confusion all the time. When there is turmoil, He calms the storm. Where there is confusion He clears my head. When I feel lonely He is there to remind me He is my friend and always will be. He is my daily companion and partner through all of life’s situations. However, I still find it hard, sometimes, to quiet the “ME” and listen to His still, small voice that says, “this situation needs grace. Remember, the marvelous grace you have been given.” When reminded, either by Him or by someone else, it stops me in my tracks and I break down and weep. I am overwhelmed by His goodness and I can’t help but just weep with thankfulness.  I do this quite often lately.

Grace, Grace. God’s Grace. Grace that will pardon and cleanse within.
Grace, Grace. God’s Grace. Grace that is greater than all our sin.

I love that old hymn.

Grace means to get something that you do not deserve; unmerited favor. God’s Word also talks about and teaches us to extend grace.

The best and most significant example of grace in the history of the world is the wonderful grace extended by our Father in Heaven when He gave His Only Son to the world as an example for us to live by.

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 1:14-17

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

There are so many wonderful scriptures on grace. I would fill 10 pages or more if I listed them all. I mostly want you to think where in your life can you extend grace? To a co-worker, family member, neighbor or to a particular situation that you are faced with. There is grace from the Savior readily available for you to be filled with His grace to extend grace to whatever situation and whomever might need it.

Jesus, laying down His life, gave us the most extravagant gift of grace and mercy when He allowed Himself to be placed on the cross to die for our sins. He didn’t have to and yet He did because He loves us so much! Again Grace is unmerited favor – not getting what we deserve and mercy … is getting something that we do not deserve – which is His forgiveness for our sins. Check out the broader explanation on GotQuestions.org.

I never like to leave that story at that ending though. Yes, Jesus laid Himself on that cross to die for our sins, but… oh it doesn’t end there! OH NO IT DOESN’T! After giving His life for our sins… on the third day, HE AROSE!

Luke 24

Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them,[a] came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly[b] perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. 5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’”…

So, if there is someone or a situation that seems to need God’s grace extended through you and your abilities, listen to that still, small voice and ask God for the ability to extend that grace in whatever way He leads you to do so. I promise it will be a wonderful blessing in your day. Sometimes that blessing will be continued throughout your days, weeks, months and years to come. Extend Grace and see what happens. God is such a good God and loves you so much! He wants you to be blessed! After all, He calls you His beloved.

Another wonderful song by the Martins

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PATCHWORK

Is there patchwork showing in your life?

I began this post some time back with just the title and first sentence. Many times during the day/week/month, I get little snippets from the Holy Spirit and I try to write them down when I hear them in my spirit. Why? Because I will forget … lol. Really, though, I try to record them in some way because they always … ALWAYS … mean something eventually, even if it is a month later. I am always able to relate to them and I believe share those moments with you when they become a full thought and something to relate to my walk with The Lord. I got the “word” one day when I was traveling imagesalong a road that had been recently patched with tar. The road had potholes and the like from bad weather that had been in the area for a while. So the potholes and all the cracks created quite a rough ride as I traveled down once before so the road crews had made it nice and smooth again.SMOOTH ROAD

Now this post could go many directions. The first thing that came to mind is the potholes and cracks (so-to-speak) in our lives as human beings living on this revolving globe. However, that is not the first path I want to take. I will pick this train of thought up in a moment. First I want to go the direction that is right before us today.

As I sit here in my mother’s hospital room, she naps in the quite stillness, while the only noise is the Echocardiogram making its occasional sound… well, actually it’s the sound of my mother’s heartbeat making the soft pumping sound as the heart is doing its job and pumping blood through her body.  This is an amazing thing to watch the valves open and shut as the blood is pumped in and out of this magnificent muscle called the heart.  That will have to be another post someday.  She is peaceful and resting well. this-echocardiogram-presents-the-heart-from-a-different-perspective-560x412My father is sitting in the easy chair (as easy as it can be in a hospital) and his head is leaned forward and he is napping as well. He has been so worried about my mother and so have all of us… even some of you reading this blog post. I have wonderful friends and family scattered across this wide, wonderful world of ours… which is actually not ours… but the wonderful Lord’s, which is also another post in the making.

So, this room is a patchwork in and of itself. In it there are three lives that have been touched in so many ways by life events. The latest one being my mom’s bout with what we thought was another TIA (mini stroke). Yet, turns out it is just – and I use that word lightly – pneumonia instead of a stroke. Which we will take pneumonia over stroke any day! Right!? So, some of the patchwork in her life along with my father’s and mine is the illnesses she has endured and overcome in the last 6 years, not to mention the last 75 or so. She is 86 years old and has survived cancer, heart attack, stroke and a myriad of other things that could do a normal person in. However, she is a strong, wonderful lady that keeps beating the odds. So, that alone is a lot of patchwork between the three of us here in this hospital room.

Now let’s talk about the patchwork in a Christian’s life. The patchwork that God makes into a beautiful thing. This reminds me of the other day in Sunday School. One of the ladies had made a beautiful patchwork quilt. It was some design that was absolutely beautiful. She made it and another lady hung it on the wall so we could all enjoy it and that we did… enjoyed it greatly! We all oohed and aahed over it (how do you spell those anyway?)… lol. Nonetheless, it brought great attention and admiration by us all.patchwork-pepi  This picture is not the one in the Sunday School class but a beautiful one indeed.

OK, back on track now… a Christian’s patchwork that God makes into a beautiful thing. All of the life events that we endure, or survive, create a sort of patchwork quilt. Some of the shapes are the same and some are not. But they all fit together some way or another. God is the One that must fit them together, though, to make a beautiful masterpiece. We sometimes try to make it on our own but it never works that way.  If we are a Christian, we need to rely on God to lead us in the way He would have us go.  NOT the way we want to go.  The Bible tells us we are His masterpiece.

Ephesians 2:10

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.  (New Living Translation used)

Rick Warren says “The reason you have value is because of what God says about you, not because of what other people say about you.” (excerpt from article “You Are God’s Masterpiece” – click the link to go to the full article).

Now to mention the tar that is used on a road to make it smooth again, it may need to be done over and over again until the road has to be completely remade to make it the best. Believe you me, I have felt like my life has been remade many times and I am living one of those remakes now.  The road patches are something different than the beautiful quilt for sure. But the same idea is used. Patch something together to make it better. The pieces of the fabric that make up the quilt are really no good by themselves. Just like the tar. If it stays in the bucket it is of no use. So, if the fabric is pieced together by a master quilt maker then it becomes a beautiful work of art that you can hang on the wall or use for warmth. Either way, it is beautiful. The road… the tar is perfect for the patching of the road and it makes the roads a much nicer trip.

God takes the pieces of our lives, some little pieces and some big pieces, and fits them all together to make a beautiful work of art. He is the One Master Quilt Maker for sure!  I think the quilt He is making in my life is a continual one. As time goes on, it is getting bigger and bigger with all of these life events that I have gone through. We all have them though. I guess the quilt – or the beautiful work of art – will never be finished until we see His face. Oh that will be Glory!

So as you travel along the path in your life and the “life events” happen, remember it is just another piece of fabric – the patchwork in your life – for God to use to create a beautiful masterpiece. God loves you so much! He will continue to use the patchwork in your life –  if you allow Him – to make a beautiful masterpiece. After all, He calls you His beloved.

The Video – The Masterpiece

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FIRST IMPRESSIONS

How are you initially perceived by others? What do you think their first impressions are of you when you meet someone? You might be surprised at their answer.FIRST IMPRESSIONS joke

I was fortunate enough to be raised by parents that loved to teach us how to meet and greet folks, how to converse and be social on an acceptable level. Some that have met me may have a different opinion, but for the most part I believe I meet and greet folks well. I know how to carry on a conversation with just about any race, creed, age or status in life. No one has ever escaped my conversation skills except those that simply want to talk only about themselves. Now everyone has things they like to share with most folks, well, I say everyone, but that is not quite true. Most folks like to share and there are some that simply don’t like to talk to anyone. Or there are folks that only like to talk to certain folks and so on. Anyway, my point is that some folks DO NOT know how to carry on a “good” conversation… and that word “good” may be relative depending on who you are talking to.GOOD CONVERSATION

I consider a “good” conversation is one that is not one-sided but a sharing of two or more folks of equal amounts of information about themselves or their experiences. Sharing events or happenings in their life or personal stuff – either way… it is good conversation. Conversation is a two way street. Not a one sided bombardment of opinions and words of the person you are carrying on with. Quality conversation escapes many people. I say quality… meaning a nice back and forth about stories, events or other interesting things that might be liked by the person you are having a conversation with. Sometimes the information may not necessarily be information they “want” to hear, but is received without scorn and stored away in their brain as information about you. Likewise, the information you receive may not be information you wanted to know but you store it away as information about that particular person and that’s that.WORDS

Unfortunately, some folks like to use that information against other folks in a hurtful way and that is TOTALLY unacceptable behavior as far as good conversation goes or even good people skills go. No person should ever take something someone has told them and use it against them in a hurtful way. That is just not cool! Unfortunately there are people in this old world that do not subscribe to my way of thinking though and do so anyway.

Aren’t you glad that our God does not do this? If you are a Christian, you certainly know that there are plenty of things in your distant past or not so distant past that could be used against you to either hurt you or upset you in one way or the other. god_is_goodOur God – our Creator – is a gracious and forgiving God though. He says that if you believe on His Son, Jesus, and have accepted Him as your Savior, your sins (and shortcomings) are forgotten and NEVER to be remembered by Him. Isn’t that wonderful? That is so unlike us humans, or at least some of us humans. None of us are exempt from hurting our fellow humans, are we? Some more than others… Nonetheless, we all have the ability and tendency to hurt others.

Jesus teaches us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Now that might even be hard for some. I know some folks that don’t even love themselves and so those folks don’t really know how to love their neighbor. Love begins with loving oneself, I believe. Well, actually it begins with loving God and He teaches us how to love ourselves and others. His Son Jesus taught us in a wonderful way when He was on this earth. He walked among us and lovingly taught His followers how to treat one another and their neighbors. Even then, many folks didn’t understand His teachings and mocked Him or ridiculed Him and even threatened Him. He still loved them. He taught us to love even our enemies! YEP, love our enemies!34345_Love_your_enemies_t_sm

Matthew 5:43-48

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

So those folks that really get to you when they do say hurtful things about you or spread hurtful rumors about you, just let it go and love them back. It bugs them and they don’t understand that kind of reaction. So… maybe they will stop doing it one day. Just give it to God and let Him deal with them. I know… that is harder to do than to say but it will make a giant difference in your life and your attitude. God loves you so much! He wants to help in every way He can to make your life better. Reach out to Him today! He is waiting to hear from you. After all He calls you His beloved!

The Video – Love Your Enemies – Kris10 Cartoons

 

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NOTE TO SELF

Note to Self.  Have you ever thought if you could go back in time and write a note to yourself, what would you say?  Well, I was on Facebook the other day and I ran across this post that said this:

NOTE TO SELF

Now the question wasn’t too bad, however, the comments to this post made me think that some of these folks apparently don’t walk the same path I walk or have the same beliefs I have and after reading some of the comments, I felt a little sad. Here are the comments to that question:

“Stop It!!!”, “Live life”, “Dumb a__”, “Don’t settle”, “You suck”, “invest in yahoo, google & a few others”, “Notta thing”, “I honestly did think!! Been married 3 times had great kids! So… nothing I would change!”, “Don’t give”, “go vegan!”, “Don’t be self-conscious”, “Put yourself in others’ shoes”, “Be friendlier and smile more”, “celebrate daily J”, “Love you”, “Stay educated”, “Never love”, “Don’t do”, “Love life”, “think first”, “Chill out!”, “Move forward”, “No way”, “Choose wisely”, “not now”, “do opposite”, “Stop it”, “Run fast”, “Hold on for deer life!!!!”, “No don’t”, “just breathe”, “It’ll pass”.

Some of these folks would write a Note to Self and say some pretty harsh things.  Now obviously some of these are good and positive, some are kind of neutral and others – I say about 12 of them – are of the negative variety. I just found it sad to some degree on some of these comments becauDD266se some of these folks apparently don’t think very highly of themselves. Those do not reflect a happy life or person. Some reflect hurt and disdain for oneself. While others are uplifting (somewhat) and encouraging. The moment I read this post, my first thoughts were: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Then I realized the post said “two words” not 23. LOL.

Now I realize there are a lot of sad and lost people in this world. However, do they know they are sad and lost? It is my guess that some do and some don’t. So this is a prime example that we Christians need to be about the business of telling others about Jesus! Jesus asked His disciples to spread the “Good News”.

Matthew 28:18-20

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore[c] and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.Picture1

Do you know what the “Good News” even is? It is the gospel. It is the fact that God wrapped Himself in human skin and entered this earth as a tiny, helpless baby. He walked among us for 33 years, living a sinless life. He was crucified on a cruel Roman cross and died and was buried in a borrowed tomb. Then on the third day He rose again and was seen by around 500 people before He ascended into Heaven. He now sits at the right hand of God the Father and He is just waiting for God the Father to tell Him to come and get us – those of us that believe that Jesus is the Christ – and take us home to live in Heaven with them forever. This may be a lot for some folks to believe in. I get it. I mean, really… why in the world would the creator of the entire world and universe want to come to earth and live among us? He was living in Heaven! The perfect place! Why would He do this? Because God loved us so much – He loves His creation so very much – that He sent His only Son to earth to live among us and die for our sins and rise again after going to hell so we wouldn’t have to.

You see God is a righteous and just God. He is Holy and He cannot look upon anything that is unholy. He requires holiness. Man is not holy! Adam and Eve were perfect in every way … until they sinned. Then God, being the righteous and just God that He is had to expel them from the Garden of Eden – the perfect place to live.

hqdefaultAll through history, God required an unblemished, perfect sacrifice to be offered to Him if man wanted a relationship with Him. So the blood of sacrifices satisfied the Holy God. So, as time went on, and man just kept screwing up more and more and would never get it right… because we are so human… God sent His Only Son to earth to be the Final Sacrifice for our sins. Jesus shed blood at the Cross of Calvary was the final perfect sacrifice that was required by God. So when God looks at His children now – believers in Jesus – He sees perfection and not our sin.

The Bible says God has forgotten our sins and they are as far as the east is from the west.

Psalm 103:12

12 He has removed our sins as far from us
as the east is from the west.

And

Hebrews 8:12

12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds[a] I will remember no more.”

So… this is the “Good News” that we need to tell others about. God sent His Son to die for our sins and His Son – Jesus – rose again on the third day and awaits the day He can come get us to take us home to be with him forever. That is the Good News!!

So, you aren’t comfortable about talking to others about all of this, and yes, you are a believer! I get that too! I was uncomfortable for a long time. Then Jesus did a marvelous thing in my heart. I asked Him to change me and to make me more like Him. He sent the Holy Spirit to comfort and to guide me and to help me in my every day decisions and problems and just to talk to when I needed someone to talk to. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. The Trinity is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Three in One. When Jesus was about to leave this earth, He told His disciples about a Helper that He would ask God to send us to help us in every way.HolySpiritComfort

John 14:15-18

15 “If you love Me, keep[d] My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

So you see, if we believe in Jesus, we also know the Holy Spirit. He is here to help us through each day. We can call out to Him at any time of the day or night. He is always there with us. So those folks that made some of those statements … maybe they need to hear the Good News that Jesus died for their sins and the Holy Spirit is here to help them every day.

Yes, we could always say something to ourselves if we had it all to do over again, but we don’t have that chance. So, we need to realize God has forgiven us – if we are believers in Jesus and have accepted Him as our personal Savior – and He has forgiven us so we need to forgive ourselves and live a victorious life in Christ.

It’s no fun to walk around with head hung low and always look on the negative! If we know The Savior we should be holding our head up high and praising Him for His love, mercy and grace! Not beating ourselves up for all the mistakes we have made.images

I worked with a young lady one time that told me “Leah, you don’t know what I have done in my past. I don’t think even God could forgive me.” “Could He really love me in spite of who I am?” I resoundingly told her “YES, HE Loves You So Much!” I led her to the Lord that day. I played a wonderful song by Karen Wheaton and it was about the exact thing that she said to me. It made her break down in tears. She was so broken and hurting so. She needed to hear those words of love and encouragement so badly.  That day she was restored and made whole.  Jesus can do that for you and anyone else!

When you know the Savior, you know you are saved and are going to be OK. It’s a relationship though.  You have to walk with Him daily to have that close, wonderful relationship with Him. Call out to Him today.  Your life will never be the same! He loves you so much! He calls you His beloved!

The Song – Whatever It Takes – Karen Wheaton

The Song – God So Loved The World – Charles Billingsley

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WE ALL HAVE A WORLDVIEW

I have just started reading “The Joshua Code”. I saw it on one of my devotionals that I receive every day. It was a great price and I ordered it about 3 weeks ago, I guess. When I unpackaged it, I pulled out this beautifully hard bound book with scroll work on the front. I really didn’t understand what it was all about until I read the Introduction. I guess I missed the explanation in the ad where I ordered it from. The ordering of this book was one of those “God” moments, though. As I read the advertisement I heard in my spirit, “yes, Leah, order the book.” So I did. I am SO glad I did. You see the first chapter is so appropriate for my upcoming speaking engagement this coming Saturday. I have been asked to speak at my niece’s church for their Women’s Luncheon. The theme is Love, being that it is February and I guess it is considered the “Love” month. Each chapter in this book is meant to be read and studied and weekly. It is comprised of 52 scriptures that every Christian should have memorized. Here is the quote from the ad online.God is love

“The Israelites finally had land and the opportunity to start anew. Their leader, Joshua, spoke wisely about how to follow God’s law and how to be successful. Joshua 1:8 says, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” The Joshua CodeTM is a challenge to keep the Word in our mouths through memorization and in our hearts through meditation “day and night.”  

The fifty-two chapters in this volume are designed to lead you on a yearlong journey by spending each week memorizing and meditating on one Scripture verse  so that it  becomes a living part of your very being. Topics include grace, temptation, the three levels of prayer, fruit of the spirit, and more. The outlines in each chapter can also be used by the busy pastor or Bible teacher for guiding their members. God’s Word is powerful and profitable when studied and applied by anyone, the young and the seasoned believer alike.”gods-grace-mercy-and-love

Anyway, when I picked up the book to read a few nights ago, I just could not get going. I got sleepy instantly – which happens a lot when I read – and then I just had to lay it down. So, last night I picked it up again and began reading the 1st chapter. This will be my week to absorb and memorize and understand the very first scripture. I was astounded at the topic and all the things said in this short chapter. It was perfect for my talk this upcoming Saturday. I had not really gotten a solid idea of what I was going to speak on, except it be about Love. As I read my heart filled with excitement and anticipation. God provided me a book to read to learn from and to use as my topic for my talk on Saturday. God is so good. He keeps taking care of me at every turn. I love the scriptures and the way this first one was explained was so wonderful. Let me explain a bit.

The first chapter is entitled “Everyone Has A Worldview”. It talks about how the author was shaped by events of the day as he was growing up, just as we are. Let me quote some of the first chapter.

“Everyone has a worldview. We all view life through some type of lens. Certain predisposed persuasions or seemingly benign biases do, in fact, determine how each of us views our world. Presently, the Western world is engaged in a huge confrontation between competing worldviews” …

“Even though worldviews may change across the decades, there is a single constant that does not change. The simple fact that one’s worldview can be determined by one’s response to the first four words of the Bible: “In the beginning God…” If we believe these four words, then we will view our world through the lens of Scripture that does not change. If we do not, then we will continue to view our world through the lens of culture that continually changes.

Perhaps there is no other verse under such constant abuse and ridicule as Genesis 1:1. It demands the answers to three important questions: When? Who? What?”god-is-love-2012-05-03-171740-66

Now I don’t know about you, but I have always just believed the Bible is the divinely inspired Word of God. Some folks don’t think so. Well, I totally agree with the author here… if you don’t believe the first four words of Scripture then your world is an ever changing mess, most likely. God’s Word is unchanging and ever true. We must believe or we are constantly in a searching, changing mode that goes with this whim and that whim – the way of the World.

You say, “Ok, but how is that all about love?” Remember, my talk this coming Saturday is themed “Love”. Well, the next few words says it all.

“Before Genesis 1:1, there was love. In His high intercessory prayer, the Lord Jesus prayed, “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24). Before the foundation of the world that is reported in Genesis 1:1, there was love.”

Now I could go on and on and type more quotes to explain. However, I will just hope that you get the book and read and absorb and memorize. I was just blown away by the last phrase. I guess I never really sat down and thought about it in depth. I just believed and accepted it. LOVE has always existed… before the “beginning” that Scripture speaks about in Genesis 1:1. Maybe that is elementary to you but I was so excited to read that and comprehend it. I am still thinking about it. BEFORE ANYTHING… God was and therefore Love was.  Go buy the book!Quotation-William-Wordsworth-god-love-Meetville-Quotes-50790

God loves each of us so much. He has before time began! He knew you before time began. He saw each of your struggles. He saw each tear that has fallen. He knows you by name. He loves you so deeply! He wants to hear from you today! This very moment. Call out to him today! He calls you His beloved!

The Song – God So Loved the World – Charles Billingsley

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REMEMBER THE WRAPPING

How many times have you heard at Christmas, while unwrapping your gifts… “Save the wrapping paper, it can be reused!” ? I know sometimes the wrapping paper is so beautiful and I just hate to throw it away.

Have you ever thought about the wrapping that Jesus came to earth in? In Heaven He was wrapped in the most beautiful and glorious wrapping and yet He chose to put that aside and come to earth wrapped in skin – “human likeness”. That is hard for this brain to comprehend. That one dcea2f60f2667839e47833efad8da86bact is amazing enough in itself, but then to go through all He went through to show us how much He loved us is mind boggling!  He could have come to earth in the most Glorious Splendor, yet he chose to come as a tiny baby, in a manger with a humble young girl and her gentle fiance.  Oh what love and mercy and grace our Father has shown us.  TCHNJesus

The devotional from Our Daily Bread is a very good one today about this very topic. I want to include an excerpt from of it here.

Philippians 2:5-11

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also 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, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

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“…So why is this wrapping so important? Because, being like us, He is no stranger to our struggles. He experienced deep loneliness and the betrayal of a dear friend. He was publicly shamed, misunderstood, and falsely accused. In short, He feels our pain. As a result, the writer of Hebrews tells us that we can “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).

When you think of the gift of Jesus this Christmas, remember to keep the “wrapping” in mind!” —Joe Stowell

Lord, thank You for wrapping Yourself in our likeness!
Remind us that You understand our struggles and that
we can confidently take advantage of the mercy and
grace You offer to make us victorious.

Don’t disregard the wrapping of the best Christmas gift of all.

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He loves you so much, after all He calls you His beloved!jesus-lammet-og-lc3b8ven

The Song – Mercy Saw Me – Phillips, Craig and Dean

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GIVING THANKS TO THE LORD – DAY 3

Yesterday I gave thanks for three or four things that are very special to me. Here is the link to the post if you missed it “GIVING THANKS TO THE LORD – DAY 2”.

One of the most important things I am thankful for is my Country – USA! The United States of America is an amazing land. I am so thankful that God allGod-Bless-America-FLGBA-2-200x200owed me to be born here in this wonderful “free” country. One of my pastors mentioned Sunday, how fortunate we are that we live in this country and that we can gather at church without the fear of the Government coming in to take our Bibles or our lives… We can worship and pray whenever we want, however we want. That is a privilege that many human beings do not have. I am so thankful I do!

I am thankful for Prayer. God has provided me a way to communicate with Him and become very intimate and close to Him. Being close to the Creator of the Universe, the Almighty, Most Wonderful God is a very valuable thing! Prayer is a way to connect with Him and I am so thankful I can speak or not speak my prayers and my God hears me. prayer-quote-2lPrayer can soothe our worried soul and calm the storm inside. It can encourage us and lift us up. It can open our eyes and our hearts to God’s will. It can help guide us along the way of life. It is the most powerful tool we have here on earth! Prayer is POWERFUL! I am so thankful God provided Prayer as a way of communicating with Him.

I am also very thankful for our beautiful earth. I have said before, God could have made this earth black and white and we would never have known the difference. I love the earth and all that is within it! The clouds, the rain, the sunshine, the blue sky, all the animals – except that pesky little mole or moles that live in my front yard!!! Well, I would love him if he would move on down the street!!! But I digress…earth The earth is a beautiful place and I am thankful God made it beautiful so I could enjoy the beauty!

Along with the earth and all that is within it… I love the birds. I am so thankful that God created such a variety of birds. I feed the wild birds in my backyard and sitting and watching them is so relaxing to me. I counted one time and I have about 22 different types of birds that visit my feeders throughout the year. BIRDSThat is amazing to me! I love all the creatures of God’s earth but birds are one of my favorites. I am thankful God made a beautiful variety for me to enjoy.

I am also so very thankful that God gave me a tender heart. I said that the other day for the first time out loud and it dawned on me that it is a very big blessing. tender-heart TENDER HEART  Yes, I get hurt so easily about some things, but I would rather have a tender heart than a hard heart. Hard hearts can tend to get one in trouble or at least keep people at a distance. That is not what I want. I love my tender heart and the ability to love with it.

You know… I want to encourage you to leave me comments as to some things you are thankful for. That sounds like a great idea! I do hope you will leave me a comment. I love to read your opinions, ideas or just plain say Hi!

Will close for now. Looking forward to sharing more thankfulness tomorrow.

The Song – The Earth Is Yours – Gungor

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GIVING THANKS TO THE LORD – DAY 2

As I posted yesterday, this week is going to be a little different. I will be posting about things that I am thankful for. Here is yesterday’s post if you missed it “GIVING THANKS TO THE LORD”.

I am so thankful for God’s Word – my Bible! This is a Book that is jam packed with wonderful stories of ordinary – yet wonderful people that were called to do GOD'S WORDextraordinary things for God. The Bible is my instruction Book, my Encouraging Book, my Prayer Book, My Light of my day, and so, so many more things. I have read the Bible all my life, but not until the last few years have I really gotten into the reading and understanding of what God is trying to say to me. When I began, I prayed to God that He would help me understand what He wanted me to. I wanted to listen to it on my way to work, so I downloaded the Bible App and it came to life! Click the link … it’s free! It was amazing to me how much of an impact it made on me and my heart and spirit! It was so wonderful and so exciting! I made a commitment to read – listen – through the entire Bible. I started in March of 2013 and finished in October 2013. It was an amazing journey! God answered my prayer about understanding the Bible. He reveals new things to me all the a73cce639efcec0bc3942281a0ebdeb0time… every day! If you have not read the Bible through, pray about it and ask God to help you. He will! He is faithful!

Psalm 119:105

105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Next, I am so thankful for music! As I have stated before, I have sung since before I was born. My mother sang in the church choir and my dad was always the Music Minister or Interim Pastor at every church we went to. So I have been drenched with all kinds of music all my life. The good old hymns are some of the best! I do love the new Praise and Worship music too! But the old hymns are my foundation! I love most any music that praises my Lord and Savior – Jesus Christ! Music courses through my veins! I was talking to someone at church about how a musician or someone that sings or loves music like me has a “juke box brain”. music 2We can sometimes hear two notes of a song and know what it is. I don’t understand how that works, but I know it works! It happens to me all the time. Even songs I have not heard in years and years! I LOVE MUSIC!

Psalm 106:1

Praise the Lord!

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

Jesus Only Jesus – Charles Billingsley and friends

Something else I LOVE and am so thankful for are my two dachshund babies. They are both rescue babies and so precious to me and my mom and dad, they even call them their “granddogs”. I have no other children but theZuckie Loum. One is a boy about 3 ½ years old and his name is Zuckie. Zuckie is a nickname for his real name is “Zuckert” which means Sweetie in German. When I rescued him (or he rescued me) he was named “Scruffy” and that didn’t fit at all. He was the sweetest boy so I had to name him something very fitting! So Zuckie it is! He is the most tender-hearted baby I have ever had. Big chocolate eyes that will melt your heart and a precious spirit that is so loyal and forgiving and so trusting. I love my Zuckie!

The other baby is a little lady of 8 and her name is Liesel. Her name means “God’s Promise”. She came to me five months after I lost my “heart dog” Meika Sue. She was four years old and was diagnosed with Kidney disease at four years and two months. She was my little princess. I got her two months after I separated from my X-husband and she and I went through a lot together. It tore me up to lose her at such a young age to such a horrible disease! LIESELSo, when my Chiropractor asked me if I was ready for another baby, I didn’t think I was yet, and there were some things we had to get through before I could adopt her daughter’s dog – which they had named Lucy. So, by July, I was able to adopt (rescue) this little red dapple stick of dynamite on four legs. I renamed her because after praying about getting her, God promised to heal my hurt in my heart from the loss of Meika, and that she has done. So Liesel has stolen our hearts with her sweet nature as well. She was very shy and uncertain for a few months but has blossomed into a sweet, gentle little girl that still has that fiery attitude of a typical red head. I love my Liesel!

Psalm 50:10-11

10 For every beast of the forest is Mine,
And the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know all the birds of the mountains,
And the wild beasts of the field are Mine.

Proverbs 12:10

10 A righteous man regards the life of his animal,
But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

With that said about my sweet babies, you must realize that I love dogs… dachshunds to be exact! That brings me to my “dog loving” friends on Facebook. I am so thankful for the friends I have made on Facebook. They have supported me in so many ways… encouraging, laughing, crying and financially when I have had dog medical issues. They are like no other friends I have ever known. They are the most wonderful surprise that God has given in friends. It is amazing how you can feel so connected to folks you have never met and probably never will meet. But they are MY FRIENDS and I am so thankful God crossed my path with theirs! They pray for me and my family, they send me beautiful cards, they have sent sweet gifts and funny things. They share their pictures and heart-warming stories of their babies and their struggles with life and love of all sorts and allow me to share with them as well. Yes, they are truly “FRIENDS” of mine and I am forever thankful for them!

John 15:12-14FRIEND LOVES AT ALL TIMES

12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.

The Song – A Season In Your Path – Wayne Watson

The Video – A Season In Your Path – Wayne Watson

http://youtu.be/5cjwkQa8txc

I will close with that for now. Tomorrow i will continue to tell you some things I am so thankful for.

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PRAYER – MOSES AND THE BURNING BUSH

As I mentioned in my post two days ago (PRAYER – MOSES THE SHEPHERD AND GOD), I do believe Moses knew God quite intimately from the aloneness of tending sheep. From the book I did a series on “A Shepherd Looks At The 23 Psalm”, I learned a lot about shepherds and how they lived. They lived a life of solitude with their flock. They became intimately acquainted with, not only the sheep, but nature and all that is in it. greenpastures 2And if you are out in nature long, you have to realize there is a God that created all of this wonderfulness. So I believe that Moses spent a lot of time talking with God out in nature and he also had a father-in-law that was the Midian Priest. Moses was very well educated in the stories of the Israelites and knew his history and where he came from. He had to have known the God of his father – and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Just because Egypt forgot all that Joseph did for them doesn’t mean that all of the Israelites did, and besides, Moses was born into a family from the House of Levi – who were Priests as well – to the Israelites. No, he had not forgotten all that he came from and his ancestry. He knew his God.3-4_moses-shepherd.

So when God spoke to him from this bush, I believe it wasn’t the voice he was unfamiliar with, it was the media in which the voice was coming from. A burning bush that is not consumed! That must be a strange site. So let me begin with the scripture.

Exodus 3:1-10

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”

So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”

And he said, “Here I am.”

Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.mosesbush.gif

I found another article on GotQuestions.org that is a very good article. The question posed was Why did God speak to Moses out of the burning bush?” There are so many points here that are answered and I would like to use a couple of their quotes in a moment. I will say that this was quite an encounter that Moses had which was a manifestation of God in a burning bush. I learned tonight that is called a theophany. That is a very cool word and here is the definition:

“A theophany is a manifestation of God in the Bible that is tangible to the human senses. In its most restrictive sense, it is a visible appearance of God in the Old Testament period, often, but not always, in human form.”

So here is this bush that is burning and the fire is not consuming the bush. God is speaking to Moses from the bush and telling him not to come close and to take off his sandals because he is standing on holy ground. I also learned tonight that this is the first time that the particular word holy is used to describe God. Here is what GotQuestions.org has to say about it.

“This is the first time the Bible uses the word “holy” with reference to God (verse 5). At the burning bush God revealed His holiness in a way it had never been revealed before. Moses was so awed by this experience that later when he wrote his famous victory hymn, he made sure to mention this divine attribute of God’s holiness: “Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” (Exodus 15:11).

The fire is a representation of the purifying and refining quality of God’s holiness. All throughout scripture we find references to God revealing Himself as fire that is the image of His holiness. That is why Moses was instructed to take his sandals off. God’s holiness was present and it was a respectful act towards God.holy-holy-holy

I like what GotQuestions.org has to say about holiness…here is the quote.

“Holiness involves separation. God’s holiness means that He is set apart from everything He has made. Holiness is not simply His righteousness (although that is part of it), but also His otherness. It is the distinction between the Creator and the creature, the infinite distance between God’s deity and our humanity. God says, “I am God, and not man—the Holy One among you” (Hosea 11:9). His people respond by saying, “There is no one holy like the LORD” (1 Samuel 2:2).

Fire will also be a way that God will lead them in the wilderness after they leave Egypt.

Exodus 13:19-21

20 And they moved on from Succoth and encamped at Etham, on the edge of the wilderness. 21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.

That is getting way ahead… but the Pillar of Fire will be a representation of God leading them as well. We will come to that eventually… but for now let’s stick to the burning bush and the message to Moses.

When God speaks to Moses about going back to Egypt, Moses is quite disturbed and unwilling to do this. He tries, many times, to give excuses to God to wiggle out of this mission that God has for Moses. He tries to make the excuse that he is slow to speak. I love God’s response. It reminds me of how God responded to Job when Job questioned God (Job 38). There is a lot more to the conversation with God telling Moses about the miracles that He will perform in Egypt and I will not go into all of that but I do recommend that you read it yourself. It is quite interesting and God laid it all out for Moses, Yet, Moses was reluctant. Here is God’s response to Moses.

Exodus 4:10-12It's_All_About_Him

10 Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”

11 So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? 12 Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”

How many excuses do we give God when He asks us to do something for him? It may never be to save a nation, but it might be to share Jesus with a neighbor. Or, share a gospel tract with someone at that fast food restaurant. Or even visit a shut-in or make a very timely phone call to someone that is lonely and hurting. We don’t have to save a nation. We just have to be willing to go or do when God calls us to go or do. We have to be sensitive to His voice though. You have to have a relationship with Him before you can recognize His voice. Here is a good scripture to encourage you in your acceptance of God’s plan or mission for you.

Romans 8:31

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

I believe this was yet another “beginning” for Moses and his relationship with God. God just took it to a new level. God was calling him to come up another step.  “Moses, you have walked with me for many years, now you are ready to go another level into a deeper relationship with Me.” I believe that is what God was trying to convince Moses of.article_images-12_1_home_whom_shall_i_fear__557426976

This last statement of Moses kindles a little bit of anger with God. But in God’s great compassion for His servant, He agrees to have Aaron, Moses’ brother, help him in this endeavor. Here is that scripture.

Exodus 4:13-17

13 But he said, “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.”

14 So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses, and He said: “Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. 15 Now you shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will teach you what you shall do. 16 So he shall be your spokesman to the people. And he himself shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God. 17 And you shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs.”

Moses is finally at rest with that arrangement. God is also and so the next post will be about Moses and Aaron going to Egypt. There is always a lot to talk about in this book about Moses. I am thankful that God is allowing me to do this blog and this series to share with you. God has many lessons for us to learn from Moses and the Israelites. This first one is very important though. One must be willing when you are called, for when you are called, God has made a way for you, no matter what it is. You must trust his plan for your life – Jeremiah 29:11. He wants the best for you. He loves you so very much and calls you His beloved.

The Song – I Stand In Awe Of You – Hillsong

The Video- I Stand In Awe Of You – Hillsong (with lyrics)

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PRAYER – JOCHEBED, PHARAOH’S DAUGHTER AND MOSES

Yesterday’s post ended with the Pharaoh of Egypt committing genocide with all the baby boys in Egypt because the Israelites became so abundant that he feared they would turn against Egypt and overthrow the country. So he came up with the diabolic plan to throw all the baby boys in the Nile river.  Here is a link to yesterday’s post – Prayer – Pharaoh, Midwives and Bulrushes – if you missed it.

Jochebed, a Hebrew mother, from the House of Levi – the Priests of the Israelites, had a baby that she believed to be a very special baby. Scripture says he was beautiful. She hid him for three months and when she could hide him no longer, she made an ark of bulrushes to place him in and leaving him in God’s hands, sent him afloat in the reeds of the Nile, up close to the bank. jochebedThis had to be a very difficult thing to do, even though I believed she knew the history that had been told from generation to generation about God’s plan for the Israelites. I believe she knew her new baby was very special and of God – although all babies are of God, she recognized something special and acted accordingly.

God’s timing is ALWAYS perfect! The daughter of Pharaoh just happened to be bathing in the Nile at the same time Jochebed released her baby into the river. I honestly do not believe in coincidence and I don’t believe in happenst6_princess-spoke-kindly-to-the-babyance. God’s timing is at work here, folks. Jochebed may have gotten a Word from God in her prayer time. She may have observed that Pharaoh’s daughter went to bathe at a particular part of the river at a particular time of day. Nonetheless, the plan came together because who can resist a precious, crying baby that seems to be abandoned. Here is the scripture.

Exodus 2:1-10

But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank. And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him.

Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river. And her maidens walked along the riverside; and when she saw the ark among the reeds, she se200px-Miriam-nursent her maid to get it. And when she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby wept. So she had compassion on him, and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.”

Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?”

And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the maiden went and called the child’s mother. Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” mother-baby-paintingsSo the woman took the child and nursed him. 10 And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. So she called his name Moses,[a] saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.”

Now what a wonderful thing… Jochebed trusted God to provide safety for the baby and lo and behold, he couldn’t have landed in a better place. First to be able to  be nursed and care for by his mother (and her being paid to take care of her own baby) until he was weaned and then being a resident of the palace, the best schooling and so many other things were available to Moses. He became very knowledgeable and was quite the young man. Well respected, as a member of Pharaoh’s household. I will never really understand how Pharaoh agreed to have him – a Hebrew – live and be raised in their household, but God can do wonders and miracles that we cannot even imagine. We just have to have faith and sit back and watch. God is a good God and wants the best for His children. For sure He wanted the best for Moses because He had B-I-G plans for him. God sees the BIG picture and we see but a small portion. Faith and trust must be a huge part of our walk with our Lord. He is in control … we need to let go of things and let Him make the perfect plan work instead of resisting along the way.

I know I kicked and bucked for many years thinking I had the best plan for my life. Now I know… I DID NOT! It is so much easier to let God do the work that He promises He will do and I can enjoy the benefits of God’s wonderful works. Now I am not saying that we should just sit back and do nothing. We have to do our part… whatever that “part” is. Like Jochebed, she did all she could do and then left the rest to God.

This next quote is from another website used for this study of Exodus. The website name is Jesusplusnothing.com and it has a lot of good information as well. I liked the way they wrapped up their discussion on Chapter One of Exodus.

“In conclusion, all we can do is stand back and be amazed at the wisdom and justice of the Almighty God. His ways are perfect! While we live on this earth we will never understand all that happens or why things occur in our lives. We only ‘see through a glass dimly’ as the Bible puts it. But we can still rest, assured that the invisible God is not only at work, but that He has a purpose in everything that He does!”

And they included this scripture.

Romans 11:33-36

 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
“Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.

The Song – The Love of God – Mercy Me

The Video – The Love of God – Mercy Me

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