Monthly Archives: July 2017

Grace Comes From Love and Love Comes From Grace

The Old Testament is vital to understanding the New Testament.  God’s love and grace in spite of human weaknesses is vividly clear.  God has given man in the New Testament greater tools to work with.  What he accomplished through his son, gives us access to the Father and the gift of holy spirit that energizes and communicates God’s desires to us.

In the book of Judges, especially in the last several chapters, life was difficult and the men that God had to work with struggled because of themselves as well as those around them. Samson had a lot of difficulties in what he did. Things seem to fade as the last chapter rolls in with the ‘everyman was right in his own eyes’ conundrum. To be ‘right in one’s own eyes’ isn’t necessarily bad if the standard by what one perceives is based in the love of God. However, perception that is involved in thinking can be skewed. Perception can be easily affected by personal thoughts, projections, and negative influences on a person.

Grace is always a part of God. Grace, or in other words, God’s divine favor, has been given to every person that was ever born.

John 3:16
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life
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Every person has the choice. During Noah’s time man forgot all about God and things were evil and wild. No one cared about God except Noah:

8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. 9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations (among his contemporaries), and Noah walked with God.

This is the first use of grace in the Bible. God’s favor was with Noah because he was a sound, humble man. He listened to God and built that ark! The word ‘perfect’ would have been better translated ‘complete’.  Noah wasn’t perfect, but because he believed and was humble to God he could hear from God, act on it and therefore all his needs were taken care of.

After the Book of Judges is the record of Ruth, a Moabitess, who chose God.  She was not of the tribes of Israel, she was a descendent of Lot.  She eventually married Boaz who was of the tribe of Judah and became part of the line that David came from and subsequently the Christ line.  Grace was poured into her life as she chose God.

We are saved by grace not works. There was grace in the Old Testament. There is grace in the New Testament. Grace surrounds us everywhere. Humbleness does not qualify you for grace, it makes you receptive to grace. Love makes it happen.

On the day of Pentecost people sitting in the temple received the gift of holy spirit. God’s grace was received, they all were:

47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

They were  excited about what God was doing and they were sharing grace as they received the spirit into their hearts. Reception takes a humble heart. Think of the 12 sitting there, after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ receiving the power that could now be released. The temple leaders were not receptive to Christ, but these people were. They had gone through quite a bit, but they dealt with with it and they received.

It is not that different today. We live in challenging times. Many people have dismissed God and just like long ago are right in their own eyes in their perceptions of God. The New Testament, however, provides a better perception through the eyes of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is a living reality to this administration, not just a shadow of things to come.

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The Lesson Of The Hummingbird

My husband and I recently put a hummingbird feeder on our front window.  It is a very simple feeder, shaped like a flower and is bright red. We poured a nectar-like liquid in and just left it alone. It was not too long after that a very small bird appeared at the feeder moving its wings so fast that we could hardly see them. The bird stuck its beak into the feeder and extracted the nectar quickly flew away.

I did a little research and found more about how the hummingbird feeds. It is the sweet nectar of flowers that attracts pollinators to plants. These birds and insects pickup and transport pollen to other plants for reproduction producing more flowers and fruit.

Scientists used to think that these birds got nectar out of flowers through capillary action (liquid rising through a tube), but with recent developments in high speed photography they were able to determine that it is actually the bird’s tongue that captures and curls around the nectar and pulls it into the birds mouth through its beak. The hummingbird’s beak protects the bird from the tougher parts of the plant and enables the bird to get to the nectar.

Hummingbirds don’t stay very long at the feeder; it is hard to get a picture of them. It is difficult to see their wings as the are moving so fast as the hover around the bird feeder. They will keep coming back regularly as long as they can find their treasure.

The hummingbird is a unique bird among birds.  It is beautiful and has an amazingly energetic metabolism. I love the creativity of God and how everything he has created is significantly designed. There can be no question about the creator and his beautiful creation when one observes and studies this bird.

God’s word is the nectar of the creator.  We benefit immensely when we dive into its riches. It supplies vitality and life to our whole being.  It is the fuel of our hearts and gives wings to our freedom.

I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil (treasure). Psalm 119:162

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Judges 12

The news media in our culture today have lost their way and have redefined journalism simply as an exercise of arm-chair quarterbacking. Stirring up strife, contention and ego showmanship, they have changed the horizon of the future to a darkened shadow instead of an enlightened spotlight.

In Judges chapter 12, after Jephthah’s victory over the Ammonites, instead of being thankful, the Ephraimites wanted to know why they weren’t called to help defeat the Ammonites. The intent behind their demand reflected part of their character .The same thing happened with Gideon earlier. The Ephraimites put themselves at the center of internal strife within the tribes of Israel.

They threatened to burn down Jephthah’s house with him in it. Whoa! It seems outrageous doesn’t it? Where was their thankfulness? This exposes their exalted ego, devious nature and lack of commitment and integrity. If they had any kind of leadership qualities at all they would have known how to help and acted in good faith and not worry about who got the credit.

Complaining is a human sport. It enlists unthankfulness and a host of other negative qualities to support its message. It vies for leadership and the only action that results is friction action. It wallows in speculation and imaginings that do not foster well-being.

In such an environment, the ability to get things done is limited. So much for teamwork.  It is better to keep clear of the negative environment and stay focused. The distractions to the Hebrews became increasingly distracting.  It was harder for the individuals that God called to stay the course. The struggles got worse and worse as the record in the book of Judges continued.

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. I Timothy 6:6

Godliness reflects a rich relationship with God through His son Jesus Christ.  Contentment is being self-sufficient (autarkeia) due to that relationship. For all who are at peace with what God has provided great benefits!

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Mary

Recently I got to thinking about Mary and her role in God’s plan. Mary was an outstanding believer. Just think about all that must have gone through her mind as she carried out God’s instructions.  It was not easy.  Just the bare fact that she became pregnant before marriage to Joseph caused no end of gossip and pressure. If she had gotten pregnant after she married Joseph, then Jesus would have been regarded as Joseph’s son, not the son of God. Mary had a distinct picture that something miraculous had happened and that probably encouraged her to carry it out with believing.  She simply believed.

Mary had to nurture, raise, discipline, and support God’s only begotten son. She is someone to be respected and thankful for. She was never intended to be a savior or a mediator. That was delegated to God’s son. It is significantly important to understand who she was and that she is now asleep and, as all dead are, awaiting the return of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the way to God, he makes intersession (Hebrews 7:25) for believers. Mary does not. I’m sure she prayed for people when she was alive just as we can all do, but she can’t now in her present situation.

When people need help or answers to prayer, we have access to God through Jesus Christ. That is just simply how the God who made heaven and earth set it up. There is plenty of information about Mary written in God’s word, but nothing about an ascension or that she was queen of heaven (that’s not even logical – how does that work?: King Jesus and Queen Mary??) nor the mother of God (who was the father of God?).

The reason I am writing about this is not to put Mary down nor to be critical, but because it is the truth that sets people free. In thankfulness to God and in time of need, prayer to Mary is fruitless because, it is Jesus Christ who is Lord and savior.  He shows us the path to God and wholeness. The truth of about God’s son is so vital to our well-being and peace that we need to know exactly who he is from God’s point of view and not allow anything to detract from what he is meant to be.

No person or thing should take his place in our lives. No human being, aside from Jesus, is elevated to lordship over other men. That includes other humans like Mary, Moses, Isaiah, Peter, John, Paul, martyrs, heads of religious bodies, and even the equipping ministries of Ephesians 4:8,11. (1 Corinthians 1:25-2:5, I Timothy 2:1-5 study ‘authority’ Strong’s #5247 and #5242 a great study)

5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; I Timothy 1:5 

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Loving Father ~ Two Sons

The older son reacted to his return in self-righteous anger. He couldn’t understand why all the hoopla and celebration was focused on his younger brother. This older brother also had a lesson to learn and at the root of it was the love of the father towards him. It wasn’t his doing everything right that endeared him to the father; it was his sonship.

31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found. Luke 11:32

Both sons had focused on themselves, both eventually learned how much their father loved them as his sons. All of us, at different times in our lives, have lived out life similar to both sons. All of us can probably relate to both sons. We may swing to one side of the pendulum and then to the other. The point of this story is the incredible love.

The father couldn’t do much but pray for the younger son while he was out there in crazy land. When that son came to realize the grass was not greener out in ‘lala’ land, the father’s heart just burst with thanksgiving upon his return home.

The father could do much more for the son that stayed, but that son hadn’t realized it and therefore he too had some maturing to do.

Sometimes at junctures in our lives we need to ask ourselves, which son looks like me? I can relate to both sons as I look back through the years. The greatest lesson of all about God is to realize and recognize God’s love has to each of us.  The greatest problems involve not seeing the love. Looking at the life of Jesus Christ grounds us in the recognition of God’s love and true righteousness.

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Freedom

This morning I was awakened very early, maybe by a firecracker, or maybe just the first light of dawn. Some prophetic verses foretelling the Christ in the Old Testament had been on my mind and one in particular, actually one word in that verse was dangling in my consciousness. It was just like an itch, I just had to itch! 😊 . Watching the Son rise in my mind literally was enlightening and it was one of those occasions where I would have loved to shout what I found on the roof tops. Somehow the word smashes walls and barriers and lifts you up and makes you feel like you can fly.

On this day, we celebrate the 4th of July. It is a celebration of the freedom we have in America thanks to the believing and love of some very wise men that founded this country on a set principles whose original source is the creator. They weren’t perfect men but they rested their beliefs humbly in something much bigger than themselves.

God is so much bigger than our minds truly can grasp, but His word can open our hearts to make more space in our narrow minds beyond what we can even describe!

True freedom comes from God and it rests in the knowledge of his Son and what was done for us through him and what he is to us today. Jesus Christ spoke God’s word. He was/and/is the son speaking for and showing the Father.

Back in the time that he specifically lived on earth he saids to those who followed him:

31 Then said Jesus to those Judeans which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:31-32

These are beautiful words! They continue to speak throughout history and continue to speak to us today.

What is real freedom? People talk about it, they define it and they value it! But do we humans settled for our own perceived notion of freedom? Honestly, our own notions of freedom probably limit us. My perceptions of freedom have continued to grow as I continue to seek its real definition. Each stage of growth is another stepping stone to not settling for a worldly mundane existence. Once you have seen another level of freedom, there is no turning backward.

So today as I celebrate the founding of this country, I am thankful to God and to his son, Jesus Christ despite the hoopla going on in the world. I pray for this country, its leaders, our families and friends, that they may understand true freedom and not settle for a narrow, limited vision.

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