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Sunday, July 31, 2011

What Is Left

Joel, the prophet son of Pethuel, cries out to the inhabitants of the Southern Kingdom of Judah to hear God’s entreaty.  Joel’s name means “Jehovah is God.” The prophet uses the analogy of a scourge of locusts to illustrate the complete and total destruction that will be experienced by the ungodly in the coming Day of the Lord.  The content of this book is prophetically multi-dimensional, in that it describes the past, present and future on several levels.    Joel speaks of the Day of the Lord, which is another term for The Second Coming of Christ.  The prophet beseeches the people to turn, repent and pray for deliverance.  The name of Joel’s father, Pethuel means “God delivers or enlarged of God,” and that is the hope and promise that this book offers.
Joel describes the total destruction:
Joel 1:4 “That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpillar eaten.”
A scourge is facing our society as well.  What drug addiction has left, AIDS has eaten, and what violence and Anorexia have left are: generations of children who are growing into dysfunctional and lost adults.  The dollar-driven media and entertainment culture that inundates our psyches daily in this society broadcasts disease and calls it desirable.   The minds of our children are being poisoned by violence, sexual images, materialism, and warped body images.  Media advertises opinions and ideals and unless we consciously reject these ungodly mirages, we are selling our lives out to them.  An enemy has done this.  A good minister will not only present the problem facing a people, but offer God’s solution to it as well.  Joel does just this:
“Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning.  And rend your heart and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God for he is gracious and merciful slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of evil” (Joel 2:12,13).
Our children are at stake.  The problem has been presented: Satan wants to devour our young, just as he attempted to kill Jesus through Herod.  The solution is total repentance and turning to the Lord as our help and Deliverer.  We can’t live like the world and it call it Godly.  Our children see and take in everything we do.  The need is repentance and obedience in allowing God to have His way in our lives.  There is blessing promised now and in eternity to those who will listen and obey God.
Joel 2:25,26,27 “ And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.  And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.  And ye shall know that I in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.”    

Patti

 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

God's Timing


Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all the things which fill it; Let the field be exultant, and all that is in it! Then shall all the trees of the wood sing for joy.” Psalm 96:11,12



There is an innate joyfulness in nature. Its tenacity to survive and flourish even under harsh circumstances is amazing. My lime tree is an example of this truth. I found it ten years ago in a local museum that houses artifacts that have been salvaged from shipwrecks. It was but a twig, packaged in a cardboard box; it looked like it was on its last breath. It reminded me of myself at the time. It grew well until fall came, through the winter it maintained but it didn't thrive. Sometimes in our spiritual lives we experience seasons of monumental growth only to seemingly languish afterward. God works in these times of dormancy. He is building us up by His Spirit on the inside, so that what flows to the outside is more of Himself. Every year my little lime tree goes through the same sequence of events. Even before the calendar proclaims spring's arrival it begins to sprout a tuft of tender green leaves at its top. Last year I put it out on the front porch on a sunny day and by evening it was too cool for it to be out. All of the lovely new leaves it had sprouted shriveled in the cold air. Thankfully God knows better that I when the conditions are right to be put out in the elements. Prayerfully ensuring that we are in God's will and timing is crucial to fulfilling our destinies in Him. My lime tree has not produced a blossom yet, I transplant it into bigger pots and wait for the day that it does. Someday I will pick fruit from its branches, can you imagine how it pleases God to see His children bearing fruit in Him?

Lord, I pray that we place ourselves directly in Your will. I pray that Your Spirit guides us in all we do, and that we bear much fruit for the Kingdom. In Jesus' name, please help us to do just that. Amen.
Patti

Friday, July 29, 2011

Treasure in Heaven


"For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand [anywhere else]; I would rather be a doorkeeper and stand at the threshold in the house of my God than to dwell [at ease] in the tents of wickedness."  Psalm 84:10 AMP


The illusion of ease and comfort that the world offers to us is as substantial as smoke as it wafts away on an errant breeze. The prescription for wholeness that the scripture offers is so adverse to the thought mode of the world, that it seems counter-intuitive to our senses. One example of this truth is Jesus' response to the rich young man in Matthew 19:21,22, at the young man's question of what he must do to inherit eternal life, “Jesus told him, 'If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.' But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions”(AMP). God is not asking that we live in abject poverty; He knew the young man's heart and that he idolized the riches he possessed. Living our lives for the temporary pleasures that we may be able to seize in our relatively short stay here will leave us exhausted now and bereft eternally. In Revelation 21:4 God gives us the powerful promise, that He will “. . .wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be anguish (sorrow and mourning) nor grief nor pain any more, for the old conditions and the former order of things have passed away”(AMP). All of these things will pass away, the troubles that occupy our thoughts, the striving that keeps our souls discontented; all will be gone. The only thing that will be left is our relationship with Christ, or the lack thereof. We have a grand and awesome opportunity now. God is offering us this magnificent opportunity to live with Him now and eternally. Please consider the implications of this truth, we are not promised tomorrow; but, we are promised eternity if we would accept it today.
Patti

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Things I Used To Do


    The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
         Standing on the beach watching my sister and brother-in-law play with their two young children in the surf, I began to think about the things in my life that have gone by the wayside. It had been at least ten years since I swam in the ocean. Before that I would swim out past the breakers and float on my back in the briny deep. Now I strive to go to the beach, not get wet and not bring any of it home with me in my shoes, bag, ears etc. In our lives it is very easy to lose sight of what is beneficial to us, the small simple things that nurture our souls and make us feel like a two-year-old again. When we allow ourselves to enjoy the simple pleasures of life, joyfulness will ensue. There is an enemy of our souls, if he is able to steal our joy, the battle is half won. In Christ, we have the freedom to live our lives in His joy, and as John 10:10 tells us we can live that life more abundantly. God is interested in our having joyful life, in Him. The enemy would have us to believe that a joyful life is gained by wealth and prominence. While wealth is not inherently bad, it is not the secret to joy. What price can you put on the delighted face of a child as they splash in the ocean waves? Don't allow the enemy to steal your joy.
         I jumped in the ocean at my brother-in-law's prodding, ok he actually dragged me in, and I swam out past the breakers. As I floated on my back and gazed at the azure blue sky streaked with long white clouds, I promised God and myself that I was going to jump back into life more fully. In the fall I will rake leaves and jump in the pile. This winter I shall be playing in the snow and building a snowman.  I will be chasing fireflies and listening to the song of frogs and crickets next spring. If you see me trouncing in a puddle next summer, know that I haven 't gone mad.
         Lord, thank you for the joy that You have promised to us. I pray that you inspire each of us to live our lives joyfully in You. Father please keep Your hand on our lives and empower us to do the work on this earth that you have ordained for us. In Jesus' name thank You and Amen.

Patti

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Names and Hearts Change

            Saul repents to Samuel, entreating him, “. . . I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice” (I Sam. 15:24).  At Samuel’s refusal to return with Saul in I Samuel 15:27, 28, to worship he turned, “around to go away, Saul seized the edge of his robe, and it tore. So Samuel said to him, ‘The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today. . .’”  Interestingly, Saul refers to God to Samuel, as your God, rather than my God in two instances (I Samuel 15:21, I Samuel 15:30).  In I Samuel 10:9 the scripture says, “So it was, was he had turned his back to go from Samuel, that God gave him another heart . . .”   Ezekiel 11:19 prophetically promises, “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh. . .” (KJV)  God promises to give us a new name in Revelation 2:17, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it” (KJV).  Saul of Tarsus became Paul the Apostle; the name Paul means, “little”(Lockyer, ATMOTB, Page 269).  How ironic it is that King Saul sought an earthly kingdom and lost everything while egomaniacally trying to please the people; while, Pharisee of the Pharisees, Saul of Tarsus gained the Spiritual Kingdom and lost every worldly thing, while preserving his integrity, and not pandering to the status quo.

Lockyer, Herbert.  All the Men of the Bible.  Grand Rapids:  Zondervan Publishing House, 1958.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Amazed By You 1/27/10

Amazing, Your're so amazing
Lord, You're amazing
Amazing to me

You saved me
Kept and restored me
Your love adorned me
You amaze me

You're so amazing
Your love is amazing
I'm amazed by You

Your raised me
Out of the deepest pit
Your love enabled it
You lifted me

You cleansed me
Led me through that door
Told me to sin no more
You redeemed me

You're so amazing
Your love is amazing
I'm amazed You. . .
    

Monday, July 25, 2011

All That Remains

Last week I was chatting with an old friend who I haven’t seen in quite a while.  The way the light from the window was hitting my face, she noticed a scar on my forehead and asked me about it.  The scar is a remnant from a car accident that honestly, I shouldn’t have walked away from.  My flesh shouted, “Change your hair, and buy some new makeup that will cover it up!”  I felt the Holy Spirit say to me, “Do no such thing. . .”  You see that scar is a part of my history; it is an imprint in my flesh of a past hurt.  I’m not going to try to cover up who I am.  Isaiah 52:14 foretells the mutilation that Jesus would suffer, “. . . his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness” (NIV Capitalization theirs).  The Archaeological Study Bible states, “This prophecy makes clear that Christ’s treatment at the time of his passion and crucifixion would be absolutely inhumane” (1154).  Yet when Jesus showed Himself to the disciples after His Resurrection, in Luke 24:36-38, He was not only recognizable as Himself, but the only scars that remained were the wounds from the crucifixion.  His scars are who He is, The Savior, He Who died for the sins of the world and our faithful friend.  One day I’m not going to need this body any longer and it will be shed like a garment.  My scars aren’t going to matter anymore.  Hebrews 12:2 proclaims, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (NIV Capitalization theirs).  This joy that Jesus suffered for is you.  He suffered for your salvation.  Look around you, everything that you see will someday be perished; except for your relationship with Jesus or lack thereof.   That reality will be all that remains. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Taste and See


Psalm 34:8 “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”


Many small children will not touch new foods when presented with them for the first time. They will complain and say, “I don't like it, or yuck, I'm not eating that!” The mother's usual reply is an exasperated, “Don't say that you don't like it until you have tried it.” I used to randomly find uneaten french cut stringbeans “hidden” behind our refrigerator when my children were small. When questioned they would just shrug and say, We don't like them.” My oldest daughter still cringes at the mention of french cut stringbeans.

As one who has tasted of God's promise, I can assure you that He is good. There is no safer place to be anywhere in creation, than in His arms. There is not one thing in this world that is worth the trade-off for His love and presence in our lives. The world promises tasty morsels that end up being bitter in the end. A taste of God is real, healthy and life-giving.

Lord, in Jesus' name I pray that You allow each of us to taste Your goodness. Please touch us and heal our minds and bodies. Please cover our hearts and allow us to learn of Your goodness. Thank You for presence, thank You for Your Spirit. I pray for salvation, Lord I pray that Your Spirit falls upon us and change us from glory to glory into Your image. Amen.

Patti

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Think On These Things

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8 KJV


In the media-driven age that we live in it is difficult, if not virtually impossible, to focus on the things that God directs us to focus on. Reportedly, there are at least four internet connected devices in the average American household, as of late. With this barrage of information bombarding our minds, we need to intentionally think about what we are thinking about.  It is obvious that media such as pornography and low-level reality television are negative; albeit, the images and ideas that we are being fed by various mainstream media sources are not healthy for our minds and hearts either. They direct our stream of thoughts, and without realizing it we are being swept down river by them. Most every commercial is a bid for our attention, and our money. We unconsciously base our desires and dreams on the images that we are fed by commercialism, if we are not on guard against them.

Take the time to focus on God and His Word. Begin turning your mind to the things He desires you to dwell on. He has our best interest at heart. In this faith is built and joyfulness is propagated. When the world comes swirling in like a driving wind, the sure foundation of His Word will keep you in the storm.

Father, thank you for Your Word today, I pray that as we are exposed to media images You quicken to our spirits the truths that You need us to see. May we base our worth on who we are in You and not on the false value system of the world. Thank You, praise You. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Patti

Friday, July 22, 2011

Look Ma No Hands. . .

I am reposting this blog in honor of my mother's birthday.  See you again in heaven one day!

It is amazing how quickly a scent can transport your mind back in time. Standing at the kitchen sink, looking out the window and washing dishes by hand, a torrent of childhood memories came rushing back on a blizzard of bubbles scented of green Palmolive dish detergent. Green Palmolive was the all-purpose cleaner of choice for bicycles, swing sets, unwilling pets, really anything you could spray with a hose. After washing my bike, I would find one of my dad’s old oil cans, the kind with the clicky bottom and the long snout, and oil the chain and do other minor “repairs.”

We lived at the bottom of a hill, just perfect for gliding home on your bike or skateboard, as long as you were careful to turn into our yard before hitting the highway on the other side of our house. The graveyard of ill-fated pets in our backyard was a testament to the dangers of the highway. My mom would stand at the kitchen window and give us the OK sign when we did a particularly neat trick. Flying down the hill we would yell, “Look Ma, no hands!” and maneuver the bike into the yard without a glitch. One of us realized that if you hit the curb just right it could be jumped like a ramp. A neighborhood boy sailed down the hill one day and hit the curb and did a complete flip. He landed on his back and the wind was knocked out of him. We were supposed to get married, I wonder if he remembers. My mom saw me get struck by a car from that window. I was running across the street and when I turned, I saw was a looming black car. I hit the side of it and rolled over the hood and landed in the street on the other side. The last thing I saw before being struck was the kitchen window, so I got up and kept running. The only problem was I had gotten turned around and was running back across the street. My mom ran right out of her flip-flops to rescue me. I sustained minor bumps and bruises, and the first of several cracks to the head. . .

I led my mother to the Lord just a few short years before she passed away. She was my cheerleader. As long as I knew that I had her blessing, I could run headlong into any army. I randomly find cards that she has sent me over the years tucked away in my house. One particularly memorable one said, “You’re going to make it, I swear!” The last hours of her life I stayed by her bedside. It was a drizzly, cold December day and the air hug heavy with the inevitable. I played guitar and sang to her, in a lucid moment she sang along with “How Great Thou Art” and told me that I was singing another song in the wrong key. Just before she passed away, I laid my head on her chest and listened to her heartbeat. This woman who I loved more than I can express was slipping away from me and into the arms of our loving Father. I sincerely miss her; but I know that she is safe in Christ. I was able to offer eternal life to the woman who gave me life, what a grand and beautiful irony. God’s offer of eternal life stands open to any who will answer.

A Garden Enclosed


      You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride; you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain. Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with choice fruits, with henna and nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with every kind of incense tree, with myrrh and aloes and all the finest spices. You are a garden fountain, a well of flowing water streaming down from Lebanon.” Song of Solomon 4:12-15 NIV
    Listen to the words that God uses to describe the love that He has for you. The lush portrait that He paints of His Beloved is illustrative of His extravagant love for us. The Song of Solomon is popularly attributed to be written by Solomon in 900 BC. Some scholars believe that it was eponymously, or written in the name of Solomon, by some other ancient writer. This theory is put forth due to some verses that compare and contrast the writer to Solomon; although, this in itself, is a technique used by writers to accentuate a point, and is not strong evidence that Solomon did not write the book himself. Other scholars have argued that several of the words used in the book are Persian, which would indicate that the work was written in the postexilic period or after the Babylonian captivity. Regardless of the authorship or dating, this allegorical book is God breathed and very telling about the love that He has for us and our necessary response to Him.


    God desires that we put Him first in our lives. He desires that we not lift our souls up to any other, which in essence, is idolatry. This concept seems so adverse in the fray of the world. As human beings we crave creature comforts. We covet human relationships, possessions, notoriety and power; while most of these things in and of themselves are not inherently bad, allowing them to come before God in our lives blocks our entrance into the lush garden of experiencing His love in the fullest. Imagine a locked garden verdant and overflowing with fruits and fragrant herbs, a pure fountain waters its enclosure. Contrast this to a garden with its walls broken down, its water source tainted, it is trampled by the world and its foliage withering and dying. Our lives can so easily become like this polluted garden. God wants us to guard our relationship with Him wholeheartedly. Exodous 34:14 admonishes, “Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” This is not petty jealousy, but God's desire for our hearts to be pure before Him so that He is able to flow through our lives as living water.


    Lord, we come before you in humility and prayer, please show us the areas of our lives that we need to release to You. Lord, sometimes it is painful to admit our sins and let go of them in repentance, thank you that it is very freeing and healthy to do so. Lord when our flesh revolts against You when You ask us to let go of something that it thinks it needs, I pray that you cover us and enable us to lay down our idols at Your feet. I know that very often You will restore what we let go of, when we don't put it before You. Thank you for your Word, thank you for your Son. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.



    Patti

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

    Give It All


    4/22/2009

    At the foot of the cross
         That's where I met you
    You said that You loved me
         And I believed it true

    This is the place
         Where I died to myself
    This is the Grace
          This is the wealth

    And I owe it all to You
        You died to make me new
    I could never repay
         The love you gave that day

    I count it all as loss
         The things I put before You
    You died on that cross
         To make all things new

    This is the place
         Where I died to myself
    This is the Grace
          This is the wealth

    And I owe it all to You
         So, I'll give it all to You. . .

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    Don't Fret







    The pages are turning
         Like time flying by
    Old letters and photographs
         Your smile makes me cry

    If I could only tell you
         How much God loves you today
    He's written you a letter
         Just so He can say. . .

    Don't fret, just leave it all in My hands
         Don't let this moment slip away
    Not yet, just hold on to Me
          Just leave it all in my hands

    God's love never changes
         The truth remains the same
    He loves you, He died for you
         And He's coming back again. . .

    Don't fret, just leave it all in His hands
         Don't let this moment slip away
    Not yet, just hold on to Him

    Just leave it all in His hands. . .




    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    Abba


    For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15


    Wonderfully relaxing day at the beach yesterday. This is a contradiction in terms for any mother of small children. For the best part of 30 years my beach days consisted of squinting into the sun, sitting at rapt attention and trying to recognize my brood in the group of bobbing heads. Those times have passed; as well as, the mad rush to collect the beach toys from the backyard before we leave. Yesterday, there was a family camped out next to us with a precious 2 year-old little boy, He was joyfully playing in the sand and running around in circles. He bolted down to the water's edge to wash the sand from his hands. My heart wrenched as he made the 30 foot journey alone. My kids would attest to the fact that I made them hold my hand while crossing the street until they were taller than me. He quickly rinsed his hands and as he was admiring his work, he began running back up the beach. He had gotten slightly off course and when he looked up he didn't see his family, who had not taken their eyes from him. The momentary look of fear on his little face wrenched my heart again. That look editorialized the feeling that we get when we venture out on our own from God and get askew. It is the “Oh no!” moment when we realize that that we really don't know where we are or what we are doing. He got his bearings and ran right into his mother's arms. It was a very sweet scene and an illustration of the kind of love that God has for us.

    The Chaldean word “Abba” in the Bible is translated as “father.” Its connotation is much more personal and it could be rightfully written as “Daddy.” You see even when we bolt and run away from Him, He never takes His eyes off of us. Sometimes He allows us the “Oh no!” moment so that we realize how much we need Him. Most assuredly He is always there with His arms wide open to welcome us back.

    Really let the words of Romans 8:15 sink into your spirit, “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear. . .”

    So many times the scripture admonishes us to, “Fear not” (Gen. 15:1,21:17, 26:24,35:17,43:23,46:3,50:19,50:21;Ex.14:13, 20:20; Deut.1:21; Dan. 10:12,10:19; Joel 2:21; Zeph. 3:16; Hag. 2:5; Zech. 8:13,15; Mal. 3:5; Matt. 1:20,10:26,28,31,28:5; Luke 1:13,30, 2:10,5:10,8:50,12:7,12:32;John 12:15; Acts 27:24, Rev. 1:17).

    I pray that the realization of God's abiding love becomes ever-apparent in your mind. Reading scripture sinks these truths deep into our spirits and allows them to flourish in our lives. I pray that God blesses you greatly today.

    Patti

    And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” Galatians 4:6

    Monday, July 18, 2011

    Not Ashamed

    For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” Romans 1:16

    The Gospel books of the Bible contain the good news of forgiveness of sin, by the grace of God, through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The books of Matthew, Mark and Luke are written from a common perspective and are referred to as the Synoptic Gospels. The books are not identically composed in all verbiage; these differences are designated the Synoptic Problem. There have been several theories postulated to explain the differences in the accounts, the most commonly accepted theory is the Markan Priority. This postulates that Mark was the first book written and Matthew and Luke were written afterward, including other sources or quelles. This theory explains the verses in Matthew and Luke that are not found in Mark. Regardless of the Synoptic problem or the Markan Priority used to explain it, the Gospels are the inspired Word of God that describes Who Jesus is and what He came to earth to accomplish.

    The Book of John begins with the truth of Jesus' true identity as the Logos and His existence before the world was created. This book is written in thematic discourses and includes parables and miracles that the other books do not. The Gospels are not intended to be a historical or chronological account of the entire life of Christ. Each book is written to a specific audience and conveys different aspects of Jesus' identity that would be relevant to that group. The book of Matthew was directed toward the Jews, it begins with Christ's genealogy traced back to Abraham. This information would have been very relevant to the Jewish community, as Abraham is the father of the Jewish faith. The Gospels provide a window through which we may view the purpose of Christ's existence, ministry, death and resurrection. In them we gain insight into God's plan of redemption for mankind.

    Lord, I pray that you infuse our reading of Your Gospel Books with understanding. I pray that You quicken their truths to our spirits and allow us to learn more deeply of You. Thank you for Your Son and the opportunity to be in relationship with Him and share that relationship with others. Please cover us and bless us so that we may walk in the light of Your Word. Lord, I pray for salvation and sanctification today. I pray that you sweep over this dry land and water it with Your Spirit. Lord, praise You and thank you. Let Your will be done. Amen.

    Patti

    Sunday, July 17, 2011

    Why Weepest Thou?

    Mary did not understand
         As she stood before the empty tomb
    She could not feel her Lord's hand
         The air hung heavy with doom
    But upon that Resurrection dawn
         A miracle had been wrought
    From death's well, life was drawn
         Salvation had been bought
    When long shadows cast
         A pall upon the day
    When all hope seems dashed
         And there seems no other way
    A victory cry rings out
         Echoing into eternity
    Our Redeemer's shout
         My children shall be free!
    That precious seed was sown
         He is waiting even now
    To come and redeem His own
         Woman, why weepest thou?

    Saturday, July 16, 2011

    Spotless

    Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:25-27

    Beautiful lilting music plays softly in the background as the guests are seated; the church glows with lovely arrangements of flowers and the anticipation of the event about to take place. After a seemingly endless time of preparation, the day of her marriage has finally arrived. The wedding march begins as her father takes her arm to escort her into the next stage of her life. This is a day she has dreamed of for such a long time; she gazes at the eager face of her awaiting groom. As they pass the church window, she catches a glimpse of herself in its reflection. She is appalled, her finely coiffured hair is matted and in disarray. Her face is smudged and her exquisite white gown is tattered and frayed. She cannot present herself to her bridegroom in this state. Her heart sinks as she realizes that after all she has planned and anticipated, when the moment finally came she was not prepared for him.

    There will come a day when every one of us will be presented before the Lord. Some to eternal reward; and sadly, some to eternal judgment. It is the responsibility of the redeemed, the called out, the body of Christ to fulfill His intention while we are here. We are to be about our Father's business. It is not God's will that any man should perish and we are entrusted with the Divine responsibility of carrying out His command to evangelize. The disarray of carnality, the smudges of pride and the tattered garments of selfishness are not what is needed to lead others to salvation. II Peter 3:14 speaks of this, “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” In the bronze laver of the tabernacle, the priests would wash themselves before further approaching God. The priest would be dirtied by the activities of the sacrifices and contact with the population. Clean water was continually poured into the laver, which had a highly reflective bronze surface. The priest washed until his visage was clean and he was able to come closer to God for the atonement of the people. This is telling; in that, priest needed to be cleansed from the dirt of the world in order to perform his duties, the church needs to do the same.

    How disconcerting it would be to look in the mirror and not recognize the face staring back at you. We are to reflect God's image to others for their salvation, if we are covered in things that are not Him, what exactly are we reflecting? When the day comes that Christ returns for His Bride, I pray that He finds her spotless.

    The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.” Revelation 22:17

    Patti

    Friday, July 15, 2011

    Father's Heart

    Each of us have had different experiences with the concept of a father in our lives. If we have had the experience of having a loving, steadfast parental figure, we are blessed. Human fathers are fallible beings, who for a plethora of reasons may not have been present in our lives, physically or emotionally. More often than not, their own emotional needs have gone unmet in their own childhood and the circle of emotional bankruptcy continues to the next generation, if not addressed.  This is not a situation that cannot be remedied, as God the Father is the answer for the healing of our pain and loss. This day, I would like to honor my Father. Please let me tell you about Him. He is merciful and kind; He is Graceful and forgiving. He is strong and valiant; He is beautiful and generous. You see my Father is the God of the universe. He created everything, including you and I and I am glad to tell you that He wants to be your Father too.

    The scripture reveals many attributes of God. I would like to share seven of them with you today.

    Love:  “But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. Psalm 52:8
    PatienceThe Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”  II Peter 3:9
    FaithfulnessLORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.” Isaiah 25:1
    GoodnessWho provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food?” Job 38:41
    MercyAll of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:3-5
    GraceTo the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” Ephesians 1:6,7
    RighteousnessFor in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:17

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

    Colossians

    The book of Colossians was written by the Apostle Paul to the church at Colosse, in approximately AD 60, during Paul's first imprisonment. The city of Colosse overlooked the Lychus River in Asia Minor. This letter was hand delivered by Onesimus, the renegade slave whom Paul addresses to his master, Philemon, in the book of the same name. Paul's letters were delivered by friends and colleagues as the postal system of the time was only available to the elite.

    The book of Colossians addresses the heretical, or unorthodox, teachings that were being accepted as truth there. The Judaizers were a group of traditional Jews who sought to confuse matters and cause dissent by teaching legalism. Paul addresses this situation in Galatians 2:4, "And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage” (KJV). Another heresy that Paul refutes in Colossians is asceticism, which is the thought that spirituality can be attained by self-denial. This doctrine leads to pride and self reliance.  Asceticism is, in effect, a denial of the gift of salvation by faith in Christ alone. In Colossians 2:20-22 Paul asks, “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not) Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?” Yet another heresy that Paul refutes in Colossians, is that of angel worship. This practice seems humble; in that, the worshiper feels unworthy to address the Almighty God personally, and so uses an angel as an intermediary. In truth, this practice is idolatry. The open avenue to God to was bought for us at the Cross, by the Blood of Christ and He is our only intermediary. In Colossians 2:8 Paul address this issue, “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.”

    The heresy of Gnosticism, or the belief that one can gain spiritual freedom by knowledge, was embraced by the Greek Gnostic school of thought. This heresy is refuted in Colossians 3:16,17, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” This heresy denies Christ's preeminence, or superiority. Colossians 1:13-18 declares Christ as the One,“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence”(KJV).

    I pray that God speaks these truths to your heart as you read His Word. There are many false teachings and thoughts about Christianity in the world today, as there were in the First Century. Reading and becoming familiar with the Bible will guard your heart against believing the lies and misconceptions that abound. It is God's desire that you know Him for Who He truly is and not be in the bondage of falsehood. As was true of the Judaizers, the untruth may not be very easy to discern, as it may sound plausible. The Holy Spirit will guide you in all truth as you allow Him. I pray for your relationship with God and the freedom of your walk in Him. God bless you!

    Patti

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    Philippians

    The city of Philippi, housed the believers to which the Apostle Paul penned the epistle of Philippians during his Roman captivity. Philippi boasted a long history, as the city was founded in 359 BC by Callistratus as a Greek colony named Krenides. Subsequently, it was seized by Philip II of Macedon, Alexander the Great's father; thus, the name Philippi. Alexander used the city as a base of operations for his conquests, until the second century BC when the area was conquered by Rome. The wealth of the city was fostered by the gold and silver mines that it contained. Philippi became a city populated by Roman veterans and it enjoyed the benefits of Roman heritage, including immunity from imperial taxation. Latin was the predominate language spoken and traditional Grecian dress was worn. The city was nestled between Asia and Europe which made it excellent for trade. There is some Theological debate as to when this epistle was written; although most scholars agree that its dating is sometime in the vicinity of AD 60-63. The evangelization of Europe began in Philippi (Acts 16:14-15).

    Philippi contained no synagogue, which suggests that the Jewish population was small, as the building of a synagogue required that ten Jewish male head of households live in a city. This epistle was a personal and heartfelt correspondence which reveals much about Christ's nature and Paul's relationship with Him. In Philippians 1:21, Paul speaks of his devotion to Jesus, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain”(NIV). In his commentary on the book of Philippians, Matthew Henry speaks of this scripture, “Death is a great loss to a carnal, worldly man, for he loses all his earthly comforts and all his hopes; but to a true believer it is gain, for it is the end of all his weakness and misery. It delivers him from all the evils of life, and brings him to possess the chief good”(Henry 1997, 1157). This hope is what makes the hardship of sacrifice possible for a believer. In Philippians 2:9-11, Paul proclaims Christ's Glory, “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 acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”(NIV). Paul further explains his position in Christ, “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith”(Phil. 3:8,9 NIV). Verse 9, as it pertains to righteousness from the law, is a refutation of the Judaizers, who were a group of Jews who legalistically contended that in order to become a good Christian, one must first become a good Jew, including circumcision. Paul contrasts worldly thought to Christian truth in Philippians 3:19-21, “Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body”(NIV).

    The book of Philippians is an encouragement to Christians as they navigate in this fallen world. We must set our eyes only on Jesus in order to not drown in its darkness. I pray that you read the book of Philippians and ask God to show you how to live your own life in the safe haven of His will. As Paul closes the book, I bid you the same, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen”(Phil. 4:23 NIV).

    Patti

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    I & II Timothy

    I Timothy is a pastoral epistle written to Timothy, a timid native of Lystra and Paul's spiritual son. Timothy's mother was a Christian Jewess and his father was Grecian. This epistle was written in AD 66 before Paul's martyrdom. Its purpose is to instruct Timothy as to how to deal with false teachers and uphold the truth of scripture. I Timothy 1:4 instructs, “Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies which minister questions, rather than Godly edifying, which is in faith so do.” Paul instructs Timothy to pray for those in authority in I Timothy 2:2, “For kings and for all that are in authority that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all Godliness and honesty.” Paul warns of the apostasy of seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, that in latter times will cause those who depart from truth to be, “Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their consciences seared with a hot iron”(I Timothy 4:2). Paul encourages Timothy, who was overwhelmed by the events taking place to, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses”(I Timothy 6:12). A healthy goal of Christianity is summarized in I Timothy 6:19, “Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”

    The book of II Timothy was also written by Paul to his spiritual son at the end of AD 66. Paul knew that his life was nearing an end, as he sent this fatherly letter of encouragement. Paul instructs Timothy in II Timothy 1:6 regarding his gift, “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.” He further encourages Timothy in II Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Christian warfare is addressed as Paul instructs Timothy, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ”(II Timothy 2:3). Paul's personal needs are addressed in I Timothy 4:13, “The cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest bring with thee and the books, but especially the parchments.” This epistle was written in a very personal style as Paul reflected on his impending death.

    The epistles, or letters, of Paul recorded in the New Testament are a treasure trove of instruction for our Christian walk. Even with the epic changes that the world has undergone since the writing of these letters by the Apostle Paul, man's heart and the truth of scripture remain unchanged. Reading the New Testament with an eye toward our own life situations will uncover much wisdom for living. I pray that you read the books of I & II Timothy and allow God to bless and edify you in the truth that they contain.

    Patti

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    His Voice

    The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all of his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will runs away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice” (John 10:3-5 NIV).

    Have you ever recognized a person by their laugh or even their sigh? As you turn the corner, you smile and say, “Aww I knew it was you!” We become so familiar with the people that we spend the most time with that they can even be identified by the sound of their footsteps. Even years after seeing them, the feel of their their presence and the sound of their voice is still indelibly imprinted on our minds.

    After my father passed away, my mother no longer wanted to live in our family home. We had 40 plus years of possessions in it and she wanted to get rid of almost everything when she moved into a condo with my sister and her husband. This was a very sad time for me, as it was comforting to come home to the things I had grown up with, but I understood her feelings. Years after this, my husband and I stopped by his friend's house so that I could meet his wife. As I walked into their living room I was dumbstruck as I saw my mother's blue and green carnival glass lamp on their mantle piece. I recognized it like you would a long lost brother. I told the wife, “Oh my goodness that is my mother's lamp!” She was incredulous and said, “It couldn't be, it is one of a kind.” I said, “I know, I broke the other one.” The lamp did have a mate, they stood like sentinels on either side of our mantle for as long as I could remember. One sunny Saturday morning I was playing with a ball in the house, yes, I had been told a million times not to, and broke the other lamp. How many Christmases, birthdays, skinned knees and broken hearts had this lamp witnessed? It sat there and winked at me from their well-arranged mantle and I had no doubt of its origin.

    Jesus wants you to know Him this well. Please take time to get closer to Him by reading the Word. John 1:1 tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”(NIV). The Bible does not just describe Jesus, it is his very nature, the essence of all that He is, in His fullness. Walk in His footsteps until you can recognize the very sound of them. Immerse yourself in His life-giving Word until its very echo reverberates in your soul.

    John 10:7-10, “. . .I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”(NIV).

    I pray that you hear and recognize the voice of Christ in your life. I pray that He is so near and dear to you that nothing will ever draw you away from Him. Please listen for Him, He is calling out to you.

    Patti

    Sunday, July 10, 2011

    Peace Like a River Part VI Conclusion

    Please read “Peace Like a River” Parts I-V

    The Christian walk is one of great exploration, affliction and responsibility. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19). The body of Christ has a divine responsibility to portray to the world an astounding difference in our lifestyle. When the world is in turmoil and chaos, we are accountable to exhibit God's peace and Grace to the lost. If we are not presenting God's true nature to the world, we are shaming Jesus. Please allow the Holy Spirit to guide you in repentance. I pray that God's peace, like a river flows into your life, and the lives of your family members. Peace is not an outward state of circumstances, it is the condition of a heart devoted to Christ. Four areas of your life that are integral to obtaining peace are: repentance, hope, obedience and prayer. Of course Jesus wants every area of your life to be open to Him, but if you are lacking peace these four areas are a good place to start looking for the source of your unrest. God loves you! It is painful to examine our lives and repent for our sins. God understands every aspect of your life and how you came to the place you are now in. He is not interested in harming you; nor is He interested in helping you continue in sin. He wants what is best for us at all times. It can be very difficult to impossible to see this at times.  Romans 11:33 tells us, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"

    If you have never given your life to Jesus Christ, or if you would like to renew your commitment to Him today, I ask that you pray this prayer with me.

    Dear Jesus,
    I am a sinner, in need of a Savior. I believe in my heart and confess with my mouth that You are the Son of God. You were born of a virgin, You sacrificed Yourself for my sin, and You were raised on the third day to sit at the right hand of God's throne. Jesus, please come into my heart, forgive me of my sins and teach me to live in obedience to You. Lord, please fill me with your Holy Spirit, Who is the promised Comforter. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

    If you have prayed this prayer for the first time, congratulations! You are now a child of God. Please tell a trusted friend of your decision, begin reading the Bible, and seek a solid Bible-based church to worship and fellowship in.

    Patti

    Saturday, July 9, 2011

    Peace Like a River Part V

    Please read “Peace Like a River” Parts I-IV

    Lastly, there is peace in prayer. II Chronicles 7:14 promises, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” True humility is a realization that God is sovereign, and we are weak and unworthy. As we come to Him in prayer, we acknowledge our dependence on Him and our encompassing need for His blessing and presence in our lives. Ironically, God asks us to die to ourselves, to gain eternal life. He asks us to give up all things to Him to gain everything. This is quite the trade off. When we give up control, we gain peace. Philippians 4:6,7 instructs us to, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” How healthy is your prayer life? Colossians 4:2 teaches, “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.” An old saying proclaims, “Without God, you cannot; without you, God will not.” We are to pray with thanksgiving and expectantly waiting for our answer. Recently, I was waiting for the arrival of some friends who were coming for dinner. I frequently peeked out of the window, checked the time and prepared for them to arrive. The Holy Spirit quickened to my spirit that this is how we must behave toward God. If you fully expect someone is going to fulfill a promise, you will be waiting and watching for them to do so. Matthew 26:42 speaks of the poignant prayer of Jesus, “He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, 'O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.'” Jesus modeled perfect obedience in His prayer of petition to the Father. If we lay all things in His hands, as Mary did when she said, “. . .Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38) we are able to rest in the knowledge that our prayers are according to God's will. Ask God to teach you how to pray. He will surely answer you plea with the guiding of the Holy Spirit. I pray that God's peace rests upon you as you bring your requests before Him in prayer and supplication.

    Patti

    Peace Like a River Part IV

    Please read “Peace Like a River” Parts I -III

    Thirdly, there is peace in obedience. When we live our lives within God's parameters, we have peace in the knowledge that we are pleasing our Father. This is a logical peace as well as a spiritual peace. Enjoying the presence of the Lord ensues from obedience and friendship with Him. Exodus 33:11 speaks of this friendship, “And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.” This is not to say that we must be perfect, as it is obvious that no man can be. Romans 3:23 informs us this truth, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” The Grace that the cross has afforded us allows Christ's righteousness to be imputed to us. We are covered by His Blood and cleansed by acceptance of His precious sacrifice. Whether or not we fall down under pressure or intentionally walk away in sin, Christ's blood covers both scenarios as we come to Him, repent and turn away from our sins. Are you obedient to Christ in your own life? Are there sins in your life that you know you have not repented of? The Psalmist David cried, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. When I kept silent, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long” (Psalm 32:1-3). Jesus is asking that you repent of your sin and come to Him in obedience. Most definitely, there is nothing worth holding on to compared to the freedom and peace of living life in obedience to Christ. I pray that we bend our knees to Him and allow Him to cleanse us of every sin that so easily besets us. Jesus please help us to do just that. Amen.

    Patti

    Friday, July 8, 2011

    Peace Like a River Part III

    Please read Parts I & II of “Peace Like a River.”

    Secondly, there is peace in hope. In Acts 2:26 Peter speaks of this hope, “Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope.” Hope is the forward motion, the driving current in the river of peace.

    Romans 5:1-4 relates to us,

    “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope.”

    Our hope in Christ enables us to move forward and live our lives in peace, no matter the circumstances. By this relationship we have peace and hope and the continued assurance of God's love and care for us. Romans 5:5 speaks of this hope, “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us.” Where does your hope lie? Is it in Christ, or does it hinge on unpredictable conditions or undependable human beings?

    Patti

    Peace Like a River Part II

    Please read "Peace Like a River" Part I.

    Firstly, there is peace in relationship.  Jesus replied to Nicodemus' question of how a man may be born when he is old, "Jesus answered, 'Verily verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit.  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again'" (John 3:5-7).  This new birth is our adoption as a child of God and the begining of our relationship with Him.  Our future is secured, as we are promised eternal life.  Our lives may now be lived in the peace that the cross has afforded us.  Our sins are washed away by His Blood and we have an open door to His throne of Grace.  Jesus Christ sacrificed His life for our sins and this sacrifice is payment in full for us, past, present and future, as we repent.  Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a second and essential event in order to live our lives in God's fullness. 

    Consider the Apostle Paul, formerly Saul of Tarsus, he was a Pharisee and a murderer of Christians.  After his astonishing conversion on the road to Damascus, he was able to overcome great hardship and violence as he survived lack and imprisionment for the very cause that he once persecuted.  In the midst of these afflictions he wrote Philippians 4:12, "I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need."  The peace that Paul experienced came out of relationship with Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.  If you are a Christian, may I ask who your relationship is with?  Is it truly a relationship with Christ, or is it a relationship with a particular denomination or church?  Jesus is calling you to a deeper relationship with Him, not a building or a board of directors.  If you have never given your life to Jesus, I ask that you consider His plea as He knocks at the door of your heart.

    Patti 

    Peace Like a River Part I

    “. . .Peace be still. . .” These words spoken by Jesus in Mark 4:39 as He calmed the wind and the waves are desperately needed in the hearts of humans in the midst of the storms in our lives. Even as Jesus calmed the storm, the disciples had lost faith. Mark 4:40 tells us, “And He said unto them, 'Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?'” The power of His presence in our lives gives us the supernatural ability to overcome seemingly impossible situations and emerge stronger and more faithful. If you have given your life to Christ, or if you have never made that decision, may I ask you a question? Do you have peace today, if so, where does this peace lie? Do you have confidence in Jesus Christ as your only source, or in your own ability? Perhaps your peace lies in a bank account or a relationship. I certainly hope that your peace does not lie in financial stability in this chaotic economic time. Jesus is challenging you today to examine your life and relationship with Him. Let us pray. Lord, please open our hearts to ourselves today; allow us to see the sins that block our relationship with You. The scripture tells us in Jeremiah 17:9 that, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Lord, in Jesus' name, please show us the idols that we have allowed to be before You. Please break them on the threshold, as the false god, Dagon, was broken in I Samuel 5:4. Lord, please cleanse us and fill us anew with Your Holy Spirit this day. Enable us to come to You in Spirit and in truth, so that we may receive Your peace as a precious gift. In Jesus' name, Amen.

    Today's title is “Peace Like a River.” These famous words were penned by American lawyer Horatio G. Spafford in his 1873 hymn entitled, “It Is Well With My Soul.”


    “When peace, like a river, attendeth my way
    When sorrows like sea billows roll
    Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
    It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

    These words were written by Spafford at the tragic loss of his four young daughters in the sinking of the luxury liner the Ville Du Havre on November 22, 1873. His wife and they had been traveling alone aboard it. Upon Mrs. Spafford's safe landing, she cabled him these tragic words, “Saved alone.” The Spaffords had previously lost a son to scarlet fever and most of their worldly possessions in a The Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The peace that Horatio Spafford experienced that allowed him to cling to Jesus at thesd heart rending losses came from his deep relationship with God. He penned this hymn as he journeyed to England, his ship passing over the very area of the sea that his daughters had been lost in. True peace is not the absence of conflict, it is the condition of a heart committed to Jesus Christ. Isaiah 48:17,18 announces, “Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go. O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! Then had thy peace been as a river and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea. . .”

    We may find peace in God's love, mercy and Grace. I have a checklist of four areas of our lives to examine in our Christian walk. Please allow the Holy Spirit to guide you in repentance for any sin that may be blocking Him from flowing in your life. I liken this blocked state to a doorway that cannot be entered due to the clutter that is in front of it. The wonderful blessings of God are behind this door and due to our own willfulness and negligence the door is blocked by disorder. We must first remove the hindrances by repentance, and allow God to cleanse us of our sin, so that He may flow in our lives.

    Please read subsequent blog posts for parts II through VI of this series. I pray that you are blessed.

    Patti

    Thursday, July 7, 2011

    A Joyful Noise

    Psalm 95:1-4 “O come, let us sing to the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation! Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving: let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the heights and strength of the hills are His also”(AMP).

    The simple joyfulness of expressing thanksgiving to God in songs of praise refreshes our souls and opens our spirits to receive healing and blessing from Him. The value of Christian education is in learning more deeply about God's nature and plan for mankind, so that He may be praised all the more. Our Maker does not listen for perfection in the form of our praise; what He does long to hear is the sound of a worshiping heart. When we come to Him with empty arms outstretched and a heart full of praise, He is blessed by us. It is my prayer that every moment moves us closer to His presence and His heart.
    In the secret quiet place of His presence, the verdant deep of God's heart, we are transformed by Him.

    Set aside the worries and annoyances of your day. Take the time to sit at His feet and allow Him to infuse you with His Spirit. When we allow Him to mold and shape our lives, our destiny is fulfilled. Expressing thanksgiving and praise will change the quality of your day and of your life.

    I pray for the deepening of your relationship with God. I pray that the incense of His presence infuses your life. If you have been far from Him, I pray that you call out to Him today. His heart is longing to hear your song of praise. He is in love with you, eternally.

    Please bless Him,

    Patti

    Wednesday, July 6, 2011

    His Desire

    God's desire is for a covenant relationship with man.  Since the loss of fellowship at the Fall, God has made provision to restore man to the position that Adam and Eve once enjoyed.  The exclusive means by which one enters into relationship with God is acceptance of Jesus Christ as one's Lord and Savior.   God is Love and in that love, He desires a relationship with every human being as II Peter 3:9 proclaims, “God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

    The Teleological Argument is a theory concerning the existence of God. Telios in the Greek, means “perfected.” This argument presents creation as akin to a mechanism, such as a watch. It asserts that in order for a watch to exist a watchmaker would also be necessary. The Word of God leaves no margin for logical error. Psalm 139:14 declares, “I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

    God, the Father is the impetus of all creation and the image in whom humans are made. John 4:24 reveals God's nature, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.” I John 4:8 further explains His nature, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” The specific names of God reveal aspects of His personality. The name El denotes strength. El-Roi is the God who sees. El-Shaddai is our all-sufficient God, Jehovah-Shalom speaks of our peace. Jehovah-Nissi is our banner. Song of Solomon 2:4 assures us, “. . . His banner over me was love.”

    Any attempt to describe God pales in comparison to His true Glory. Above all, God is merciful and just, as Ephesians 2:4 puts forth, “But God who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us.  Throughout the illness and death of my mother God sustained me and gave me the strength physically and emotionally to bear it. She passed away under Hospice care on December 15, 2003.  I was at her bedside when she drew her last breath at 2:55 am. She had given her heart to God in 2001 and, during her last days He gave me the Grace to help care for her.  I felt a peaceful calm during this very difficult time. God covered my heart and allowed me to do what was necessary. As I officiated her memorial service, He empowered me to minister to others in her death, even in my mourning.

    God is real, God is love. He will do what He promises. If we could only completely set aside our human contrivances, we may truly see what this means. He is leading us, if we allow Him, and loving us in the duration. This is the meaning of life. . .being led by love to what Glory only He knows. I can categorically say that God loves you, no matter who you are, or where you have been. Whatever sin you may have committed, whatever vice you may be entangled in, God has forgiveness and healing for you. I pray that converse with Him, wherever you are, His arm is long enough to reach you. Please heed his call, it means eternity.
    Patti

    For more about my mother please read “Look Ma, No Hands” in my June archive.

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