The Apple Tree

One morning recently as I sat at breakfast, I noticed our apple tree in full bloom. I always enjoy seeing it bloom but unfortunately, it produces very few if any apples. Why? Because it sits by itself with no other apple trees anywhere around it. Our son gave us the tree for my husband’s birthday about 20 years ago, and we didn’t realize it needed another one to produce apples. At first it did bear some fruit about the size of a plum, so I made applesauce. The next year the apples were more the size of cherries, so we let the birds and squirrels have them.

I realized when I looked at that apple tree and saw its potential and that unreached destiny, how many Christians are like that tree. They believe in Jesus as their Savior, but they aren’t in any church, so they don’t have the nourishment and cross-pollination of mixing with other believers. They don’t get to interact and be taught. They don’t see other people’s issues and how they handle them, so that if they have similar circumstances they’re better able to deal with them.

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. (Hebrews 10:25 New Living Translation)

I realize some people work on Sundays and others are homebound and can’t get out; but if you can, let me encourage you to attend a fellowship of believers. Not only will you be taught the Word of God, but others will encourage you through difficult times; they’ll care about you as you care about them. I watch my church on the internet if I’m sick and can’t attend, but there’s an atmosphere you don’t get from the internet or the TV. If you don’t know of a Bible-based church to attend, ask a Christian friend, then search until you know you’ve found the one that God shows you. You’ll be glad you did.

Do I Fit the Ephesian’s Pattern?

Paul stayed with the church in Ephesus for three years, teaching them all about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, during a time when most believers only had an apostle or disciple come to teach the way of salvation for weeks or a few months at most. History says that John the beloved disciple stayed at Ephesus for an equally long time. What a privilege! To have two outstanding apostles teaching and preaching for several years, one would think that later the Ephesian church would be a shining example to all others.

Unfortunately, that did not happen. In Acts 20:29-30 (see verses 18-38 for context) Paul warns the leaders of this church about those who would come in to lead the believers away from God. We read in Revelation 2:1-7 the history of the Ephesian church, not that many years after John was there. Christ commends the church for their hard work, patient endurance and not tolerating those who are evil. Then He said, “You don’t love me or each other as you did at first” (verse 4, New Living Translation). Then Christ warns them to turn back and love Him wholeheartedly.

How many of us are in this same position? We’ve had good biblical teaching but suddenly we find ourselves too busy with matters of everyday life? Possibly soon after our salvation, we were excited to share the good news of Jesus’ forgiveness. Possibly we poured over the Bible, eager to learn more; joy filled our heart. Now all that has somehow leaked out and we still go to church, but it’s not as life-giving as it once was. If this fits our situation, be encouraged because our Father always gives us another opportunity to return to loving Him with our whole being. When we determine to turn back to our first love for Christ, we’ll find more blessings than we can imagine.

Did I Miss My Burning Bush?

This morning at breakfast I noticed the tiny leaves on a pecan tree in our back yard. What a happy sight! The pecans don’t bud out until all danger of frost is over, signaling that spring has arrived. At lunch I turned slightly backwards and saw that our sweet gum tree also had tiny leaves, then I looked up to the top of this 30-foot tree, where larger though still small leaves appeared easily visible. I realized that as I’m watching what happens in the part of the yard where it’s easy for me to see, that I’m missing what’s happening a little behind my back as I sit at our table.

The thought occurred to me that if I were Moses on the back side of the desert tending sheep, and the upper leaves on the sweet gum were my burning bush, would I have missed it? Would I have been too busy looking the wrong direction to see it? Burning bushes come to all of us, but we must open our eyes to the whole horizon to see them. We can’t only look for them at church or when reading our Bible. We must keep our spirits sensitive to the Holy Spirit so that He will nudge us to look in the right direction, wherever our burning bush may be.

The Comfort of Love

Last Sunday morning at church Pam stood her two-year-old grandson just below the stage so he could watch her while she sang with our praise group. Christian stood quietly but clapping his hands in time to the music. Suddenly he spotted the stairs to the stage and realized he could stand right next to Meme. As he started climbing the stairs, a man well-known to Christian come up to get him but our pastor intervened and said to let him go ahead. All the congregation was watching the scene as it played out anyway, so it might as well be acknowledged. That’s when grandma took him up on the stage and put him in her chair, where he sat quietly and contented until the praise and worship part of our service ended.

As this scene occurred, I sat down and wrote in my notebook of how Christian’s actions illustrate a child of God wanting the comfort of their Father’s love. Human love may let us down at times, but His never will. More than this, it speaks of how others can try to interfere with that closeness. Now the man who reached out to Christian only had the best intentions, but in our daily lives, we do find people who try to keep us from God. Sometimes our foe isn’t a person but busyness or disinterest on our part. Perhaps we allow work or our family’s sporting events or something else distract us, so we don’t spend quality time with God.

But the child of God who understands just how dearly God loves them naturally wants to get closer to their Daddy-God, just like Christian wanted to get closer to Meme, even though he could see her about three feet away. He wanted the comfort of her love. Being next to her and holding her hand proved much more satisfactory.

How much do we want to be closer to our Father? Do we make the effort to draw nearer? Not that we must work harder for the Kingdom but that we must reach out and give quality time and seek God. He assures us that when we seek Him and draw close to Him, that we’ll surely gain the comfort of His love. Several verses refer to this: Deuteronomy 4:29; Proverbs 8:17; Jeremiah 29:13; Matthew 7:7; Luke 11:9 and Acts 27:7.

Take some extra time this week to seek out and to find more of the comfort of your Father’s love. He’s yearning and waiting for you.

Order or Chaos?

As I stopped at an intersection of two highways on my way home from church one Sunday, I noticed that cars from two other directions were also stopped. This light took a long time to change because of its location, and we all sat, waiting. No one moved and I thought how senseless that was: that several cars sat stopped and no one could move. Then the Holy Spirit reminded me of pictures I’d seen on TV of traffic in third world countries where everyone went all the time, cars bumper to bumper. How could you ever turn left, I’d thought? No one gave anyone else an opportunity to do anything, other than follow the car in front of them. What chaos!

Just as I thought of that chaos, the Holy Spirit spoke to me about what chaos occurs in our lives if we don’t allow God to guide us in all we do. He has a plan for our lives and will show us that plan if we give Him time. Often we’re so busy running from one thing to another, we’re exhausted and don’t even finish all we start or need to get done. Following God’s will for our lives brings clarity and order, just as people obeying traffic lights keeps accidents from happening because traffic flow is orderly.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. (Psalm 139:15-16 New Living Translation)

Sometimes since then the thought of order and chaos returns when I’m stopped at a light and waiting while no one moves because there’s no traffic the direction the light is green. Yet, I’d rather sit and enjoy the order traffic lights bring than to experience the chaos of everyone going all the time with no controls.

Am I in chaos or am I allowing the Holy Spirit to bring order to my life?

The Fog

As my car crawled along the road, I tried to keep up with the truck in front of me so I could continue following his lights. That way I could tell better how the road twisted and turned, praying anyone coming from the opposite direction drove carefully and stayed on their side of the highway. While I’ve driven in fog previously, this was thicker than any I’d ever encountered, so I breathed a sigh of relief when that truck pulled out in front of me, giving me guidance by his tail lights.

At times I’ve gone through periods of spiritual fog, hardly able to see the way ahead. The way continued dark for miles, it seemed. God’s voice looked like it had disappeared, and I couldn’t find which direction to go, so I kept doing those things I knew to do even though I wasn’t satisfied. Finally, the light of Jesus came to my rescue, and even though fog still surrounded me, I followed that bit of light to my destination where I could see clearly.

This fog also comes with our emotions. They appear to have become numb or to have died because of heart-break or harm someone has caused us. We simply can’t see our way out of the confusion and pain. “Why did this happen,” we ask. “What did I do wrong,” we continue the self-blame game. Certainly, we had a part to play, but sometimes that part is to get out of a situation that continually harms us. Then we wonder “Am I strong enough to do this? How will I manage by myself?” We feel surrounded by doubts and insufficiency on every side and don’t yet see those lights of Jesus pulling out in front of us to show us the road ahead. That’s when we bow down in surrender and simply tell Jesus we don’t know how to come out of this darkness and depend on His truth to guide us. We must stake our heart on knowing that God’s Word is true and that He loves us beyond measure, trusting Him to lead us back into the light.

Difficult decisions often bring this same foggy effect mentally. We weigh the pros and cons, but both seem to have unintended and unwanted consequences. We don’t know which way to go and again fog surrounds us. That’s when I’ve determined to set aside two or three hours that I’m going to stay in Father’s presence until I get an answer. I don’t do this feeling stubborn or hard-headed but rather surrender myself and agree to submit to God’s will. It takes uninterrupted time, but I’ve always received an answer to my issue of what decision to make.

I’ve learned that when I rush ahead and make my own decision at such times, I later regret it. But when mental, emotional or spiritual fog surrounds me and I surrender to God while waiting for His light to appear, He always shows me the way to a good destination.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord (James 1:5-7 New Living Translation).

Your own ears will hear Him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left” (Isaiah 30:21 NLT).

I AM!

As I praised God a few days ago, I named many of His attributes and then His names, such as Jehovah Jireh, meaning the God who provides (the ram in the bush for Abraham; see Genesis 22:13-14.) With force the name I Am came to my mind. At that instant, I saw the power and the glory in that name. When God told Moses to tell the Israelites who sent him to bring them out of bondage to the Egyptians, He said to tell them I AM has sent you.

We need names for God and His character attributes to help us understand just Who He is and what He is like. Words like Father, Lord God Almighty and characteristics like holy and loving, righteous and forgiving. But God himself doesn’t need any modifiers. He is Who He is. I AM, the same yesterday, today and forever. He was before anything created and called all things into being. God will be after everything on this earth is gone.

We say I am and give our name, perhaps our occupation or define ourselves as parent, daughter or son. I’ve had the experience of learning there are many people named Sandra Meyer in the world with over 100 I counted on Facebook. A few years ago, I found 17 named Sandra Meyer in Texas when I got doctor bills from two different doctors, whom I’d also seen. Even though I get tired of having to give my birth date at the doctor’s or pharmacy, I also am no longer getting another Sandra Meyer’s bills. While I’m an individual and possess unique qualities and weaknesses, just like everyone else, my name is certainly not unique.

God’s name of I AM is unique, however. No one else exists like God. God is all-powerful, always present, and all-knowing. No one else can begin to claim those characteristics. Most people groups choose their god, but the Jewish people were chosen by their God, and from there comes Christianity because of Jesus Christ. He also chose you and me, as John 15:16 states, “You have not chosen me; but I have chosen you.” Most other religions base their ideas on someone who has died, but Christianity bases on Jesus Christ, the Son of God Almighty, who rose from the dead. We rejoice in what Jesus has done and continues to do for us, knowing that our spirits will continue to live eternally with I AM, even after our bodies die.

Do you know I AM? If not, you’re missing so much. He gave His precious Son’s life so that you might know Him intimately. That’s His greatest desire! He can change your life and make it immensely better. After I’d been searching for a closer walk with God as a Christian, He put a song in my heart when I asked Jesus to be Lord of my life as well as my Savior. I was baptized in the joy of the Holy Spirit and became much more aware of His guidance. I began to know my holy Father continually better until He became my Daddy-God, as I pictured myself being a little girl crawling up on His lap when I hurt and needed His soothing ways. Other times I see myself as Isaiah in the book of his name, chapter 6 or as gazing upon the I AM God in Revelation 4.

Wouldn’t you want to know the great I AM in a more intimate way? It’s so easy. Simply accept Jesus as the One who gave His life so all your wrong-doings can be forgiven and you’ll become a child of Holy God. Then study your Bible and pray whatever prayers the Holy Spirit gives you. Let God be your good, good Father with only love for you, no matter what!

The Captain

I am a soldier
Weary after a long and tiring battle
Battered, bruised, bleeding –
Needing healing for my wounds.

I am a soldier
But I am also a captain
Called to lead my men
To fend off enemy forces.

I am a soldier
But I was sorely wounded –
Neglected my duty to my men
Allowed enemy troops to overtake us.

I am a soldier
Fallen in body but fallen in leadership –
Asking forgiveness of my broken and harassed men,
Asking for another chance to lead to victory.

I am a soldier and also a captain –
Rallying from retreat
Repairing shattered defenses
Taking up our weapons to win this war.

I am a captain –
Leading my fighting men
Pushing back the enemy
Retrieving taken land.

I am my Lord’s captain –
Marching as He commands
Leading my men onward and upward
Proclaiming the Lord’s victory.

The Battle

Groveling about in the mud of despair
Rejection and pain cast me down
I want to get up – but how?
They hang about so close
Enveloping me
Surrounding and confusing all my thoughts.

Yet, I know a way out of this tunnel
I know I must take it
Or deeper I go.
But I’m so lost in the darkness
Almost giving up hope
Almost but not quite.

I know my hope rests in Jesus my Lord
So I call out His name in desperation.
“Here I am,” He answers me.
“Grab hold of my hand
I died to set you free –
Yes, your freedom rests in Me alone.”

Jesus pulls me from that muddy pit
He washes all the dirt from my face
Then He dresses me with clean white clothes
And tells me, “Next time, put on your armor;
Do not let those thoughts pull you down
But fight with all your might.”

“Fight with all your might
And stand, stand strong upon my Word
Store it up in your heart
For it is your defense;
When distress comes your way.
My Word conquers every foe.”

Satan knows he’s defeated already
But he figures you don’t know
So he attacks with all his might to overcome.
You need not fall, for you have armor
And the sword of my Word stands strong
You will surely win when you stand and fight.
___________

See Ephesians 6:10-18 for details about the spiritual armor of God.

Who Am I?

Do you have low self-esteem? Many of us do, and for most of my life I did. Circumstances work to make us feel this way, though our situations may be far different. What changed? I learned who I am as a child of God. I also learned that I need to reinforce the positives in my life and not the negatives because that gives them more power if I think about them most of the time. If you’re in this condition, you might every day look in the mirror and repeat the following:

 When I confess Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead, I am saved from sin and have eternal life with God. (Romans 6:23, 10:9; John 17:3)

 When I confess my sins, they are forgiven by God. (Hebrews 8:12, 10:17; 1 John 1:9)

 All my forgiven sins are far from God’s remembrance. (Psalm 103:12)

 I am a beloved daughter/son of the Lord God Almighty. (Romans 5:8; 1 John 6:10)

 I am worthy because Christ died for me. (Romans 8:32; 1 John 4:10)

 When I feel guilty for past sins after I earnestly confess them, Satan is lying to me because I am no longer condemned by God for them. (Romans 8:1)

 God is for me! (Romans 8:31)

 God has promised me good and not evil, and He works for my good. (Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 8:28)

 God will hear me when I pray to Him. (Jeremiah 29:11; Psalm 66:17-19)

 No one can take me away from God. (John 10:38; Romans 8:38 & 39)

 God knows me intimately. (Psalm 139:1-16)

 God chose me and has a purpose for my life. (Jeremiah 1:5; John 15:16)

 God gave me a spiritual gift to be used to glorify Him and help others. (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:1 & 4-12, 14:1-6; Ephesians 4:11-12)

 I am not worse or below others, but I am not better than others either. (Romans 12:3)

An old saying tells us that the ground is level at the foot of the cross. This means that we are all equal because God has no favorites. He loves everyone the same, and that is what gives us our worth: that He loved us enough to send Jesus to pay the death penalty for our sins. Therefore, we rejoice because we are the beloved daughters and sons of the Lord Most High God, Creator of heaven and earth.

The Children God Seeks

How God’s heart must hurt
As His children misunderstand Him so;
While He reaches out in love,
They go the way of His foe.
 
God seeks children who will
Spend time with Him, wanting to be near;
But who can He find, willing to give Him time?
They are too busy, and His presence they fear.
 
God seeks children to love Him,
To return His love in some small measure;
But His children’s eyes are self-centered,
And they seek to provide their own pleasure.
 
God seeks children committed to Him,
Who — by loving others — give Him glory,
Those who are willing to forget themselves,
To live for God and tell His story.
 
God seeks all over the earth
For children such as these.
Will you be one that He can find,
Give Him time on bended knees?

In the Beginning GOD. . .

Watching the sunrise one morning made me think of Genesis 1:1. In the beginning God. Yes, I know the rest of the chapter details all the things God made. BUT what if we stopped and let God be at the beginning of everything?

  • First thing in the morning, we open the day with God.
  • First thing in a new year, we allow God to guide our plans for the days and months ahead.
  • First thing in a wedding, God becomes the first One of us three.
  • First thing with a newborn, we thank God for that precious life and then ask Him to guide the child throughout his life: first steps, first day of school and all the other firsts.
  • First thing when we face the loss of a job.
  • First thing when illness strikes, do we praise God for being with us before asking Him to heal us?
  • First thing when we face the death of a loved one.
  • First thing when we realize we’re facing our own destiny in heaven or in hell.

You get the idea. Many of us start the day with a devotional time with our Father. Are there other places where we need to put God at the beginning? Let’s watch for new beginnings and allow our heavenly Father to go before us.

My New Year’s Prayer for You

Dear friend, I pray that all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit (3 John 2, New Living Translation.)

What an all-encompassing prayer! I wish it for each of you and for my own family as well. Let’s examine quickly just what the prayer does say. Merriam-Webster says that prosper means: To succeed in an enterprise or activity; to achieve economic success; to become strong and flourishing.

I’d also say that includes emotional satisfaction and fulfillment as well as our health. But if we can’t find contentment because that God-shaped hole grows deeper daily, then we can’t truly consider ourselves prospering either. So we need all of these to be completely prosperous.

I really like the fact that John, the beloved disciple and an apostle, prayed that his friend may prosper in every way. I’m glad I can repeat that prayer for others. I’m sure most of us want to prosper also.

When we think of prospering in every way, we often think of finances first. If we’re concerned about unpaid bills that we can’t meet, then we have no prosperity. And naturally we want our families to be happy within their families – for marriages to be good, children to behave in an appropriate manner, for all those relationships within the broader family to be harmonious. We think of prospering in our work as having a job we enjoy and can do competently, as well as being paid a reasonable amount for the skills involved in the job.

John prayed for his friend’s health, and I certainly wish for others, as well as myself to be well in the coming year. Being healthy is something we’d all like to experience. We probably never miss it so much until we don’t have our health and then realize how important it is in all we do. It is difficult to work when we hurt or feel unwell, whether we’re on the job or work at home. Life is simply more enjoyable when we’re healthy.

Then John says he prays Gaius is as healthy physically as he is spiritually. Evidently Gaius was walking the Lord for John to have said that. Oops! Would we want someone to say this to us? Is our spiritual life healthy enough that we’d want our body to be the same way?

That gives us something to think about, doesn’t it? Often people make a new year’s resolution to lose weight. Maybe this year, we need to make a resolution to help our spirits gain weight and to become and stay healthy spiritually. How does my physical health compare to my spiritual health? What do I need to do to become spiritually healthy?

Poem for Those Who’ve Lost Loved Ones This Year

Several of my friends have lost loved ones this year, and I dedicate this poem to them. Some years ago God gave me this idea of the joy those who know Jesus Christ as their Savior and are children of our Father experience when entering heaven. I cannot say this reality fits all who pass this life, for regrettably they turned their backs on the One who could give them this new life. The Gospel of John tells us much about this decision we must make while still alive.

John calls Satan a thief in John 10:10 and we’re told the different purposes he has in our lives and Jesus has for our lives. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they have life and have [it] abundantly.”

Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and in 1 John 3:8 we read, “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” Jesus therefore tells us that Satan wants only our harm, but He came to bless us.

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me’” in John 14:6. The thick veil in the Jewish temple in Jerusalem being torn apart from top to bottom when Jesus died indicates that the way for us to know God as our Father is no longer through following laws and rituals but through simply recognizing Jesus as the One who makes us clean before God so we can become His children.

“God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” Many people recognize John 3:16 probably more than any other verse in the Bible unless it’s Psalm 23:1, “The Lord is my Shepherd.”

We hardly hear, however, of verses 17-18 in John 3 which say, “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Finally, Ezekiel 18:23 records God saying, “Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord God, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?”

If anyone does not realize that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay for all you’ve done wrong so you can become a child of God, then I ask you to please contact me or talk with someone who is a believer and find out how when you die, you can go to heaven and know the great joy that this poem discusses, plus so much more than words can express.

My Destiny

Joy unspeakable!
How can I describe this blessedness?
So far surpassing all I imagined
The greatest words cannot do it justice.

“What joy,” you ask,
“What brings such rapture?”

The sight of my Jesus’ face!
How can I picture such love
Such compassion, even for me?
What word describes His glory?
The glory of the only begotten Son!

Then I see my Father!
My Daddy-God.
The tears fall down my face
Tears of humility, adoration and love.
I kneel at His feet and worship
Almighty God!

No eye has seen
No ear has heard
No mind has conceived
What God has prepared
For those who love Him.
(1 Corinthians 2:9)

I cannot tell you all this wonder;
Truly, you must see it for yourself!
 

God Became Human!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men….And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:1-4, 14 NASB).

The wonderful message of Christmas in a nutshell is that God became human! Though we may not fully understand it, God is undivided in thought or action, yet is three distinct persons with separate functions: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

The Father did not become incarnate. The Holy Spirit only came to live in people’s hearts after Jesus’ resurrection and ascent into heaven. For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11). Jesus the Son is the one who was born as a baby and lived on earth in a human body, died, was resurrected and ascended into heaven.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God became  human with all the feelings, thoughts and needs we have. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).

God became human! May the wonder and blessing of this thought be with you throughout the Christmas Season.

Joy to the World, the Lord is Come!

A Christmas Present for Jesus

How much easier it is to talk the Christian talk than it is to walk the Christian walk. Even moral unbelievers can sometimes pass as Christians if we don’t really know them. Why? Because sometimes Christians don’t appear to live that much differently than the unbelievers.

My husband once worked for a Muslim man from Turkey, who outwardly lived as clean and good a life as any Christian. He was a good husband, father and boss; my husband and others who worked for him respected him for his ability and judgment. He didn’t smoke or drink, curse or talk badly about others. We knew his wife and children, and they all had a good family relationship. He believed in Allah instead of believing in Jesus Christ as his Savior.

How much easier it is to go to church,  give to the church and appear to be a faithful Christ-follower than it is to regularly check out hearts and see if Christ really has first place. Yes, we should and do love our families and care for them. We must give time to our jobs. But no matter what we do, is it for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31)?

Obviously we can’t stop every time before we do something and ask, “Am I doing this to glorify God?” But we can ask ourselves if our life purpose is to live for His honor. We can ask ourselves if anything we do would discredit the fact that we claim to follow Christ. Are we loving? That was Jesus’ most outstanding characteristic, for everything He did came from love for God and people.

The Bible tells us to examine ourselves before we partake of the Lord’s Supper or Communion (1 Corinthians 11:27 but see verses 23-32 for context.) Do we? Merriam Webster Dictionary defines communion as an act or instance of sharing or as intimate fellowship or rapport, besides the way Christians ordinarily mean the word. To me, the Lord’s Supper is all of these and needs to be taken very seriously but joyfully. Paul warns that it must be taken seriously. And why joyfully? Because of all God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son sacrificed for us so we can have intimacy with Them.

In Luke 46-49 Jesus compares a person who calls Him Lord but don’t obey His commands to a person who builds his house on sand, but a flood comes and washes away that house. James says someone who doesn’t obey the Word is like a person who looks in a mirror but then forgets what he looks like as soon as he turns away (1:22-25).

Both these Scriptures discuss how believers need to respond to God’s Word. Whether we’re personally reading the Bible or hearing it read, it should touch our hearts and gradually change us so that we more nearly display some of Christ’s characteristics.

Is there any greater present we can give our Lord this Christmas (or any other time!) than to make our life’s purpose to follow Him more closely?

And so dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice–the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him (Romans 12:1-2 New Living Translation).

Story of Anonymus Person

Soon after I posted “Receiving God’s Love,” I realized that I should have stated this story came from the Holy Spirit; it is not my life at all, except that Jesus died for my sins as well and I’m a child of Father God. I had loving Christian parents who very early taught me about trusting in Jesus as my Savior so I could have a child relationship with my Father. I simply don’t want anyone who knows me to think bad of my faithful parents. They were very good to my brother and me.

Receiving God’s Love

God, I don’t really know how to approach You, but a person told me You loved me. Really loved me so much that You gave up your Son on my behalf. Now that’s really hard to believe! I mean, I’m not a good person, so why would You love me or do anything for me?

I’ve been in a deep, deep pit for most of my life. Wanting out but not even knowing how to try to get out. It seemed the harder I tried, the deeper I went. I can’t imagine anyone doing me any favors. No one ever has, so why should You?

But this person told me Jesus loves me and actually suffered all your hatred of my wrong ways, and now I’m free to have a good life, if I only believe that Jesus did this for me. Not only that, but I can become your child. Seems strange for an adult to become someone’s child, even God’s. I didn’t even know my own parents, and my childhood certainly wasn’t something I’d want anyone else to experience.

God, I don’t quite understand all this, but I’m trying. I do believe what I was told that Jesus suffered all your fury for all the horrible things I’ve done. I want to become a different person, a person who can do good for others. I don’t know how I could do anything good for someone; but the person who told me about you, said that I’d find things I could do that would help others. I’d like to be that way – helping people instead of all the evil I’ve done in the past. God, forgive me for all that stuff!

I’ve been rotten and don’t see how anybody could want me, much less You, God. But that’s what I was told, and something happened in my heart at those words. Somehow, I believed them, and they made me smile. I haven’t smiled in a long, long time. I can’t explain it, but something happened, and all the heaviness, anger and bitterness just melted away. Why, I feel like a new person; almost like a little baby just finding out what’s happening in the world and how to adjust to it. Just learning how to be loved, not by a person, but by You, God. Amazing!

Thank you, God, for doing whatever You did to make me feel this way, to give me this joy and this newfound hope. Thank You that Jesus suffered all your wrath over my evil deeds, so I can become a person who’s able to talk with You, to have a relationship with You. God, You are awesome! I just realized that if I’m your child, then You are my Father. What an amazing idea! I’ve never had a father, and now the God of all the universe is my Father. I’m so thankful for this person who told me about You because You have changed my life. You made me a new person, and I love You. I just discovered that: I love You because of what You have done for me. Thank You, Father! Thank You, Jesus!

Where Is Justice in America?

I have never written an article like this one, bringing out specifics in American life the way I do here. But the Lord has put this so much on my heart, that I must speak this word. Please listen because at this point, justice becomes the subject, not the political events.

As Judge Brett Kavanaugh was almost ready to be confirmed by committee to go to full Senate vote as Supreme Court Justice, Sen Dianne Feinstein suddenly revealed a letter a woman wrote her in July. Professor Christine Blasey Ford made accusations against Judge Kavanaugh when he was in high school, which everyone knows of by now. She named three witnesses to it, but all decline knowing anything about the event. Her story has been inconsistent, and she can’t remember exactly where or when. He totally denies her story. He’s been a judge many years, and nothing has ever smeared his character. The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) investigates each candidate each time for each level before a person can become a judge, so they know Judge Kavanaugh well by now.

Days before Ms. Ford was to testify to the committee, supposedly 2 more women have come out claiming similar things, according to media. Chairman of Judicial Committee Chuck Grassley commented in an internet article I saw that Democrats seem more interested in a political takedown than in bipartisan deliberation to find justice.

Justice is the real matter at hand here. The justice of “innocent until proven guilty.” Even if Judge Kavanaugh is guilty, the charges should have been brought up long before they were. Sen. Feinstein should have notified the committee about them as soon as she got the letter from Ms. Ford in July, and also notified the authorities. Why have all these women accusing Judge Kavanaugh gone to the Senator or lawyers instead of the police? It’s a police matter if it’s true. No woman or man or child deserves such treatment!

Why have the Democrats and the media pounced on this and basically pronounced Judge Kavanaugh guilty before either he or Ms. Ford have testified before the Senate? I’d say exactly the same thing if the one being accused was a Democrat and the Republicans were acting the same way. The timing of the actions are not just according to American laws; the timing is political in order to keep someone off the Supreme Court.

Our country can only survive as the one we’ve known and loved for many years if we follow rules of law. God can only bless our country if we follow justice. He gives many words to the Israelites about justice: the wrong they’re doing and the way He will bless them if they do follow the law. Even though we’re not living in those times and aren’t Jewish, I believe those Scriptures still apply to us because God blesses justice. Our country was founded on religious principles. If you look at the major buildings in Washington DC, you’ll see biblical pictures and the Ten Commandments above the Supreme Court. Our founders took the rule of law and justice seriously, and it’s time for Americans to also.

Please read these Scriptures and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart about them. All are from the New American Standard Bible.

Isaiah 1:21-23: How the faithful city has become a harlot, She who was full of justice! Righteousness once lodged in her, But now murderers. 22 Your silver has become dross, Your drink diluted with water. Your rulers are rebels And companions of thieves; Everyone loves a bribe And chases after rewards. They do not defend the orphan, Nor does the widow’s plea come before them.

Isaiah 59:8-10: They do not know the way of peace, And there is no justice in their tracks; They have made their paths crooked, Whoever treads on them does not know peace. Therefore justice is far from us, And righteousness does not overtake us; We hope for light, but behold, darkness, For brightness, but we walk in gloom. We grope along the wall like blind men, We grope like those who have no eyes; We stumble at midday as in the twilight, Among those who are vigorous we are like dead men.

Habakkuk 1:4: Therefore the law is ignored And justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore justice comes out perverted.

Isaiah 59:14-16: Justice is turned back, And righteousness stands far away; For truth has stumbled in the street, And uprightness cannot enter. Yes, truth is lacking; And he who turns aside from evil makes himself a prey. Now the Lord saw, And it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice. And He saw that there was no man, And was astonished that there was no one to intercede; Then His own arm brought salvation to Him, And His righteousness upheld Him.

Jeremiah 5:1: Roam to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, And look now and take note. And seek in her open squares, If you can find a man, If there is one who does justice, who seeks truth, Then I will pardon her.

Jeremiah 21:11-12: Then say to the household of the king of Judah, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, O house of David, thus says the Lord: “Administer justice every morning; And deliver the person who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor, That My wrath may not go forth like fire And burn with none to extinguish it, Because of the evil of their deeds.

 Amos 5:15: Hate evil, love good, And establish justice in the gate! Perhaps the Lord God of hosts May be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

Ezekiel 18:21-23: “But if the wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed and observes all My statutes and practices justice and righteousness, he shall surely live; he shall not die. “All his transgressions which he has committed will not be remembered against him; because of his righteousness which he has practiced, he will live. Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord God, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?

 

 

Sept 20 Freedom in Christ — Daily Bible Prayer

          My good friend from the internet, Laura Schaffer, wrote this wonderful post, which I’ve spent the last 2 years learning for myself and trying to share with others: Let go of negativity and latch onto new possibilities your Father has for you!

Thanks so much, Laura, for letting me share this good word of yours. Check out her blog Daily Bible Prayer. Sandra Meyer

When my first son was small, I remember wanting to avoid having a child who yelled “no” all the time, so I tried to avoid saying “no” to him if I could. Eventually, I did end up having to say “no” much more than I wanted. It was such a convenient way to help him […]

via Sept 20 Freedom in Christ — Daily Bible Prayer