"But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you..." 1 Corin. 12:9

Saturday, September 10, 2011

"Never let a task become a drudge.

You are special.  You are unique.  No matter what your duty, no matter how distasteful you might find it, inside you can be whatever you decide to be.  Outside, your hands may be soiled with daily toil--inside, your soul and spirit can be refined and elegant.  You can be just as much a lady leaning over a tub of hot, sudsy water scrubbing dirty socks as you can sitting on a velvet cushion, fanning yourself with a silk and ivory fan."

Janette Oke~Roses for Mama

Friday, September 9, 2011

Who is a Success?

That man is a success who has lived well,
laughed often and loved much;
who has gained the respect of intelligent
men and the love of children;
who has filled his niche and
accomplished his task;
who leaves the world better than he
found it, whether by an improved poppy,
a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;
who never lacked appreciation of
earth's beauty or failed to express it;
who looked for the best in others
and gave the best he had.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Monday, August 8, 2011

Bible study=Blessing

We recently started going to a home Bible study group.  We love it!  It is SO wonderful to meet weekly to share with other believers what we learn in the Word.  I am excited to go every week. 

There are 4 families and a couple of single guys in our group.  We rotate houses so there is no big burden on any one family.  The kiddos play while we talk.  Everyone has fun.  Then we have a tasty snack before ending the evening.  A deeper understanding of God's Word, fellowship, fun, and food.  What could be better?

First we studied James.  Now we have moved into 1Peter.  I love just going through a book in the Bible.  I read the portion several times throughout the week, so the message sinks in deeper than when I am reading something different daily.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Bell of Christ's Work in me.

I am God's child (John1:12)
I am Christ's friend (John 15:15)
I am united with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17)
I am bought with a price (1 Cor 6:19-20)
I am a saint (set apart for God). (Eph. 1:1)
I am a personal witness of Christ. (Acts 1:8)
I am the salt & light of the earth (Matt 5:13-14)
I am a member of the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27)
I am free forever from condemnation (Rom. 8: 1-2)
I am a citizen of Heaven.  I am significant (Phil 3:20)
I am free from any charge against me (Rom. 8: 31-34)
I am a minister of reconciliation for God (2 Cor 5:17-21)
I have access to God through the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:18)
I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Eph. 2:6)
I cannot be separated from the love of God (Rom 8:35-39)
I am established, anointed, sealed by God (2 Cor 1:21-22)
I am assured all things work together for good (Rom. 8:28)
I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16)
I may approach God with freedom and confidence (Eph. 3: 12)
I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13)
I am the branch of the true vine, a channel of His life (John 15:1-5)
I am God's temple (1 Cor. 3: 16)    I am complete in Christ (Col. 2: 10)
I am hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3).. I have been justified (Romans 5:1)
I am God's co-worker (1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Cor. 6:1).  I am God's workmanship (Eph. 2:10)
I am confident that the good works God has begun in me will be perfected. (Phil. 1: 5)
I have been redeemed and forgiven (Col 1:14) I have been adopted as God's child (Eph 1:5)
I belong to God!


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Gleanings - John - Chapter 11

In chapter 11 of John, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.  He finds out that Lazarus is deathly ill, but chooses to wait to go to him knowing he will die.  He has an amazing reason, but no one knows what His plan is.  All they know is that He let His friend die and did nothing to stop it.  They knew Him as a miracle worker.  Why wasn't He doing anything?  He did say, 'This sickness will not end in death.  No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it. (v4)'  But they could not comprehend why He was saying that.

Both Martha and Mary say to Him, when He finally does come, 'If You had been here, my brother would not have died. (vv21, 32)'  The crowd says, 'Could not He Who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying? (v37)'  This was all true, but He had a plan they did not know.

He wanted to help them know Him better.

He wanted to reveal the Father's glory and His glory through an amazing miracle, the biggest one yet.

He wanted to reveal His resurrection power.

He said to Martha, 'Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God? (v40)'

Then He proceeded to have the grave stone removed, despite Martha's protests.  Then in verse 43 He said:

'Lazarus, come out!'

This chapter is SO exciting!  Not just because someone was resurrected from the dead, but because we see Christ's amazing power in a seemingly hopeless situation.  I mean death is FINAL, isn't it?  Once someone has died we stop praying for them because it's too late.

But not for my Jesus!  He blew their minds and defeated even death.  Here temporarily.  Later, when He resurrected Himself, He defeated death's power over us FOREVER!!!

This story gives me such hope.  Hope to persevere in faith when I don't know what the plan is.  When my situation looks hopeless.  When I don't understand what He is doing or why He isn't answering my prayers the way I want Him to.  I can cling to His promise to Martha that if I believe, I will see His glory.  I believe, Lord, help my unbelief!

Glory!  Hallelujah!!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Gleanings - John - Chapter 10

The Gate.  The Good Shepherd.  The Son of God.  So many names for Jesus, and all of them wonderful!

He's the Gate, the 'Way' in.  The ONLY Way in.  Freely offering eternal life to anyone who will adhere to Him in belief and obedience.

He's the Good Shepherd.  He sacrificed Himself for the good of the sheep, even giving His Own Life.  He did it freely, willingly.  No one could have taken His Life; He had to give it.  After all, no one can over-power the Almighty.

It still floors me that the Almighty God of the Universe would humble Himself to come in the form of a baby, grow-up as a human boy into a man in a poor to average family, and then consent to die for sinners.  All for us.  Mind-blowing.  Especially when you consider Ephesians 1:3-7 which says that this was His plan from before He ever created man.  He knew He would have to do this for us and made us anyway.  Mind-boggling.

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory.

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers.

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished.
His dying breath has brought me life.
I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death, and resurrection.

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer.
But this I know with all my heart,
His wounds have paid my ransom.
(Stuart Townend, How Deep the Father's Love for Us)

I love how Jesus talks about sheep and how they will only follow their own shepherd.  That they know his voice and will follow no other.  He says this is how we should be as believers.  We should get to know His Voice so well that when an imposter comes, we won't be fooled.

I love the wonderful promise in this chapter that says, "No one can snatch them out of My Hand. (v28)"

Jesus says a couple of times in this chapter that He and the Father are One.  Inseparable.  What I think is astounding is that, in John 17:20-23, Jesus says WE are One with Them.  That's how I want to be.  Inseparable from God.  That just like with Jesus was with the Father, people can't look at me without seeing Him.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Gleanings - John - Chapter 9

I absolutely love the story of the man blind from birth!
If you haven't read this passage for yourself,

What a marvelous picture of God's grace in our lives!  Everyone this blind man knew was sure that  his parents or he had sinned with blindness as the punishment.  Once again Jesus broke through their judgmental thoughts with a new one.  He said this man's life was purposely designed to reveal God's glory.  Isn't this true for each one of us?  We each have a unique set of circumstances.  We each have a special purpose, a part to play in bringing glory to the Most High.

I like how the Message says, "You're asking the wrong question.  You're looking for someone to blame.  There is no such cause-effect here.  Look instead for what God can do. (v3)"

"Look instead for what God can do!"  This is how I want to learn to approach EVERY situation in life.  Pray, trust, and wait with EXPECTATION that God will work.  I want to camp on the fact that God always is working for my good, no matter the appearance of the situation.  That He is listening and mindful of me, like verse 31 indicates:  "It's well known that God isn't at the beck and call of sinners, but listens carefully to anyone who lives in reverence and does His will."

Even with this amazing miracle of sight people were refusing to believe.  The former blind man is INCREDULOUS!  "This is amazing!  You claim to know nothing about Him, but the fact is, He opened my eyes!...That someone opened the eyes of a man born blind has never been heard of---ever.  If this Man didn't come from God, He wouldn't be able to do anything. (vv30,33)"  After this, they threw him out of the synagogue.

Jesus responded to this stubborn disbelief by saying, "...those who have made a great pretense of seeing will be exposed as blind....If you were really blind, you would be blameless, but since you claim to see everything so well, you're accountable for every fault and failure.  (vv39,41)"

O Lord, please keep my eyes open to Your Truth.
Keep my heart teachable and close to You.
Help me be bold in my proclamation of
all that You have done for me.

I also love how, when everyone else turns against this poor man for standing staunchly in faith, Jesus comes to him personally to comfort and minister to him.  My sweet, precious Lord is so tender with His people.

(All verses in this post are taken from The Message.)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Gleanings - John - Chapter 8, part 2

Verses 31-59 focus on Jesus revealing the heart attitudes of His listeners.  Verse 30 indicates that many believed; but, from their response to the rest of Jesus' Words, I don't know how many were truly converted.  First thing Jesus points out that those who truly love Him obey Him (which can be hard for us old sinners to take).  We want to love Him and still do things our own way.

The advantage to knowing and obeying His teachings is that we will then "know the Truth, and the Truth will set us free.  (v32)"  I always like to capitalize the word Truth.  Because I think Truth is a Person, the Person of  Jesus Christ.  So, as we get to know Him, we know Truth better.  And as we know what is true, we know Him better.

Obeying also frees us:  from our slavery to sin.  "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed! (v36)"

All this was very confusing to the Jews who were listening.  They thought they had 'the corner' on truth.  They were the children of Abraham for crying out loud!  Jesus was telling them that while they were offspring of Abraham by physical descent, their spirits were offspring of their father, the devil.  As you might imagine, they were deeply offended, and the more He talked, the more they wanted to kill Him.  Jesus even says, "you seek to kill Me because My Word finds no place in you. (v37)" and "you seek to kill Me, a Man Who has told you the truth. (v40)"  We don't often think of Jesus in these terms, deliberately being an irritant to a person.  But truth irritates sin whether it means to or not.  Just being in the Presence of Holiness is hard to take when we are so far from holy ourselves.  I'm glad I am at peace with God now and do not have to feel this way.

Jesus' point was that Abraham believed God; and, that since these people were not believing Him, they could not be offspring of Abraham's heart.  As usual He is very blunt.  "Why do you not understand what I say?  It is because you cannot bear to hear my Word.  You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks out of his own character for he is a liar and the father of lies.  But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me.  Which one of you convicts Me of sin?  If I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me?  Whoever is of God hears the Words of God.  The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God. (vv43-47)"  OUCH!!!

This made them so mad that they accused Him of being demon-possessed.  This conversation continues on for a little while longer until Jesus says something that astounds them even further.  "Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see My day.  He saw it and was glad. (v56)"

With incredulity they say, "You are not yet 50 years old, and have You seen Abraham?"

Then the cru-de-graw:  "Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.' (v58)"

His use of God's special Name for Himself pushed them right over the edge, and they started trying to stone them.  I say 'try' because "Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple. (v59)"

Things were heating up in Jerusalem.  And the next story will only add fuel to the fire, for belief or for fury.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gleanings - John - Chapter 8 part 1

After the disagreement between the Pharisees and Jesus in chapter 7, the people returned to the their homes.  "But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. (John 8:1)"  Why?  It doesn't say.  The very next verse has Him coming back into the temple court to teach.  So I am thinking He went to 'refuel' by being with the Father.  It doesn't say He took anyone with Him.  And He was ready to go again 'early in the morning'.  What a great example!

After emptying Himself all day to the people, He disappears to rejuvenate and then goes at it again the next day.  I know I need time with the Father to prepare myself for each new day.  My energy is ZAPPED at the end of most every day, and I only have to deal with 5 people generally.  He had to be ready to go in CROWDS which would exhaust me in a matter of seconds.  I like to deal with others one-on-one or in very small groups.  CROWDS are right out.

morning verses

It's a good thing He took a respite, because He was put on the spot quite quickly.

vv2-3  "He sat down and was teaching them, when the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery."

He knew their intent.  They wanted to trap Him with their questions.  He turned the trap back onto them.  I am always struck with His brilliance in handling 'the powers that be'.  He is AMAZING!  They wanted to know what He would do with Moses' words.  His answer did not refute Moses, but still got His point across.  "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her. (v7)"

The other thing I pondered in this story of  "What shall we do with this wicked woman?" was her and what this situation was like for her.  Being caught in this sin would be mortifying enough.  Especially with the penalties they had in those days.  But then to be dragged into the center of the temple court and made an example of.  YIKES!!!  I feel so sorry for her.  Besides all that, then she hears the Pharisees bring up stoning.  I'm sure she was terrified.  I would have been holding my breath for Jesus' answer.

Imagine what was going through her mind when she heard His Words.

What do think her reaction was when He spoke directly to her?  

"'Woman, where are your accusers?  Has no man condemned you?'  She answered, 'No one, Lord.'  And Jesus said, I do not condemn you either.  Go on your way and from now on sin no more.' (vv10-11)"

I bet she could hardly believe her ears.  No condemnation, even in private?  Only mercy.  He allows her to go free with the admonishment to 'sin no more'.  Reprieve.  Relief.  Deep gratitude.  A desire to be different and to know this strange, merciful Man and to follow One such as this.  Freedom on numerous levels.  These are the things that I think I would be feeling.  We aren't told her reaction.  But it is interesting to think about.

Her situation reminds me of a quote I copied from a book written by Janette Oke and Davis Bunn called The Centurion's Wife.
"In the darkest hour, when there is no reason to go forward, no possibility of a better tomorrow, He is there to comfort, to guide, to heal.  He brings with Him the gift of hope."

In verse 12, Jesus makes His next 'I AM' statement:  "I AM the light of the world."  He says we don't have to walk in the dark when we walk with Him!

Verse 13 begins a conversation between Jesus and the Pharisees which challenges Jesus' authority that goes on through verse 29.  Jesus basically says, 'I have authority because I AM God, but you don't have a clue.'

Verse 15 stands out:  "You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one."  If anyone has a right to judge anything, it is Him.  "But if I do judge, My decisions are right...'  He knows EVERYTHING, all the why's and the nuances, inside out.  I know only what I see from the outside looking in.  So my judgment is faulty at best.  I am incapable of judging accurately, and I am ordered not to.
"Do not judge, and you will not be judged.  Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.  Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37)"

Jesus then transitions into trying to get them to realize that He is the perfect picture of the Father.  "If you knew Me, then you would know My Father too."  (v19c)  I have always found this such a comforting thought.  We can not see the Father (or even Jesus physically), but we have Who He is displayed out clearly for us all through the New Testament.  We can know Jesus personally because of His Word, and He says the Father is just like Him.  So if we know One, we know Both!  THRILLING!!!

In verses 21-30, Jesus talks about Who He is, where He is going to return to, and how He is going to get there.  "Then many who heard Him say these things believed in Him. (v30)"  Every time Scripture records people believing God, it is a MIRACLE.  We sinful humans just can't come to that on our own.  We have to have HELP!  Thank You, LORD, for every person that You help to believe You.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Gleanings - John - Chapter 7

I've been reading Chapter 7 for awhile now.  I am having difficulty sinking my teeth into it.  I have been more focused on standing on some Scriptures to deal with 'life', so the intensity with John hasn't been there.  But, I am not throwing in the towel.  I am pressing on.  I'm a little off schedule, but I set the schedule.  So I can modify it!  :)

Verses 1-9 are a conversation between Jesus and His natural brothers.  It is time to go up to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles.  The brothers' unbelief comes out as they almost taunt Him.  When I first was reading that they did not believe Him, I thought it was a little comforting to know that these guys who had been around Him His whole life were having difficulty perceiving Who He was.  But, as I thought about it this morning, I decided that believing Who He is and not taking Him at His Word is worse.  That is SO humbling.

Verse 7:  "The world...hates Me because I testify that what it does is evil."  This statement is proved out in the remainder of the chapter with all of the arguments about who He is and wanting to arrest or kill Him.  He was not taking a neutral stance.  He was revealing His relationship with the Father, and the 'powers-that-be' didn't like it.  (In verse 16, He clearly states that His teachings are not His Own, but the Father's.)  Others seemed to be genuinely trying to figure out whether or not He was Who He claimed to be.  These thoughts are threaded throughout the chapter, but most heavily from verse 30 on.

Verses 10-13 show that Jesus does go to Jerusalem, though He refused to go with His brothers.  He went alone "...as if He did not wish to be observed."  People had been looking for Him and discussing Him.

Verses 14-29:  Jesus went to the temple court to teach.  Some people were getting angry with Him and wondering at how He could teach with such authority, not having been trained in the Word as a priest.  He pointed out that He was just doing what the Father had sent Him to do.  And He reasons with them:
Verse 18 "He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He Who is seeking the glory of the One Who sent Him, He is True, and there is no unrighteousness (Amplified--falsehood, deception) in Him."
This verse points to Him and the Father being One. "He is true."  Back in chapter 1, it says, "God is true."  And in verse 28 of this chapter, it says, "the One Who sent Me is true.", plus, He indicates later in verses 29 and 33 that He has come directly from the Father's presence and will be returning there again.

Verses 30-53 show the growing animosity of the religious leaders, as well as the curiosity of all the people about who He really is.  Some are angry enough to want Him arrested or killed.  Others seem to be genuinely trying to puzzle through what He says and to decide if He might be the Messiah.  They even try to recall what the prophets say about what town Messiah will come from.  Nicodemus tries to defend Him and gets 'put in his place'.  Things are heating up.

Verses 38-39 are my favorite verses in the chapter.  These verses are a description of what I want to be like.
"He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'  But this He spoke of the Spirit..."  (NASB)
 "'Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.'  By this He meant the Spirit..."  (NIV)

I want to be a conduit of the Spirit!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Gleanings - John - Chapter 6, part 2

Verse 29:  "Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this:  to believe in the One He has sent.'"  (NIV)

"Jesus replied, 'This is the work [service] that God asks of you:  that you believe in the One Whom He has sent [that you cleave to, trust in, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger].'"  (Amplified)

 rely:  to be dependent for support, help, or supply; to place or have faith or confidence; bind fast

Psalm 84:5  "Blessed are those whose strength is in You, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage."

Over and over again, the theme God is teaching me is "BELIEVE ME!!!"  It started back in January and hasn't let up yet.  I think the entirety of 2011 will continue in the same vein.  And my prayer?  "O Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"  My hope?  That by the end of the year, my belief and total trust in His Word will have ground by leaps and bounds.  Victory is on the horizon!

I do not want verse 36 to ever be true of me (though final victory comes when I enter the heavenly realm)
"...you have seen Me, and yet you do not believe."

I know this is referring to salvation, but it echoes in my heart.  I have seen Jesus work in my life so many times, in so many ways.  Yet, when a new circumstances threatens my security, I find myself in a tizzy of anxiety.  AND IT OUGHT NOT BE!  If I had the confidence in Him I should, that He deserves, I would not be worried.  And my prayer?  "Lord, grow me, help me.  If You don't change me, I will never be any better than I am.  I believe; help my unbelief!"

Instead of wondering, "Will He come through for me this time?", I need to be shouting:


Psalm 54:4  "Behold, God is my Helper (every present moment); the Lord is the Sustainer of my soul."

Psalm 46:1  "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."

My goal is for confidence in Him
to be like breathing,
both natural and

In the remainder of the chapter, Jesus is talking about being the Bread of Life.  And teaching that we must fully partake of Him, just as if His flesh were our bread and His blood were our drink.  This teaching was taken literally and was too hard for most that were following Him.  The majority left.  It came to the point where Jesus asked the 12, "You do not want to leave too, do you? (verse 67)"

I love Peter's answer!

Verses 68-69:  "Simon Peter answered Him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the Words of eternal life.  We believe and know that You are the Holy One of God.'"

Peter may not have known what to think about this current strain of teaching, but he knew Jesus was the Way.  We need to know that as well.  I think of it when I am struggling.  I think, 'Well, where else will I go?  There are only 2 sides, and I'm certainly not going to trust the Liar.'

Hannah Whitall Smith: We must choose, without any regard to the state of our emotions, what attitude we will take toward God. We must recognize that our emotions are only the servants of our will.

 Another theme that stuck out was that God draws those who will believe in Him.  They don't come to Him as their own idea.  He initiates the relationship.

verse 44 "No one can come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me draws Him."
verse 65 "This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted Him by the Father."

I have quite a number of people I pray for that I hope are on 'the list'.  (And oh how I hope they are not in the path of this verse:  "For Jesus had know from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray Him."  v64)

The last verse that I meditated on was verse 63:  "It is the Spirit Who gives life; the flesh is of no avail.  The Words I have spoken to you are spirit and life." (ESV)  The KJV says the 1st part of the verse this way:  "It is the Spirit that quickeneth..."

This is my quest, the Spirit-led life.  I am working at denying my flesh daily and taking up my cross and following Him (Luke 9:33).  This is LIFE ABUNDANT!  I hope you are seeking it too.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future....You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with ALL your heart.  I will be found by you,' declares the LORD."  Jeremiah 29:11,13-14a

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Gleanings - John - Chapter 6, part 1

Chapter 6 is all about the Bread of Life.  It begins with Him feeding 5000 followers.  It ends with so many of them leaving that Jesus asks the 12 if they are going to leave as well.

They were all on the far side of the Sea of Galilee: Jesus, the disciples, the crowd.  Then Jesus asks Philip where they could get food to feed these people.  Verse 6 says, "He asked this only to test him, for He already had in mind what He was going to do."  Jesus likes us to participate in His plan.  He doesn't need our suggestions, many times doesn't even use them.  But, He still invites the dialogue.  It's all about relationship.  His and ours.

Verse 6 is a comfort to me.  Jesus ALWAYS knows exactly what He's going to do in my life as well.  My life is in His capable Hands.  It is not up in the air.  The Blessed Controller of ALL things has got me covered.  He is my security and safety.  Him alone!

"The Lord of Hosts--regard Him as holy and honor His Holy Name [by regarding Him as your ONLY safety], and let Him be your fear and let Him be your dread [lest you offend Him by your fear of man and distrust of Him].  (Isaiah 8:13 Amplified)"

The disciples threw out some thoughts, but no solutions.  My brain thought, in any situation like that, I shouldn't be trying to offer suggestions to Jesus.  I should be saying, "Well, Lord, I don't know what can be done about this, but You do and Your are my Helper (Ps. 54:4).  So my eyes are on You (2Chron. 20:12).  Please tell me how to pray about this."

"Faith is confidence in the character of God."  A.W. Tozer

God always takes care of things better than I can think of any way.  He not only handled the situation miraculously, but there were leftovers!  I feel like that was His way of showing that He could MORE than meet every need.  (Lord, please sink this truth DEEP into my heart.)

After the people are fed, the disciples head out across the sea, and Jesus retreats to pray.  Later on, a storm comes up.  And Jesus walks across the sea and catches up to the disciples.  They think He is a ghost and start to freak out.  But He assures them by saying, "It is I.  Don't be afraid. (v20)"  The Amplified adds, "I AM; stop being frightened."  That is assurance, not only of Who He was, but what He could do in their precarious situation.  When He got in the boat, they "immediately" reached the other side.  MIRACLE!!!

I translated this scenario into my life by thinking of the storm as a mental one (which I seem to have frequently).  A mental train of thought is like taking off in the boat across the sea.  If my thoughts get out of control, an emotional storm blows in.  And here He comes, letting me know of His Presence with some Scriptures that pop into my mind.  If I willingly receive Him into my 'boat' and think His thoughts instead of mine, the storm calms.  Sometimes it takes longer, because I have really allowed my thoughts free rein and have not put on His Mind quickly enough.  But if I catch myself soon, usually I will come peacefully to 'land' without much trouble.

The crowd followed Jesus across the sea.  They wanted more of His physical provision.  He encouraged them to see spiritual provision instead.  Then, even though He had just miraculously fed them the day before, they wanted Him to tell them what kind of 'sign' He would perform to show they should believe Him.  He went on with His train of thought and started talking about being the Bread of Life.

"Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this:  to believe in the One He has sent.'" (verse 29)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Isaiah 8:13-14b Amplified

The Lord of hosts--regard Him as holy 
and honor His holy name 
[by regarding Him as your only hope of safety], 

and let Him be your fear

and let Him be your dread 

[lest you offend Him by your fear of man and distrust of Him].

    And He shall be a sanctuary 
[a sacred and indestructible asylum 
to those who reverently 
fear and trust in Him]...

This verse is EXACTLY
what I am learning,
what I have felt convicted of
this year,
what I am set to conquer!

I found it today when I
was reading Smelling Coffee!
Thank you, Jennifer!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Gleanings - John 5:18-47

I can’t even pretend to know all of what Jesus was trying to get across in this lengthy monologue.  So, as usual, I’ll just point out some of the Scriptures that stood out to me and my current thoughts on them.

In the second ½ of John chapter 5, Jesus is speaking to those who would persecute Him.  They were already angry with His ‘presumptuousness’. 

He doesn’t back down.  

He says hard, true things.  

Jesus is Who He says He is.  

He isn’t going to change that because someone doesn’t like it.

v19 “Jesus gave them this answer: ‘I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.’”

This statement is so important that He proclaims its truth before He even says it.  This alone makes me pay extra attention.  Immediately upon reading this, I think of John 15:5 “...apart from Me you can do nothing.”  I am deeply aware of my inability to get through even an hour without His help.  And when I read His statement about Himself, it makes me even more aware of my inadequacy to tackle life on my own. 

If the Son of God Himself does nothing on His own, indeed in v30 He states, “By Myself, I can do nothing...”, then it is sheer arrogance for any human to think he can draw one breath without God the Father’s sustaining power.  And yet, so often, this is exactly what we act like.  Like we are strong and powerful and can take on the world in our ‘omnipotence’.  We might not state that in words, but our actions often speak our attitude.  YIKES!  Save me from myself, LORD!  I want to walk in humility before You.

v20 talks about my proper response to God’s wonderful works being one of amazement.  “For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and greater works than these will He show Him, that you may marvel.” (NASB)

If I’m looking at me and am preoccupied with my things, how will I see what He is doing?  I MUST be paying sharp attention and focus on Him.  He wants me to marvel.  HE IS MARVELOUS!!!

In this verse the Father’s love for the Son is declared.  In verse 23 the Father’s desire for the Son to be honored is expressed.  “He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father Who sent Him.”  This verse makes me SO sad for a loved one who thinks he can have the Father without the Son.

God’s Word is VERY clear that this will not happen.  John himself talks about this concept in other places as well.  I think of John 14:6: “I AM the Way and the Truth and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” and 1John 5:11-12: “...God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

When I read verse 21, my heart felt so grateful: “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom He is pleased to give it.”  All I could think is, ‘He picked me!  He chose me!’  And with these thoughts came welling up a deep-seated joy!

So many have such a hard time believing Jesus is Who He says He is.  It is a sheer miracle that any of us take His Words to heart and believe.  I am so glad He has made my heart a believing heart.  I rejoice at the spirited, joyful cry of Hebrews 10:39: “But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.”  Even so, I struggle with doubts in some areas and have to cry like the father in Mark 9:24, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

I think of this as I read verses 38 and 39 (Amplified): “And you have not His Word (His thought) living in your hearts, because you do not believe and adhere to, and trust in, and rely on Him Whom He has sent...You search and investigate and pore over the Scriptures diligently, because you suppose and trust that you have eternal life through them.  And these [very Scriptures] testify about Me!” 

Jesus is writing to non-believers in context, but I think I can apply His Words to myself as well.  I have believed Him for salvation and many changes, but by my worry and anxiety, I am indicating that I do not believe His every Word.  It doesn’t matter how much I study.  If I don’t appropriate His Words into my very heart in complete belief and trust, it is not helping me.  I am not helped in real life situations.  Only as I place my complete trust in Him can I have peace in knowing that He will be my help and stay through every life event. 

This is what I am after.  

This is the victory I seek.  

And I KNOW it is coming!  

I know freedom from worry and peaceful belief is His Will for EVERY believer.  So I know I am praying ‘according to His Will’.  And if I pray that way, I know I will receive what I have prayed for!  Why?  Because He promises!  And all His promises are ‘YES!’

Jesus’ life goal was always to do God’s will.  This chapter shows that amply and clearly states it in verse 30: “I seek not to please Myself, but Him Who sent Me.”  Oh how I want this to be my main ambition as well!  I fall so short.  But I take courage because I know He is going to complete every good work He begins in me (Philippians 1:6).

In verse 34, Jesus says: “...but I say these things that you may be saved.”  (NASB)

Jesus’ works testified to Who He was, just as John the Baptist did and just as the Father’s testimony about Him did.  “For the very work that the Father has given Me to finish, and which I AM doing, testifies that the Father has sent Me (v36).”  (I always like to capitalize the ‘am’ when Jesus is speaking to emphasize Who He is!) 

In parting, a quote from Beth Moore in Praying God’s Word that I read just today:

“Faith is not believing in my own unshakeable belief.  Faith is believing an unshakeable God when everything in me trembles and quakes.”

Verses are NIV unless otherwise noted.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


"'Is not My Word
like FIRE,'
declares the LORD,
'and like a hammer
that breaks a
rock in pieces?'"
Jeremiah 23:29

The secret to demolishing strongholds:  God's Word used in tandem with prayer.

This is what I'm learning by listening to Beth Moore's new series on Life Today in which she reteaches principles from Praying God's Word.

The main Scripture passage she uses is from 2Corinthians 10:4-5, which says:  4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

So what weapons is this passage talking about?

Scripture married to Prayer! 

As usual, WONDERFUL and EMPOWERING teaching!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Gleanings - John 5:1-17

When I started reading John 5 this week, I could see it was going to have TOO MUCH to process in 1 week.  So I decided to read only through verse 17 each day.  I will get to the other half next week.  That ½ is Jesus directly speaking so...

The 1st ½ of the chapter is about the man who had been ill for 38 years and is lying at the pool where healing is known to happen.  He was not seeking Jesus out.  He was sick and hopeless.  When Jesus came to ask him if he wanted to be well, his answer reflected his hopelessness.
Again I say, the man had been ill 
38 YEARS.  
But Jesus saw him.

There were a multitude of hurting people there that day, 

But Jesus chose him.

Why?  I don’t know.

But He saw this man’s need; He sought this man out; He initiated the conversation; He healed the man without the man asking.  


Mercy in action.

(38 years–It is NEVER too late for God Almighty to work in a seemingly impossible situation!)

“Do you want to be healed?” v6
A good ? for all of us.

When Jesus asked the man if he wanted to be well, and the man gave his hopeless answer, Jesus didn’t wait until the man ‘got it’.  He didn’t even tell the man who He was.  He gave him a gift of physical healing.  Anyone would think this was just what that poor man needed. 

Jesus then left without revealing anything else about Himself.

Later, Jesus again SOUGHT the man out.  The man wasn’t looking for Him.  Jesus knew right where he was and found him again.  Then He told the man his TRUE NEED, his need for spiritual healing, for freedom from sin.

Jesus left the man alone long enough for the man to really enjoy his new found health.  Then He came back and said, “See, you are well again.  Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”  Jesus knew all about him and just what he needed.

The man now had a choice to make.  Would he live in victory or wallow in sin?
(We all have this choice to make.)

Some day, I will find out the ‘rest of the story’. 
And oh how I hope it is a GOOD one!

“Jesus said to them,
‘My Father is 
at His work
to this very day, and
I, too, am working.’” v17

Friday, February 4, 2011

My Comfort

"'Because he loves Me,' says the LORD,
'I will rescue him; I will protect him,
for he acknowledges My Name.
He will call upon Me, and 
I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him
and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him My salvation."

Psalm 91:14-16

Thanks MB!

Did you notice that the LORD
NEVER says 'I might'?

He ALWAYS says,

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Gleanings - John - Chapter 4

In chapter 3, verse 33, it says, "God is True."

In chapter 4, verse 24, it says, "God is Spirit."

These 2 statements started my brain on yet another trek I plan to take.

In tandem with reading John, I am re-reading Beth Moore's Believing God (for probably the 4th time).  In this book, she lays out 5 statements of belief one is supposed to memorize.  The 1st statement is the one the others hang on.  It is:  "God is Who He says He is."  So, in addition to my other studies, I plan to investigate everything God Himself says He is. 

A.W. Tozer says, "...faith is confidence in God's character.  And because we are not aware of what kind of God God is, or what God is like, we cannot have faith.  And so we struggle and wait and hope against hope.  But faith doesn't come, because we do not know the character of God.  'They that know what Thou art like will put their trust in Thee.'  It's automatic--it comes naturally when we know what kind of God God is....Ignorance and unbelief drag faith down, but a restored knowledge of God will bring faith up.  I don't supposed there is ever a time in the history of the world when we needed a restored knowledge of God more than we need it now (p.5, The Attributes of God, Vol. 2)."

Chapter 4 begins with story of the woman at the well.

Verse 21  "Jesus said to her, 'Woman, believe Me..."  THIS is what He is saying to me as well.

Verse 22 fits right into the Tozer thoughts.  "You worship what you do not know..."  I think this is true in every person's life to some extent.  We are NEVER going to totally know Someone Who is UNFATHOMABLE.  But there are so many things we can know about Him because He has taken the time to reveal them to us.  He has given me a way to get to know Him.  His Word.  And it is my job to ferret out all that I can.

Verse 23 (Message)  "It's who you are and the way you live that count before God.  Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of Truth.  That's the kind of people the Father is looking out for:  those who are simply and honestly themselves before Him as they worship."

Verse 26 says, " I Who speak to you am He."  In the original text, it says, "I Who speak to you AM (p.1486, William MacDonald, Believer's Bible Commentary)."  That is so powerful to me.  I wish the translators would always translate where Jesus says, "I AM" in just that manner.  I know the 'He' is implied, but I'd rather just leave it implied and let the power of "I AM" ring forth!

In verse 34, Jesus says, "My food is to do the will of Him Who sent Me and to finish His work."

I'd like this to be my fuel as well.

Verse 42 says, "They said to the woman, 'It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.'"  Every person must get to this place.  Most of us start out believing because someone took the time to tell us about Jesus and to help us see our need for a Savior.  But we cannot rest on their faith.  We have to get and to grow our own.  Someone else's faith will not support you when life throws you a hard ball.

In vv46-54, a royal official approaches Jesus to get healing for his son. 

In v50 Jesus says to him, 'You may go.  Your son will live.'  And I LOVE the next part!  It says, "The man took Jesus at His Word and departed."

O to have faith like that!  That is my GOAL!  To trust Jesus and take EVERY one of His Words as truth and TO ACT ON IT!

Verse 53 shows us that the official's active faith truly was rewarded.  Before he could even get all the way home, his servants were running out to tell him that his son was well!  Woohoo!!!

Faith as small as a mustardseed--
The initial step taken toward

GOD speaks; I obey.

I may not 'feel' belief, BUT
I can step out and act on
my belief and say
through my actions
that what GOD says
is more believable than
my feelings.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gleanings - John - Chapter 3

v2 Your miracles proved Your veracity.  (v33 “God IS True.”)

vv3,5,11 “Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the Truth...’”  79 times in the NIV Bible.
    ...must be born again. ...must be born of water and Spirit.  He speaks of what He knows and sees.

    Then He says, “But you do not RECEIVE our testimony.”  (ESV)

    Even as a believer, I find myself guilty of this.  He states many things clearly in His Word that I do not believe enough to step out in faith on.  Still I am guilty of worry which is the opposite of true God-honoring faith.  Every time I do not believe Him UTTERLY, I am not truly RECEIVING His testimony.

    receive–to take or acquire something offered; to meet with, experience; to take in, hold, or contain; to perceive or acquire mentally; to regard with approval; to be a recipient.
        acquire–to gain possession of; to get by one’s own efforts.
            possess–to own or master something; to have as a quality, characteristic, or other attribute; to gain or seize; to be controlled by another force or Spirit.

v8 “The wind blows wherever it pleases.  You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.  So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (NIV)

v11 “I tell you the Truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen...” (NIV)
    Jesus knows what He is saying because He makes up all the rules.  He came to reveal Himself to men and every Word He speaks is True.

    He gives us something to believe in because He knows people believe what they see.  He works in our lives and gives us evidence of His guidance.  We have to be looking for it.

v12 “If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things.”  (ESV)

    I don’t, even yet, take His Word as complete truth.  I seem to choose some things as things that I can camp on.  And other things, my spirit is still wobbly and unsure on.  NUTS!  That makes COMPLETELY NO SENSE.  Either He is 100% True or 0% trustworthy.  I KNOW that the first is right.  Yet I do not act like it.  Grrr!  Romans 7 in action here.  And I say, along with Paul, “What a wretched [wo]man I am!  Who will rescue me from this body of death?”  And having been increasingly encouraged by my study,  I, too, rejoice in Paul’s hope that Jesus can and WILL do it!

    Also, Jesus seems to be saying that He desires to reveal more and more to people as they believe, and I surely want that as well!

v22 Jesus took time to be with the disciples alone.

    Message “After this conversation, Jesus went on with His disciples into the Judean countryside and relaxed with them there.”

v27 “To this John replied, ‘A man can receive only what is given from heaven.’”
    Message “It’s not possible for a person to succeed–I’m talking about eternal success–without Heaven’s help.”

    God allows my circumstances to orchestrate the change necessary in me to become more like Jesus.  Romans 8:28-29   He began this good work in me and will complete it.  (Philippians 1:6) I know He is orchestrating this study and leading me through it.  And hope and trust are building in me that He WILL do the transforming work in me to believe Him FULLY!

v29-30 “That’s why my cup is running over.  This is the assigned moment for Him to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines.”  (Message)

    John was overjoyed to give glory to Jesus instead of himself.  This should be my attitude as well.  Like John, it is my continual job to point people to Jesus and to, then, step out from between them and let Jesus become their everything, just as He is mine.  No Savior-complex for me anymore!  I KNOW that I am NOT the One Whom they need.  They need the One Who can actually effectively transform them!

v30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.”  (ESV)
    His Spirit must take over dominion in me, and my flesh must give up the control!

v33 “The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful.”
    Amplified: “Whoever receives His testimony has set his seal of approval to this: God is True. [That man has definitely certified, acknowledged, declared one and for all, & is himself assured that it is Divine Truth that God cannot lie.]”
        seal–to grant, certify, or designate under seal or authority; to establish or determine IRREVOCABLY.

    Message: “anyone who examines this evidence will come to stake his life on this: that God himself is the truth.”

    When I come to the place where I trust every Word You say, worry will have no place in me because I will be believing You will provide through every circumstance!  Trust will mend the chink in my armor that has been allowing the fiery darts to get through and pierce me.

    Titus 1:2 (Amplified) “Resting in the hope of eternal life, life which the ever-truthful God Who cannot deceive (‘Who does not lie’ NIV), promised before the world or the ages of time began.

    God alone provides for me.  “For your Maker is your Husband–the Lord Almighty is His Name.”  Isaiah 54:5

v34     “For He Whom God has sent utters the words of God...”  (ESV)
    I’m glad to know He gives me the words I need to help others when I need them as well. 

    “...God gives the Spirit without limit.”    without bounds!

v35 “The Father loves the Son extravagantly...”  (Message)
    I love this translation of that statement!  It reminds me of 1John 3:1, which says, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on US that we should be called children of God!”  (NIV)

    And Jesus says that it is the same kind of love.  John 17:23 “I in them and You in Me, that they may become perfectly one so that the world may know that You sent Me and loved them even as You loved Me.” (NIV)  (This FLOORS me every time I read it.  Think of it!)

v36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the truth will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.’  (NIV)
    ESV/NASB    ‘does not obey’
    KJV        ‘believeth not’
    AMP        ‘disobeys–is unbelieving toward, refuses to trust in, disregards, is not subject to’

    Now, I believe and am saved; but, as I already said, I have times where I am unbelieving toward something God has said.  My GOAL is to grow to the point where, in Christ’s strength,  I have complete and utter trust in every Word out of the mouth of God, just as He deserves.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

This means War!!!

2Corinthians 10:3-6

3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

The Message
3-6The world is unprincipled. It's dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn't fight fair. But we don't live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren't for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.

There's victory to be had!  Let's learn how to wage battle and win!

Beth Moore is talking about this very thing on
Wednesdays with Beth Moore.
Yesterday was her 1st lesson.
She is going through the material
in her book, Praying God's Word.


Here is where you can go to watch.

I'm going to try to catch it each week.

Monday, January 17, 2011

God is True

John 3:33 (amplified)  "Whoever receives His testimony has set his seal of approval to this:  God is True.  [That man has definitely certified, acknowledged, declared once and for all, and is himself assured that it is Divine Truth that God CANNOT lie.]

  This verse started me on a journey today.  I began looking up verses that refer to the impossibility of God lying.  After all, Chapter 3 of John, Jesus says thrice, "I tell you the truth"  (vv 3, 5, 11).

The first Scripture that popped into my head was John 17:17:  "Sanctify them by the Truth; Your Word IS Truth!"  Then John 14:6:  " I AM the Way and the Truth and the Life..."

After that I went to the concordance and looked up lying in reference to God and found:

Numbers 23:19(amp.)  "God is not a man that He should tell or act a lie..."

1Samuel 15:29(amp.)  "And also the Strength of Israel will not lie or repent..."

Titus 1:2(NIV)  "a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, Who DOES NOT LIE, promised before the beginning of time"

Hebrews 6:18(amp.)  "This was so that, by two unchangeable things [His promise and His oath] in which it is impossible for God ever to prove false or deceive us (i.e. LIE), we who have fled [to Him] for refuge might have mighty indwelling strength and strong encouragement to grasp and hold fast the hope appointed for us and set before [us]."

His COMPLETE truthfulness means EVERY Word He has spoken is true.  NOT just the ones that are easy to believe.  ALL OF THEM!!! WOOHOO!!!

The next verse in the Hebrews passage is the challenge in light of KNOWING that God will not lie and will keep His promises (every last one - 2Corinthians 1:20).

Hebrews 6:19 (amp.)  "[Now] we have this [hope] as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whoever steps out upon it--a hope] that reaches farther and enters into [the very certainty of the Presence] within the veil..."

My paraphrase of this is:  "So STEP OUT in faith Woman!  The ice is 4 billion feet thick and entirely safe.  BELIEVE!!!"

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Gleanings - John - Chapter 2

Reading John 1 was wonderful; many gleanings from the Spirit.  Chapter 2 contained many new thoughts as well.  I also chewed on thoughts that I've heard before.  Chapter 2 starts out with the story of the first miracle Jesus performed--turning water into wine at a wedding, His 1st display of His total mastery over the physical world.  He can alter matter.  Woah!!!

Verse 3 is an example of a previous teaching meditated on afresh.
   "When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to Him, 'They have no more wine.'

Now, I can't remember where I heard this (from Beth Moore or Nancy Leigh DeMoss or someone else), but whomever it was said that Mary just presented the problem to the One Who could do something about it.  She didn't beg.  She didn't tell Him HOW to fix it.  She just brought it to Him.  And then she waited, with expectation.  It reminds me of Psalm 5:3 "In the morning, O LORD, in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation."  Well, it wasn't morning, but the rest of the verse is there in this idea.  I love it.  Submissive expectant waiting SCREAMS faith.

I'm not sure how to deal with the whole interchange between Jesus and Mary.  It sounds like He is saying "No, Mom, I'm a grown man now.  You can quit trying to order things for Me in My Life.  I AM God, and I'll say when it is time to act."  But, He does something (maybe He had an expression on His face that let her know) that prompts her next statement.  She says to the servants, in verse 5, "Do whatever He tells you."  Again, she does not try to control or orchestrate what happens next.  (It is no secret that Mary is a better woman than I!  It seems like, in my prayers, I'm always telling God what I want, how I want it, and when I want it.  No wonder I get disappointed sometimes.  I want to take a lesson from Mary in this.)  So that's Mary's part.  Enter the servants.

Verse 7 "Jesus said to the servants, 'Fill the jars with water'"; (and without knowing what to expect) "they filled them to the BRIM."  These are servants who knew HOW to OBEY!  (I need that too!)  And because they obey, they are blessed to see His glory when He acts.

Verse 8 "Then He told them, 'Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.'  They did so."
Obedience, again.

Verse 9 "and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine.  He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew."  Their obedience had positioned them for knowing deeper and being blessed.

So Mary wait with expectation, and she was blessed to see His glory revealed.

The servants obeyed fully in the process, and they were blessed to see His glory revealed.

And the disciples were there, taking this all in.  And when "He thus revealed His glory...His disciples put their faith in Him."

God's revealed glory ALWAYS results in our increased faith, IF we don't miss it.

My final thoughts on this part of the chapter were:  Not understanding 'how' God is going to act in a situation is not a lack of faith.  Even if I don't understand, I can obey to the fullest, like the servants did, and, thereby, open up my life to the blessing He desires to pour into it.

If Mary hadn't brought all her cares to Him (like He says to in 1 Peter 5:7 and Philippians 4:5-6) and if the servants hadn't obeyed Him to the fullest, playing their roles in the situation, they wouldn't have had the privilege of watching Him work through them.  And their faith wouldn't have grown as much.  And as I obey Him and watch Him work, my faith will deepen too.  Every time He 'comes through' for us, it serves to deepen our faith, to enrich it.

As my mom told me the other day, the longer you live and look back and see His provision, the more confidence in Him and courage you will have.  And life is a process of deepening faith.  You will never arrive until you step into His Presence at the end.  (And yet, in all my imperfection, He loves me!  Glory!!!)

Active remembrance of His Word and His deeds increases our faith, shores up our belief.  Verse 22 says, "After He was raised from the dead, His disciples recalled what He had said.  Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken."

My prayer:  Lord, break down, tear out the stronghold of fear in my life.  Replace it with confident, trusting, obedient belief.  Change me and give me victory.  Help me make the daily choices required to overcome this bondage.


Before I move on to the rest of the chapter, here is a song we learned recently in church that mentions this miracle and others.

One of my favorite lines says, "There's no one like You."  I love the bridge as well.  "And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?  And if our God is with us, then what could stand against?"


Between the 2 main parts of this chapter is tucked one little verse that I love.  Verse 12 says, "After this He went down to Capernaum with His mother and brothers and His disciples.  There they stayed for a few days."  How great is that?!  Jesus need a break to rest and refresh with friends and family too.  He needed down time with his loved ones.  He managed to minister even in that time I have no doubt.  They learned just by watching Him.  But He was there to enjoy them and to re-energize for His next public encounter.  He WAS fully man, as well as fully God.  AWESOME!


The next event in the chapter is when He went to the temple and kicked all the money-lenders and sellers out.  Bold.  Authoritative.  Verse 17 sums it up best, "Zeal for Your House will consume Me."

The 'powers-that-be' wanted a sign to back up His authority.  Here's the one He gave them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in 3 days (verse 19)."  Of course, they didn't get that He was talking about the Temple of His body.  (I wouldn't have got it either.)

He was so courageous to go against any one who was not right, to His own peril.  "Why was He so courageous?" I wondered.  I struggle to be courageous.  So I want to find 'the secret'.  I think the answer was in verse 19.  He knew what He came to do, and He knew what the 'end' would be.  Yes, He would lay down His life, but He would also 'take it up again' (John 10:17-18).  We know the end result too!  Heaven!!!  And so I pray for more boldness to exercise the authority He has granted me.  (Psalm 8:6  "You have give him (man) dominion over the works of Your Hands; You have put all things under his feet.")

It was NOT because He trusted in man's 'innate goodness'.  What a crock!  It says, in verses 24 & 25, "But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men.  He did not need man's testimony about man, for He knew what was in a man."  (And it wasn't good!  Genesis 6:5 "The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that EVERY inclination of his heart was ONLY evil ALL the time.")  He was even talking about people who profess belief in Him in this instance.  He has seen us in action since we were created.  We cannot deceive Him.

He knows me.  Every last blemish, wrinkle, laugh line, wart, etc.  I cannot deceive Him.  He knows how completely untrustworthy and fickle I can be.  I'm so grateful that He is the complete opposite and is totally trustworthy, and that He has covered me with His righteousness.

 One final Scripture to encourage us all to cling to His Word:

Psalm 12:6-7a(amplified) "The words and promises of the Lord 
are pure words, like silver refined in an earthen furnace,
purified seven times over.  You will keep them
and preserve them, O Lord..."

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Peace & Rest

Soon I plan to do word studies on peace and rest.  I think these are the byproducts of trust and belief.

And OH how I long to be peaceful, consistently.  And OH how I long to rest in Jesus.  I feel I too quickly lose these blessings whenever circumstances feel terrorizing.  I serve the same God Who works on my behalf regardless of circumstances.  He promises to take care of me through every circumstance.  Yet my flesh freaks out in fearfulness so easily.

 And I'm sick of it!  

I feel my distrust is a slap in the face of the God I love.  He is utterly true and utterly trustworthy.  To worry that He will not live up to His Word is to call Him a liar.  In the old west, 'them's fightin' words!'  And how much more horrible to imply by my thoughts and actions that the Holy God is a liar.  Arrrggghhhh!

I am SO thankful that He knows that I am dust and that He is rich in mercy and in love.

It is ridiculous to me how I can believe Him SO completely about some things and not about others.  His veracity doesn't waver subject to subject.  But my trust level does.  Why?



Sunday, January 9, 2011

Gleanings - John - Chapter 1

Well, 1 week into my plan,


Just started Chapter 2 today.

Looking forward to what God reveals.

Now for my Chapter 1 gleanings:

Before I get started breaking down what I learned by verses, I just want to throw in a warning disclaimer:  I am known to be wordy at times.  Also I want to share my favorite verse in the chapter:
v14 "The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.  We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only Who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

So, here we go...

vv1-2  In the beginning was the Word, and Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.

These verses always swing my mind back to Genesis 1:1.  To the beginning of creation.  To where it ALL started.   God's love story with man begins there.  Where, knowing all that would happen and what His Son would have to suffer, He created us anyway.


That leads to verse 3, which refers to the beginning of Creation confirming that v1 was alluding to it:

"Through Him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made."

This calls Hebrews 11:3 to my mind:  "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible."

Only God can create SOMETHING out of NOTHING!  And He created EVERYTHING out of NOTHING!  



vv4-5,9  In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it....The TRUE Light that gives light to every man was coming into the world."
1John 1:5-6 says:  "God is light; in Him there is NO darkness at all.  If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth."
John 3:19  "This is the verdict:  Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."

He has given EVERY man the opportunity to walk 'in the light' with Him.  It is SO sad to me that most men will refuse to accept this gift.

(An aside:  I LOVE how I cannot think of 1 verse without several others popping into my head these days.  I attribute this to spending time in His Word on an almost daily basis for the last 5+ years.  I feel like, as I am thinking, the Holy Spirit is talking to me by inserting other pieces of the Word into my mind.  Thank You, Spirit!)

The KJV of verse 9 says:  "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man..."

This made me think of how we are filled with Him as we spend TIME with Him, and then He can pour forth from us, light spilling out all around us.

My prayer is that I will allow Him to help me to be an effective conduit.


v10  "He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him.  :(

v12  "Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God..."  :)  That's me.  WOOHOOOOOOO!!!

The Message version says:  "But whoever did want Him, who believed He was Who He claimed AND would do what He said..."

It is not enough just to believe that He is there.  We are to believe He can and will do what He says He will do.



Verse 14 talks about Jesus being full of grace and truth.  Verse 16 says we have all received His fullness.  When I pondered that, my heart was thrilled to realize that because He fills me, I too am full of grace and truth in His empowering.  COOL!


As always, I was impressed with John's repeated denial of being the Christ and continued pointing people to the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world.  He did not get on a power trip and try to keep 'his' disciples.  He just preached repentance and sent them to Jesus.

It did strike me that, by referring to Jesus (twice) as the Lamb of God, he was indicating what role God was having His Son play at this time in history.  He wasn't coming as conqueror, yet, but as savior.


When I got to verse 32, I was taken with the word abode that was used in the KJV to describe how the Spirit came down like a dove and remained on Jesus.  My mind flitted over to Chapter 15 of John, verses 4-5.  Abide means:  remain, dwell, continue sure or firm, endure, make yourself at home in.

"Remain (abide) in Me, and I will remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the Vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.  I AM the Vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do NOTHING."

As I am typing, John 5:19 comes to me:
"Jesus gave them this answer: 'I tell you the truth, the Son can do NOTHING by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the father does the Son also does."

The Father, Son, Spirit, and I are all interconnected, and God expects me to utterly depend on Him for everything I do, down to my last breath.  If even Jesus did nothing without the Father, who am I to think I can walk independent from Him?

However, the great news is that WITH Him I can do EVERYTHING.  (Philippians 4:13 "I can do everything through Him Who gives me strength!)

WITH HIM:  Everything!

WITHOUT HIM:  Nothing!

WITH HIM:  Everything!

WITHOUT HIM:  Nothing!

WITH HIM:  Everything!

WITHOUT HIM:  Nothing!

Hmmmm?  Whatever shall I choose?



The last verse that leaped off the page for me was verse 38, which says:

"Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, 'What seek ye?'"

And the disciples' answer to this momentous question was...

"Where are you staying?"   HUH???

The King of Glory asks what you are seeking when you are following after Him.

What is MY answer?

It needs to be:  YOU, Lord!!!

Is it?

Since I am just a weak-willed human, probably not.

And like King David in Psalm 27:8, I want to say,
"My heart says of You, 'Seek His face!'
Your face, LORD, I will seek."

Thursday, January 6, 2011

2011 Bible Reading Plan

What to do, what to do?  I had the hardest time deciding.  But, I decided not to read through the whole Bible this year.  Whew!  That was a relief and a sorrow all at the same time.  I have read through the Bible for the past 5 years.  But, I felt like I was doing too much 'skimming' last year, just to get through the check off list.  I didn't have time to really stop and meditate, or I would fall behind.  THAT is not productive spiritually.  God's not interested in my checklist.  He wants my heart.

So I prayed.

And talked to the dh.

And prayed.

And talked to myself.  (Scary, I know.)

Background:  Our family has been watching/discussing the Truth Project at church on Sunday evenings.  In this series, Dr. Tackett was quoting the book of John and talking about all the 'nuggets' of insight you can find in that book.  So the idea came into my head to do what I had done with my friend Brandy once (only with all the John books).  She and I read through James chapter by chapter.  We read 1 chapter a week.  Then we discussed it.  Well...I don't have anyone to discuss with this time, but I still thought this method would be enjoyable.

So instead of getting the broad overview, this year, like a submariner, I am heading for the depths.  I read a quote that "Wednesdays with Beth Moore" sent me over on Facebook.  It says, "We live two miles wide and an inch deep.  We are totally caught up in a thousand different things, and not doing any of them well.  You and I become effective when we become selective."  I have been meditating on that, off and on, for about 6 months.  I want to be like a deep, refreshing well, not just a little trickling brook.  And this year's scheme will help me to accomplish that in God's Word.  Maybe it will help me to apply it in other areas of my life as well.

I figure it will take me about 1/2 the year to get through John, 1John, 2John, and 3John.  I will read Revelation as well, but I doubt I read each chapter of that for a week.  We'll see.  I also plan to read a Psalm each day and part of a chapter in Proverbs.  Each of those goals will be flexible.  If I am meditating on a verse and don't have time to get through the whole regimen, FINE!


I have been doing this for all of 5 days so far...and so far...I LOVE IT!

So, join me, if you'd like.  And whenever I post my nuggets, we can discuss it in the Comments option on here or over on FB.  Or you can just read what I'm learning and do the thing God has challenged you to do.  Either way, GET IN THE WORD!!!  It will work in you and change you and help you be like Jesus.