Wednesday, August 24, 2016

What is Seen and Unseen

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Cor. 4:18, ESV

Several days ago, God taught me that to truly apply this verse, I need to read the verse ahead of it, verse 17. I had always wondered about "what is seen" and "what is unseen" whenever I came across v. 18 while reading a book or in a magazine or hearing it in a sermon. (God knows our thoughts.) So what is seen? Verse 17 says it's our light and momentary troubles (light and momentary when taking eternity into consideration). What is unseen? The eternal glory being achieved for us. (In another place, Paul says "the eternal glory that far outweighs them all".) So we stop focusing on our troubles but instead focus on the glory being achieved for us by our going through those troubles. God is working for us. It's a glorious work! He is in our midst. Our part is to cling to Him and let Him work--focusing on worshiping, adoring, and abiding in His love through Jesus Christ our Lord. If we will "fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith" as we go through the seasons of our life, we will have a glorious testimony to share while on this earth and when we get to heaven. We may not do this perfectly, but when we see our focus on Jesus waning, we can readjust our sights. We don't let the devil keep us down through condemnation. With Christ's help and by the grace of God, we will rise again.Thank you, Lord!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

God's Word is Living and Active

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12, NIV84

The Bible is not just a book with words we should read--it's the inspired Word of God--and those words are alive and work in us through the power of the Holy Spirit as we read them, believe them, and receive them into our hearts and minds. Ephesians 6 tells us the Sword of the Spirit is the word of God. When my head is filled with lies and I apply God's Word to those thoughts, it's as though the Holy Spirit takes a sword and slices right through them. The lies fall slain. God's Word stands tall.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Coping with Stress and Anxiety

Praying Gods Word, Bible reading, Scripture meditation, and practicing the presence of God daily is the way I've learned to cope with life. And when stress triggers anxiety in me, that's my signal to run, not walk, to the nearest Scripture-- either in my Bible or written on a 3x5 card--and refocus on my Father (who is "not a God of disorder but of peace") and His promises of help and support. I've not always done this when I should have, and I've paid the consequences of taking matters into my own hands. I am always so much better off, and my family and friends are so much better off, when I surrender control, run to God, and believe Him to be who He says He is and that He can do what He says He can do. "If God is for us who can be against us?" may not look true in our immediate circumstances, but if we continue to believe and trust in that word, we will see change. He will either change our circumstances or He will change us so that we end up overcomers in the midst of our circumstances. I've learned that when I abide in Christ, watching, listening, and waiting on Him, anxiety doesn't get a stronghold on me. When I don't do those things, I'm a total mess!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Forgiveness and Sacrifice

Cleaning romaine lettuce at my kitchen sink, the Lord brought to mind the parable of the Prodigal Son. I thought about the return home for the sinful young son and the father running to meet him and the lamb that was killed. Suddenly, the emphasis of the story for me turned to the lamb that lost its life. And it occurred to me that where there is forgiveness, a sacrifice is always involved.

We sacrifice our pride and brokenness to God and forgive those who have sinned against us because Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice, Himself, for the forgiveness of our sins. And we also forgive because Jesus said if we do not forgive, we will not be forgiven. Sometimes forgiveness does not come easy; in those situations we can pray for God's help to choose to forgive. Keeping the focus on the love Christ has for us and praying for the one who needs our forgiveness helps. Also, remembering that whatever we have to sacrifice to forgive someone is not worth comparing to the joy and blessings we receive in return when we obey our heavenly Father out of love for Him and for our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Love of Christ, The Love of God

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble, or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: 'For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Ro.8:35-39, NIV84

The Bible has always been relevant; persecution brings its relevancy to the forefront.  We need to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world.

Friday, July 15, 2016

My Dream

This is a journal entry from April 20, 2005:

"Woke up this morning from a wonderful dream and felt completely in God’s care. What a wonderful way to start your day. The funny thing was the dream should’ve been a nightmare. The dream was that I was in a house staying with some people. A lady was telling me about her neighbor. She said one day she answered the door and her neighbor was standing on the stoop and asked, “Do you see that man over there?” and the lady looked but there was no man. The doorbell rang as she was telling me this, and it was the neighbor again.  She asked us, “Do you see that man under the tree? He has on a sailor suit.” We looked but didn’t see anything. The neighbor left and the lady told me the woman was crazy. I first wanted to shiver with fear, but  I said in my mind, "I am not afraid. God is with me," and the fear left. Just then we looked out the door and saw a water spout. Suddenly, it was thundering and raining and everyone panicked because a tornado was coming. The wind picked up and sounded like a loud roaring, but I wasn’t afraid. I started saying my Scripture verses on overcoming fear from memory, and started praising God because I wasn’t afraid. The house shook and I fell back on the floor and felt the house being lifted from the ground. I still wasn’t afraid. I was elated! I was laying on my back and thinking, “Isn’t this great? This tornado is lifting us up to God! And I wanted it to lift us higher and higher. I felt this deepening peace in my heart and I knew everything was going to be all right---and then I woke up. And that peace that I felt was still in me. It was wonderful. I wish I could explain what I felt like. It was such a calm assurance and restfulness. I would love to wake up this way every day!"

I still remember that feeling. It was just awesome. I think the more we meditate on God's Word, the more it penetrates and renews--even affecting our dreams. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Throughout the Years, God Is With Us

"My oldest son came in Sunday and sang in the choir with me. Afterward, I cooked dinner before he had to leave. It was a short visit, and I wished he could've stayed longer. My youngest had come in the weekend before. I was feeling sad because it had been awhile since we'd all been together as a family. I wanted to talk to my husband about it, but he had fallen asleep in the recliner, so I walked outside feeling like the empty-nester that I was. There was a slight breeze and suddenly a small shower of leaves floated from our maple tree right in front of me. The late afternoon sun, the breeze, the leaves, and the clouds in the sky just seemed to sing to me of God. I thought of my younger days when I felt lonely--how I'd go outside and sit with my dog and watch the sunset and think about God. Or I'd walk to my favorite tree in the neighborhood and sit in it, and how every breeze that touched my face reminded me of God. Remembering all this, I began to cry because I realized that although I have grown older, and nothing in my life has stayed the same, I still had God with me. He has not left me. He has been and is the only constant in my life. He's been with me from birth and He will never leave me. I can depend on God, and I can talk to Him any time I need to talk. I am never truly alone. I felt so loved and comforted by Him as I stood outside under the maple tree. I thanked Him for His faithfulness throughout all my years. I will always have God with me. What a blessing that thought is."      (Posted Sept. 24, 2007)                                                             

It's been almost nine years since I posted the above entry, and I wanted to add a verse that goes along with it. The truth of God's Word is such a comfort.

"Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you. I will sustain you and I will rescue you." Isaiah 46:4, NIV84