Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Lump of Clay - Who's in control here anyway?

You turn things upside down,
as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!
Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it,
“You did not make me”?
Can the pot say to the potter,
“You know nothing”?
Isaiah 29:16

But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God?
“Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it,
‘Why did you make me like this?’”
Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay
some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?
Romans 9:20-21

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My Prayer for the Children- Word Filled Wednesday

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,

from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,

that according to the riches of his glory

he may grant you to be strengthened with power

through his Spirit in your inner being,

so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—

that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

may have strength to comprehend with all the saints

what is the breadth and length and height and depth,

and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,

that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think,

according to the power at work within us,

to him be glory in the church

and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations,

forever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 3:14-21

Join others at the Internet Cafe for other inspiring words.

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

AH Stubborn Children....A study of Isaiah 30

What a way for God to begin speaking. Do you know any stubborn children? Are you perhaps one yourself?

As I've read Isaiah 30 it struck me again how God instructs, warns, disciplines and forgives. I would love to show you what God showed me. If you see yourself also, let's together "return and find rest".

God starts out calling his children stubborn (obstinate), why? Because (vs 1):

1. They carry out a plan that is not his.

2. They make an alliance, but not of his Spirit. (Hezekiah makes an alliance with Egypt to fight against Assyria, 2 Kings 18:19 -21 and 2 Chronicles 32:10-15) They did not ask God blessing, but fear drove them to it.

3. They keep piling up wrongs (adding sin to sin).

They return to those who formally enslaved them and who have ulterior motives for the alliance (self preservation).

God tells them it won't work the way they think it will. They put their faith in everything else but the God who has proven he is faithful and who is the only one able to secure their salvation. Do we do the same thing?

Who are these people?
  1. They are rebellious (vs. 9)

  2. Lying children (vs. 9)

  3. Children unwilling (note: not unable) to hear the instruction of the Lord. (vs. 9)

  4. They do not want to hear the truth. (vs. 10) "Speak smooth things to us, prophecy illusions"; (vs . 11) "leave the way, turn aside from the path LET US HEAR NO MORE ABOUT THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL"
Does this sound familiar? Could it be society today? Could it be "the church"? Could it be you & me?

I love who speaks after this proclamation! Verse 12 says "Therefore (Nevertheless) thus says "The Holy One of Israel". (You may not want to hear anything about me, but you will hear from me) my emphasis add.

They are going to get (for a while) what they deserve and desire. Their protection will be destroyed. Not a piece of it will be found. It reminds me of the verse: Psalms 20:7 "Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God."

Then God again speaks loving instruction, using the name they used (The Holy One of Israel): "In returning and rest you shall be saved, in quietness and in trust shall be your strength." were unwilling! Again unwilling, not unable.

God again is speaking to them (to us) come to me all who are weary & I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

But what was their answer? NO.......let's flee.

God's grace put off - Verse 18 - Therefore (Nevertheless) the LORD waits to be gracious to you.....

Verse 19-22 is a picture of God's future grace:
  • A people will dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem.

  • You shall weep no more. (Revelations 21:4 "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."

  • At the sound of their (our) cries, he will answer.

  • Though the LORD brings adversity and affliction He (The Teacher) will not hide himself anymore, but their (our) eyes will see Him (The Teacher).

  • He will give clear instruction for the way you are to walk.
Finally you will destroy your (our) idols. Finally you (we) will understand God's great love!(Vs. 22)

God's continued blessings (Vs 23-27)...
  • He restores the balance of nature.
  • God's glory will shine "in the day" the LORD binds our brokenness and heals our wounds inflicted by his blow.
Picture His healing presence will you! He disciplines but one day he will not only restore (make right), but he will heal wounds cause by His disciple then.....

God takes care of our adversaries (Vs. 27-33)...
  • God took care of the Assyrians and he will take care of every earthly power that is in opposition to him. No one is a match for the Holy One of Israel!
What does it all mean?...
  • Who are you putting your faith and trust in? Are you (and I) unwilling (as the Israelite's were) to trust God with your adversaries? Do you see God's great goodness in his patience as he waits for you to return and rest?
Let us all return and go to the mountain
of the LORD, to the ROCK OF ISRAEL!


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Monday, November 22, 2010

Dear God, from the dog.

My very good friend Diane sent me this in an e-mail and I just had to share! I hope it makes you smile!!!!!

Dear God: Is it on purpose our names are the same, only reversed?
Dear God: Why do humans smell the flowers, but seldom, if ever, smell one another?
Dear God: When we get to heaven, can we sit on your couch? Or is it still the same old story?
Dear God: Why are there cars named after the jaguar, the cougar, the mustang, the colt, the stingray, and the rabbit, but not ONE named for a Dog? How often do you see a cougar riding around? We do love a nice ride! Would it be so hard to rename the 'Chrysler Eagle' the 'Chrysler Beagle'?
Dear God: If a Dog barks his head off in the forest and no human hears him, is he still a bad Dog?
Dear God: We Dogs can understand human verbal instructions, hand signals, whistles, horns, clickers, beepers, scent ID's, electromagnetic energy fields, and frisbee flight paths. What do humans understand?
Dear God: More meatballs, less spaghetti, please.
Dear God: Are there mailmen in Heaven? If there are, will I have to apologize?
Dear God: Let me give you a list of just some of the things I must remember to be a good Dog.
1. I will not eat the cats' food before they eat it or after they throw it up.
2. I will not roll on dead seagulls, fish, crabs, etc., just because I like the way they smell.
3. The Litter Box is not a cookie jar.
4. The sofa is not a 'face towel'.
5. The garbage collector is not stealing our stuff.
6. I will not play tug-of-war with Dad's underwear when he's on the toilet.
7. Sticking my nose into someone's crotch is an unacceptable way of saying 'hello'.
8. I don't need to suddenly stand straight up when I'm under the coffee table
9. I must shake the rainwater out of my fur before entering the house - not after.
10. I will not come in from outside and immediately drag my butt across the capet.
11. I will not sit in the middle of the living room and lick my crotch.
12. The cat is not a 'squeaky toy' so when I play with him and he makes that noise, it's usually not a good thing.
ATT0001014.gifP.S. Dear God: When I get to Heaven may I have my testicles back?

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

I will yet Praise God!

I came across a wonderful passage of scripture in Habakkuk that I wanted to share.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines,the produce of the olive failand the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the foldand there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's;
he makes me tread on my high places.

In this day and age of uncertainty we should take great comfort and be able to rejoice as Habakkuk did, that though all our earthly comforts may fail, when our hope and vision is set on God, we recognize that He is our salvation. He is our strength. Even in the midst of what could surely make one heavy with worry, he makes our feet like that of a deer. Can you picture a deer leaping? I can. They are so "sure of foot", and can climb the steepest hills or mountains. That my friends is what God gives us.

Yes the external forecast may look bleak by human standards, and there may be times of trouble, but resolve within yourself to say:

I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The wonderful Symmetry of Scripture!

There are so many people in our culture today that say that the Bible is fragmented and contradicts itself. Those of us who are learning each and every day the wonderful interweaving of scripture know better.

Below is just one place that I've come upon recently that shows how wonderfully the scriptures flow and compliment each other. I use the word Symmetry to describe it. Here is the definition of Symmetry:

the correspondence in size, form, and arrangement of parts on opposite sides of a plane, line, or point; regularity of form or arrangement in terms of like, reciprocal, or corresponding parts.
the proper or due proportion of the parts of a body or whole to one another with regard to size and form; excellence of proportion.
beauty based on or characterized by such excellence of proportion.

Don't you just love #3, I do!! Any way here is the scripture:

Isaiah 8:18
Here am I and the children the Lord has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the Lord Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion.

John 17:2
"Father the time has come, Glorify your Son, that your Son may Glorify you. For you granted Him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.

Hebrews 2:13
And again I will put my trust in Him. And Again Behold I and
the children God has given me.

Just another wonderful reason to dive into scripture.

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the correspondence

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Peter's denial of Jesus in 4 parts

I am almost done with my study of Matthew! 2 more chapters to go! It has taken me on a few tangents and today's post is another one. When I got to the part of Peter's denial of Christ I decided to look at all 4 versions and how different each author wrote things, and how they observe different things. Again this is very simplistic, because that is who I am, (I wish I didn't always feel compelled to state that!!!), but I hope it blesses any of you.

Matthew 26: 69-75

  • 1st Peter just denies knowing Christ. He claims he does not understand
  • 2nd Peter denies with an oath. (Getting stronger)
  • 3rd Peter invokes (calls out) a curse on himself and begins to swear
  • Then the Rooster crows

Mark 14:66-72

  • After the first denial, Peter leaves the courtyard and hangs out by the gate.
  • The rooster crows once.
  • Marks account says the same servant girl who first asked him, speaks to people around her about him, and this brings the 2nd denial.
  • The bystanders begin to question Peter, and he invokes the curse.
  • The Rooster Crows a 2nd time.
  • (This is different from Matthews account of the Rooster crowing just at the end)
Luke 22:54-62
  • Peter followed at a distance - He ran but not far.
  • Luke's is mostly facts, except for one BIG detail - After the Rooster crowed it says in verse 61 - "And the LORD turned and looked at Peter". Can you imagine it!!! To not only hear the Rooster crow, but at that very moment Christ turns and looks at you!! As I write this I feel such intense sorrow! How often do I deny Christ, and he turns to me, and what I see is pain brought on by great LOVE!
John 18: 15-18, 25-27
  • Peter is with another disciple (most likely John)
  • This disciple is "known by the High Priest". It says this twice, within this context. I wonder how he was know by him, don't you?
  • Because he was known by the High Priest, he was able to go into the court with Jesus. He returned after he ran, and walked the rest of the way with Christ to his crucifixion.
  • This disciple was the one who got Peter into the courtyard in the first place, because he was known by the High Priest.
  • A servant of the High Priest, who just happened to be a relative of the servant whose ear Peter cut off was one who was observing that Peter was one of those with Jesus.
  • At once the Rooster crowed
But thanks be to God that was not the end of the story, and it isn't for me as well. Christ restored Peter and gave him a job to do:

John 21:15-19

15When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?"
"Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."

16Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?"
He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."

17 The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."

Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. 18 I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." 19Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!"

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Immutable and why that matters!

Immutable -not capable of or susceptible to change.

Not susceptible to change. That is our God! For my birthday my family gave me the book "Holy, Holy, Holy, Proclaiming the Perfections of God". I haven't read the whole book yet because I have several books I'm reading, but I have read the first chapter. In this chapter it talks about one of the methods used to describe the character of God called Negation. Negation defines something by saying what it is not. One of the characteristic of God that it describes there is his immutability. Where we change and are in a constant form of change, God does not change. He will not change, he cannot change.

Numbers 23:19

God is not man, that he should lie,
or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it?
Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

1 Samuel 15:29

And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or have regret,
for he is not a man, that he should have regret."

Job 23:13

But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back?
What he desires, that he does.

Psalms 33:11

The counsel of the LORD stands forever,
the plans of his heart to all generations.

So what does it mean for us that God does not change?
  1. It means what he has said down through history still stands. God speaks over and over again in scripture about his covenants. His covenant with Abraham was forever. Therefore since God does not change that covenant is still in effect. The Children of Israel are still his chosen people. The only difference is that through Christ (and only through Christ) we gentiles have been grafted into that chosen line.
  2. It means that the God of the O.T. is still the God today. So many people today say that the Bible is no longer relevant. The words written over 2000 years ago cannot and do not hold up today. Oh, but God never changes, so his word that he used men to write still is valid today. What he meant to say back in Genesis, still holds true for the world in 2010 and beyond. God is Omniscient:
having infinite awareness, understanding, and insight
2 : possessed of universal or complete knowledge

this means that God has known since before time what 2010 would be like. He is not surprised by the evil that has come down through the ages. His Word was and always will be complete and relevant. Those that believe otherwise DO NOT know the True Sovereign God.

3. In the O.T. God shows himself to us his holiness, his righteousness, his justice, his love. In the N.T. he continues to show us who he is through his son Jesus Christ. The perfect representation of God.

Hebrews 1:3
The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

Also the following verse speaks of Christ never changing (because he is God in the flesh).

Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

The symmetry of scripture is amazing to me! God who is immutable has set this world in place, knowing the heart of man. He has given to those he has called a wonderful tool to know his whole character ~ The Holy Bible. Anyone who disparages even one portion of scripture, disparages the whole, for it all points to God the Father.

The conclusion for me: In this world today I see so much evil. I see so much acceptance of things that are contrary to God and scripture, even within the organized church. I get weary of pseudo Christians who are apathetic toward God and his fullness and only concentrate on the parts of Him that jive with their hedonistic lifestyle. I desire so much for not only myself but the "true Church" to WAKE UP! We need to get rid of all things that hinder (Hebrews 12:1), and there are so many things within the church that hinders the work of Christ, and rise up to be what God, who is immutable, has called us to be: living stones (1 Peter 2: 4 & 5).

RISE UP OH CHURCH OF GOD! Seek God while he may be found! Do not settle for man's idea of God, but seek him through His word. If you seek, you will find, he promises that in Matt 7:8 and Luke 11:10. He is so much more then this world could ever imagine!


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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Is it Love or Infatuation?

Back on December 1, 1990 I cut the following Ann Landers column out of the paper and put it on my refrigerator. Mind you I would not meet Steve for 4 more years. It is still on my refrigerator today. I don't know if I've ever shared this on my blog or not, but I thought about it the other day and know it's worthy of posting again:

Essay's Message still as relevant as ever:

Dear Ann Landers: Last weekend while going through some family photos, I found this old column. The message is as relevant as it was 15 years ago.

These days, when divorce is commonplace and teen-age pregnancy at an all-time high, people need tangible guidelines. Please reprint this column.

Here is Ann's Reply: The essay you've asked me to rerun is one of the most frequently requested. I'm pleased to publish it again. Thanks for asking. Is it Love or Infatuation?

Infatuation is instant desire - one set of glands calling to another.

Love is friendship that has caught fire. It takes root and grows, one day at a time.

Infatuation is marked by a feeling of insecurity. You are excited and eager but not genuinely happy. There are nagging doubts, unanswered questions, little bits and pieces about your beloved that you would just as soon not examine too closely. It might spoil the dream.

Love is the quiet understanding and mature acceptance of imperfection. It is real. It give you strength and grows beyond you - to bolster your beloved. You are warmed by his/her presence, even when he/she is away. Miles do not separate you. You want him/her near. But near or far, you know he/she is yours and you can wait.

Infatuations says, "We must get married right away. I can't risk losing him". Love says "Be patient. He/she is yours. Plan your future with confidence".

Infatuation has an element of sexual excitement. Whenever you are in one's another's company you are hoping it will end in intimacy. Love is the maturation of friendship. You must be friends before you are lovers (here I would add and married).

Infatuation lacks confidence. When he's away, you wonder if he's cheating. Sometimes you check.

Love means trust. You are calm, secure and unthreatened. He feels your trust and it makes him even more trustworthy. Infatuation might lead you to do things you'll regret later, but love never will.

Love lifts you up. It makes you look up. It makes you think up. It makes you a better person then you were before.


The only thing I would add to this is that he or she must be a follower of Christ. You must keep him in the center of your relationship.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A "Merry Christmas" in July Party & Award

E-Mom over at Chrysalis is having a Christmas Party! Since coming back from some cold temps out west this just feels right. She has several things to check out so head on over and have some fun! One thing that blew me away is she gave me an award!! Now I haven't been blogging regularly in quite a while, and E-mom is one of my faithful commenters. Not only that but I have been so blessed by her teachings over at Chrysalis, so me getting an award from her is ~ well a big deal! Thanks E-mom! Here is my award:

Here are the rules attached to this award:

1. Thank the person who gave you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic!
4. Contact the bloggers you’ve picked and let them know about the award.

So I am supposed to share 7 things about myself. WoW do they have to be interesting? I don't know if I have 7 things to share that would peak someones interests, hummm....... let's try:
  1. I can read while traveling. I know many people, my daughter and mother included who get car sick if they read. I so appreciate the fact I can read while riding. It helps the time pass.
  2. I have been told I have Indian as part of my ancestry. You can see it in my mom and a few sisters, but it appears if that is true, the only thing I received from it is my bone straight hair. Some day I would like to research this to see if it indeed is true or legend. On our recent trip though I asked the kids who this old Indian woman looked like in a picture and they both said "grandma".
  3. When in a museum I cannot stand and read all the information near exhibits. I'm more a visual person. My husband on the other hand can spend hours doing it. So I wait alot at the the end of exhibits for him. Good thing I have a book to read!
  4. When I was younger my hair was so blonde someone asked if I bleached it. I was in 6th grade. Do mothers let their 6th graders bleach their hair? I know mine wouldn't!!!
  5. I used to collect tea cups. I have them all boxed up downstairs in storage, because we have not place for them to display. My favorite cup came from my sister Kam and her husband Jeff. It belonged to his grandparents. It has 22 carat gold trim on it. It's dainty and beautiful! The largest part of the collection came from my Grandma Olsen through my mother.
  6. I was once in a television commercial. It was very short lived and was for the insurance company I worked for. I didn't think anyone would see it, but my sister told me she was watching T.V. and there I was. It didn't air very long.
  7. Speaking of insurance. That is what I did before I became a mom. I was an underwriter at Lake States Insurance Company, based out of Traverse City Michigan. I had been in insurance for quite a few years. My favorite job though was being a Commercial Lines Rater (they are the ones who calculate the premiums on policies). I am a numbers person, and this job dealt in that. I miss it actually. Don't know if I could do it again or not, very rusty!
Well there you have it. 7 things you may not have known.

I am also supposed to give this to 15 new blogs I have gone to, but I haven't been stepping out lately to new blogs. Just my tried and true! There is one I have gone to that I love, but she has received the award from E-mom too. It's Stones of Remembrance! Can you see why went to her blog in the first place? Her posts have blessed my heart!

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010


So there you have it. The Letters to the 7 churches. I would love to know which church struck a cord with you the most? What relevance to you believe these letters have to us today? I myself see these churches as not only literal churches, but a representation of different aspects of the "church" today. A foreshadowing if you will.

I have so enjoyed digging into these 2 chapters. I pray that for any of you that have read these posts, that they have encouraged you also, and have made you take a closer look at yourself, to guard against becoming as one of these.

Christ stands at the door and knocks, offering the most rewarding relationship a person could ever ask for. Do not let anything stand in the way of that!

To him who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

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The Church in Laodicea

To the Angel of the church of Laodicea write: The words of the Amen), the faithful and true witness(Rev 1:5; 3:7 19:11), the beginning of God's creation (Col 1:15-18). In Christ we have the great AMEN. In Christ we have the faithful and true witness. In Christ we have been given Creation. I love how he ends these letters with AMEN. So be it, may it be fulfilled.

However here comes the words.

I know your works.

Let me just say that out of all the churches it stinks to be Laodicea! In all the other churches, Christ could find a few who remained faithful. Even in Sardis. Not so Laodicea. When I think of what Christ says to them ~ you are neither hot nor cold. Would that you were either cold or hot! So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot or cold, I will spit (to vomit, vomit forth, throw up) you out of my mouth. ~ I think of hot or cold drinks. Hot drinks comfort, cold drinks refresh. But when a hot drink grows cold or lukewarm it is not as comforting and most times just doesn't taste good, and if a cold drink grows lukewarm, it loses it's refreshing abilities. Neither of them do what they were intended to do, so why drink them? There is absolutely no reason for their existence if they do not do what they were intended to do. Christ's words here are even more extreme then just a spit out. The word translated means what it says above. Those are pretty strong words don't you think?

These people thought they had it all together. They thought "hey what do we need from God? We've got everything we could need." Notice all the "I's" in the passage. "I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing". Notice they don't even need each other. They are completely and totally self sufficient! They do not even recognize that they are wretched, pitiable (to be pitied, miserable) poor, blind and naked! Here they are strutting around and saying look at me, when all those around them are saying "How sad". Talk about living in a world of delusion! Can I get an AMEN!

Christ gives them counsel to come to him for gold that has been refined by fire, then they will truly be rich. He would give them white garments so that they could cloth themselves and the shame of their nakedness. He would give them salve (balm) to anoint their eyes so they would see. Christ OFFERED all this freely to the church of Laodicea. They refused. He reminds them that he reproves and disciplines those he loves, so be zealous and REPENT.

Christ continues to beckon to this church. He says (in the very familiar passage) "I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him and he with me." He desires relationship. All this church and we need to do is open the door, and he will come in. Recognition is so important here. This church did not recognize their condition, and we in the church today do not recognize our condition. Christ still counsels, and knocks. Are we listening and opening the door, or are we totally self sufficient and in need of nothing, not even the love of our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ? Are we wretched, pitiable (that one really gets me), poor, blind and naked; and the world is looking at us and saying "how sad"?

The one who conquers (overcomes, over powers, triumphs), I will grant him to with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. Christ is giving of his inheritance to us! If we persevere we will one day reign with Christ!

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Church in Philadelphia

To the Angel of the church of Philadelphia write: "The words of the holy one, the true one, (Rev 6:10) who has the key of David (Is 22:22), who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens (Job 12:14).

The church that suffered discrimination.

I know your works. Christ tells the Church of Philadelphia that he has set before them an open door, which no one is able to shut. Christ is the only one who can offer the invitation. He is the only one that has the key of David. He is the only one with authority. He is the only one who can open or shut the door to God's kingdom. So many people today believe there are many ways to God. We who trust in God, and believe that scripture says Christ is the holy one, the true one, believe also that he is the ONLY way to God the Father.

He speaks of the little power that they have, YET they have kept his word and did not deny his name. How often do you grow weary in doing good(Gal. 6:9)? This church is commended for continuing in the face of persecution. Christ tells them he recognizes their faithfulness. Doesn't that give you strength to go on, knowing that HE KNOWS YOUR WORKS? The Jewish community in Philadelphia did not except this church, but then how could the Jews except them? If they excepted them and allowed them into the synagogue they would be acknowledging Christ. These Christians were thought of as lesser then the Jews that lived in the city. BUT Christ knew them! He knew their faith and perseverance. He also KNEW the hearts of the Jews. He know they were not of his kingdom, they were of the synagogue of Satan. Christ also gives the church a look at the future, when those who have persecuted them, those who have said they are nothing will LEARN THAT I HAVE LOVED YOU! There will come a time when they (Jews and religious pharisees of today) will no longer be able to deny Christ's "true church". Christ will even make them to bow down before the church! How humbling will that be? And how precious to the "true church", to know and feel the love of their Savior!

This next part has been interpreted differently by people with different view points. I am not enough of a Bible scholar to tackle that in itself, so I will just say it as I see it. There is a time where the church WILL experience tribulation. We saw that back in the study of the precious Church in Smyrna. But because of their (Philadelphia) patient endurance they will be "kept from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world" The definition of "kept" in Strong's says this "to attend to carefully, take care of; to guard". No matter what, Christ will be there. Whether we are taken before the tribulation, during the tribulation, or after the tribulation. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us and that we will reign with him in glory. That is enough for me. Do I want to suffer persecution or tribulation? Do I want my children too? NO, but I believe that Christ will give me what I need to persevere, and that is enough for me.

He is coming soon! We today, as the church did then, must HOLD FAST to what we have, that NO ONE may seize our crown.

The one who conquers (overcomes, over powers, triumphs) Christ will make him a pillar in the temple of God. He will never leave it! He will never be excluded from coming to God or being with God. There will be no religious superiority anymore! He will have written on him, the name of Christ's God; the name of the city of God, the new Jerusalem; and Christ own new name. He will belong to God and no one can separate him from the love of God!

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

The Church in Sardis

The dead church.

And to the angel of the church of Sardis write: The words of him who has the seven spirits of God (Rev 1:4) and the seven stars (Rev 1:16).

I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Christ starts out with a very direct statement of their condition. No commendations for them, only rebuke.

How would that statement sit with you? On the outside you are alive, but what is on the inside is dead and dieing. This reminds me of the portion of the 7 woes in Matthew 23: 27 & 28 (which started this study) where Christ talks to the Pharisees about being white washed tombs. All pretty on the outside, but decaying on the inside. What makes a church end up like this? What fundamental issue is lost? Could it be they have watered down the gospel?

I need to mention this here. Whether it pertains to this church or not. There is a church in our area that in recent years the pastor has stated that he believes there are other ways to heaven then through Jesus Christ. He learned this while in Rome. When he was in one of the churches he noticed that the sun shone through the Apostle Peter as much as it did Jesus, so he had an epiphany. Just in the last couple of weeks the church he was once pastor of (when he had his epiphany) took the cross of their building because it is offensive to others. They are now an inclusive congregation that takes peoples from all religions. They are no longer closed minded and intolerant. It is a slippery sloop that one climbs on when taking the TRUE gospel and distorting and destroying it!

WAKE UP and strengthen what remains and is about to die! There was still time to repent. To wake up and continue the work that was not yet complete. There was still hope for this church, how be it small. REMEMBER then, what you have received and heard. KEEP IT AND REPENT!

~An interesting note from Sardis' history. Twice it had been captured while their watchmen slept. So sleeping is something they do well in Sardis, and it has worked against them, as scripture always says ( check out these scriptures on Watchmen & sluggards: Is 56:10; Prov. 6:9)~

Christ mentions, as he does elsewhere in scripture that if they do not wake up, he will come as a thief, and no one would be prepared for his coming. Could it be that in the church that I mentioned above, someone was sleeping and allowed the heresy to take place, and now look where they are?

"YET, you have still a few in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy." Another remnant. Even in churches who are dead or about to die there is a small remnant of godly people who are worthy. Here again is a called for the righteous to persevere.

The one who conquers (overcomes, over powers, triumphs) will be clothed thus in white garments (the raiment of victory!!!) and I will NEVER blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name BEFORE my Father and before His angels!

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches!

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Church in Thyatira

The tolerant church.

To the Angel of the church inThyatira write: The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze. (Rev. 1:14-15)

I know your works.

Things they were commended for:

  • Their Love
  • Their Faith,
  • Their Service
  • Their Patient Endurance
  • Their latter works exceed the first (opposite of the Church in Ephesus)
BUT I have this against you:
  • You tolerated that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.
This church is long on love. They serve tirelessly ( I see a church dedicated to social justice). But they lack discernment and tolerate heresy. They appear to go a step further then the Church of Pergamum and seem to accept her teaching. Could you possibly hear someone in this church say, "hey there are many ways to God, live and let live". "God is love, and we must except all people and the way they believe". "you cannot love the person, if you do not just except them the way they are". The list can go on and on of statements you could add to what someone in this church might say.

Jezebel (whether the original who married Ahab, or the spirit of her, or another Jezebel, we do not know) was given time to repent of her sexual immorality (Rev 2:21), but she REFUSED. Here I wonder why Christ has already mentioned the sin of sexual immorality twice? Three things will happen concerning this refusal:
  1. Jezebel will be thrown unto a sickbed. She will cease from a role of importance, and like the first Jezebel will be no more.
  2. Those that have fallen for her false teaching will be given time to repent, but will experience great tribulation.
  3. Her children (those who proclaim her teaching as correct) will be struck dead.
Harsh words! But this is serious stuff. God throughout scripture has told of his laws, and people throughout history has either ignored, changed, or intentionally distorted them.

Christ says, "all churches will know that I AM HE, WHO SEARCHES MIND AND HEART (1 Chron. 28:9) AND I WILL GIVE TO EACH OF YOU ACCORDING TO YOUR WORKS." Just as God throughout the Old Testament, especially in Ezekial says "Then they will know that I am the LORD." Christ is saying this here. Then they will know who he is, when he does what he has said he will do. This is not something that might happen, it will happen.

There was a remnant though. In verse 24 Christ speaks to the rest who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call "the deep things of Satan". To those he says he does not lay on them any other burden. He says "only hold fast what you have until I come." This speaks of persevering. Again STANDING FIRM IN THE TRUTH. Even against opposition that will make you out to be mean, cold hearted, intolerant, bigots. Family and friends may not understand why you can think such things, why you can be so closed minded. But Christ calls up to be set apart. He calls us to speak truth. Yes of course in love, but that love does not mean we except sin that will destroy the people we are called to love.

Another question to think about. How scary is the statement "the deep things of Satan"?! Doesn't if just make you wonder how far the depravity can go? How deep and sinister the king of this world is and what he will used to try and destroy those who will fall for his lies! Please remember anyone who may be reading this who does not know Christ ~ Satan is not out to show you a good time, to let you live your live for yourself, NO he wants to destroy you, he wants to keep you from finding the freedom in Christ. There are many who think that in following Christ there is bondage, but the TRUE bondage is in allowing Satan freedom to destroy you body and soul.

The one who conquers (overcomes, over powers, triumphs) and keeps my works until the end (persevering) to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself (Christ) have received authority from my Father (God) (notice Christ calls him his father here, Christ was not just a prophet, but the True Son of God, as he mentioned in his description). And I (Christ) will give him the Morning Star (Christ himself).

How glorious is that! Instead of bondage, destruction and eternal damnation, we get authority, rule, and to top it all off CHRIST HIMSELF!

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches!

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Church in Pergamum

The Church that Dwelt where Satan's throne is.

To the Angel of the Church of Pergamum write: The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword (Rev 1:16).

I know where you dwell. Pergamum was full of worship. Put not to the One True God. There were temples and worship for "the divine Augustus", the goddess Roma, Asklepios (the god of healing), and Zeus. Being a Christian in this atmosphere would not be easy at all. To stand firm and resist, while also facing persecution, would surely test one's faith.

Yet you hold fast to my name, and do did not deny my faith (even amidst persecution of others, Antipas).

What Christ has against this church:

  • You have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality.
  • You have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.
In other words, can't you hear someone saying ~ We believe the way we believe, but others are free to choose how they believe. Who are we to tell someone else they are wrong in what they believe? ~ Wishy Washy isn't it. They are not denying Christ. For them Christ is it, but they allow people to dilute the true message, but believing in other things. The words "you have some there who", means that these people worshipped with them. There was no discipline, no correcting these peoples errors in belief!

He says REPENT! If not HE will come and war against them with the sword of HIS mouth. We are to speak out against these falsehoods. Just like when scripture says "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out", Christ will come and do what he says he will do, but Whoa to him who was not obedient in his task. There are many within the church today that allow things to go on, that should not only be stopped, but should be dealt with, with godly discipline. So much is allowed to seep into the conscientiousness of the church and soon explained away. Never to be made right. Godly discipline is seen as intolerance. But Christ will take care of it once for all. He does not leave us without a task though. REPENT, Stand Firm, Speak Truth from God's word (a Sharp double edged sword Hebrew 4:12), Do not allow sin to weaken the church.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches: To the one who conquers (overcomes, over powers, triumphs) Christ will give some of the hidden manna , and He will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.

Interesting note on the white stone: Historically a white stone was given to victors at games for entrance to banquets (can you say The Great Banquet); such a stone was also used by jurors at trials to vote for acquittal. We are given our invitation and acquittal, by Christ himself, and our new name is known only to ourselves and him! Doesn't that just excite you?! A secret between you and your LORD!

Indeed, let us not stand for anything false that will try to infiltrate the church. Speak out, do not remain silent.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Church in Smyrna

To the Angel of the church of Smyrna write: "the words of the first and last, who died and came to life again". Interesting note which I should have mentioned in Ephesus, is that Christ is quoting his description from the previous chapter of Revelations, verses 17-20. Again these word would ring so true for this church.

The suffering church.

What would you do if you heard these words from your Lord ~

"Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed (it's going to happen), the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days( a limited number of days). Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life"

There was no happy pronouncement for this church. The Lord saw what they had endured:
  • Tribulation and poverty (yet they were rich)
  • Slander of false Jews (of the synagogue of Satan)
  • About to suffer more
  • Imprisonment (That they may be tested)
  • Will suffer 10 days of tribulations. (In some of the articles I've read, it mentions that the tribulation will be brief, but as in the culture at the time, most imprisonment ended in execution).
Are there churches out there that are strictly meant to suffer for the cause of Christ? I know I have many situations swirling in my head right now. Also it makes me think about many people I have known and heard of who have suffered so much, yet remain faithful. I think of the churches in China, India, the Middle East and all the other countries where they are executed for their faith, but what about here in America? If it has not started already, SOON, we will experience tribulation. Are we ready?

Do we desire to be part of "the suffering church" or would we rather skip that part? What if Christ has called us to that? Would we be able to "Be faithful unto death, and receive the Crown of Life (eternal life)?

"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers (overcomes, over powers, triumphs) will not be hurt by the second death (that time when the wicked are judged to eternal death, Rev. 20:4-6)."

I asked again, where do we stand? Where do I stand? Am I ready to say to Christ "I will be faithful, even to death"? I pray that when he sees my heart, he sees YES!

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Church in Ephesus

I'm no Bible scholar, but I believe this was the only city Paul visited. It was a large and very important city in it's day.

To the Angel in Ephesus write: "The words of Him who holds the 7 stars in his right hand, who walks among the 7 golden lamp stands." This description is significant because later Christ says if they do not repent their lamp stand will be taken from them.

They were commended for their work, toil, and patient endurance. They would not bear with those who are evil, and tested the false apostles (The hated the works of the Nicolaitans). They remained strong and did not grow weary.

BUT I have this against you: You have abandoned the love you had a first.

They were doing the work. They were doctrinally sound. Fine preaching was being done, but what was missing? I believe HEART. They were going through the motions of sorts. Of course they still love the Lord and wanted to work for him, but the PASSION was gone. Passion for Christ and love for each other. Could it be they focused so much on the letter of the law that they lost the heart?

Christ calls them to REMEMBER from where they had fallen. REPENT and do the works they did at first. Remember what is most important. OR their lamp stand will be removed! They would cease from being a church. They would no longer be of any good to anyone.

I will stop short of speaking of specific churches in these post. I want anyone who reads these to reflect for themselves their status and the status of the church they attend. What I truly want is for us all to WAKE UP, REMEMBER, AND REPENT!

To end this letter Christ says: "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. " We will finally be able to eat for real from the tree of life! That which was once forbidden will be offered to the one who conquers (overcomes, over powers, triumphs)! Eternal Life in God's paradise.

May our ears be open and attentive to Christ, and return to our first love!

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A study of the Letters to the 7 churches

While studying Matthew 23, and the 7 woes which are found there, I remembered the Letters to the 7 Churches in Revelations 2 & 3, and how they somewhat parallel each other. I decided to do a little study of them and do 7 posts, one for each church. Here is this post I want to begin with some of the things that stood out to me as I read these letters. I hope that through these posts you grow in your desire to know and love the Lord more and more each day.

Things that fascinated me about the 7 letters:

  1. These were written to "The Angel of the church of". I wondered who this would be, would this be an actual angel, or someone earthly. I looked up the definition in Strong's and it said: angel, messenger, envoy, one who is sent, a messenger from God.
  2. After the introduction of the church, Christ describes himself. It is a different description when speaking to each church.
  3. He ends each letter with the word "To the one who conquers" and then describes what they will receive.
  4. Each church receives a commendation and rebuke, except for 2, who only receive a rebuke, and a stiff one at that!
  5. There are two churches that appear to be suffering churches.
One of my fears for us as "the Church" today, is that more often then not I see us in these churches. I hope that we are not so much like the two churches who only received rebuke from our LORD. Are we so focused on the business of church that we do not have room for Christ? Are we the Pharisees in the audience that are blind leaders?

I pray not! I pray that we WAKE UP and stand for truth in a world that is increasingly hostile to the truth, even within the Church.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

A winner on my 500th post!

Well there weren't as many comments as I hoped but hey what do you expect from a chick that doesn't post much these days! Drum roll please!!!!

The winning commenter is #9 (for some reason it's not letting me show the results, but I know you all trust me right?!) - E-Mom!!!! Now even though she comes from the Coffee mecca of the world (WA), I think she'll enjoy this little coffee from Michigan! E-Mom send me your address and I'll try to get this all out to you before I leave. Also I'm thinking you may already have my favorite devotional ~ A long obedience in the same direction ~ if you do, I'll surprise you with something else!.

Thanks for joining in my celebration all! Have a blessed day!

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Friday, June 18, 2010

The 7 woes of Matthew 23

In my study of Matthew I am now to Chapter 23. The beginning part of this chapter has helped me in the past, but I've not gone further in it until now. In reading the 7 woes it became increasingly clear how they parallel our culture today. And people say the Bible isn't relevant any more! I do not claim to be a Bible scholar or even a good student of the Bible for that matter. What I do have is a desire to know God and his Son Jesus more through reading His word, and then sharing it in hopes that it stirs within someone a desire to know him more as well. So with that being said, here is my thinking on the 7 woes.

  • Woe #1 - "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in."
The teachers and leaders of the day had made a religion of their own. It became a religion made up of rules and false ideas of what God had established. The religious leadership had added to and taken away so much from God's laws that not only were they not entering the kingdom, but they were keeping those who would enter from entering through their false teachings. How often have we in the past and still continue to make up rules within the church that have no biblical standing? How often do we lay burdens on others that we ourselves do not have to carry because of Christ? Are we missing it? Are we missing Him in our religiosity?

  • Woe #2 - Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.
The teachers and leaders are able to convert some to their way of thinking, and even go to great lengths and faraway places to do so, but in doing so with false teaching they have just converted someone who is destined for the same place they are. There is no Truth in their teaching. How many people have been converted to a wrong way of thinking because of untruths that have been taught throughout generations? How many have been led to believe they are saved without that saving knowledge? How many are feeling good about themselves because of the false teaching of someone who cannot accept the God of scripture?

  • Woe #3 - Woe to you, blind guides, who say, 'If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.' You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? And you say, 'If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.' You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.
They have it backwards. Their focus is on the superficial and not on the significant. How often do we put our focus on the things man made within our churches and not on the truly important things of God. Our focus is on the simple, while missing the amazing. Our focus is on earth, while missing the heavenly, and in doing so leading others astray in our blindness.

  • Woe #4 - "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!
They did all the right things for all the wrong reasons. They again focused on the rules and missed the blessings. Tithing is important, Yes! But when you focus on the tithing, when you make it all about how much or how little, what should be included in the tithe you have missed the point. Stop focusing on these small matters, focus on what is important to God: Justice, Mercy and Faithfulness. Funny thing, if the latter were focused on the former would not be an issue.

  • Woe #5 - "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.
Don't we all look nice on Sunday? We cover so much with a veneer. We look all shiny and clean, but the heart, the heart! Self indulgence, so much of society today screams this! We want what we want when we want it (My word look at the those "W's"!!). How we try to clean up and make it look right on Sunday, when in fact, just like the leaders of old, our insides are not clean.

  • Woe #6 - "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
Whitewashed tombs. Tombs, they hold dead people don't they? Are our churches whitewashed tombs? Are we? Do we ourselves appear righteous to others, but within are we full of hypocrisy and lawlessness? Are we kidding ourselves? Do we know the drill, and how to talk the talk, but walking it faithfully is a mystery? Are we any different then those Christ is admonishing here?

  • Woe #7 - "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, saying, 'If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.' Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
How often do we say "We would never have done that"? We are more civilized, more enlightened then our ancestors. In the church how often do we say, when going through a conflict, "we would never do what so and so are doing"? Yet we do. Here the leaders paid homage to the dead prophets, killed by their forefathers. Saying they would never do the same, but at the same time plotting to kill The Christ. How often are we blind to our own hypocrisy?

Church of Jesus Christ WAKE UP! Let go of all that hinders (Hebrews 12:1) and run the race for Him! He is crying out to us too! He longs to gather us as children under his wings. Let God open our eyes and ears so that we can say we have persevered, and are not like the scribes, Pharisees and Hypocrites!

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