Saturday, August 31, 2013

Camping

Have you ever been tent camping? Sometimes I wonder if camping is really a vacation. You pack up all your gear, sleeping bags, air mattresses, food, camping gear, tent, etc. You sleep on the hard ground. You hope it doesn't rain, because if it does, you'll be stuck inside the tent and you'd better not touch the sides or you'll get wet. If the tent leaks, you will be soggy and miserable. It's an effort to tend to life's basic necessities, like cooking or even slogging to the bathroom in the middle of the night. You make due, because at the end of the week, you know you'll be home again.

Do you remember how big your house feels after you get home from camping? All that space! Hot showers, a refrigerator, electricity, warm beds! Refuge from the storm. Even a little house feels like a palace after a week in an eight by ten tent. Remember that relieved, happy feeling of being home at last...

My reading this morning found me in 2 Corinthians.

For we know that if our earthly house, the tent we live in, is dismantled, we have a building from God, a house not built by human hands, that is eternal in the heavens. For in this earthly house we groan, because we desire to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed, after we have put on our heavenly house, we will not be found naked. For we groan while we are in this tent, since we are weighed down, because we do not want to be unclothed, but clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the Spirit as a down payment. 

Think of our bodies as a tent in comparison to what our heavenly bodies will be. We're roughing it down here folks. We're in a lightweight tent, a body that sometimes get sick, feels inadequate, and is subject to the storms of life. But when we get home, we'll have a body made by God, eternal and perfect. Like comparing a tent to the Newport mansions kind of house, and probably far better. 

Camping can have some moments of awesomeness, just like our lives down here can feel pretty good sometimes. But it is a great encouragement to me to remember that down here we're just tent camping, and home is going to be SO AMAZING... 


Friday, August 2, 2013

How much more?


My reading this morning finds me in 2 Chronicles 32. The king of Assyria was getting ready to attack Judah. King Hezekiah encouraged the people with these words...

 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him.With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people took confidence from the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.

The enemy was talking trash and trying to inspire fear in the people.

15 Now, therefore, do not let Hezekiah deceive you or mislead you in this fashion, and do not believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to deliver his people from my hand or from the hand of my fathers. How much less will your God deliver you out of my hand!’”

Hezekiah and his people knew something here. They didn't serve a "How much less" God like the idols of the nations around them. They served a "How much more" God that saves and delivers.

Let's read on...

20 Then Hezekiah the king and Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, prayed because of this and cried to heaven. 21 And the Lord sent an angel, who cut off all the mighty warriors and commanders and officers in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he came into the house of his god, some of his own sons struck him down there with the sword.

God's people prayed and God sent the enemy packing.

When it seems like the enemy has you surrounded, remember you serve a "How much more" God, who will do exceedingly abundantly more than you can ask or think. Keep your eyes on Him today...


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fresh starts


There are certain times that we think of for fresh starts. January first. Monday mornings. The first of the month. The Bible says "His mercies are new every morning".

In my reading today, in 2 Chronicles, Israel had once again gone astray. Hezekiah begins to set things right, celebrating the Passover, organizing the priests, tearing down pagan altars, bringing in the tithe.

20 Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God.21 And every work that he undertook in the service of the house of God and in accordance with the law and the commandments, seeking his God, he did with all his heart, and prospered.

Here we are at August first. Seven months of the year have gone by, but it is not too late to start fresh and get one of those good habits established. Celebrate you successes and continue to learn and grow forward!


Saturday, July 27, 2013

When God fights for you



My reading today was in 2 Chronicles 20, God told Jehoshaphat this...


16 Tomorrow go down to them. Behold, they will come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the ravine before the Wilderness of Jeruel.
17 You shall not need to fight in this battle; take your positions, stand still, and see the deliverance of the Lord [Who is] with you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Fear not nor be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.
18 And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshiping Him.

On the morning on the battle, Jehoshaphat reminded the people about God's promise, then sent out the singers to praise God. This is what they found...

24 And when Judah came to the watchtower of the wilderness, they looked at the multitude, and behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none had escaped!
25 When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take the spoil, they found among them much cattle, goods, garments, and precious things which they took for themselves, more than they could carry away, so much they were three days in gathering the spoil.
Without raising a sword in battle, the enemy was already defeated and the people collected the spoil. All because they believed God at His Word.

Sometimes you need to be strong and fight the battle.
Sometimes you need to praise God and let Him work.
The secret is to stay so tuned into Him you know which to do.

Keep your ears open to His voice :)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Peace


I love this picture! Quite frankly, it is very easy to be at peace when you are sitting in a spot as lovely as this. But what about everyday life? When the car is still in the shop or the hubby gets a layoff slip or some unexpected crisis pops up... 

Peace was mentioned over 397 times in the Bible, according to my Bible Gateway word search. Maybe because, as humans, we need and long for peace, and are not naturally equipped to have it!  

Jesus said 
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.John 14:27

Peace is a gift. It's ours. Jesus said so. Then, knowing human nature, He told us LET NOT your heart be troubled. We tend to allow worry, fear and anxiety creep in. We look at our circumstances and expect the worst case scenario! We keep our eyes on our problems instead of our God....

Maybe that ties in to this verse:

For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.Romans 8:6

Many times we go back to our default settings, the old man, the old way of thinking and reacting, instead of responding in our new nature, like children of God. You choose how you think, and what you think about. If a thought pops in that is contrary to your new nature, replace it with the truth. Life and peace. Life more abundantly! Like the Luminosity commercial says "Retrain your brain!"

Romans 15:13
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Peace out friends!




Thursday, July 25, 2013

Chain letters


Do you remember when you were a kid, and once in a while you’d get a chain letter in the mail? You’d then have to send the letter to 6 of your friends, or something bad would happen to you. Or maybe something good would happen to you if you did it. Today these are still going around by e-mail or on Facebook. “If you love God, post this” and something wonderful with happen in the next 3 hours, or you’ll get a prayer answered or somebody will give you money. Or the ones that suggesting God will send calamity on you if you DON’T forward the e-mail to so many people within 3 minutes.

Some of these have really nice prayers to pray for a friend, or uplifting pics. If I get a forwarded prayer, I delete the "send to so many people or else" part before I send it on to someone I think it will bless. Most of the time, I just delete them, because the clause at the end is not theologically sound. God gives us a pretty clear pattern in scripture of how to be blessed...

Deut. 28:1 “If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2 All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God:

3 You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.

4 The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.

5 Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.

6 You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.

7 The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.

8 The LORD will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The LORD your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.

9 The LORD will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the LORD your God and walk in obedience to him. 10 Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will fear you. 11 The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you.

12 The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. 13 The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. 14 Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.”

Those are some pretty fantastic promises. The more we learn His Word and choose to obey it, the more the blessings flow our way. Like the law of sowing and reaping, if we sow good seed, we reap a harvest. Obedience starts a chain reaction of blessing!

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

No stamps required!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Life Verse

In high school, I took a Bible as Literature class at good old Griswold High School. One of our assignments was to come up with our life verse. The one I selected was Romans 8:28.

 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together[b] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (NLT)

My life hasn't always been smooth. At 15, my folks got divorced. That was the year I got saved and my life changed forever! Then I was married at 18, and the first 5 years were pretty rough as Scott struggled with addictions that I didn't realize had a hold on him. Circumstances have not always been good! But, both of my parents have accepted the Lord and are on good speaking terms with each other, that is a testimony in itself. 
And we celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary this year, which is a miracle, since I had people telling me to divorce him in those early years. I held on because I knew the man of God he was and would be...

Sometimes things we don't understand happen to us. No matter what we go through, know that God is with you, and has the master plan. In the big things, and in the little things.

Just an example of the little things... Last week my car overheated, and I made an emergency stop at a local garage to get it checked. They kept it overnight and had me on the road the next day, but it wasn't really fixed! I had the car towed back in. I claimed Deut.28:6 for my car, and decided not to worry. 

 “Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.

 A week later, and I NEED my car to get around, and I wasn't even hearing from them, I had to keep calling to even get a quote. I kept trying to walk in peace and not fret, and kept giving it to the Lord. The quote seemed really high and I didn't feel at peace about getting it done there, due to the length of time it was there and the non-communication issues. I picked it up this morning, and prayed as I drove it to my garage to have it fixed. I made it there without incident. I expected to be out of pocket for the original $168 repair bill to replace a thermostat, and maybe get charged extra for diagnostic charges, but when I got there, I was given a zero balance due bill, recommended repairs list to give to my mechanic, and a refund check, since they hadn't fixed my problem. That is grace!  Sometimes it is hard to keep your peace when your flesh wants to throw a hissy fit over poor communications or speed of service or incompetence (like when it took a month to get my "stolen" check money returned) but we need to think "How does our attitude reflect on the Lord?"  I chose to be polite and respectful in my dealings with this garage, and they graciously refunded my money without me even suggesting it or expecting it. Thank you Lord!

Thankfully Rebekah loaned me her car so I can make my usual commitments and appointments I had this week, and my mom has been shuttling me to and from the garage as needed. The car is with a mechanic we trust and it shall be fixed and running in due time. That's life, things happen, cars break, expenses come up. We can either react and worry or trust and believe. Trusting is a lot easier on your emotions, to realize God has your back and no amount of worrying will add a moment to your life or reduce a day off your garage stay... 

God is so good, keep looking for and expecting His goodness to show up in your life. And take time to be that goodness in someone else's life today!