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Friday, January 18, 2013

It's a Mystery

Cheekwood Gardens, Nashville
 My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, says the Lord. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8,9

 There is a mystery to suffering that can be the undoing of our faith if we do not make peace with it. Dr. Dobson calls this the betrayal barrier in his book, "When God Doesn't Make Sense". There will come tragedies and hardships in every life. When they come, most of us will  ask, "God, why did you let this happen?" God does not usually choose to answer all these questions. He does not offer His plans and purposes for our approval.
Scarecrow was October.
Paul said we should not act as if we are the Lord's counselor.  He wants us to believe and trust in him despite the things we don’t understand.  
For who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice? Romans 11:34
Jenny, Mike and James took Basil to the Gardens while I was at the ARN conference.

We are relieved from the responsibility of trying to figure out life’s trials and tribulations.  We haven’t been given enough information to decipher the code.  Jesus put it like this:
  I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it (Luke 18:17).

Some of us have carried resentment against God for years and we  need to forgive God for those heartaches that we have charged to His account.  Maybe it almost sounds blasphemous to suggest that the we need to forgive God. He has done no wrong and does not need our forgiveness. But the source of bitterness must be admitted before it can be cleansed. There is no better way to get rid of it than to absolve the Lord of whatever we have blamed him for, and then ask His forgiveness for our lack of faith. It’s called reconciliation, and it is the only way you will ever be entirely free.
         If you want to read a short version of Dr. Dobson's book free, there is a PDF file that you can print or read on line here:

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sacrificial Love

The Arboretum at Ashville, North Carolina
I am loving "my new bible" and hoping no one informs me if it is not really a bible. This morning I read the story of the Isrealites after they entered the promised land and Joshua died. They kept falling in to sin and worshiping other gods, and the Lord sent many prophets and judges to rescue them when their sin took them into bad situations. When God picked Gideon, "he was a farmer from the weakest clan in his tribe. Like most new leaders, Gideon was uncertain if he could measure up. But God was looking for a faithful follower, not a decorated soldier."
My New easy to read and I am learning a lot!
Bonsai Garden at the Arboretum

 The Lord rescued the Isrealites time after time. I laughed when I read about Deborah. She sent Barak to free them from Jabin, king of Canaan. He said, "If you go with me, I will go; but if you don't go with me, I won't go. Certainly, I will go with you, said Deborah, but because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver them into the hands of a woman."
 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them.  For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Romans 1:19,20
The Lord is calling me to be "a Faithful Follower" and love Him with all my heart, soul, and mind and my neighbor as myself. God demonstrated His love for me by the ultimate sacrifice - the God of the universe on a cross dying for people who don't even care about Him or take an interest in Him.

Maybe God is calling me from my self pity and self protection to be a faithful follower and love someone who does not appreciate the sacrifice I make to love them.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Talking to God

Really, my title should be "God talking to me" but I didn't want it to sound too scary and crazy. 

How exciting it is when God speaks so clearly to you that there is no doubt in your mind that it was His voice. 
We have communion at our church every Sunday, and I am very careful to examine myself before communion because of this verse:

1 Corinthians 11:26-29
For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again. So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup. For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself.

As soon as I started to pray, I thought of an attitude that I had toward someone who gave me a little lecture last week and I realized our enemy, Satan, had brought that attitude to me and I had recieved it from him. It was pride.

 During the sermon, a word came into my mind: Humility. "I want to teach you about humility." The sermon was nothing about humility, but I was so excited, I couldn't  wait to get home and start learning about it. I wrote it down in my bulletin in case I forgot. 

 I think maybe pride is the devil's favorite sin. It was the one that got him kicked out of heaven.  It is the first of the "deadly sins" in Proverbs 6:16-19 It makes us judgmental and hypocritical. It makes our influence a negative one and keeps others who see our attitude from wanting our Savior. 

When I look down on someone because I have more virtue, knowledge, skill, wealth or for any reason at all, I am taking credit for what God has done in my life. 

I Corinthians 4:7  
For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift?

I would love any comments about what the Lord has taught you about humility (or anything else).
The pictures are Amicolola Falls in northern Georgia.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

and thank Him for all He has done

I found this in my mailbox at work last night. A co-worker remembered that I collect nativities. Another gesture of love and comfort  for which to be thankful.    "Don't worry about anything, instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for what He has done. If you do this, you will experience god's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-8

If your heart is broken, are you willing to allow this hurt to serve as a softening agent? Gratitude plows up the ground for God's peace to grow.     from "The One Year Book of Hope" by Nancy Guthrie