Category Archives: child of God

Whispers of Love

I love foggy mornings.  The world is enveloped in such softness, like a gentle presence has descended and embraced her.  The fog reminds me of my life, of the reality that the Glory of God in Jesus Christ, in the person of the Holy Spirit, has come to me – that He is in me and I am in Him.  I live wrapped up in His Love, the way the morning fog hugs the earth.

One of the many blessings of this intimate relationship is our tender, confidential conversation. When difficulties come, He gives me visions and words that are tailor made for me and my circumstances – personal messages just for me from Him.

Recently I had some symptoms that were highly suspicious for cancer.  I went to see my doctor and had several diagnostic tests.  In the midst of that stress, my Lord whispered and revealed truth.  I leaned in to listen and be comforted, and I responded.

He breathed, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price…”  (Romans 6:19-20)

I sighed, “That is true.  My body is yours. Whatever the outcome, Lord, I trust you.”

He opened up Revelation Chapter One, and I saw Him – the One with a face as brilliant as the sun and hair as white as snow – the One with a sharp double edged sword coming out of His mouth and feet like bronze glowing in a furnace – the One whose voice is like the sound of rushing waters – the One whose eyes are like blazing fire.

I said, “Even though you are beautiful to me, Jesus, you are fierce and frightening. I am grateful that I am hidden behind you and that my enemies have to deal with you!”

My enemy symptoms disappeared and all my tests came back normal.  I said thank you to the Lover of my soul, and I praised His Holy Name.

The One, who shed His blood for me, shed it for you as well.  He wants to share an intimate relationship with you.  You are One of A Kind, and no one knows that better than your Creator and Redeemer.  No one loves you like He does.  No one will ever have the conversation with Him that He wants to have with you alone.  Come.  He calls you.

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The Fear That Is Wisdom

Disaster and destruction follows disaster and destruction in the world we live in, hurricane upon hurricane, earthquake upon earthquake, and wildfire upon wildfire. The news also carries stories of the tensions between nations and the dangers of nuclear proliferation or attack. We wonder when the terrorists will strike again. We wonder when the war in Syria will finally end.  Anxiety and fear are rampant.

Jesus teaches His disciples what signs will signal the end times and His return. (See Matthew 24)  He tells of unequaled distress on earth, such distress that all would die, if those days were not shortened. He tells of the sun being darkened and the moon not giving its light. He warns of a day during that historic, monumental distress, a day that no one but His father knows. On that day, He will come on the clouds in the sky with great glory and all those who have believed in Him will be caught up with Him to escape the horrors of earth.  “…That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.” Does this teaching inspire fear?  It well ought.

We learn in Psalm 111:10 that: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”  Let fear send you running to God to learn how to escape His just judgment on mankind. John Newton’s ageless hymn, Amazing Grace, says, “Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear, and Grace my fears relieved.”

God is Love.  Love is warning us, and Love is reminding us that He has made a way of escape.  All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  All of us are unclean and powerless before the Mighty God of the Universe.  See a man upon a cross.  His name is Jesus, the Son of God, the Lamb of God.  His shed blood can wash away your sin and make you clean.  Believe in Him.

Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;  the end of fear is love.  The apostle John tells us in I John 4:18, “There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

When Love Incarnate, Jesus Christ, washes us clean, we are relieved of fear.  For those of us who have believed in that love, we listen to the news and watch the times with a growing sense that our Lord’s return is closer than when we first believed.  We are comforted knowing the day is coming when there will be no more sorrow and no more tears.  The One who gave Himself for us will dry away our final tears as He welcomes us home to be with Him forever.

Be afraid; it’s right and appropriate. But don’t stop at fear; go on to Love.  Run to Him. Now. Don’t slow down and don’t stop until you are safe in His arms.

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Shafts of Glory

While my husband was driving us to our son’s home, I read out loud.  I read the chapter, Awe: Praising His Glory, from Timothy Keller’s book, PRAYER.

The following paragraph by Keller moved me profoundly:  First we should learn to do what C. S. Lewis speaks about in his book on prayer, Letters to Malcolm.  He deliberatively tries to see all pleasures as “shafts of the glory as it strikes our sensibility . . . . I have tried . . . . to make every pleasure into a channel of adoration.”  By “pleasure” Lewis means things as diverse as a beautiful mountain valley, delicious food, a good book, or a piece of music.  What does it mean to make every pleasure into adoration?  He quickly points out that, while we should give God thanks for every pleasure, Lewis means something more.  “Gratitude exclaims . . . . ‘How good of God to give me this.’  Adoration says, ‘ What must be the quality of that Being whose far-off and momentary coruscations are like this!’  One’s mind runs back up the sunbeam to the sun.”  He learns to instinctively think “What kind of God would create this, give me this?”  He concludes that while he doesn’t succeed in always keeping this discipline, it has enriched both his joy in everyday life and his concentrated times of prayer.  He says we “shall not be able to adore God on the highest occasions if we have learned no habit of doing so on the lowest.”

I loved the picture in my mind of following the sunbeam back up to the sun – the discipline of not only being thankful for the sunbeam, but the subsequent adoration of the one who made and sent the sunbeam to glorify my day.  I breathed a hurried prayer, “Lord, I would love to write a blog post about this.  It would be so neat if You would give me a photograph of a sunbeam.”

I kept reading to my husband and completed the chapter.  We reached our destination and enjoyed an evening of fun and fellowship with our son and his family.  As usual, our granddaughter Alyse gave up her room for her papa and I to sleep in.  As soon as I awoke the next morning, I raised the blinds in Alyse’s room and was greeted by glorious sunbeams  peeking out from behind the tall, old evergreens that shielded the morning sun!  I grabbed my camera and ran to the front porch to start snapping pictures.

I thanked God for the sunbeams and answered prayer.  I pondered what kind of God created light and this exquisite beauty for a summer morning.  I pondered what kind of a God hears and answers prayers.  What kind of God?  A powerful creator God.  An Artist God – The Artist of all Artists.  A loving, attentive Father God.  A Father God who delights in giving His children joy.  I adored my Creator God, my Father God!

O Lord God, teach us that gratitude and adoration intersect.  Teach us to follow the sunbeams back up to the sun.  Teach us awe and wonder over what kind of God gives us such beautiful and bountiful pleasures and gifts.  Teach us to turn our gratitude into adoration.

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Keys and Doors

I have a new friend.  Her name is Lona.  When she came for dinner on Easter, she brought me this kitchen towel as a hostess gift.   It reminds me of her, not only because it was a present from her, but because she does open big doors with little keys.  I know because I pray with her every week.

In Matthew 6:19, Jesus told Simon, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”  Simon had just made his confession of faith, telling Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”   Jesus had replied by calling him Peter, which means rock, and saying, “On this rock I will build my church.”

The church is the living fellowship of all those who believe that Jesus is the The Christ, The Son of God. Jesus is the chief cornerstone of the church.  Peter, the Rock, was the first man to understand and believe that Jesus was the The Christ, the Son of God, and as such, he was the first living stone ( see I Peter 2: 4) placed upon the cornerstone of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Church is built upon the belief and confession that Jesus is The Christ, The Son of God.  That is the door that opens the Kingdom of heaven up to anyone who would believe.   All of us who share this faith are living stones built up over the centuries upon the Rock of our Salvation, Jesus Christ.

Like Peter, every believer is given the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.  The keys are to bind and to loose. To forbid and to allow.  To close and to open.  What do we bind, forbid, and close?  What do we loose, allow and open?  We loose, allow and open when we share the truth of the good news of Jesus Christ.  We bind, forbid and close when we deny the lies of the evil one.  We bind and loose whenever we exercise this authority in prayer.  We speak and believe the word of God given us in the Scriptures and apply them to the lives of our families, churches, and communities.

Lona has beautiful brown eyes that sparkle with the life of Jesus.  She comes to prayer expectantly.  She uses her keys, exercising her authority to bind and loose confidently when she prays.  I hear her.  I learn from her.  Sometimes during our hours of praying with Jesus, He shows her what He is doing, and she giggles with delight. I hear that laughter and I know bad things are being locked up and good doors are opening for those we pray for.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for giving us the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  We are humbled and grateful.  Open our eyes to see doors that need to be opened and to doors that need to be closed.

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Living Dead or Born Again

Life can leave us feeling dead.  Have you ever felt that way, breathing and exchanging air but starved for life, longing for change but powerless to make changes, longing for a heaven on earth, the kingdom of God in the here and now? Or do you believe  you are living, oblivious to the fact you are really dead?  It might be better for you to be one of those who feel dead and are seeking life!

In the third chapter of the Gospel of John,  we watch and hear Jesus tell the Pharisee Nicodemus, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” Nicodemus is puzzled and wonders, how can this be?  Jesus tells Nicodemus that flesh gives birth to flesh and spirit gives birth to spirit.  He tells him that no one has ever gone into heaven except for the Son of Man who came from heaven.  He tells him that the Son of Man must be lifted up so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

The apostle John tells us that everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.

The apostle Paul proclaims that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  He describes mankind as dead in their sins.  Indeed, the living are the living dead until they believe that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, was lifted up and crucified on a cross to pay the penalty for their sin. Then they are born of God, born of His  Spirit – given His life, an eternal, abundant life that begins in the here and now.

The good news is that you don’t have to be living dead.  You can be born again to everlasting life.  Will you believe in the One who was lifted up and died for you?

 

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Invisible, Not Imaginary

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Long ago a wise boy named Tim told me, “I like Jesus and Snuffleupagus.”

In a neighborhood named Sesame Street lived Big Bird.  His best friend was a four legged, gentle, soft spoken creature called Mr.Snuffleupagus.  They hung out and confided in one another.  Amazingly, no one else on Sesame Street had seen Big Bird’s best friend.  They erroneously believed that Bird’s BFF was imaginary. That didn’t really matter to Big Bird because he and Snuffy kept enjoying one another’s company and being there for each other.

Long ago in Bethlehem on the first Christmas, a BFF quietly moved into our neighborhoods.  Not everyone encountered him.  But to those who had eyes to see and ears to hear, who welcomed and received him, he became the most incredible best friend forever.

That Best Friend is Jesus.  He is fully man and fully God.  He is all knowing and all powerful.  He delivers and saves from sin and death. He is loving, kind, merciful and fun. He tells us to cast our cares on him because he cares for us.

Like Big Bird, it doesn’t really matter to me if you know my Jesus is real or if you think he is imaginary.  My BFF, Jesus, is real to me.  I know him, and he knows me.  We hang out and enjoy each other every day.

Jesus isn’t exclusive.  He has room in his heart for an endless circle of friends.  He wants you in that circle.  May you uncover and unwrap the gift of his friendship underneath your Christmas tree.

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ALL I NEED TO KNOW


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While looking in October for some yarn at one of my favorite shops, a Fiber and Book Store, I saw a Little Golden Book, titled Everything I Need to Know I Learned From A Stars Wars. I smiled, chuckling to myself, and thought; here’s the perfect novelty Christmas gift for my sons who are 40 and 38 and grew up loving the Star Wars Saga.   I purchased yarn and the books.

I have read the book, enjoying the pictures and content. Although some of its message conveys wise and valuable counsel for children and adults who are kids at heart,  I KNOW THAT EVERYTHING I NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED FROM MY BIBLE.

Here is some of the truth the Bible has taught me about God and myself and some of the realities I live in because I have believed that truth:

God created me; He wove me together in my mother’s womb.

He has loved me with an everlasting love.

He has loved me so much that He sent His Son Jesus to come to earth to live and bleed and die and rise again so that all my sin and shame could be washed away by His shed blood.

Jesus has equipped me and sent me on a meaningful journey, an exciting, challenging mission.

He has been traveling on this mission with me; in fact He is always holding on to my right hand. He has promised that no one can ever snatch me out of His hand and that He will never leave me or forsake me.

He has promised to give me wisdom whenever I need it and ask for it. He has promised to lead and guide me on this mission.   Sometimes I have been afraid, really afraid, near terrified, but He has calmed and quieted my heart and mind.

His Spirit has kept giving me power to obey His command to say no to anger, rage and pride. His Spirit has kept giving me power to walk in His Light and to be kind and compassionate and to forgive and bless those that hurt me. When I have failed to do these things, He has picked me up and told me to try again.

With God nothing has been impossible. Jesus has promised that I can do all things because He strengthens me. He has told me to keep believing because faith is the victory that overcomes the world.

Jesus has said that He is going to rule and reign on planet earth and that I get to be with Him. I have been looking forward to this for a long time.

The Eternal God, who has always ruled the universe and still does, has given me everlasting life and has promised I am always going to be with Him in heaven forever because I believe in His Son.   I’ve banked my life on this promise.

I obtained my role in THIS REAL STORY, THE BEST ONE EVER TOLD, by believing its truth and trusting its PLAYWRIGHT/DIRECTOR.

Tryouts remain open. The only talent required is a willingness to trust THE PLAYWRIGHT and to follow HIS DIRECTION.  Come one and all.  You are loved, accepted and needed.

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Sunsets and Strongholds

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Anger and rage are two of the things Paul teaches us to take off and get rid of in Ephesians 4 and Colossians 3.   Extremes seem to be the way we humans look at life and the way we manage things.   We either deny being angry or we express our anger in disrespectful, hurtful or harmful behaviors.   Neither extreme is helpful. one harms our health and the other harms our relationships.

In Ephesians 4:26-27, Paul teaches: ” In your anger do not sin.  Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”

It seems to me that Paul assumes we will get angry.  First of all, we must be in touch with our own anger, rather than denying and repressing it.  Then we must confess our anger and quickly move to resolve its source and to let go of it.  Paul instructs us to do this before the day ends.

Sometimes we are unselfishly angry over an injustice.  Perhaps the Lord is calling us to do our part to make sure that injustice is righted.  This kind of anger presents the temptation to sin by omission, by failing to do the good we might do.

Most often, I think,  we experience the kind of anger which tempts us to sins of commission, Perhaps our pride is injured.  Perhaps we feel frustrated because our need to control has been thwarted.   Perhaps all we need is to ask the Lord Jesus to give us power to let go of these feelings and to wash us clean of our pride and our need to control.  Instead we express our anger in passive-aggressive behaviors that make the problem arousing our anger even worse.  Or we explode in an angry outburst, saying and doing things that are destructive, making the problem arousing the anger worse.  Nothing is resolved.  Situations escalate and relationships deteriorate.

Perhaps we are in a set of circumstances where issues truly need to be addressed and resolved.  We need to address these issues with calmness and respect, seeking solutions and understanding, rather than attacking and blaming others.  Yelling, swearing and name calling are never helpful, and are never justified for a child of God.

As I have aged as a woman and as a child of God,  I have begun to see how Paul is warning us about a very real and present danger to our souls.  I am not just preaching to the choir;  I am preaching to myself. Anger can become habitual;  it can become a way of life.  This kind of anger grieves the Holy Spirit who lives in a believer. (Ephesians 4:30)  When we are angry and sin because of that anger, we give the Devil a foothold and grieve the Holy Spirit.  Footholds can become strongholds.  We can be tied up by the enemy, while the Holy Spirit, who was meant to be our powerful ally, is instead grieving over our sin.

Oh, Lord God,  forgive me and forgive Your church for our extremes – for either repressing our anger or for using it as an excuse to sin.  Teach us to get serious about taking anger off and putting on compassion and forgiveness before the sun goes down each day.  Keep us from grieving the Holy Spirit.  Deliver us and keep us from the footholds and strongholds of Satan.   In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Serious Business

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I wore some old high heels and pretended to be Mommy.  I liked my dolls.  I liked playing dress up.   I loved my mother, and I wanted to be like her when I grew up.

Dressing up and acting like one’s parent or hero isn’t children’s play.  It is serious business.   It is the business of every serious Christ Follower.

Paul said, “Be imitators of God, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”  (Ephesians 5:1 and 2)  Earlier in chapter four of the book of Ephesians, Paul tells us to put off our old self and put on the new self which was created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.  He gives us a long list of behaviors to put off and get rid of: falsehood, stealing, anger, rage, bitterness, brawling, slander, and every form of malice. He tells us to be kind, compassionate and forgiving.

In the third chapter of Colossians, Paul instructs believers to put to death the “earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry.”  Later in that same chapter beginning with verse 12, he says, “…as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you  may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.   And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

As a Christ Follower, I am called to dress like Jesus and to act like him.  I am called to wear his virtues and to copy his behavior.  This would be mission impossible, but thank God, his Spirit came to live in me and conform me to the image of Christ.

Holy Spirit, I surrender to your work in me.  Help me to do my part, while you do your part.  I  want the world to look at me and say, “That’s God’s girl.  She looks so much like him and has his mannerisms. You’d know her right away, even if you didn’t know her name.”

 

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Blessed

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“Oh LORD ALMIGHTY, blessed is the man who trusts in you.”  Psalm 84:12

” “The Hebrew word for “ALMIGHTY” is Shaddai. Wrapped up in that word are the characteristics of strength, nourishment, satisfier of needs, and all sufficiency.   Some scholars believe the name is rooted in a word that means mountain and refers to .”THE ONE OF THE MOUNTAINS ”   Janet Kobobel Grant from Trusting That God Will Provide,  A Study on Ruth

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”  Psalm 121:1-2

“Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion which cannot be shaken but endures forever.”  Psalm 125:1

How BLESSED I am for my trust is in THE LORD ALMIGHTY, THE ONE OF THE MOUNTAINS.

How BLESSED I am because my help comes from THE LORD, THE MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH.

How BLESSED I am because THE ALMIGHTY gives me everlasting life through HIS SON who died to cover my sins with His shed blood.  Like Mount Zion, I cannot be shaken.  I will endure forever, not by any merit of my own, but by His great mercy and everlasting love.

How BLESSED I am because THE ALMIGHTY  gives me strength and nourishment.  He satisfies my needs and is MY ALL SUFFICIENT ONE.

THE LORD ALMIGHTY longs to bless you.  He loves you.  COME.  TASTE AND SEE.  THE LORD IS GOOD!

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