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Friday, September 30, 2011

Ever Of Old

"God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?"  Numbers 23:19

Pic from freepicturesweb.com

Many people have difficulty reconciling the God in the Old Testament and the New Testament.  The wrath-filled rule giver compared to the merciful grace giver seems rather bi-polar, and has caused many to question His nature.  Albeit this is a superficial view of God's behavior in the Old Testament; as, His love and grace are illustrated throughout the Word.  Marcion of Sinope in AD 144 went so far as to form a heresy claiming that the God of the Old Testament and of the New were separate beings.  Marcion also dissected the scripture and reorganized a revised version of the Bible that fit his theory.  Interestingly, the existence of heresy historically has caused the Church to be cautious and crystallize it's doctrine all the more.  The imprecatory Psalms are another instance of seeming contradiction in scripture.  The word imprecatory is derived from the Latin word imprecatus, and it means "to curse."  Psalm 55:15 is an example, "Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them" (KJV).  This is the antithesis of Jesus directing his disciples to, ". . . Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (KJV).  There is a seeming chasm between what The Old Testament and The New Testament teach.  What is the truth that bridges this apparent gap?  The cross!  Jesus' sacrifice spans the gap and brings us to the place in which we are given the opportunity to step into His imputed righteousness and out of the sin nature we inherited from Adam.  God's first intention was a loving fellowship relationship with man which was marred by sin.  There is no confliction between God's nature in The Old and New Testaments, only the saving grace of Christ's sacrifice.

Patti

          

Thursday, September 29, 2011

As The Stars

Ephesians 2:8
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God."



 

The current popular definition of grace in Christianity is "unmerited favor," while this definition is true, it barely scratches the surface of the implications of grace.  It is very easy to slip into legalism in our Christian walk, the result of this is the feeling that we somehow deserve grace because of our statute keeping.  It is only by God's grace that we are able to consider obedience.  Abram enjoyed a grace relationship with God well before the Ten Commandments were given.  Abram's relationship with God was based on faith, not performance.  This is not to say that we can live any way that we please and rely on grace to cover our intentional sin.  This is about relationship.  If you love and cherish a relationship with another person, you will be faithful to them because of your love, not due to a fear of retribution.  God wants that relationship with you.  The pull of sin on our lives is like a driving current, but we can swim against it.  God knows this, and He has given us His grace in order that we might be able to overcome our sin nature.  Just as Ephesians 2:8 tells us, this grace is not of ourselves; therefore, we have no reason to boast or be proud.  God's grace extended to the sinner, which we all are, is unmerited favor.  It covers the entire spectrum of all of our lives Christian and non-Christian alike.  His grace created us and sustains us and it is calling us to Him.  So much of Christianity is as Colossians 2:21 describes, "Touch not; taste not; handle not." Grace allows us to, ". . .taste and see that the LORD is good. . ." (Psalm 34:8).  By faith, Abram come Abraham received this promise from God, "That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies" (Genesis 22:17).  By God's grace and faith we have or can become part of that promise.

Patti 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

This Moment

2 Corinthians 6:2
"For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." KJV


Pic from freepicturesweb.com

So often we spend our lives reminiscing about or regretting the past; or conversely, planning for or worrying about the future.  In the passing stream of our lives the only thing we truly hold is this moment.  In this moment we can be untethered from the past and release the future to God.  In 2 Corinthians 6:2 Paul speaks of this truth.  Now is the time that we have the opportunity to submit our lives to God.  Christ frees us from our pasts, as Psalm 103:12 tells us, "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us" (KJV).  When we give our future to Him we have no need to worry, only to rely on Him as Philippians 4:6 exhorts,"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."  With the past at rest and the future promised, we are able to praise God for His goodness and mercy in the moment.  In this place we may rest and be healed.  If you allow God to have your now, He has promised to give you eternity.  This is well-worth the trade off.


Lord, I Jesus' name I pray that You enable us to lay all things down at Your feet.  I pray that You cause us to desire the things that You desire.  I pray that You cause us to realize and understand the gravity of our circumstances and the beauty of Your grace.  Thank You for loving us, for we are very unlovely for the most part.  Thank You for the opportunity to live in and with You eternally.  I love You. Amen.

Patti
  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Broad Is The Road

Matthew 7:13
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it." NIV


Pic from freewebpictures.com

Have you ever ended up somewhere that you never intended to arrive?  Speaking of an adventerous roadtrip to points unknown, this situation could be invigorating and fun; although conversely, when it comes to sin, you will find yourself wishing you stayed home.  Jesus understands that it is human nature to take the path of least resistance, this broad road will lead you to destruction.  Jesus is the narrow gate that leads to heaven.  Try as we might, there is no other way to reach God.   Jesus speaks of Himself in John 10:1, “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber"(NIV).  Don't allow yourself to be sidetracked and hijacked into taking some other avenue.  Jesus not only is life and the Way to life, He is the guiding factor Who will keep us traveling on the right path.  In John 10:7-10 the thought is continued, "Therefore Jesus said again,'Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.  All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them.  I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They 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). 
The offer of salvation was bought for us by the blood of Christ, I pray that you accept it and enter through that narrow gate and allow Him to lead you home.

Lord, In Jesus name I pray that You lead us in all truth to the destination that is Your will for each of us.  Please enable us to relate to others with love and compassion as You do.  Please keep us on track by Your grace.  Love You.

Patti


Monday, September 26, 2011

Perfection


"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."  Romans 12:12

Pic from freepicturesweb.com

The scripture speaks much of the perfect.  The King James Version of the Bible renders the word perfect in twenty-five different Strong's Concordance entries; and, it is used one hundred and twenty-three times in the text.  This is quite an array of nuance of meaning.  In Romans 12:12 the word perfect is translated from the Greek word teleios (Strong's Concordance number 5046).  It's meaning is: "brought to it's end; finished, wanting nothing necessary to completeness, full grown, adult, of full age, mature" (http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G5046&t=KJV).  This word is an adjective and it describes a work in progress.  A person growing into maturity.  We are being perfected into the will of God by the renewing of our minds and the rejection of worldly standards.  In this place of transformation God recreates us into His image by the inflow of Himself through His Word.  It is not His will that we mix Him with worldliness; which in effect, produces and idol.  It is His will that we unhinge ourselves from the world's set of social rules and follow His.  We need not strive to be perfect in the sense that we are complete in ourselves.  Romans 3:23 tells us, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (KJV).  As Christians, each one of us is a sinner saved by grace, being perfected by God.  This is the place of the cross, if we ever allow ourselves to forget that fact, it is an opportunity for the enemy to cause us to judge others.  We are all on a journey, we began in different places and God is moving us toward Himself.  God's grace is the forward moving vehicle that keeps us continuing on the journey. 

Lord, in Jesus' name I pray that you keep us in Your perfect will.  I pray that You continue to perfect us and transform us into Your image.  Thank You for Your grace.  Thank You for the opportunity to live with You eternally.  Thank You for Your Son and His sacrifice that has bought us the opportunity to be Your children.  I love You and praise You.

Patti
 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Your Eyes 02/12/09


Pic from Freepicturesweb.com

If in an ocean of rain
                                one teardrop fell
Would it flow out to sea
                                     upon a salty swell?


Can words free a soul
                                 entangled by weight
Releasing the lost
                           from a watery fate?


Is the smile that covers
                                  the pain in your eyes
Heavy like a cloudburst
                                    from water laden skies?


He Who made you, is He Who made all
                                    He understands your hurt from the Fall

Give Him your brokeness, your tears and your pain
                                                            He will restore you with cool healing rain . . .

Original song lyrics by Patricia Paige Harrison 02/12/09


                                                                                             

Friday, September 23, 2011

Don't Let The Sun Go Down

Pic from beautifulfreepictures.com

Ephesians 4:31 "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:" KJV

Being angry is a natural reaction to the injustices of this fallen world.  Staying angry is deadly to your spiritual life.  The root of unyielding anger is unforgiveness.  In Ephesians 4:26 we are admonished, "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath."  You may say, "You don't know what injustice I suffered."  You are right, I don't but, God does. It is an impossibility for humans beings to understand the entire scope of eternity while we are on earth.  The word "wrath" is translated from the Greek word Thumos which means to move impetuously, violently, passionately.  Thumos is an outburst of emotion; whereas, Orge is the underlying anger.  So etymologically speaking, an orge is a person who has allowed anger to become their personality.  Proverbs 22:24 tells us to, "Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go." Bad attitudes are easy to catch.  Ephesians 4:32 is the answer, "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."  Forgiveness is not always easy, but it is fundamental to your relationship with God.  As often as the attitudes and anger surface, intentionally forgive again.  Remember to repent of your unforgiveness and ask God to show you what He needs you to understand.  He is more than willing to forgive and heal you.  Always keep the cross at the forefront of your mind. . . eternity hinges on it.

Patti

Thursday, September 22, 2011

If There Be Any Virtue

Philippians 4:8
"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."

Pic from beautifulfreepictures.com
This admonition has become increasingly more difficult to follow in the current climate of media.  It seems that everywhere you turn there are negative images.  It can become quite disconcerting if you allow your mind to linger on them.  Most of the population would never be an eyewitness to a murder, yet we see hundreds of them per year on TV and in movies.  The trend of violent video games and vulgarity in movies meant for children is appalling.  Our psyches are being glutted with these unlovely images and the result is desensitization.  What we focus on and take in to our minds is the thing that we will ultimately become.  We must intentionally turn to the true, honest, just, pure, lovely, good, virtuous and praiseworthy things.  If we ate poisoned food continually, our bodies would be sick and die, we are doing the same to our minds.  

Lord, in Jesus' name I pray that You divert our attention to the pure things in life.  I pray that You remind us to be aware of what we are taking in and thinking about.  Please guide us into all truth.  I love You and praise You. Amen.

Patti

   

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Knowledge Puffeth. . .


Pic from beautifulfreepictures.com

1 Corinthians 8:1
"Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth." KJV


Virtually anything in our lives can become an idol when we allow it to come before God.  It is very telling that God commanded the Israelites to, ". . . love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might" (Deuteronomy 6:5 KJV).  This truth comes full circle in the New Testament when in John 13:34 Jesus proclaims, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another."  The  modern word charity is derived from the Greek feminine noun Charis, meaning: "Grace, that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech"  (http://www.searchgodsword.org/lex/grk/view.cgi?number=5485 ). 

Knowledge in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing; although, if our knowledge vaunts itself against God rather than bringing ourselves and others closer to Him it is nothing but a worthless idol.  A tin god that can neither hear nor see.  God values love, it was His first intention and that hasn't changed.  Love God with all your heart, soul and might, not because He commanded it, but because He reached across eternity for you and sacrificed His Son for your release.

Patti





Monday, September 19, 2011

He Holds Tomorrow


Pic from beautifulfreepictures.com


The Book of Ezra opens with an amazing testament to God's foreknowledge and sovereignty.  Ezra 1:1-4 "In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing."  God names Cyrus as the ruler who would rebuild the temple in Isaiah 44:24-28: 

". . .I am the LORD,
the Maker of all things,
who stretches out the heavens,
who spreads out the earth by myself,
25 who foils the signs of false prophets
and makes fools of diviners,
who overthrows the learning of the wise
and turns it into nonsense,
26 who carries out the words of his servants
and fulfills the predictions of his messengers,
who says of Jerusalem, ‘It shall be inhabited,’
of the towns of Judah, ‘They shall be rebuilt,’
and of their ruins, ‘I will restore them,’
27 who says to the watery deep, ‘Be dry,
and I will dry up your streams,’
28 who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd
and will accomplish all that I please;
he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,”
and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.”’

The reference to Jeremiah in Erza 1:1 refers to the 70 years of Babylonian captivity in Jeremiah 25:12 that ended in the year 538 BC at the outset of Cyrus' reign.  Amazingly, God called Cyrus by name, as the ruler who would initiate His will, 100 years before his birth.

The God of creation holds all things in the palm of His hand.  Past, present and future are His and open to His gaze.  He is able to the utmost to direct our lives for the greatest good and His Will.  Rely on Him for your very sustenance and rest in the knowledge that He holds all things and loves you forever.

Patti    

Friday, September 16, 2011

With All Your Heart

Jeremiah 29:13 "And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."



Pic from Freephoto.com


Have you ever watched someone do something half-heartedly?  They seem indifferent, bored and less than excited.  They go about their work without any passion, listlessly going through the motions of the task at hand.  Performing a mundane assignment half-heartedly is a sure way to not do a good job.  Attempting to seek God in that mind-set will not result in finding Him.  God's desire is for an intimate loving relationship with you.  Jesus' sacrifice is an offer to reconnect your spirit to God's Spirit so that you may interact with Him as Adam and Eve did before the Fall.  Seek Him with a fervent heart set only on Him, and you will surely find Him.

Lord, in Jesus' name, I pray that you place a desire in our hearts for You and You alone.  I pray that You show us the idols that we place before You, and give us the grace to lay them down.  Thank you for the opportunity to live with You now and for eternity.  I love You and praise You.  Amen.

Patti 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Juggling Life?


Pic from Freephoto.com


"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28

I never learned to juggle.  Oh, I tried when I was a kid, the highest number of objects I ever kept circulating simultaneously were two.  I am sure that does not count as juggling.  A teenage friend was well-versed at the art, he juggled apples.  His mom would throw him additional apples one at a time until he had his hands full.  The climax of his act would be to take a bite and continue the whirling display of fruit.  I am still amazed at his prowess.  Juggling life's issues is no less taxing and they surely do not come at well-timed intervals.  Even my dexterous friend would have been swamped if someone had dumped a bushel of apples on his head.

Jesus understands that attempting to navigate life and its pitfalls on our own power is a a recipe for failure.  We are so much more easily defeated by the enemy when we are distracted and exhausted.  What have you been attempting to juggle in your life?  Lay it at the feet of the Savior and allow His rest to cover you in your adversity.  Present all things to Him in prayer and rest in the peace of His promise.

Lord, In Jesus' name I pray for the peace of Christ to cover us as we allow you to construct and lead our lives.  Thank You for Your promise of peace, thank You for Your Son and the salvation that His Blood affords us.  Praise You.  Amen.

Patti

Friday, September 9, 2011

Like A Child

Luke 18:17  "Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."

Pic from freephoto.com

Child-like faith is spoken of in scripture as a prerequisite for gaining entrance into the kingdom of God.  The word "kingdom" evokes images of castles with moats and perhaps an obligatory dragon.  It denotes property, assets-- a physical reality that is obtainable.  This was part of the difficulty that the Jewish people had with Jesus.  They were awaiting a Messiah who would usher in the literal physical kingdom. They wanted a warrior on a stead, not a prophet on a donkey. The use of the word kingdom here has a deeper meaning.  It speaks of coming under the kingship of God-- this is about submitting to His authority in a child-like manner.  Imagine a father gathering up his child to go and run some errands with a promise of a treat before they return home.  The child's mind is not occupied with the details of the trip.  Does dad have enough gas in the car?  Is he able to do what it is that he is attempting?  Does he know where to go?  Does he have enough money?  I wonder if he knows what he is doing?  Our Father knows every detail of the road ahead and He is more than well-equipped to fulfill what He has spoken.  Trust Him with child-like faith, come under His kingship and know that He has your best interest at heart.  Our obedience is not directly proportionate to the balance in our checkbooks.  Many saints of God have suffered need and martyrdom in their service.  The teaching of prosperity, at any cost, is shallow.  When you stand before God will you say, "God I did what was best for me," or "God I did what was best for Your kingdom."
Patti 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Never Want To Go Back song lyrics

Lonely nights,
                         I never thought I would make it

Wrong and right.
                          My heart and mind forsake it

I never want to go back, I never want to go back,
                                                                            I never want to go back there

I never want to do it,
                                  I know You'll see me through it,
                                                                                     I never want to go back there

The pain that I left in the past
                                               Jesus, You're the love that lasts,
                                                                                                   I'll hold Your hand. . .

I never want to go back there.

PPH original song lyrics  10/09/09

Monday, September 5, 2011

Take Heart



The teaching of Jesus is unique in the authority that He displays as he relates the Word of God to His listeners. Matthew 7:29 describes this truth, "For He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” The mode of Jesus’ teaching was adaptable, as He taught a wide variety of audiences. He also teaches His disciples deeper truths than He does the masses, as Matthew 13:11 speaks, "He answered and said unto them, Because it is given to you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” Jesus employs several instructional devices in His teaching, such as rhetoric, logic, repetition, illustrations, poetic forms and parables. The Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5, 6 & 7, is an excellent example of Jesus’ instruction and use of some of these various techniques.
The context of Jesus’ teaching includes training on the reality of Holy Trinity, although the term Trinity is not used in scripture, Its truth is implied. Jesus illustrates God as Creator, as He explains His providential care (Matthew 10:29-31). Jesus describes God as Supreme in the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.”
Of Himself, Jesus teaches throughout the gospels of the truth of the Hypostatic Union of His personage.   As the Son of God and the Son of man, He is able to intercede for us being fully holy as God and fully tempted as man. Jesus shows our filial relationship with Himself in Romans 11:16, “For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root be holy, so are the branches.” Jesus’ function as the spotless Lamb of God speaks of His propitiation for our sins and His death by Divine necessity as He bridges the gap between God and ourselves. His death was voluntary, as an offering and a triumph over sin, death and the enemy (John 15:13).
Jesus teaches of the Holy Spirit as our Comforter, who was to come in His stead (John 15:26). The Holy Spirit, as our Paraclete will come along side us as John 14:26 declares, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” The name, "Paraclete" comes from the same root as the word parallel; He "comes along side us."  The disciples received the Holy Spirit in John 20:22, “And when He had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.”
These truths of God’s aspects and character are important in understanding Him rightly.  In comprehending God the Father, as infallible, all-powerful and all-loving, we are then able to rest in His love and sovereignty. When we see Jesus as our Intercessor, Brother and Savior, we are able to come to Him for salvation and trust Him for eternity. When we hold the Holy Spirit as our empowerment, Comfort and life line, we are able to confidently live this life that we are called to. If you don’t know Jesus as your Savior, please know that He is reaching out across eternity for you today. Trust Him; he has your best interest at heart. If you are a Christian and feel worn down by the fight, remember that the Holy Spirit is there as our empowerment, call out to God in your distress. Even when it seems that He doesn’t hear us, He does. Sometimes in His silence, He is building our faith. He is always working in the diverse situations in our lives. Take heart, God loves you and is in control!

Patti

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Amazing 01/27/10

Amazing, You'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


You 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. . .

Original song lyrics by Patricia Paige Harrison 01/27/10

Thursday, September 1, 2011

"With" by Skye Jethani


Opinions expressed in this review are my own and I have not been paid for the writing of it.  I have been provided with a free copy of this book by Booksneeze.com for review.

In this paradigm altering book regarding man's relational stance toward God, Skye Jethani contrasts the misguided notions of living under, over, from and for God with the correct one of living with Him. This book should be approached with an open mind; as, in each of our lives we surely have, or will go through seasons of relating to God in one or more of these ways along the path to maturity. Jethani is the managing editor of Leadership Journal, published by Christianity Today International and he has written for several leading publications in the genre.



Jethani artfully uses a narrative of the mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Ravenna, Italy as an analogy of the blindness of living life clouded by the wrong mindset toward God. The beautiful mosaics of the Galla Placidia are shrouded by the dimness and crowding of the tourist attraction. At the dropping of a coin into a metal box the mausoleum is illuminated for a brief moment. Jethani explains, “Each time the lights come on, the visitors are given another glimpse of the world behind the shadows, and their eyes capture another element previously unseen—deer drinking from springs, garlands of fruit and leaves, Jesus gently reaching out to his sheep that look lovingly at their Shepherd” (Jethani 2011, 100). The darkness of a misguided relationship with God occludes the true majestic beauty of His reality.



This book is deeply insightful.  Jethani relates his personal experiences and those of others he has interviewed, as to how these mistaken Godviews affect our relationship with Him. With includes an Appendix (A) which contains information as to how to pray more effectively. Appendix (B) contains “Discussing With Others” chapter questions, that are valuable for deeper thought and explanation, especially in small groups. I would recommend this book to any anyone who desires to know God more deeply and truthfully.  Most assuredly, the maturity level of Christians is directly impacted by the maturity of their leadership. Christian leaders would do well to read and consider the contents of this book.


Rev. Patricia Paige Harrison

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