Wisdom’s Gentleness

In the book of Hebrews, we are told that God’s word is alive and active…that it is.  Two weeks ago I read the book of James, then yesterday I read again and it spoke differently to me. How is that?  I suppose that is the alive and active part grows, adapts and changes to what we need at any given time in our life.  The Holy Spirit guides us as we dig into the word.

When we are humble, and seeking for what the Lord has for us to grow, the word of God will speak, we need only listen for him.  Be still, and know.  How many times have I read about the tongue, a horse, steering of a ship and fire in James 3?  I taught on it.  Yet it still has a new lesson for me.  A lesson on humility, a lesson on wisdom and a lesson on gentleness.  If you have not read James in a while, go and read it.  It is not a long book.

What words spoke to me differently this time than in the past? Verse 13 “Who is wise and understanding among you?  He should show his works by good conduct with wisdom’s gentleness.” (HCSB)

As I praise and worship my Father with my mouth, I pray not to be cursing my brother or sister with the same.  I pray my actions and my words show wisdom’s gentleness as I go about my life.  May my worship and praise to the King be reflected in my life and in my actions.

Perhaps since our ladies group this year is seeking to “Gain a Heart of Wisdom” those words just jumped out at me. Earlier this summer, I looked up all sorts of verses on wisdom.  There are many!  This verse was not on my list. Perhaps is was timely, wisdom’s gentleness, I planted that seed in my head, wisdom’s gentleness.  I want my speech to be seasoned with gentleness.  I kept reading those words, and I believe they took root when I needed them to act.  Living and active, God’s word ~ Yes, it is!

I have been contemplating my word for 2017, I thought it would be joy, but now I am thinking it may be gentleness.  The Holy Spirit is always working on my heart, for that I am thankful.  God is so good, don’t you think?  His grace and gentleness abounds.

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I pray you bask in his grace and gentleness as you enter into this holiday season.  

As you look at Christmas, look at it simply, look at it as it is; a wonderful gift of love to you from a gracious Father.  fullsizeoutput_718

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Acting on Acts … Ride on a Cloud!

Flag and a cross

Our reading through the bible with Good Morning Girls kicks off the fall season in the book of Acts today. Acts is the story of the church, when it began and struggles the early Christians faced.  In reading this book, what can I read that would be a call to action?  What was the first verse that really spoke to me?  Was I influenced because we just had a three week sermon series on Resurrection? Possibly, in chapter 1:9 I read “And when he had said these things, as they were looking on,  t he was lifted up, and  u a cloud took him out of their sight.”  This was after Jesus resurrection from the tomb, after he spent 40 more days on earth in his resurrected body.  So what can I glean from this?

As I continue my hunt for old testament pictures of Jesus, did I expect to find it here in the first chapter of the book of Acts?  No, but I did!  God brought Jesus up on a cloud.  So what does that picture say to me? It brings me back to the Old Testament. In Isaiah 14:14
‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ –  Is this a fulfillment of prophecy? More research on it to be done, but it  was Lucifer saying he would make himself “like”… but only Jesus ascended above the heights of the clouds to be with the Father, from earth on a cloud that would take him even higher than the clouds!
I also thought about the pillar of cloud and what it represented in the scriptures.  That pillar of cloud showed the people that God was with them, it showed them he was leading them and they could trust him and follow.  So I look at God’s lifting Jesus up on the cloud, Jesus is God and he had been present on earth living among the people. I see Jesus pictured in that pillar of cloud in that way.  Jesus leads people to God ~ I love this Old Testament picture even more now that I consider it through the first chapter of Acts!

So what else did that cloud do for the people of Israel? It brought them to a place of worship (Ex 33:10) and it caused nations to talk about God (Nu 14:14).  Christians all over the world worship Jesus for who he is and for what he has done for them.

Just before crossing the red sea the pillar of cloud separated the people of God and the people against God (Exodus 14:19-20).  Jesus separates God’s children from children of the world.  In the first chapter of John we are told this…   The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  The right to become children of God, available to all people, given to those who receive him and believe in his name. Jesus is the separation, in John 14:6 Jesus said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  The right to become children of God, available to all people, given to those who receive him and believe in his name. 

… JESUS now lifted back to the Father on a cloud… the same things that were done by the pillar of cloud for the Jewish people through out their journey home, I see now in this picture of Jesus going up on the cloud to be with God.

Look forward, look at what Paul wrote in his letter to the  Thessalonians “Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.”1 Thes. 4:17
For the Christian that hope of eternity is the hope that keeps us in peace through anything the devil throws at us! Hope, peace, joy… in Jesus!

I then thought about Elijah on the cloud, and the song by Robin Mark “These are the days of Elijah”, a song I love, but now has new meaning for me because of The story behind These are the Days of Elijah; after reading this, watch our Marines singing Days of Elijah!

These are Elijah Days, God is here, he is in control, we can bring new life to the hurting. We have the message of salvation, we have the love of Jesus, we can share the message and share his love.  On this Labor Day, be thankful for those who serve and labor for us, celebrate that as you consider ways to serve others.

Living Sacrifice

relaxing with a cup of cocoa

I have just completed reading the book of Matthew, fresh in my mind is the Lord’s last days.  The sacrifice he made for me, the sacrifice he made for you.  Now I begin the book of Leviticus… not knowing what to expect… how will it speak to me, a book of laws that the Jewish people would not be able to full fill completely? Chapters one and two showed me Jesus! Pure, loving and perfect.

God was very specific in how sacrifice was to be made, whether it be a blood sacrifice or a grain offering.  It was to be pure and perfect.. Jesus was that!  It of course then would be held as important to the one offering it… Jesus again! In these chapters of Leviticus, the offerings made would be a sweet aroma to the LORD.

Jesus’ sacrifice was an atonement for our sins, it was to restore a right relationship between God and us.  In all of our shortcomings, Jesus pain, suffering and crucifixion  was an act of love for us, a gift of grace.  So, I think about this all, and focus on that gift…

With all the things going on in our day to day lives, we can get distracted from his grace.   Sacrifice ~ made for me ~ love ~ grace.  The Old Testament can seem old, just as it is called.  But it is filled with pictures from what is new!  As a new Christian, one of the first verses on my own I committed to memory was Romans 12:1-2 “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” ESV

I am reading through the bible with Good Morning Girls. (http://womenlivingwell.org/2015/04/introduction-to-leviticus-resources-chapters-1-5/) We are being guided to look at Leviticus as a book of Worship… I looked at that verse I memorized so many years ago and wanted to see it in a fresh new light… so on to more modern translations I turn.  I love that we can see the word in so many different versions!  Here, The Message puts it so clearly,

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

This also goes along with what our message was about on Sunday in King Solomon’s life.  Things around us can pull us away slowly, gradually. The key words I took from that was “start well ~ finish well”.   When we Focus on Grace,  keep our attention on God, he brings out our best!  Our best attitudes, our best character, it gives us gratitude for what he has done for us and given us.  It helps us to look at all things around us, things going on in our lives that may seem like interruptions, and see them as opportunities! It will help us to finish well!  I hope to live my everyday, ordinary life for Him, as a living sacrifice.  As I do that, I have peace and joy because of his mercies and grace.

Whatever season you are in, God is on the throne!  He is able, he is faithful.  Focus on His Grace and live in gratitude. Pace your live before him!

  

Recipe for Joy

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Summer has finally arrived.  Isn’t it funny how we complain about the cold and snow for so long throughout the winter, but, when the heat and humidity of summer hits us. we complain about that too.  I know that I am guilty of that; yet in the summer I can escape by finding the coolness of air conditioning.  Yet, even if I need a light sweater, I can enjoy the coolness.  When winter snow arrives, I have no choice but to go out in it, shovel, drive, trudge through slushy, sloppy parking lots.  For sure, there is no escaping it!  I would certainly choose the beauty of summer, the green grass, the colorful flowers and being able bask in the sunshine.  Yes, I love it!

If stress and tension are filling my life, I have choices in how to deal with those things too.  Jesus left us with these words…

These things I have spoken to you,

that my joy may be in you,

and that your joy may be full…John 15:11

As a Christian, I have him in me, his joy is in me ~ regardless of  my outward circumstances and what is going on in my life!   Prior to these words, Jesus also told us to abide in his love.   If I am going to stand by, or act in accordance with His love, I must embrace his love.  It is then when his joy will have a marked influence on my attitude and actions.  He, being in my heart, will rule not my circumstances.  Joy is within!  My choice is whether or not I will live in that joy or live in my stress.

If you feel like your being pulled in too many directions, maybe it is time to unclutter your mind and your heart.  soak in his love, soak his words to your life.  As you do that, consider your blessings, consider what he has done for you out of love.  Lift up the name of the Lord in worship and with deep gratitude for who he is and what he has done in your life.  The stresses and tension you were feeling can be flooded over with his love.  Take time to slow down this summer and besides basking in the sun, bask in the Son!

I hope you enjoy this song by Gwen Smith.  Take time to reflect on it and consider the words as you consider how you can bask in the son more this summer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVee2y01_8k