When it hits you

Today, I was reminded of a story from about 3 years ago.  I won’t go into the details, but just mention the the highlight of it.  A friend of mine suddenly felt convicted, upon hearing a song.  That song still, to this day, has significant meaning to her.  The song had so much impact, that while they were singing this song in church, she couldn’t stop crying.  So, what is that song?  I knew you would ask.  The song was Grace like Rain. I would love to provide lyrics, but my connection is not cooperating with me tonight and I can’t seem to bring them up.

Anyway, after waiting 30 minutes for the page to come up, I’m at the end of my time and I am afraid I’ll have to leave you with the question; has anything just spoke to you so deep down that you can’t ignore it?  If nothing has, please be open to it.  Really, it’s an amazing feeling.

 

Love and Faithfulness

I’ve thought a lot lately about faith.  Shocking, I know.  There is a lot about faith, that really needs to be known.  Some think it’s stupid.  Some think it’s obvious. And others are not so sure.  Let’s start with the basics:

faith

[feyth]

noun

1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.
2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
5. a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.

These are just the first 5 from dictionary.com.  I didn’t feel a need to go further at this point in time.  Some state that faith is belief in things not seen.  Well, my faith is based on trust.  I’ve experienced some things in my life that really have reaffirmed my faith.  These things just allow me to have more and more confidence in God.

David also had this Faith, and through that, wrote most of the Psalms.  Like many in today’s Christianity, David was confused and concerned, and saddened, but the world around him.

Psalm 36

1 I have a message from God in my heart
concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:
There is no fear of God
before their eyes.

David is talking about God talking to him through his heart.  Nowadays, after the sacrifice of Jesus, this would be the Holy Spirit..  He has a message from God, in his heart, regarding the sinfulness of the wicked.  One of the reasons is they have no fear of God.  Remember, fear is not scared, but respect.

2 In their own eyes they flatter themselves
too much to detect or hate their sin.

They flatter themselves, compliment themselves excessively.  So much so that they are unable to detect their sin, and therefore can’t hate their sin.  How can you hate something you don’t see as an issue?

3 The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful;
they fail to act wisely or do good.

What they say is wicked and deceitful, and they do not act wisely, or do good.  They may think that they do, but all they do in the end is hurt.

4 Even on their beds they plot evil;
they commit themselves to a sinful course
and do not reject what is wrong.

Even as they go to sleep, they plot, or plan, to do evil.  They commit themselves further to a sinful course and will not reject what is wrong.  For, they see nothing wrong with it.

5 Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.

On the contrary, the Lord’s love reaches to the heavens and his faithfulness as far.

6 Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.

His righteousness is has high as the mountains; his justice as deep as the sea.  He preserves all.

7 How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

His unfailing love is priceless.  Nothing compares to it.  People take refuge in his shadow.

8 They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.

They feast, relish, on His abundance; he gives us drink from His river of delights.

9 For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.

With Him is the fountain of life.  Through Him and His light, we see light.  Light being good.

10 Continue your love to those who know you,
your righteousness to the upright in heart.

David is asking for God to continue His love to those that know him, and His righteousness to the upright, correct, in heart.

11 May the foot of the proud not come against me,
nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.

He is asking that the prideful will not come against him, not the wicked to drive him away.  He’s asking for protection and courage with that.

12 See how the evildoers lie fallen—
thrown down, not able to rise!

David is expressing here that he knows how the people that do evil fall, they are thrown down, and cannot get up.  They fail, completely.

 

Are you failing?

Remembering

I don’t make it a secret that I’m not fond of snow.  Why am I saying this?  Because about 4:30 this afternoon, we had a ‘sudden’ deluge of snowflakes.  We knew it was coming, so it wasn’t quite sudden, but as much at the start and as quickly as it started from just a little sprinkling of rain, it seemed sudden for that moment.  Why don’t I like snow that much?  I’ll leave it at a really bad experience, (ok, several bad experiences) when I was a kid.  I just haven’t gotten past those experiences, but I am working on it.  I even drove in the snow today.

That brought me to, remembering.  Remembering my childhood, even just the past few years of my adulthood.  Funny how my devotional today was about remembering God’s blessings.

Ps. 77:11-12

11 But then I recall all you have done, O LORD;
I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.
12 They are constantly in my thoughts.
I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.
This verse was written before Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, so the author was not specifically referring to Jesus, but for us, in modern times, this is one of the wonderful deeds that the Lord has done for us.  What He has done for us all along, is His grace.  He’s also given us His love.  He’s done this from the beginning.  We need to remember that and be grateful.
We should keep these memories in our thoughts, always.  For when we stop thinking about all he’s done for us, we start taking it for granted.  We don’t appreciate them.  When was the last time you were thankful for a beautiful day?  Or for being able to see the wonderful things around you? Or waking up in the morning?  Or simply, breathing?  I can tell you, that I AM thankful for all these things.  I’m even thankful for the snow that is falling right now, even though I don’t like snow, I’m thankful for it.  Why?  My youngest referred to freshly fallen snow as a reminder from God that he cleanses us and makes us as pure as the snow, as long as we repent, take up our cross, and follow him.  Amazing what a child can remind do and just refresh your memory.
So, what are you remembering, and what are you going to be grateful for?

Rescued

Ever feel like you need to be rescued?  I know I have.  I’ve also felt rescued, many, many times.  More times than I can count.  Ever been in a situation that you just didn’t know which way to turn, and suddenly, a path opens?  Yep, that’s being rescued.

Psalm 72:12-14

12 He will rescue the poor when they cry to him;
he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them.
He, is God, and he will rescue the poor.  Poor is not referring to the financially poor, this is the poor in spirit.  The ones that are lacking faith.  He will help the oppressed, the weighed down, the ones that would have no one defend them.
13 He feels pity for the weak and the needy,
and he will rescue them.
He feels pity for the weak and the needy, and will rescue them.  So, those that are weak in faith, he is sorrowful to them.  He will rescue them to be with Him.
14 He will redeem them from oppression and violence,
for their lives are precious to him.
He will redeem them, deliver them from oppression and violence.  Our lives are precious to Him, he will deliver us.
He will rescue us.  We just need to remember that, and have faith.  He will be there, and will rescue us.

Love in Action

Love, sincerity, good.  Good stuff, right?  Of course it is.  Who would think that these things wouldn’t be good stuff?  We all talk about loving each other, being sincere, but do we do this?  I’ll admit, I don’t.  As much as I want to try, I fail.  Today, being a rougher day than I prefer, I went looking for a verse of hope.  In that process, I came across the following verses.

Romans 12:9-13

9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

sin·cer·i·ty

[sin-ser-i-tee]  Show IPA

noun, plural -ties.

freedom from deceit, hypocrisy, or duplicity; probity in intention orin communicating; earnestness.
Love must be free from deceit, sincere.  We are to hate what is evil, and cling to what is good.

10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

We are to be devoted to one another in love, and honor one another above ourselves.  Catch that?  Honor, high respect over others.

11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

Never lack zeal.  Zeal, as in, eager desire.  Never lack eager desire, but keep your spiritual intensity, serving the Lord.

12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  It’s fairly clear what we do here. 

13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

We then, are to share with the Lord’s people who are in need.  We are to practice hospitality. friendly reception and treatment of others.  All this, shows, love in action.

Are you practicing love in action?

Discipline, Anger, Advice, and Laughter

I’m often reminded of an old saying, to paraphrase: If you want to make God laugh, make plans.  Interestingly enough, most people make many plans throughout their lives.  Some to marry and have a family, some to have a career, etc.  Plans kind of change as we get further into them, don’t they?  Growing up, I never thought about getting married or having children.  Wasn’t in the plan.  Then, as I got to my late 20s, I feared I wouldn’t be able to get married, and married the wrong man because people told me he would be a good provider.  I found out in the first week of that marriage, that wasn’t the case.  I try to stick it out, talked about children with the now ex because that was one of the reasons he supposedly wanted to marry me.  God was looking out for me, because suddenly, he didn’t want children.  I finally came to my senses, left him, and went out on my own.  I’m now very happily married, with children, and yeah, it wasn’t in the plan.

So, Proverbs takes us down some different paths.  This next set brings us down a few, to end with our plan.

Proverbs 19:18-21

18 Discipline your children, for in that there is hope;
do not be a willing party to their death.

Discipline your children, for in that there is hope.  Think about that.  How many children do you come across that are not disciplined for fear that their children might hate them or even dislike them?  These children, most of the time are obnoxious.  I don’t see hope in that.  This verse is reminding us that it’s ok to be parents, and discipline our children.  It’s our job.  We’re not their friends, we are their mothers and fathers.  In the end, your children will be thankful for the discipline.  And yes, I realize that may take a few decades, or you may be lucky and it could be when they start having children of their own.  So, we are warned to not willingly take part in their downfall.

19 A hot-tempered person must pay the penalty;
rescue them, and you will have to do it again.

A hot-tempered person, hot headed, angry person must pay the penalty.  If we rescue then from the penalty, we must go back over and over again. They will never learn that way.

20 Listen to advice and accept discipline,
and at the end you will be counted among the wise.

However, if we listen to advice, and accept the discipline, in the end, we will be counted as wiser, since we have learned from our errors.  After all, isn’t that part of life and growing up?  Learning from mistakes and moving on, not repeating them over and over.

21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

So, many plans are in our hearts, but it is the Lord’s purpose that will prevail, always.  Make a plan? See God laugh.  He has His own plan for us.  And no matter what, his plan will be fulfilled.

So, what’s your plan?

Insanity

I have to admit, that I’m a tad bit insane.  I am a huge proponent of education.  I do believe that you must consistently learn new things, keep your mind working.  So, this past year, I’ve started looking into PhD programs.  But as I was looking, I realized, I just don’t have the time.  Between working full time, raising the kids, helping J, volunteering at the church (which is a high priority for me and I’m not giving it up), I just don’t have the time right now to go for my Doctorate.  So, what did I do?  I enrolled in a class to learn Hebrew.  I couldn’t go with a more practical language like Spanish, or French.  No, I went with Hebrew.  I’m insane.  Anyway, I’ve had 4 classes and I’m finding it rather interesting.   I definitely am not as young as I was.  I’m having a real hard time remembering the vocabulary words each week.  I’ve been looking over my flashcards that I wrote up daily, but I still struggle.  So, I will just have to try harder.

That being said, I need to go study and hit the bed.  I’m exhausted.

All have…

I was browsing through my new Bible tonight and came across Romans 3:9-20.  I’m not sure I will get through all of it in this post, but I wanted to at least start on it.  The title above the section states “All Have Sinned.”  So many ‘Christians’ forget this.  Paul addressed this topic, obviously in Romans and personally, I believe it is important to remember these things to help keep us humble.

Passage Romans 3:9-20:

   9What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;

This first verse in this passage is asking “are we better than others?”  and answers it with “NOPE, not at all, in any way.”  It goes on to state that we (Paul and the other apostles) had previously (before) had charged both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin.  This is saying that no one escapes it.

   10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

As it has been written, and not just in Paul’s writings in the new testament, but other apostles, disciples, and prophets in the Old Testament, etc.  They’ve all written about it.  It is stated that there are none that are righteous, not one.  That is difficult for a Christian to take, because we are to strive to be righteous.  Here’s the interesting part of that though.  Righteous is referring to being right with God.  Secular beliefs have changed the meaning and made it an impossible and horrible task to try to accomplish.  But really, it isn’t as difficult as the world would have you believe.  Is it easy?  No, of course not.  But it is not impossible.

   11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

There is no one that understands or that seek after God.  I almost understand the first part with the average person.  Many people get confused by God and can’t seem to understand what they are being told.  I used to be that way.  To a certain extent, I still am.  However, if you see the Lord, you will understand.  I found this out by committing myself to Him and focusing on Him.

   12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

So, those that do not understand, and do not seek Him, turn to the side, are gone, out of the way, and in all, they become unprofitable.  Unprofitable in this case does not necessarily refer to money or success, but the end result.  Think about it, if you lose your soul to hell, where’s the profit in that?  The verse goes on to remind us that there are none that do good, not one.  This references back, in part, to Jesus correcting the young man that came up to Jesus and said “Good Rabbi (teacher)…” References (Matthew 19:17, Mark 10:18, Luke 18:19)  He reminds the young man that there is only one that is good, and that is God, our father.

   13Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:

sepulchre or  ( US ) sepulcher  (ˈsɛpəlkə)
n
1. a burial vault, tomb, or grave

Their throat is an open tomb. They practice deceit with their words.  I take this to mean that those that are not good, which is all of us, may practice deceitful actions.  We must keep ourselves in check.

   14Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:

Whose (Our) mouth would be full of cursing and bitterness.  I talk to my AWANA kids about this a lot, specifically, the bitterness.  No one wants to be around someone that is bitter.

   15Their feet are swift to shed blood:

They are swift, fast, to shed blood, or be violent.

   16Destruction and misery are in their ways:

In their path, there is destruction and misery.

   17And the way of peace have they not known:

They do not know peace, they don’t know how to get to peace.

   18There is no fear of God before their eyes.

They also do not fear of God.  This does not mean being afraid.  I discussed it before, briefly.  Fear is referring to a healthy respect for our God.

   19Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

So, we know what the law says, and what it says to all those that are under the law.  Whether you want to believe it or not, all of us are bond by the law.  All that may be stopped, and all the world would be guilty before God.  My initial thought on this is that if we are quiet to our beliefs and don’t rejoice in them, spread the word, we are allowing all to remain guilty before God.

   20Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Therefore, because all that was previously mentioned, by the deeds of the law, no one shall be justified in his sight.  For the law gives us the knowledge of sin. By ignoring the laws, we purposely live in sin.  I really don’t want to be there.

How will you help make the world not guilty before God?

Quick post

Good evening and good night.  I haven’t had anytime today to do anything but work and work on my kid’s fundraiser for their school.  My apologies for not getting to anyone else’s blogs today.  Hazard for the kid’s being off school for the week, release week at work, and well, life.  I hope to have something tomorrow, as I planned poorly today.

Depression?

For a long time, I thought that I might be depressed.  I was sad, a lot.  But after I read up on it, I realized I wasn’t depressed at all.  I was just sad about some things.  Tonight, in reading the devotional that I had discussed it a little, so it brought it back to the forefront for me.

Psalm 42:5-6

5 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

6 My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?  Downcast meaning depressed.  Why so disturbed, or distressed?  The verse then reminds us to put our hope in God.  It then reminds us that we will yet praise him, he is our Savior, and our God.

My soul was depressed within me, therefore, I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, from the heights of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.  This is referencing David’s past experiences with his relationship with God.

So, why are these verses important when talking about depression?  They remind us to focus on Him.

Today, in Sunday School, we were discussing 1 Peter 1:13-18.  We got on the topic of meditation.  The Bible tells us throughout, that we are to meditate on the word and on Him.  Science has proven that those that meditate are healthier and more centered.  Funny how the bible told us to meditate from the beginning, before ‘modern’ science got into it.  The key, however, is to make sure you meditate on the right things.  Meditate on the Word, on Him, so that evil does not have a chance to enter.  You need to  ‘gird’ up, or bind up your thoughts, protect them, so that they don’t runaway with ignorance or untruths.  No, I’m not saying to be close-minded.  This is about steeling your mind to the truth and not letting evil overtake it.  Be aware.

This is really not as difficult as it sounds.  The difficulty is actually doing it.  Reading the word, it’s that ‘simple.’  Meditate on it, and it will guide you to the correct decisions.  Learn the Word, it will help you throughout life.  Don’t be afraid to go to a pastor, elder, deacon, or church member you trust to ask if you are interpreting correctly.  I’ve actually had a non-believer ask me about actions they witnessed by someone else that proclaimed themselves to be a Christian.  Asked me how the Bible could ok the actions.  I am no expert, but the actions that I was being told about, I could state without hesitation, were not Christian like in manner, in any way shape or form.

Don’t be afraid, once you start, it gets easier with every day that you read.