Friday, January 18, 2019

VOWS AND PROMISES

We ALL certainly know what vows and promises are.



I found this quote while searching the WWW.  Now THAT is sad!  AND I refuse to believe it!  The politician may be promising things he cannot possibly fulfill, but your life partner--can and will fulfill what they promise ~hopefully.  #2 son recently married and he and his sweet wife recited vows they had composed.  I love personalized vows, for they speak volumes about the couple and I think, we are much more apt to not forget what we have promised if we personally compose those vows.  Although, I love many of the rituals celebrated by the "traditional" church, this one scenario seems to work better when it is personal.  You are still promising before God and His church to love each other, care for each other, and stay together through thick and thin, but the words of that promise come from your heart.  When you participate in the writing of your promises to each other, it then becomes your word--your integrity--your promise that you will have to break to walk away.

NOT where I am going--sorry--pig trail created by the above quote.



During Small Group this past week, one of the participants made a statement which profoundly affected me.  She spoke of the vows and promises we make as we walk through this life.  She challenged us concerning what we are really saying when we utter those vows and promises   You know those, "I will NEVER's" or "I will ALWAYS" statements we throw out--sometimes without really giving it enough thought.  I have a few of my own.  "NEVER AGAIN" has crossed my lips, as has "I WILL NOT".  I have sworn off the Never's when it comes to anyone beyond myself.  I have eaten every "Never" I ever stated about my children.  They showed me who was in charge!


She was speaking of those promises and vows we make about our life path.  I will NEVER open myself up to that pain again.  I promise you will not see me cross that doorway in this lifetime.  I will never accept help from them.  I promise you I will never speak to them again.  Those vows and promises--which will control our lives to a degree.  What we have decided is best for us.

She was reminding us that when we make these vows and promises, we are taking the control of our lives away from God.  We are putting ourselves on the throne and marking the path we choose to take.  We are refusing to turn it ALL over to God.  WHOA!  Stopped me in my path!  Here I thought I was making a wise decision about the course I planned to take, when really I was refusing to allow God to be My Master.  OH MY!  Food for thought, Friends, food for thought!

But above all, my brothers, do not swear,
 either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath,
 but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no,
 so that you may not fall under condemnation.
James 5:12


Thursday, January 17, 2019

THE GOOD NEWS

You are going to hear plenty about this Bible Study



It is literally filled with truth and speaking volumes to my heart.  After discussing the first two days with the group, I am more excited than ever to hear what the others are gleaming.  We all approach things from different perspectives, and each of us with our unique experiences are taught a little differently.  It is eye opening to hear what others reap from the study.




Priscilla quickly reminds us --literally in the beginning--Jesus has won the war for us.  Praise God--because I sure could NEVER be good enough!  Here is a little tidbit I had not considered--but was thrilled to read.  God--resides in the heavenly realm--with Jesus by His side---and guess what!!  We are right there with them.  Here you go---PROOF-


By grace you have been saved 
AND raised us up with HIM
and seated us with Him in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 2:6

WOW!  Talking about a seat of honor!  It doesn't get any better than this!


SO-if we already have the seat of honor--WHY should we have to do spiritual battle--THE WAR IS ALREADY WON!

Oh, the enemy KNOWS the game is up--but he is willing to be satisfied with small victories.  He wants nothing more than to steal our joy, claim our thoughts, have us live in fear and doubt, whisper lies in our ears.  He knows he doesn't win this war--but he can still render us ineffective by capturing our thoughts with his deceptions.  He is a crafty old thing--determined to make our life miserable.

We can stop him in his tracks, if we remember to gird ourselves with God's truth.  God's truth does not harm us, make us depressed, create hate and anger, make life seem futile.  God's truth does this-

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:32

AND that sly one, the deceiver and accuser--he can just crawl back into his hole.


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

SOLITARY CONFINEMENT


You all know I am an introvert.  That does not mean I desire to be by myself all of the time.  In fact, I consider myself very social.  It does mean I need time alone to re-energize and think.




I love this quote from Oscar Wilde.  The last few years I have discovered who I am by being alone.  Introspection is a great tool and impossible to do while in the company of others.





There are times when I do have too much alone time.  Negative thoughts begin to creep into my head during those times.  I begin to doubt who I know I am and more time alone is not my friend.



 The voice whispering in my ear all those negative thoughts is NOT the voice of God.  It is the one who comes to seek, kill, and destroy.  Any time spent on these negative thoughts is time away from being used by God for His glory and good pleasure.   The discipline I must practice is comparing what I am hearing to what God has promised in His Word.  If it does not measure up, He is not saying it.  Then I must denounce the liar and proclaim the truth.  For you see, even when I am alone, I am truly never alone.



This is one truth that is undeniable.  

Be strong and courageous.
 Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
 for the Lord your God goes with you;
 he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

SEARCHING FOR THE LIGHT

Our Sunday School class has begun the study of I John.  The proof of our hunger for the Word Of God is in the growing number of participants.  Four gifted teachers rotate the teaching and each has a slightly different style.  It is stimulating and encouraging, but most important spurs me on to personal study.




This week we were exploring "God is Light".  We spent over an hour on 3 verses--power packed verses.  I remembered a story I had not thought about for a few years while we were discussing God being light-





A few years ago on one of my travel adventures, we went on a cave tour.  I am not a big fan of caves, but as long as there is light I am able to tolerate the claustrophobic feeling.  We walked down into that cave for what seemed like an eternity.  Thankfully the path was well illuminated, but there was no doubt that you were going deeper and deeper into the bowels of the earth.  The guide had the large group stop in an open chamber and then proceeded to turn off the lights--with warning.  I cannot tell you how disoriented I quickly became.  You could not see your hand in front of your face.  If you have ever been deeply underwater, you have experienced the loss of what is up and where is down.  It was very similar--but there is also absolutely not even one small shadow of light.  I could not tell there was anyone in the cave with me. Alone and disconnected, I was extremely agitated.  This is what I often refer to as "Out of Body" experience.  I do not feel connected anymore. I need the light!





As a response to the complete darkness, your pupils begin to dilate to allow more light to enter your eye.  When there is no light, they become completely dilated--in search of the light-for you see to be able to see--we need the light.  And then--BAM! there is light.  We were blinded by the sudden brightness with fully dilated pupils.  Our eyes were now flooded with the rush of rays of light and we were temporarily blinded by the brightness until our pupils returned to normal.  Our eyes need light to function correctly and without the light we are blind.

We are also disoriented as we travel through this world without the light of God in our lives.  We are groping around in the dark--searching for the hope that only He can supply.  Often we head in the wrong direction in our search and suffer the consequences of stumbling upon a dead end.  His light is so sufficient--so perfect--that we are unable to stand in the presence of His light-looking upon His full glory.  We are only able to see glimpses of His fullness and perfection--the radiance of His majesty.  But OH--the glory of His Light and how desperately we need Him to light our way.



This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you,
that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.
I John 1:5

Monday, January 14, 2019

DON'T HOLD BACK

Have you ever heard a story that at first glance struck your funny bone, but after more thought you were deeply saddened?  I was told such a story this past week, which I will share with you.  I do not even know the names of the parties involved, so there is no one to protect.



A husband was commenting on how he loved to cuddle with his wife.  All is fine--and even after three children, he still finds her beautiful and desirable.  One thing that can throw a bucket of cold water on any more cuddling is the husband touching the wrong spot on the wife.  You see after three children your stomach does not look the same as pre-children.  If the husband happens to pull the wife closer by gently tugging while touching her stomach, the game is over.  Do not pass go, go directly to jail, because you have broken the cardinal rule of no touching the stomach.

I laughed out loud when I heard this story.  For you see, I totally identify with it.  My three children were whoppers at birth.  I am not a large woman---my stomach has NEVER been the same.  I have done thousands of sit ups, leg lifts, planks, and ever other abdominal torture you can imagine to regain the firm belly of my youth.  It simply is NOT going to happen.  As it was described when the story was told, you have a pouch--really it is loose skin from all the stretching during pregnancy and it will NEVER be the same again.  (NOW you know my deep dark secret)



We don't like to be reminded of our imperfections and touching is a strong reminder.  Convinced the entire rest of the world has flat stomachs--for after all that is all you ever see in the media--we are very conscious of our short coming.  No matter what anyone may tell you about how you look, you only believe the mirror.  A quick glance at your profile will have you headed for the moo moo aisle at the local clothing outlet.

Here is what is really sad about this after much thought.  We forget to be thankful for three healthy babies and instead focus on what in the world happened to my body.  We forget to be thankful for a spouse who only sees us as beautiful and still desires our mature body and instead believe the media's idea of beauty.  We forget the beauty of love and the deep connection of a husband and wife and instead push away from that beauty because of our shame over what we perceive as our short coming-a round belly.  We hold a part of ourselves back.

So it is with God, we push Him away when we feel our imperfections are showing.  He couldn't possibly love us with our __________--you fill in the blank.  Whether it is a hidden sin, need for more, sharp tongue, jealousy--whatever, how could He love us if we allow Him to view the real us?  So, we hold back--try to keep Him from really seeing us.  AND all the time, He loves us--no matter what--battle scars, flaws, sin, short comings---HE LOVES THE ENTIRE PACKAGE.  There is nothing He wants more than for us to confess what we see as our weakness so He can assure us--He still loves us.  Don't hold back--give Him your all and experience the wonder of how deeply He loves. We are perfect in His sight.


You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.
Psalm 86:7

Sunday, January 13, 2019

SO WILL I



IF CREATION

SINGS YOUR PRAISES,

SO WILL I.






BLESSED SABBATH,

DEAR FRIENDS!