Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Promise

Galatians 4:3 - Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.

Wow, this whole chapter is filled with admonition...and promise.

The Apostle Paul had visited Galatia prior to the writing of this book. He had preached the message of Jesus Christ to them and many received it...and received Christ.

In this chapter he is obviously pleading with them to turn back because he heard they had fallen away. He describes how they had become heirs to God when they accepted Christ.  That through this acceptance, through faith in Him, they were adopted into the family of God. Before that they were under bondage with the world and basically in cahoots with Satan, the enemy often referred to in scripture.

Before I go on, this sounds much like the world today.  So many have received Christ and live in freedom, knowing there is an eternal life that awaits them upon death. But there are many who have chosen, despite their knowledge of God, to live in the world. It's not just knowing who Christ is, it's knowing Him personally. Living in the world is bondage, according to Paul. In Christ we have freedom.  

If a person serves the world, they serve the gods of the world, not the God of heaven.  These Galatians turned back to the world, back to "the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage (Galatians 4:9b)."  

Paul goes on to say that "they" (the world) are courting them and causing them to be turned away from the belief in Christ as Savior.  He says in verse 19:  "My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you..."  He is, through his letter, attempting to help them turn back and stop listening and looking to the world.  Look back to Christ whom they had accepted.  Christ is the answer.  It is important to keep our faith in Jesus Christ and not with man.  Don't look to man for your salvation or the answers to life's questions.  Man is not capable of granting either.

Paul later describes to them, perhaps reminding them, how Abraham had two sons, Ishmael the first and Isaac the second.  Ishmael was born of Sarah, Abraham's wife's, maidservant (out of wedlock).  Isaac was Sarah's son through her marriage with Abraham.  God had given Abraham a promise that he would become the father of many nations (and Sarah the mother of many nations). Because Ishmael was out of wedlock, this promise, this covenant with God and Abraham, did not apply.  Galatians 4:20 - But he who was of the bondwoman (maidservant) was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman (Sarah) through promise. It was a spiritual birth, through faith.  Through Isaac came the continuance of the seed which brought Jesus, our promise, into this world. 

If we hold tight to our belief in Christ, and let go of the world, we are also considered children of the freewoman.  As long as we are in the world and serve in the world, we are children of the bondwoman, illegitimate.  I personally was a child of the bondwoman for most of my life. We are all born in the flesh but have the opportunity to be adopted into the freewoman's family, becoming a child of God, because of the covenant God made with Abraham.  

What I like about this story is the fact that even Abraham messed up! He jumped ahead (with the maidservant) of God's perfect timing instead of waiting for God to move in his life (with Sarah). Abraham messed up! We mess up too. But once we have accepted Christ, God forgives. We are now in Christ and no longer in the world. Until that time of acceptance, we flounder in the world. We are born in the flesh, not the Spirit. When we accept Christ, we are then born in the Spirit. In other words, we are born again in Christ.  

The Promise is ours for the taking. We must be open to receive and willing to follow Christ. Our lives will be changed. Whatever we experience in life from that point on we have the Promise to look forward to. Jesus, our Promise. Jesus, our Life.

Galatians 4:30 - Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? ''Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman."

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Greater Love

John 15:13 - Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.

I listen to Christian music often, and I love listening to it when I'm mowing the lawn.  I become buried deep in the music that blares through the headphones as I'm whizzing around the yard.  Sometimes a prayer or two will come to mind for someone and often I'm singing at the top of my lungs.  And it was no different this past Sunday afternoon.  Hacking up the fall display of leaves and bypassing little grass snakes, dodging raindrops, I was listening to a song by Jody McBrayer, To Ever Live Without Me.  I've heard it time and again but I was suddenly struck by the chorus which speaks the truth of just why Christ came to earth for us:

It was all about a man.
It was all about a cross.
It was all about the blood that was shed
So I would not be lost.
It was all about a love.
That was bigger than a life.
It was all about a freedom that was given
Through Your sacrifice
'Cause You would rather die
than to ever live without me.

The last phrase was what spoke to my heart.  He came to die, to become the sacrifice for our sins so we would not be lost.  He shed His blood because "He would rather die than to ever live without me."  Can anything be more powerful than those words?  To ever live without me...

Personalize that, if you will.  He died for me and He died for you.  All He asks is that we acknowledge Him as the Savior of our soul and the giver of freedom and eternal life.  Don't ever forget that.  Let those words sink into your spirit.  

If you don't have a relationship with Him know this:  He gives.  He gives peace, forgiveness, love, freedom and most importantly eternal life. He gave...His life...for you.  I can't always say I knew these things. But I'm so thankful for the day that Christ reached down, took hold of my heart and has never let it go. His love for us is the greatest thing in the world. If only we could truly define it in our own words. It's only from the depth of our souls, a knowing if you will, that we experience it.  It is  a heart issue.  When you realize you cannot express His love in words, I think that's when you truly believe and know.  

Romans 5:8 tells us But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  He's loves us just as we are.  If you know anything about Jesus, He hung out with sinners.  He was not ashamed to be among them.  He sought them out because He knew they would be the most receptive to receive His love.  He doesn't want us to try to get ourselves cleaned up before accepting Him into our lives.  He wants us in our sinful state so He can do the work of cleaning us up, better than we could, Himself.  My that's a wonderful thing a person can do for another.

He shows us His love for us through this process.  In time we begin to recognize what He's done for us and the ability to love Him even more comes forth.  Everyone needs to know they are loved and everyone needs to know the Savior's love.

Psalm 91:14 - Because he (the sinner) has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Is History Repeating Itself?

Matthew 6:34 - Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. 

All this unsettling stuff going on in the world. Is the handwriting is on the wall? Everyone must be wondering what's happening. Or do they? I for one am taking note of events that are taking shape. One thing after another...abortion, new world order, possible rise of socialism, persecution of Christians (prayer removed from school, Ten Commandments removed from courthouses, desire to remove "In God We Trust" from currency). Sorry to start out the week like this but....

Do you ever feel like you're just sitting and waiting for a shoe to drop? When will the next terrorist attack take place and where? How will it affect us? You can't help but be a little worried. No matter where you live, even in the most remote location, you will be affected. Is that when we pool our resources and join together as family, neighbors, communities? We may think we are secure, but are we?

God tells us not to worry about anything. That's His promise! If we are in Christ He will provide for our needs. Those who don't know Him will worry. There's a scripture that tells us that men's hearts will fail out of fear. 
Luke 21: 25-26 - And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

This a prophetic word. It was written for our understanding and to be a guide. I've been listening to a series of messages by Perry Stone and Bill Cloud. They have studied Bible prophecy for years. I wrote a few days ago, before watching these programsThat which is has already been, and what is to be has already been; and God requires an account of what is past (Ecclesiastes 3:15).  Cloud has suggested that everything is cyclical.  There's always a beginning and an end, history repeats itself. I think I mentioned that in the same blog! God is in complete control of all things. He IS the beginning and the end. He creates, He destroys. He gives and He takes away.  

The Bible was written, not only to point us to Jesus, but to show us what has happened in the past and to be as a guide for what will happen in the future. Between the two of these guys I mentioned, they have taken Genesis and Revelation and shown some absolutely amazing similarities. I wish I could go into it. God would not have given us His Word without a reason. God is not a God of confusion, but order. There is order from Genesis to Revelation. 

I'm not trying to be a doomsayer. I'm just suggesting we take the Word of God seriously and begin to understand the signs of the times. I'm also not saying we can predict the end of the world. Only God knows when that will be. What I am saying, and perhaps I sound like I'm off the wall, we need to be paying attention to the things that are happening, which seem to have sprouted up more quickly than ever, in the world today. It's been predicted in the Bible.  We may not search and find words that tell us in today's language the answer to things. You must remember that the persons writing about the future did not know how to put into words some of the things they saw because it was going to happen thousands of years later after modern technology.

There's talk about the world ending in 2012. I sometimes wonder if it could happen? It's a possibility but I don't think it will. If that's not it, couldn't it be that some disaster might be looming that would not destroy the earth but cripple it? I've read about EMP's and the destruction that could occur, shutting down electricity. I heard one unbeliever suggest, "Well, if that's the case then we'd better live it up now." I beg to differ. This is the time when we should be seeking God...for answers and wisdom, knowledge and understanding of the times...and our salvation.  We need to know where we stand with God.

We have not yet seen or experienced a great move of God. Some have not had an opportunity in the really grand scheme of things to trust Him with their lives and provision. Will we truly be ready to trust Him when the worst that could happen does? We've been told that God will give us strength when we need it. It is written that faith is built by hearing (or reading) the Word of God. Is our faith strong enough? Lots to consider.

This is a time where we must know who He is and just what He can do. A look at your Bible can be the first step.

Let me end with this: we have God's promises. They are all in the Bible. That's the most important thing. If we understand His promises are yes and amen, we're one step closer to trusting in Him. He's not the angry God some tend to envision Him. He's a God of love and because of that love He tests us and disciplines us like a parent who's only doing it for our own good.  He urges us to know and trust in Him. I believe He is getting ready to make a move and I, for one, hope I am ready.

1Peter 1:20-21 - Most important, you must understand this: No prophecy in the Scriptures ever comes from a person’s own interpretation. No! No prophecy ever came from what a man wanted to say. But people were led by the Holy Spirit and spoke things from God.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Rejoicing in the Lord

Philippians 4:4 -  Rejoice in the Lord always.  Again I will say, rejoice!

Lord, I thank You for this day.  I thank You for Your life of obedience and submission to Your Father.  You were obedient even unto death on the cross.  You died for the sins of all mankind that we might have a place in heaven.

I thank You that You chose me and called me to enter into relationship with You.  I offer my life up to You as a living sacrifice.  My heart desires to also be obedient to You.  I know I fall so short sometimes, but You forgive when I call my mistakes to Your attention, when I lay my faults before You, not that You didn't already know! 

Lord God, You did an unheard of thing for us. You took upon Yourself all the sins of all the people, past, present and future. And You knew that this was to be Your destiny. You allowed Yourself to be nailed to a tree.  But You willingly did it.  You are God come down from heaven to live in the flesh to show us the Way to Truth. It is You, as Truth, that brings freedom to those who seek it.

We are living in perilous times. A day will come when so many will question what's happening in the world and they will want answers. My answer is You.  I pray that others will find You and begin to trust in You. I pray they will seek You in their time of trouble. It is not about the life we live here on earth.  We all must die some day. All of life is "vanity and a grasping at the wind."  You came to earth to show us a better life, in You, for all eternity.

The ultimate goal in life is not knowing who You are, knowing of You, but knowing You personally. It's accepting You into our lives. It's faith in You.  It's the grace that we obtain through our faith.  It's putting our lives in Your hands and letting You work out our lives according to Your plan. Who knows me better than You do? You created me and know my thoughts before I do. You know the number of my days. Nothing, absolutely nothing about me is kept hidden from You.  

I thank You for Your faithfulness. I thank You for Your love. I can't possibly love You more than You love me, or how You love all people. I'm just thankful You do. I thank You for the wisdom You so graciously pour out through the words in Your great love letter to us, the Bible. I'm thankful that through Your Word you bring life to weary souls, life to the broken, life to the sinner, no questions asked. It's there for the taking.  

This life on earth is meaningless but life in Christ is so rewarding. It's not about what we have in this life but what we have in You for our future in heaven.  

Lord, only You know how many people can say for sure where they will go after they die. I know it's not about the works we do on earth, but all about our relationship with You. You tell us to seek You and when we do, You are there to give abundantly. Lord, I can't imagine just how many things I've let slip through my hands, my life, because I've missed an opportunity with You. Keep me ever vigilant.  Open my ears to hear and my mind to recognize the truth from what is false. Keep me on the straight path that You have laid before me.  Let me not look to the left or to the right. Let me always be focused on You because You are the Light in the darkness that is in the world and the Light to my path.  

In You we live and move and have our being. It is in You that we get our strength. It is in You that we are more than conquerors.  Give me this day Your daily bread.  Keep me from harm, keep me in Your presence. Be my Rock, both to stand upon and to hide within in the cleft.  Be my portion for this day.  

I thank You that You can be all things to all people, O God. Let them all know You with the depths of their souls.  Let them all seek You and know Your righteousness. Open the eyes of their hearts that they may see You and know You. Let Your Word penetrate their hearts and fill their souls, for Your Word is life. You are the Word and You are the life.  You supply all of our needs.

Thank You again for this day. It is the day You have made...I am rejoicing in it. 

Psalm 100:4 -  Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. 

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Do Not Be Deceived

Psalm 147:6 - The LORD lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked down to the ground. 

Over and over we read these words.  It is true.  The Psalms are filled with this phrase.

There is a parable in Luke 14 about a feast and being the invited guest.  We are told we are not to automatically take the best seat assuming ourselves to be so noble, but we are to take the least seat so that if someone more honorable should arrive we are not embarrassed by being asked to leave so someone else can sit there! It goes on to say that you never know, if we take a lesser seat we might be asked to move to the better seat and be honored.  Scripture tells us that 
"For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." (Matthew 23:12)  

In today's world there are many who think they are greater than they really are.  We can see this in politics all over the world. 2 Chronicles 7:14 tells us If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Imagine if those in any government office would hold to this scripture where we could be. You know exactly what I'm talking about, but I won't go there.  I'm sticking just to us. We are not to think of ourselves as greater for surely we will one day be brought low. We will be caught in our pride.  It will be an embarrassing moment.  In God's eyes it is best to be humble and allow Him to exalt in due time. And patience may be needed for that!  Remember, everything is in God's timing.

God will honor those who humble themselves.  It's hard to do sometimes.  Our pride gets us all into trouble. In God's eyes were are all the same.  No one is greater than the next because we cannot ever be perfect in and of ourselves.  Let us keep this in mind when we decide to call someone a name for something they did or said.  We are no better. Or when we balk at an authority figure because we believe they don't know what they're doing or saying.  God will handle the wrongs--in the right way.  John 3:30 tells us He [God] must increase, but I must decrease.  It's all about the Lord and what He can do in our lives.

I'm not saying there aren't times when we have a right to be proud, but pride in order to boost our esteem is not being humble.  I think pride in our favorite football team, in children or spouses, our country are all legitimate.  It's the pride in ourselves that gets us into trouble

Galatians 6:3 - For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

So, What's the Purpose?

Ecclesiastes 3:11 - He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

Ecclesiastes is quite a book. It can be difficult to read. We aren't told who wrote the book but some suppose it to be Solomon. I see Ecclesiastes as this author's blog! He contemplated things on parchment. As he wrote, he sought the meaning of life.

He describes everything "under the sun" as vanity and a grasping of the wind. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done And on the labor in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun (Ecclesiastes 2:11).  Nothing he did had not already been done and it would be that way in the what was the point?

Later he says: Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God (Ecclesiastes 2:24 and 3:12).  Sandwiched in between he shows us As it happens to the fool, it also happens to me (2:15).  In other words righteous or wicked, doesn't matter, God allows us all to experience the same thing. He goes on to say there is a time and season for've heard it before:  A time to be born, a time to die...  There's always a beginning and an end, the ups and downs of life, the work and the rest. 

Take the part of the scripture I started out with He has put eternity into their hearts...I've heard that when God created each of us He put a God-sized hole in our hearts that we should seek what it is that would fill the void in our lives, which is God. Do we feel we are missing something? Do we say, If only I could win the lottery I'd be happy? If I had that new car, a better job, new home, new _____ (you fill in the blank)... We've all done it. Always striving for more and never being satisfied.

God is the Beginning and the End. He gives all things. Whatever has happened will happen again. Eternity is there for the taking but it must be sought out. We are to seek God. Could there be a connection?  Hmmm.  And all the work we do, the "toiling under the sun" that seems to just end for us and is passed on to the next person? What's the purpose?

The question a lot of people consider is where do we go when we die? What is our purpose in life if we are born, live and then just die? Let me just tell you what God tells us: We were made to seek, worship and serve God. Plain and simple. Then He will fill that void 
and make life meaningful. We must allow God entrance into that hole.

Monday I wrote about how God is for all people. We all fit into one of the categories of sinful people found in the Bible. That's part of why the Bible was written. When we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of our life 
all of life makes sense. We are to enjoy our lives and believe it is God's gift. What we do on earth is totally meaningless (a grasping of the wind) without the knowledge of God, His offer of salvation and eternal life. It boils down to a relationship with God, living (and working) in this life on earth for God with the promise of an even better, permanent, life in heaven with God.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 - Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. This, I believe, shows us deep within the recesses of the Word, how we cannot live without God as our center.  On our own we're powerless, but with God by our side, we are strong.  When we fall, He will be there to pick us up.

This author contemplated life. In the end he realized that life without God was meaningless. Being in Christ, receiving Him as our Savior, brings life--and meaning to it.  If you are not satisfied with everything in your life today, if there seems to be something missing, that there's no purpose, consider Christ.  This seems to be the key verse to all of Ecclesiastes:

Ecclesiastes 12:13 - Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:  Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I Wonder Who You Would Identify With?

Romans 3:10-12 - As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one."

As if you didn't already know, I love the Bible. There is so much history, conquest, wisdom, parables and personalities. It is chock full of the love of God for His people, His miraculous feats against Israel's enemies, fantastic transformations of people's lives and endless praise about His creation. It shows us things that happened so long ago and how all of it can relate to us today. But what I want to address here is how God chose to write about all kinds of help us identify with ourselves on so many levels.

For the most part, the Bible is filled with sinners! There are hypocritical religious leaders, tax collectors, evil kings. There were prostitutes, thieves, liars. There were demon possessed people. He included all types for our benefit. What good would the Bible be if all it did was talk about the good people, the righteous, the disciples, apostles, saints?  If we only read about them there would be absolutely no way we could relate and we would give Christianity, God, Christ and the Holy Spirit the heave ho.

But the fact is, we are all sinners, as the scripture above tells us.We all fall into this category. If we have not heard the truth of the Gospel because we have not sought God, we are without understanding and our works, apart from God, are meaningless. It is when we have heard the truth, accepted it and begin to follow it, our sin is removed and we are called righteous. That's called grace through faith. And that faith? That truth? It is Jesus Christ! Righteousness happens when we have heard Jesus' words, accepted both He and His words (He is the Word made flesh) and begin to live out that truth in our lives.

But back to the Bible. Through any one or more individuals we can identify with ourselves. One of the most amazing stories I know is about Saul of Tarsus who later became the Apostle Paul. The name Saul means "responded; prayed for." He persecuted Christians. And one day on his way to Damascus to invoke more misdeeds against them, he was struck down to his knees and blinded. God had stopped him dead in his tracks...and without a word, Saul knew he was facing the Almighty God. He responded!  Someone no doubt was praying for him! Three days later his sight was restored and he was a new man no longer bent on persecuting God's people, but turning his life around completely and turning to God and witnessing with the same determination he'd had before, only for the opposite reason. The name Paul means "small, humble." I think I read that he was small in stature--perhaps this caused his need to feel big and to persecute--and he became humble after the encounter with God. Humbleness is a good attribute to have.

Think about it...if the people in the Bible had to turn from their way of living in the world to become Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, Mary Magdalene, etc., His followers, why shouldn't we? They came from all walks of life. They were fishermen, tax collectors, doctors, prostitutes, demon possessed... Some were considered ignorant, like Peter and John.  Acts 4:13 - Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. The demon possessed (Mary Magdalene) were healed, believed and followed Jesus.

Then there were the tax collectors and doctors, professions like businessmen today. hey held more prestigious jobs.  But they needed to hear the Truth also. Matthew was a tax collector, although not the most upright one, and Luke was the doctor, no doubt of good standing. The Bible shows us that everyone needs a Savior. But it's important to remember that He hung out with the worst of sinners. He believed all sinners were, to put it bluntly, ailing. He came to heal/save them. For some He did it physically so there would be a visible sign that He was able to do this. There was a spiritual healing that would also take place. But Luke the doctor, who was well educated, healthy, "good" person, also needed to be healed.

That's why they are all in the Bible. In an article by R.K. Phillips, he states "The Bible does not shrink from stating unsavoury `incidents' in the lives of any of Israel's famous people." It shows the need for all mankind, from poorest and sickest, to the wealthiest and healthiest! We all need a Savior! God's love for us is so great. There's no getting around it.  We just need to tap into it. If we don't know God's love, we don't know what we're missing.

Just as the Bible shows people who were healed, whose lives were transformed, it shows how God used sinners to accomplish His goals. There's the story of Rahab, the harlot who lived in Jericho. This was just prior to Joshua "'fitting" the battle of Jericho. She offered to hide two Israelite spies when they came to her house to obtain quick refuge. She knew of the God of Israel and knew of His power and all He had done to save Israel. For this act she asked for immunity for her family and herself when Israel's army would come to fight against Jericho. It was her faith in God that strengthened and saved her.  

I'm glad God chose to incorporate these stories for our benefit. He is the God who saves, transforms and heals us until we are who He has made us to be. He knows just what we should be, not who we think we are. Giving ourselves to Him so He can mold us into that person may sound like a negative thing, but we need to remember who He is. He knows our needs before we even think them. He knows what is best for us.  In our own strength we are so-so, but with His strength we can move mountains.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Why Am I Doing This??

2Corinthians 8:10-11 - And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have.

Sometimes I could write endlessly on just about every scripture I read.  Everything in the Bible is so important.  I get frustrated because I could spend hour after hour writing.  Some days it seems like I do.

Recently the thought crossed my mind:  Am I sounding harsh, am I repeating myself?  Is this what I should write? Am I boring people? Are people even interested in what I write?As I read the scripture above these questions bombarded my mind. I know just enough to realize the enemy would want me to believe I am "pushing the envelope" and to back off.

But Jesus didn't back off.  He plodded along daily talking about things not all people wanted to hear, things that in His day were politically incorrect. When we hear about our sins, we don't want to listen. When it seems to interfere with our lifestyle, again we don't want to hear. I've been guilty of this and I'm sure I still am. That's why I'm doing this blog...why I'm taking the time nearly every day to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to His words, the words of His Father, through the Bible.

This scripture above was part of the answer I was looking for. I know that God's Word holds all the keys to life and understanding. It is my belief that this is what God has wanted me to do--if for no other reason than to give me more wisdom and understanding--and then to share it. I'm searching the scriptures and that's what we are to do to obtain a richer, fuller, more satisfying life in Christ. The Bible is God-breathed so it is truth. Whatever I write about is my understanding of what God has shown me. I hope that somehow, some way, some day these words may come to someone when they are needed the most.  My thoughts may be as rejected as Jesus' words but that's okay.  If nothing else, I myself am planting His Word deeper into my own spirit.

All of God's Word is His wisdom.  And the most important thing His Word discuses is our salvation through Jesus Christ, from Old Testament to New. Salvation issues are not about a religion, denomination, race or color.  It has all to do with a relationship with God.  Can anyone say they can have a relationship with a mother, father, children or spouse without ever spending time with them?  No.  A relationship is closeness to "whomever."  It is a connection or binding.  If we are not connected to God, how can we say we have a relationship with Him?  The first step to being connected is admitting we are sinners in need of a Savior, accepting Christ into our lives, then taking the time to listen to what God has to tell us.

If we have this relationship it is our responsibility, then, to share our knowledge with others--like Jesus' disciples.

Earlier this year---even before that--I felt I was being led to do daily devotions, on paper--or online!  I wanted to, but kept putting if off thinking, "Me?"  Who would read it?  What if what I write is wrong? What if my words are jumbled and don't make sense?

But a few things started happening which were confirmation in my spirit this is what I should do.  Now that I've started, I must complete it. It may end next week, next year or years down the road.  God will let me know when to stop.  I call this blog "At His Feet" because that's where we learn about Him, by sitting at His feet, reading the Bible and hearing Him speak through His Word.  This may be the stepping stone for something else, another plan of God's for my life. To use a cliche, "only God knows."  I believe I must put my all into this for a season. I have no preconceived ideas where He's taking me. As the saying goes, "Bloom where you're planted."  This time in my life may be the growing of my roots, establishing me.  If I continue to grow and be in God's will, He will push me forward.

This ending scripture is generally used for tithing, giving to the Lord.  Part of our tithe, I believe, is doing the will of God.  In God's will we will always please Him, which should be the most important thing in our lives...and we have success.  Perhaps I'm dispersing and giving in ways I do not even conceive. I hope this does not sound conceited because it is not meant to be. If I'm pleasing God, that's what it's all about. We are told:

2Corinthians 9:6,9 - ...He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. As it is written: "He has dispersed abroad, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ten Virgins and the Narrow Gate

Matt 25:1-13 - Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. Those who were foolish, when they took their lamps, took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom delayed, they all slumbered and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, "Behold! The bridegroom is coming! Come out to meet him!" Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, "What if there isn’t enough for us and you? You go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves." While they went away to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins also came, saying, "Lord, Lord, open to us." But he answered, "Most assuredly I tell you, I don’t know you." Watch therefore, for you don’t know the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

We have no idea what truly lies before us.  This is the time when we need God to develop our strength, trust and faith in Him--not at the last minute, for surely we will not be ready in that time.  I spoke about wisdom.  It is now that we need it most.  We need to determine which narrow path we are to take. Do we want to walk in our own wisdom or God's?

I think of the parable above of the ten virgins. They were going to be invited to the great feast of the Bridegroom.  They were to have their oil lamps ready--filled with oil and wicks trimmed.  Only five were truly ready and allowed to partake in the feast.  Five knew the feast was to come but they felt they had plenty of time to get ready, but when the Bridegroom called, they were not.  The Groom did not know them.  That Groom is Jesus. And although only half of the virgins were ready in this parable, I fear there is more than half in this world who are not.  That is not wise.  Many are on the more widely traveled path.

It has been prophesied that there is a day coming that Jesus will return to gather His people to Himself for the great final marriage supper of the Lamb.  I await that day.  I pray I am among those who are truly ready. I pray that He will help me to reveal Himself to those who are not.

In the last days it is said there will be revelry, self-centeredness, wars, trials in all the world.  People will be going about their days doing their own thing--without thought of God. He should not just to be a thought on Sunday but every day. They will not be ready for His return, His invitation, His feast.  I would prefer to always be ready up front than find out I'd run out of time...and oil!

I can see the signs today. Are those I know ready?  It may seem like I'm over reacting, but we just don't know. Although many do not recognize the signs of the times, there are some whose eyes are being opened. If all that we read about in today's papers are ushering us into the final days, I pray He will reveal Himself to us--those who desire to know Him, those who need to return to Him, those who just need a touch from God for encouragement.

God's will will be done.  What we see happening in the world today probably is part of His will.  It is to draw all  to Him rather than to other men.  Let His kingdom come, a kingdom that will be filled with true peace.

I thank God for His faithfulness, His love, His heart toward those who love Him.  I pray that He reaches out and takes hold of us, that He draws us closer to His safety.  He is our Strong Tower, the mighty Rock and it is under His wings we are kept, if we so desire. Open the floodgates of praise in my heart that I might glory in these days.  Glory and praise to God, our King, our Salvation, our reason for all things.  What an incredible plan He has and always has had.  I hope others recognize this plan for mankind and for each of us.

Bless us, O Lord, our Door, our Gate.  Let all mankind enter into Your salvation. Open hearts to receive and open mouths to proclaim!  The glory goes to You.

Matthew 7:13-14 - Enter the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life and there are few who find it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lord, Remove the Veil

2Corinthians 3:14 - But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.

The Laws written in the Old Testament were for that time.  It was part of God's plan.  The Commandments given to Moses and the sacrifices to be observed daily, monthly, yearly were all a precursor to today.  The Commandments still apply to us now but all the sacrifices back then did not forgive the people permanently of their sin.  In the New Testament we are introduced to Jesus, the one Sacrifice to remove the necessity of all the Old Testament sacrifices.

The Jewish people, for the most part, still look forward to their Messiah. They could not and still some do not see how all throughout the Old Testament they were being pointed to Jesus through the sacrifices and feasts.  They were blinded. They did not acknowledge Jesus when He came and they look now to a political figure who will save them.  But what earthly man can do that?  Today unbelievers are even like the Jews, blinded by His majesty and salvation, always looking to man for their needs. Israel went through times of captivity throughout the Old Testament.  God always miraculously delivered them.  Today it is Jesus who miraculously delivers. When Christ is fully revealed in a person's life, that veil is removed.

I think of the moment when Jesus died and the veil in the Jewish temple was torn from top to bottom.  Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split (Matthew 27:51).  That veil back then separated the people from the Holy of Holies, where only the High Priest could enter once a year to atone for the sins of the people.  It was where God "resided."  God no longer lives in a temple made by man's hands (Acts 17:24).  Because that veil was torn we are free to have access to God and the Holy of Holies through Jesus when we accept Him.  Jesus was the veil, symbolically.

Some day all people's eyes will see and know Jesus as Lord and Savior.  They will weep at their inability to have seen sooner.  Zechariah 12:10b - ...then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.  

In Christ we are no longer captive to the world and blind to freedom. When one is in Christ the veil is lifted and all things are new--we see new, we hear new, our wisdom is new.  It's amazing and glorious.  A spiritual transformation takes place that only one who has gone through it can understand.  As one of these people whose veil has been removed, it is my prayer that all, especially the Jews, have that veil lifted and the Spirit of God begin to work in their lives.

There are some Jewish people today who believe in Christ.  They have undergone their own trials because of their belief.  They are shunned by family.  I can't imagine the pain on one hand and yet joy on the other having finally had that veil removed and new life, new wisdom.  I think that's how God feels about all people:  those who turn from Him and those who choose to follow.  Let this be the day you choose whom you desire to follow--man's way or the way of Truth, the way of the Lord.

2Corinthians 4:3-4 - But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Victory in Jesus

2Corinthians 3:17 - Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

We sang an old song yesterday in church.  Victory in Jesus.  I'm sure I've only known it about 10 years but it seems like I've known it forever.  The chorus goes like this:

Oh, victory in Jesus, my Savior forever.
He sought me and He bought me with His redeeming blood.
He loved me 'ere I knew Him and all my love is due Him.
He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood.

Every so often words I've known for some time speak volumes, like I've never heard them before.  Worship was great yesterday morning. There was a type of unity.  As we sang this song and sang this chorus several times, I felt my heart come to a point where I thought it would burst.

Yes, there is victory in Jesus.  He is our forever Savior.  He is our Redeemer.  I can personally attest that He did seek me for so many years of my life until I allowed Him to come into my life and into my heart.  That's when the story of Jesus became a reality for me.  I had heard all my life how Jesus died on the cross to save us.  I always thought that just because of that act I was going to heaven.  I didn't believe in hell, really, because how could God cause people He said He loved to live in eternal torment, a life filled with pain and anguish?  But then this was brought to my attention:  If there is no God and no heaven, if there is no hell, then the whole purpose of Jesus' death was absolutely meaningless. Meaningless. This innocent Man died for no reason at all.

Jesus' death on the cross was the price He paid for MY sins. His blood was shed for my redemption. The second part of the chorus tells us that He loved me before I knew Him.  He loves you, whether you know Him or not. He has known you from the foundation of the earth. His love for you goes back that far...the 6,000 years we have an account of and infinitely farther back than that.  And His love for you will continue for eternity as well.

So, it is my responsibility to love Him for what He has done for me. It is our responsibility... If a stranger gave his life to save yours, how would you feel about it?There would be nothing you could do for that person, but wouldn't you, in your heart, be forever grateful?  If it meant being able to spend the rest of your days with your husband/wife/children/family, wouldn't you feel something?

Jesus willingly shed His blood for us. He did not have to do it. He could have disobeyed His Father, but He didn't.  He could have called a legion of angels to come to His aid, but He didn't. He knew from a very young age what His purpose was to be. As He began to study Scripture in the synagogues He began to realize that the words written (in the Old Testament) were speaking of Him and He knew He needed to reveal Himself to as many as would listen. He realized He would be rejected by His own people but others would follow. He knew He was to die even for those who rejected Him--in the hopes that they would one day change their hearts.

Yes, there's victory in Jesus.  By His stripes and by His blood, we are healed. When we receive Christ into our lives...when we openly, verbally confess Him as our Lord and Savior. It cannot simply be that we call ourselves Christians because we're not Jewish or Islam or Buddhist. It cannot simply be because we have always gone to church or are a certain denomination. It cannot simply be because we read the Bible.  It cannot simply be because we believe Jesus lived and died for us. We must receive Him into our lives. Then a change will begin to take place within us as He shows us what is wrong in our lives. Late last night I happened to catch a short part of a program on television. The individual said asking God into your heart will weed out the things that separated you from Him.  That only happens when your turn your heart to Jesus.

Maybe it sounds complicated but it really isn't because if we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths, receive Him into our lives, He will begin to make the changes within us. We cannot make these changes in our own strength. They will come from the power of His Holy Spirit that will envelope us when true confession is made. It is then that symbolically, Jesus' blood covers us so that God no longer can see the sinful nature we carry.  Amazing.  That is victory in Jesus!  That is freedom...from sin.

Once years ago I spoke these words:  Lord God, I confess out loud and in my heart that I am a sinner.  I ask that You be my Savior, that You enter into my life and bring about the changes necessary to make me into the person You created me to be.  I ask in Your name that You cover me with Your blood and bring victory into my life.  

He calls each and every one of us.  Maybe He does it daily and we fail to recognize it or reject it.  I'm thankful He does not reject us in our sorry states.  I thank Him that His life centered around the sinner, the adulterer, the thief, the murderer.  He humbled Himself for me...for us.  He didn't turn a cold shoulder against the transgressor.  That demands our thankfulness.

Romans 10:9-10  -  ...that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Proverbs 1:7 - The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Instruction, wisdom, understanding, discretion. That's what the Book of Proverbs is all about.  I have to admit there are some Proverbs I have not understood.  Perhaps this time around I will.  I will seek wisdom!

Proverbs 1:5 tells us: A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel...  That says a lot.  How many people want true, wise understanding?  Don't we need it in today's world with all that is transpiring:  healthcare, finances, the global warming issue.  You can add to that list.

So often we notice how the youth of today don't always want to hear or listen to those who are older and wiser.  It seems it's always been that way! "My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother..."  Proverbs 1:8 admonishes.  That may be why the world is as it is.  Left to our own devices we so easily slip into stubbornness of our own hearts (Jeremiah 18:12).

We have seen how people have wandered off to destroy their own lives by not knowing the basic right from wrong.  They are the fools who despise wisdom.  I had to look up the definition of fool: a person lacking in judgment.  It's their way or the highway!  So often they aren't just ruining their own lives but those of family, even friends.  "So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; it takes away the life of its owners" (verse 19).

In Proverbs 1 wisdom is likened to a person.  As I read, it sounded more like God calling us to Himself than wisdom speaking to us: Turn at my rebuke; surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded, because you disdained all my counsel, and would have none of my rebuke...(verses 23-25).  But that's just it.  He IS wisdom. He is the One we should heed, look up to.

Later He responds with what will happen to those who do not heed: Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled to the full with their own fancies (verse 31).  Sounds a bit like Jeremiah above.  For those who seek God's wisdom they will dwell safely and be secure.  It's not by accident we are always shown from Genesis to Revelation the wisdom of God.  Some have been told the Bible is too difficult to understand, some believe it's too narrow in today's "anything goes/tolerant" world.  God has the answers.  They are all right there in His Word.  They are what bring us life. They hold all the wisdom, understanding and instruction if we would take the time to see.

Perhaps this is where people become lost.  They cannot believe that God has all the answers, that His Word is Truth, because He is unseen.  That's all part of trust and faith in an unseen God.

Proverbs 2:10-11 -  When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, discretion will preserve you; understanding will keep you... 

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Let This Generation Praise Him

Psalm 145:4 - One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.

Nothing will ever be able to eliminate God's people. God's acts will always be passed on from one to another. We will always see and remember all He's done for us. The world can turn away from Him but in the hearts of those who devote their lives to the Lord, He will always be there. Once committed to Him, He will not remove Himself. We can turn our backs and walk away from Him, break our covenant with Him--but His covenant with us is forever. He will never turn His back on us.  No man can take His Spirit from us once we have received it...and hold on to it.

In days to come, if things look more and more grim, we who are faithful in our walk with God will be watched to see how we respond to disaster. They will look and wonder at the peace we have.  They will want to know where it comes from and even how to receive it. Even if death is imminent there is peace that comes from knowing what lies ahead for those who have received Jesus as their salvation. Our lives are eternal, in death.  That's what Jesus is all about, why He came to this earth and why He had to die--for all of us.

One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts. That alone should be the praise on our lips--the declaration of our hearts. There is none like God. There is none wiser, more honest, more loving, more concerned about our welfare and our salvation. No man on earth can possibly do that.

This Psalm also tells us He is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. His kingdom is everlasting...even if some do not believe this. Only He endures. Other religions may claim otherwise, but the truth of His word will be made known some day.

It's so important to understand this, to acknowledge this. When we allow Truth to enter into our hearts and acknowledge God, praise Him and let the world see that He is our center, here's His promise:

Psalm 145:18-19 - The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Joyful Noise

Psalm 66:1-4 - Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth! Sing out the honor of His name; Make His praise glorious. Say to God, "How awesome are Your works! Through the greatness of Your power Your enemies shall submit themselves to You. All the earth shall worship You And sing praises to You; They shall sing praises to Your name."

My friend Shirley asked me in an email the other day if I thought I could still worship God if we could not longer have church.  It was a question I didn't want to answer too quickly. And here is my response! As I was mowing the lawn yesterday afternoon, earplugs secured firmly, my FM Christian radio station blaring in my ears, the answer came to me. YES, I could.  As long as I knew the words to some of my favorite hymns/songs and could remember the melodies or as long as I had playable CDs, I could.  I'm sure if anyone could hear me singing at the top of my lungs, no doubt badly out of tune, they would wonder.

There have been plenty of times at home when I have turned on Christian radio or put on some of my favorite CDs and throughout the day worshiped God with my not-so-perfect voice.  I'm so thankful that we are to make a joyful "noise" unto the Lord (Psalm 81:1).  I'm sure God's spiritual ears hear nothing but delightful melodies.  I've heard that in heaven singing and worshiping goes on all the time.  I've heard it said that although there may be thousands upon thousands of songs being sung at the same time, spiritually it will be so beautiful words just cannot describe it. I think He will have perfected our imperfect voices. Since I love music, I hope this is true.  It will be like an angelic choir.

The songs I love the most are those that come right out of the Bible....scripture to music.  Since God's word does not return void (Isaiah 55:11), I imagine they are His favorite as well.  But worship isn't just about singing or music. It doesn't need to be vocal or outward but as simple as a word of thanks to God, our Father, silently in our hearts.  He is to be worshiped.  What is so beautiful about worshiping God is it can be done at any time.  

King David, the Psalmist, worshiped God unabashedly.  He danced before the Lord.  He was vocal in his worship and he encouraged the playing of multiple musical instruments.  Here is a quote, author unknown at the All About God website, describing what our worship should be like:  True worship is God-centered worship. People tend to get caught up in where they should worship, what music they should sing in worship, and how the worship looks to other people. Focusing on these things completely misses the point. Jesus tells us that true worshipers will worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). This means we worship from a pure heart!

Before I read that paragraph I was going to expand on worship being no more, although it's just as meaningful, than reading God's Word.  There have been times when just hearing a certain scripture read causes my heart to melt and my eyes to tear up.  I don't know for sure, but at that precise moment, I believe my heart is pure and God is knowing just how His Word has touched me.  Oh, I would love to feel free enough to dance before the Lord in church or in public, like King David.  Maybe some day it will happen.

Worshiping is for God alone.  He should be the recipient of this offering, no one else.  That is worshiping in spirit and in truth.  Today's world worships rock musicians, television or movie stars, sports figures or teams.  They are all looked up to.  Shouting, screaming, clapping and cheering for our favorite sports team is just how we should be worshiping God! If we can be fanatical about those things, why not be fanatical about God?

Take time today to thank God for what you have, for the changes He has made in your life, for the changes you would like to have made in your life, for your salvation. Consider his marvelous acts of creation.  How DO the birds fly, how DO the seasons evolve?  How DO the stars stay suspended in space?  Who is responsible?  Worship our Creator.

Hebrews 13:15 -  Therefore ... let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Praise the Lord

Psalm 146: 1 - Praise the Lord

The last five Psalms (146-150) start out with "Praise the Lord."  They paint yet another description of who God is.

For His people He:
Psalm 147 -
  • gathers outcasts
  • heals brokenhearted
  • lifts up the humble
  • takes pleasure in those who fear Him
  • makes peace
  • blesses
  • strengthens
Psalm 149 -
  • takes pleasure in us
  • beautifies us in our salvation (purifies, makes holy)
For His creation He:
Psalm 147 -
  • counts the number of stars
  • calls them by name
  • covers the heavens with clouds
  • prepares the rain
  • makes grass grow
  • is in charge of all weather
Psalm 148 -
  • commanded and established creation (man, beast and nature)
To us He is:
Psalm 146 -
  • our Hope
  • our Creator
  • our Justice
  • our Truth
  • our Freedom
Psalm 147 -
  • infinitely wise
  • excellently great
  • mighty in power
Psalm 149 -
  • our Maker
  • our King
He is one who:
Psalm 146 -
  • opens blind eyes
  • loves the righteous
  • watches over strangers
  • relieves the fatherless and widow
  • reigns forever
I rejoice in my knowledge of Him.  I was sitting outside hearing all the sounds of nature--small birds and big, rustling leaves, chipmunks cavorting in the ground cover.  This is one of the best days for me!  There is a gentle breeze, sunshine, perfect air.  It's almost like spring. A squirrel that didn't know I was there walked by so closely. A turkey lurked at the feeder, also unaware of my presence. Birds were going about their business of feeding, without concern for my whereabouts. I almost sat on a toad nestled between the cushion which had folded over.  He began to leave until I covered him up again.

My question is:  Is this how we view God?  He is ever with us but do we see Him, do we feel His presence? Do we go happily about our day without acknowledging Him? And do we, like the toad, take cover when He is mentioned? Do we try to flee? Are we content in hiding from Him? Are we content in not learning more about Him? Are we content not praising Him?

In Luke 14:20 Jesus tells us that if we don't praise Him, even the rocks will cry out.  That doesn't say much for us.  I think He would much rather we, who have life and understanding, praise Him.  All the Bible declares His wondrous works.  It shows us His plan of salvation, His love for all (He loves the righteous and watches over strangers--those who follow Him and those who He would desire to follow Him), His sadness for those who do not long for Him.

All He wants is for us to acknowledge Him.  Look at all He has told us He is, has given us and wants to be for us in just these few Psalms.  The Bible is full of more knowledge of who He is.

Psalm 150:6 - Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.  Praise the LORD!