31:30 Proverbs

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Proverbs 31:30 NIV

http://bible.com/111/pro.31.30.NIV

I’ve been labled as a type of “Shallow Hal”.  Without fully realizing it as I’ve grown older I see people’s hearts & actions. They speak to me louder than any style our outward beauty.

I’m by no means perfect or even a “good catch” but I am thankful that I am loved and that the love I give & receive is not superficial or based on my ability or looks.

This proverb clarifies where true beauty is: Charm and grace are deceptive, and [superficial] beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord [reverently worshiping, obeying, serving, and trusting Him with awe-filled respect], she shall be praised. PROVERBS 31:30 AMP

http://bible.com/1588/pro.31.30.AMP

I believe this proverb goes for men & women.

So, looking for prince charming or a true princess or trying to be just that?

Consider this. Take in the metaphoric language and colorful way of describing a spouse worth clinging to; but more than that…plug in your name and consideration of who you are as a Christian everytime you come across the words woman, she, her…everything that gives a  description… Make God’s word personal and take it personally. 

Before we put great expectations on others (especially our spouses) may we consider and we put into practice the 1st Corinthians 13 type love & attributes that Christ displays for His bride (The Church) and may we be that bride waiting to be found holy & pure to meet the groom/husband (Christ). Now, read this section of Prov. 31 in that light:

A good woman (Christian) is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds. Her (the bride/christian church) husband (Christ) trusts her (you) without reserve, and never has reason to regret it. Never spiteful, she (you) treats him (Christ) generously all her (your) life long. She (you shop) shops around for the best yarns and cottons, and enjoys knitting and sewing. She’s (you are) like a trading ship that sails to faraway places and brings back exotic surprises. She’s (you’re) up before dawn, preparing breakfast for her (your) family (the body of Christ) and organizing her (your) day. She (you) looks over a field and buys it, then, with money she’s (you have) put aside, plants a garden. First thing in the morning, she (you dress) dresses for work, rolls up her (your) sleeves, eager to get started. She (you) senses the worth of her (your) work, is in no hurry to call it quits for the day. She’s (you are) skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, diligent in homemaking. She’s (you’re) quick to assist anyone in need, reaches out to help the poor. She (you don’t) doesn’t worry about her (your) family (the brothers & sisters in Christ) when it snows; their (the church) winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear. She (you) makes her (your) own clothing, and dresses in colorful linens and silks. Her (your) husband (Christ) is greatly respected when he (Christ) deliberates with the city fathers. She (you) designs gowns and sells them, brings the sweaters she (you) knits to the dress shops. Her (your) clothes are well-made and elegant, and she (you) always faces tomorrow with a smile. When she (you) speaks she (you have) has something worthwhile to say, and she (you) always says it kindly. She (you keep) keeps an eye on everyone in her (your) household (the body of Christ), and keeps them all busy and productive. Her (your) children respect and bless her (you); her (your) husband (Christ) joins in with words of praise: “Many women (Christians/the bride of Christ) have done wonderful things, but you’ve outclassed them all!” Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman (person) to be admired and praised is the woman (believer/Christian) who lives in the Fear-of- God . Give her (Christ’s true followers) everything she (they) deserves! Festoon her (their) life with praises!

Proverbs 31:10‭-‬31 MSG

The same can be done with 1st Corinthians 13. Every time you come across the word “love” try to plug your name in there. You will find that we (as humans) don’t measure up; however, Christ does. In Him is perfect love and in Him, and Him in us, we can have this kind of love. We can display it and live it (have these attributes) as we let Him live in and through us.

I don’t want this post to be extremely long and full of words but one last thing I must include is that 1st Co. 13 text I am referring to…as you read it remember God is love and if we desire & and claim to be Christ-like (Christians) we must let Him perfect His love (who He is) in us.

Love (try putting your name here & everytime you read the word “love”): Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails. 

But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 

For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. 

Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:4‭-‬13 NIV

http://bible.com/111/1co.13.4-13.NIV

http://bible.com/97/pro.31.10-31.MSG

Extra – The Movie “Shrek” hits on this whole theme too. Beauty is within: 

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For Christ’s Sake (Psalm 23 verse 3)

“For Christ’s sake!” Thinking about how that phrase is used so often, or misused.

My mind goes to Psalm 23 verse 3 specifically.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Psalms 23:3 KJV

http://bible.com/1/psa.23.3.KJV

I’m taking time right now to really look at that part a little closer and just focusing in, pondering it, meditate on what God inspired David to write as he strived after pleasing God and how David did it as well as what God did for David as he made the effort to be a man after God’s owb heart (1 Samuel 13:14) and why God did it.

David wrote,

He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him–not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake.

Psalm 23:3 AMPC

http://bible.com/8/psa.23.3.AMPC

I find also that God renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. (Psalms 23:3 NLT) and all I need to do is seek Him, accept Him and get out of the way (humble myself), allowing Him to do it.

Many times in my life I find that I am my own worse enemy. Battles take place in my heart (my soul), my body and my mind because I am seeking my own will, even at times of my trying to please God, rather than letting Him be in complete control. Acknowledging His ability, grace and mercy.

Really all any of us need to do is accept the free gifts He gives and allow Him to do what He does best.

God’s will not our own.

I did a several post on The Lord’s prayer back in February breaking it down into sections (Lead Us).  That prayer Jesus taught puts emphasis on acknowledging our Father as the supernatural power (higher power) that is not of this world (holy) and asking for His Kingdom to reign. 

In that prayer Christ teaches us to ask for our needs to be met, forgiveness, deliverance and for Him to lead us. 

Before Christ closes the prayer, once again He acknowledges God’s Kingdom, power and Glory, which will last forever.

In my life, once asking God to save my soul and make Jesus my Lord, I noticed that a true change came over me when I really meant it (more than words) I was ready for a change and He did it. I’ve been born again.

When we allow Christ to come in there is a significant change. The “being born again” Jesus talks about in John 3 is seen when individuals stop living for themselves and start living for Christ. However, that is just the start.

As we continue through life we quickly realize we must constantly feed this new being in us (this new spiritual life) that is in us as He fuses with our own souls.  

“Stay thirsty my friend.”

2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV)

http://bible.com/111/2co.4.16.NIV

As long as Jesus is truly Lord we are constantly changing for His will (supernatural life after death) rather than our natural destiny (death).

If we feed only our flesh and only our ego and our own desires, paying no attention to The Holy Spirit we very rapidly beging to slide further and further away for God and His will and lean more and more on our own understanding.

The proverbs tell us to, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.  This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:5‭-‬8 NIV

http://bible.com/111/pro.3.5-8.NIV

“A strong Spiritual backbone only comes after The Chief Physician has 1st done surgery & replaced our old one.”

Looking once again at Psalm 23:3 we see David proclaiming how God is able to restore, refresh and renew our souls: He leads, guides and directs us in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him–not for our earning it, but] for His name’s sake.

God lays things out pretty clear and simplistic…

  1. We can live to please others, please ourselves (live for temporal things) which has its rewards but all for our own recognition in the here & now…or
  2. We can focus on Him, seek Him (chase after His Will for His glory) and live as subjects of His Kingdom now and forever. Those rewards go far beyond this life and are not just temporal.

The struggle only comes when we get in the way and choose to not acknowledge Him or get some type of glory & recognition for what we do.

The Christian life is not about proving we are right and anyone who believes differently is wrong

The life of a Christian is about letting God renew us (killing our old ways) and letting Christ lead us all for His sake and HIS glory, not our own.

Killing my old man

For Christ’s sake, Beetle

Extra: Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God. 

You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake.

 For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. 

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. 

This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. 

So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you. But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” 

 We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. 

That is why we never give up. 

Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 

For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever

So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

2 Corinthians 4:4‭-‬18 NLT

http://bible.com/116/2co.4.4-18.NLT

Memory verses: Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV

http://bible.com/111/2co.4.16.NIV

“he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3 NIV

https://psalm.bible/psalm-23-3

Classic Christian Rock song & Sand Art – “Constantly Changing” by Jerusalem:

https://youtu.be/2A9J1PDEeuk



Threats

I took some notes for today’s post from day 3 of the @YouVersion Plan “The Way Back – Get Your Christian Life Back On  Track.”

Ask yourself this question: “What is the greatest threat facing American Christianity?” 

    Radical Islam? Nope.

    The rise of Secularism? Nay.  

    It’s not prayer in schools, gay marriage laws, Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, liberal judges or Hollywood.  

    No, the greatest threat to American Christianity in 2018 is American Christians.  We are our own worst enemy. 

No one can be responsible for all Christians in this country, but we can most certainly hold ourselves accountable. Our primary job on this Earth is to allow ourselves to be modeled into the image of Christ. So who better to teach us than those who personally knew Jesus?

We discovered seven mysteries that Early Church attendees were radically committed to—areas that most modern churches no longer make a priority. Today, there are a million books on “Christian living” but we were looking for the mostly abandoned practices that historically caused others to see Jesus – IN US – and start asking questions for themselves. 

These seven areas are:

• Surrender

• Scripture

• Submission

• Service

• Sacrifice

• Simplicity

• Suffering

    In life, there are choices we make that can have an additive effect, and there are choices we make that can have a multiplier effect. 

So things like putting your keys in the same place every time so you can find them or a night of uninterrupted sleep or… getting ice cream!

—these positive choices have an additive effect on your life and make going through your day a little bit better. 

But there are also things that can have a multiplier effect. Being in love or working out regularly or getting an education—these have a multiplying impact over many facets of your life, with implications far beyond day-by-day living. –from day 3 of the @YouVersion Plan “The Way Back – Get Your Christian Life Back On  Track.” Check it out here: http://bible.com/r/2rW

Scripture: 

So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun

And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him

For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.

 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:16‭-‬21 NLT)

http://bible.com/116/2co.5.16-21.NLT

Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. (Psalms 51:10 NLT)

http://bible.com/116/psa.51.10.NLT 

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2 NLT)

http://bible.com/116/rom.12.2.NLT 

Be living proof of Christ’s love. How? There are many ways…bear the fruit of The Holy Spirit (His characteristics -Gal. 5:22 ) and love…not just those who love you but loving even your enemies.

Here is Christ’s instructions, Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy; [Lev. 19:18; Ps. 139:21, 22.] But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, [Prov. 25:21, 22.]  To show that you are the children of your Father Who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the wicked and on the good, and makes the rain fall upon the upright and the wrongdoers [alike]. 

For if you love those who love you, what reward can you have? Do not even the tax collectors do that? And if you greet only your brethren, what more than others are you doing? Do not even the Gentiles (the heathen) do that? 

You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect. [Lev. 19:2, 18.]

Matthew 5:43‭-‬48 AMPC

http://bible.com/8/mat.5.43-48.AMPC

Respect and love can go a long way. Being gracious & showing understanding, mercy & love toward others as God has to us will win outsiders over to Him so much more than picket lines and rejection.

Following The Master Regardless Of The Masses

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
Matthew 7:21 NASB

http://bible.com/100/mat.7.21.NASB

You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” James 4:4 NASB

http://bible.com/100/jas.4.4.NASB

 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.

James 1:22 NASB

http://bible.com/100/jas.1.22.NASB 

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you-unless indeed you fail the test?

2 Corinthians 13:5 NASB

http://bible.com/100/2co.13.5.NASB 

Being a Christian can often be a popular thing but regardless of the lable and popularity if we truly believe in The Way, The Truth and The Life (The Lordship of JESUS CHRIST) we will stand and live for Him and like Him no matter how popular it may be.

As I read: “The Way Back – Get Your Christian Life Back On  Track” (http://bible.com/r/2rW)

I noted this: Two thousand years ago, in a backwater Roman province, a ragtag group of powerless and poorly educated fishermen committed themselves to a movement they called “The Way.” When they began, they didn’t have a game plan. In fact, they were pretty lost. In the aftermath of what had to have been one of the most remarkable moments on Earth – Jesus ascending into Heaven 40 days after His resurrection – the dumbfounded disciples actually had to be told by two angels to brush the confetti of their shoulders, quit standing around on this dusty hill and get to work.

     And get to work they did! 

     Within short order their movement which, at the time, was seen as a dangerous cult and persecuted, began to grow and thrive. Within a remarkably short time, it grew to become the world’s most influential religious faith—a force for centuries in culture, politics, education, literature, science, philanthropy and the arts.  Against impossible odds, a bunch of nobodies astonished the world! 

     But that was then. This is now. 

The dovotional above goes on the give statistics on how Christianity is not practiced with the same convictions as the early church.

The stats they give have to do mostly with attendance more than anything else but for me, what I see in our day and age are religious groups who go to great lengths to condemn and make judgments on anyone that is not “like them” and point out God’s judgments more than His love. 

I believe others will know we are true Christians (Christ-like) by our love and by what we stand for not what we stand against.

Song: “Jesus Friend of Sinners” by Casting Crowns:

https://youtu.be/rJXIugwiN7Q

I don’t want to be a casual Christian, I want to stand out for Christ and show the world Christ’s loves them.

God’s word reminds us we should love our enemies. Love them!

 He doesn’t love the ways of this world and all the lust (strong desires) for the temporary things mankind and this world offers. Jesus was in the world but didn’t partake in sinful ways (practice things that make us slaves of our flesh). 

He loves & gives so much more.

I will let His Holy Spirit comfort and convict me and do the same to those around me & those I come into contact with, not trying to take into my own hands His job of trying to convict others.

Back to reading plan: “The Way Back – Get Your Christian Life Back On  Track.” …

 Do modern Christians remind you of Peter and Martha and John and Stephen and Paul and Phoebe (as recorded in The Bible)? 

Does your own faith remind you of them?

     So what do we do? 

     We do something about it! Let’s find the way back to the same radically trusting faith that the Early Church had! It’s out there waiting for us. Are you ready? 

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, when I compare my faith life to the faith life of your earliest followers, there is wide gulf – and I’m not ok with it anymore. I need guidance and I need courage to take the path that you walked, and that they walked. My head and heart are ready for the journey, now please help me move my feet. Amen.

 For the @YouVersion Plan “The Way Back – Get Your Christian Life Back On  Track.” Go to:

http://bible.com/r/2rW

Want to read and highlight the verses at the start of this post in Your own personal Bible? 

Here are those Bible verses again: 

Matt. 7:21

James 4:4

Jams 1:22

2 Corinthians 13:5

I’ve been encouraged to look at them with 20/20 vision (look at the context in which it is written. A good start is reading 20 verses (or more) before and 20 verse (or more) after it.

For more on testing one’s faith go to my son’s blog posts: Faith Check where my son wrote about his personal test and trials before he died.

 The Perfect Story (KYRI)

What is in a title or a name for a good story? Should I call this…

Princess Bride Becomes A Queen”?

 Often the titles comes at the end, after the story is written an accurate, more fitting title falls into place. 

For now I was waking up trying to just clear my thought and start the day before I could start writing a story worth writing or reading.

The door was cracked. I gave it a little tap and said softly, “It’s 9 o’clock.” I heard back, 

“So what!!!” 

Behind that door was my little one, my very first born, now a full grown woman, engaged & soon to be married. 

I thought back to the beginning of her life. We named her Kyri. Her mom and I were so amazed to be part of the process in which a new life comes into to being. We knew the real source, the true Creator, and wanted to give Him the glory. Her name means “God”. Well, we took the greek Kyrie and dropped 1 letter. We weren’t so arrogant that we thought she was God but we wanted to give her a name that was pretty, beautiful and reflected God, just as some name their child “Christian”. Her middle name is Christina (Follower of Jesus). I’m sure some may argue with all this and the meaning of her name but without one word we knew what we wanted her name to be and what meaning we wanted it to have. Plus, there was a popular song from the 1980’s called, “Kyrie” by the band Mr. Mister that rang a bell with us.

Oh, to write the perfect story. Not just about Kyri but about life! One with a great beginning. One with a middle filled with mystery, adventure, drama both good and bad and an ending…an ending…well, with an ending that had no real end but that lets the story carry on. Not just a happily ever after but a journey that continues well beyond the last few words.

I sat with pen in hand and I realized, or thought with my limited mind, that it has all already been written; and yet…has it been written with my interpretation? Has it been written from where I am sitting, from my prospective? I questioned myself, did a little soul searching & thought of a post I wrote recently which was already in story form about a teenage girl, a friend & finding their way in this life. (That post -note: scheduled to be published May 9, 2018)

I gathered my thoughts the best I could, stretched (doing a few exercises), put the song Firefly by Hiromi on repeat, got some coffee and chewed on this story idea.

Then, sitting down with paper & pen I sat in front of the journal I’ve kept for her and started joting down notes as they came to mind. 

Quickly they began to enter & fly around. I had to pray and ask my creator to help me reign them into something that would be understood by her & anyone else who reads it.

It was Palm Sunday March 25, two-thousand eighteen. A date is always good to start with. 

Quickly I realized that this day, today, the present, was not when any of this really started. When taking part in creating a story or composition, let alone developing, nurturing another life suddenly I feel so small and the reality is, although I can create I am not the creator. How do I even begin?

I took a few moments to think about what took place on the original Palm Sunday. That day was not when everything really started either. Everything  started way, way before all that and right now from where I sit in this period and chunck of time, this too was soon to be part of history that started long, long ago, seemingly in a distant galaxy far, far away & yet within the very same place I now call home.

Life is a matter of perspective. For many people their life story seems to pass, having never really lived, alive  but not really taking it all in or thinking that living recklessly drinking & shooting it yelling, “YOLO!” will some how lead to living a truly satisfied life where they can sing from deep within, “It is all well with my soul.”

 Some how the menure life has dished out isn’t valued as fertilize. It is just viewed as smelly, viel & poison; however, with the right perspective we can come to a point at one point or another to realize that it is that very waste that will allow us to grow so much better, that is of coures if the dirt we are in is good to begin with at the start. Jesus told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one: “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds… Matthew 13:3 NLT

 With all this in mind it is never too late to begin or begin again.
In regard to the middle of life, this story we write page by page, chapter by chapter, is all a matter of perspective too; although, the middle is not known, left in God’s hands we can’t know what health we may have or not have. We don’t know what “accidents” and mishaps we may befall. We don’t know what God knows. We don’t understand what only He can understand. 

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord . “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. Isaiah 55:8 NLT

When we are really young we never jump to thinking about the end of life for we haven’t even reached what we think could be the middle. Many times it isn’t until the middle that we’ve begun to learn from our early beginnings and may see patterns and habits that give us a foreshadow as to how we’d like things to turn out as we grow. 

We assume we’ll live a long life & die when we are much older but quickly we find out that we don’t have any more control over how things end than we had since we were born. 

Some feel stuck in the middle and may try to do or not do thibgs differently as to have some way of writing their story (life) in a more meaningful way or at least more interesting & adventurous.
Far too many may see the ending is vastly unlike many of the fairy tales they recall so dearly from their childhood. Often it may not be until one is confronted and faced with what they think is the ending or they witness the end of a loved one’s life that they even think about “the end”.  

The stories we learn to read as we grow up don’t always have a “happily everafter” ending; however, a few days after reading those type of stories and mentally digesting them we realize there is so much more, a deeper meaning than just how it all ended. 

It was how the story unfolded that made it worth reading & memorable having drank it all in.

Sure, upon finishing, at first our focus is on that ending & we’ve all but forgotten the once upon a time beginning that we sunk ourselves into as we curled up with it & dove in head first. 

At the end of reading the finally is fresh in our minds but even as long as a few days, weeks, months & years later we realize…the beginning is not the story. Just the middle section is not the story. The ending can’t be all there is. We are able to begin at the end, after having taken it all in, to realize there is more. We say in our minds, 

“Wait a minute! It’s not all about the ending. It’s about the story as a whole and reaching a conclusion that is far bigger than how this story ended.”

Our mind & souls long for more, more, more when we reach the end of a good story.

The beginning sets things up for us. That’s where we got to know setting & the characters, especially those significant toward the plot. As we travel along with what was written our minds even enjoy the side trips but when we reach the end we feel like we’ve only just begun and we hope there is a sequel or even a prequel that we can read, taking us deeper and continuing what we started. We know there is always more to the story, more than what was written and more than could be written. 

When looking at the best story ever told, it is not how it was told but the fact that it was told and that it is more than words on a page.

Looking at The Holy Word of God. The author of life has inspired people to write accounts given by Him. We read what Jesus’s cousin John wrote, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” (John 21:25 NIV)

SO, I REALIZED TODAY THAT WORDS AND BOOKS CAN’T CONTAIN THE PERFECT STORY, ALTHOUGH WE MAY TRY. THE PERFECT STORY CAN NOT JUST BE READ IT MUST BE EXPERIENCED IN SOME WAY.

This story started long before today or the original Palm Sunday, the first true Christmas morning or even before creation and without the beginning, without creation, there is no today. There would be no story to tell. The reality is that all creation tells this story. Each element is only part of the bigger moving picture and how can a story this big and broad and beyond our human comprehension even begin to be told?

The lyrics written for the hymn “The Love of God Is Greater Far” reads, 

The love of God is greater far. Than tongue or pen can ever tell. It goes beyond the highest star And reaches to the lowest hell.

It goes on in verse 3, 

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
  And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
  And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
  Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
  Though stretched from sky to sky.

All creation sings and the evidence of God is all around us in this living active story of love, balance & life.

Some may believe and knowingly participate but all will be part of living out the perfect story that has already be written.

Perhaps one of the most well known authors of our life time put it best when he wrote

 “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts,”

All The World’s A Stage

To be contined…

Stay tuned for Part 2 of The Perfect Story (to be published later).

Fighting From Bed

The above pic.s are from a calander I gave to my oldest daughter. Each day gives scripture that support how God speaks to us, as if getting a phone call from Him. (This was from Feb. 16 but I plan on publishing it in March because it goes along well with other devoted thoughts set to be published then.)

His Word (The Holy Scriptures) and the actions through what He did while in the flesh (Jesus Christ) speak loudly and yet are a whisper to our souls. 

His Holy Spirit still sends alerts to us. Those around us may not even be aware of it; however, just as if our phone is on vibrate & tucked into a pocket of ours, we are notified that He is trying to reach us.

He calls daily. He tries to reach us 24/7 just as He responds to our calls to Him 24/7.

He does not force Himself on us. He speaks and says, “Those who have ears to hear let them hear what The Spirit is saying.”

If we are quiet enough and willing to answer His call we find encouragement and the more abundant life only He can give, regardless of our situation.

Many times our hard times, our trials, our difficulties, opposition, handicaps do one of two things

  1. Cause us to try harder in our own strength, getting further from God.
  2. Draw closer to Him, surrender to Him, letting Him do His will.

Scripture: Quiet, everyone! Shh! Silence before God . Something’s afoot in his holy house. He’s on the move! (Zechariah 2:13 MSG)

http://bible.com/97/zec.2.13.MSG 

God , the Master, The Holy of Israel, has this solemn counsel: 

“Your salvation requires you to turn back to me and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves. Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me— The very thing you’ve been unwilling to do. 

You’ve said, ‘Nothing doing! We’ll rush off on horseback!’ You’ll rush off, all right! Just not far enough! 

You’ve said, ‘We’ll ride off on fast horses!’ Do you think your pursuers ride old nags? 

Think again: A thousand of you will scatter before one attacker. Before a mere five you’ll all run off. There’ll be nothing left of you— a flagpole on a hill with no flag, a signpost on a roadside with the sign torn off.” 

But God ’s not finished. He’s waiting around to be gracious to you. He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you. God takes the time to do everything right—everything. Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones. (Isaiah 30:15-18 MSG)

http://bible.com/97/isa.30.15-18.MSG 

Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. 

Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees

No danger then of walking around high and mighty! 

At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, 

My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. 

I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift

It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness

Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. 

I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

2 Corinthians 12:7‭-‬10 MSG

http://bible.com/97/2co.12.7-10.MSG

Keeping the line of communication open, Beetle

Depression Despite Faith

As I took a look at  “Teens’- Q&A devotionals on top questions” one of the @YouVersion Plans this one stood out…

If I’m Depressed, Does that Mean that I Don’t Have Enough Faith?

Many of the major figures in the Bible experienced sadness or depression. Elijah, Job, Jonah, David, and many others were at one time or another overwhelmed with the problems that they faced, and they even wondered if God was still present. 

The Psalms include many examples of believers experiencing great sadness. For example Psalm 42:3 says, “My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’”

In life there are many factors that can make us feel overwhelmingly sad or depressed.

 

That is not a sign of spiritual weakness or lack of faith. 

Often it is a combination of difficult circumstances along with chemical reactions in the brain. 

Clearly when we feel depressed, we should seek help through prayer, but also by seeking advice from counselors and pastors, and by seeking medical help. 

Today there are many ways to treat depression, which is a medical condition rather than a lack of faith.

Note depressed Elijah was as recorded in 1st Kings 19

Also for great answers to questions we all have, not just teens have go to: The @YouVersion Plan “Teens’- Q&A devotionals on top questions.” Check it out here:

http://bible.com/r/KN

Is The Devil Even Real?

Although we can not see things in the spiritual realm I personally believe in the existences of the being named Satan as much I put my faith in God (Father, Son & Holy Spirit).

I believe there is a battle between evil forces & righteousness.

The devil would like for nothing more than for people to not believe he exists and that there is no battle so that he could win them over, see no need for God and think everything is just fine without Jesus being Lord.

The other extreme would be if we could see the devil in everything and be so preoccupied by pointing him and his work out that we lose sight of just how great God is, how much He loves everyone & all He does.

As believers,

 We fight knowing our enemy is real and powerful. 

We realize the battle is not against the person next to us, the other party, or the culture. 

We don’t fight alone. 

We fight united, against a spiritual power who wants us dead forever. 

We fight by humbly receiving the gift of salvation. 

We fight with awareness of the enemy’s playbook, and by practicing our playbook: God’s Word. 

We win with confession. 

We win when we put light next to darkness. 

We defeat our enemy by surrendering to our God. 

Famous author and theologian, C.S. Lewis, said it like this, “We do not come to God as bad people trying to become good people; we come as rebels to lay down our arms.”  -note taken from the conclusion (day 5) of the @YouVersion Plan When The Devil Knocks. Check it out here:

http://bible.com/r/2OK

Scripture: Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:11‭-‬12 NASB

http://bible.com/100/eph.6.11-12.NASB

No need to go on a witch hunt and try to prove the existence of the devil and in doing so point out where we think he lives & all that he does… Instead of looking at his work I’d rather keep my focus on God’s goodness.

So, is the devil even real?

The simple short answer for me when searching is,

You better believe it buddy! 


Scripture: Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

James 4:7 NASB

http://bible.com/100/jas.4.7.NASB

Called by Name Not by Sin (Defender vs. Accuser)

Resource: The @YouVersion Plan When The Devil Knocks. (Day 4) 

 The Accuser –

Satan wants to play with your heart like it’s a sport. When you’re about to sin, he aggressively defends against your better judgment and the Holy Spirit inside you. Then, as soon as you put some sin on the score board, He goes on the offense, attacking your heart.

Your accuser says, “You did it again—you’ll never overcome this. It’s just who you are. You’re a loser and you’ll always be a weak, loser of an addict.” 

He calls you by your sin, not your name.

The Defender  –

God is your gracious Father who hates sin and lovingly calls you by your name. You have a real defender, Jesus, sent by your gracious Father to pay the price for your sin. When your heavenly Father looks at you, He sees Jesus and calls you by your new name, son or daughter of God.

When you give your broken life to Jesus, He gives His eternal life to you. 

What does this mean for facing daily accusation from the enemy? How does this impact shame, guilt, misplaced identity, and the ugly names you believe about yourself?

Song break: 

Back to sports. Winning teams have a great coach, a playbook, and lots of practice. In life, you get lots of practice, a great coach (the Holy Spirit), and the Bible (a playbook with your plays and your enemy’s plays).

 As you read today’s Scripture, watch how these examples below play out. And don’t forget: you’re on the winning team.

Today’s Scripture: Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.

Revelation 12:10‭-‬11 NASB

http://bible.com/100/rev.12.10-11.NASB

Scripture: My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

1 John 2:1‭-‬2 NASB

http://bible.com/100/1jn.2.1-2.NASB

Scripture: And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:1‭-‬9 NASB

http://bible.com/100/eph.2.1-9.NASB

When you’re tempted…

  •  If you hear, “You’re a good person. You’ve earned this. You’re strong enough to try it and quit later.” That’s the devil’s accusation.
  •  If you hear, “What does Scripture say about this? How will this impact your heart? Who will this hurt?” That’s the Holy Spirit’s conviction. 

When you fail…

  •  If you hear, “I’m a failure. I’ll never get this right. This is just how I am.” That’s the devil’s accusation. 
  • If you hear, “Pray. Come back to me. We can overcome this together. Don’t be afraid to tell someone.” That’s the Holy Spirit’s conviction.

When you cover up… 

  • If you hear, “If they don’t know, it won’t hurt them. If you tell them, they’ll reject you. Keep quiet—they’re probably doing worse anyway.” That’s the devil’s accusation. 
  • If you hear, “You can’t cover this up forever. I see what you’ve done, and I love you. You can heal from this if you open up.” That’s the Holy Spirit’s conviction.

When you confess…

  •  If you hear, “You’re a sicko. How could you be so horrible? You’re alone in this.” That’s the devil’s accusation. 
  • If you hear, “I love you. I forgive you. I’m with you. Here’s a new way to live.” Those are the words of your loving heavenly Father.

Prayer: God, You’re never-changing. Thank You. Please help me listen to the Holy Spirit when I’m tempted, when I fail, when I’d rather cover up my issues, and when I confess. You are the only one who is good—all the time. 

Resource: The @YouVersion Plan When The Devil Knocks. Check it out here:

http://bible.com/r/2OK

Suprerstitions = Stupidstitions

Superstitions: 

I did a post called, “Pigeon Superstition” <-click to go to it.
It is funny, some of the things we practice & do, thinking it will bring us luck or blessings.

Thank God we don’t have to do things a certain way or otherwise be rejected by God.

We can come to God just as we are and He accepts us.

He accepts us even at our worse.

God is bigger than our little hang ups. He fully gave Himself up for us. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:7‭-‬8 NASB

http://bible.com/100/rom.5.7-8.NASB