Pondering the Psalms

It is the time of year we are all busy in our preparations for Christmas.  Shopping to be done, decorating to be finished, cookies to be baked… yes busy, busy, busy!

Oh, but in our reading through the bible we are in Psalms this month.  I am seeing David, a servant of God.  Imperfect, like all of us and so many before him.  But, he gives his praise and worship to God.  God is the creator of the universe, he is seated high in the heavens.  David talks of humility and being righteousness, the fact that we are crowned with glory and honor.  He talks of the pride of the wicked but finishes off Psalm 10 with this reminder…”The Lord is king forever and ever

Pondering the Psalms…at Christmas.  Most would choose to read about the prophesies or the life of Christ.  We celebrate the birth this month, the birth of the King of Kings, the Lord who is king forever and ever.  No matter what we see happening in this world we live in, Jesus came here in complete and utter humility.  A baby is completely dependent for life.  Dependent on the love and nurturing for nourishment, protection, provision. Jesus showed us what humility is.

We are to be humble before God.  Let us not get lost in all the glitter and glitz of the season.  Let us not forget that the reason we celebrate is because God loved us so much he sent his son to suffer and die in our place so we might have a relationship with God the Father.  What a savior we celebrate!  Grace ~ the gift sent from above into a stable so many years ago, born that we might have life!

Blogging through the bible…For Such A Time As This

Esther 1 Esther 3 Esther 4
I love the book of Esther…having completed an in depth study with Beth Moore less than a year ago, I was entering this study looking at the first 10 days rather light heartily. Certainly, I would remember what I learned last year.  Instead, the Lord showed me that every time is fresh and new, like looking out the window and seeing the snow that blanketed the ground overnight. Seeing a view like that is fresh and new, even if you are not looking forward to going out in it or driving in it, you still love and appreciate it’s beauty.


I see Esther, poor in spirit, humble and obedient. I see Mordecai, gently leading and guiding her, standing firm on what God has taught him. I see the pride of the King and Haman…now we go on to the rest of the story… focusing on what is good and how we can apply this story of the orphaned little girl whom God used in a mighty way. We all have our story, we all can be used by God, we all have the power to influence people. May God bless you all on this journey!

So, now, having read half of the book of Esther, new nuggets are coming out at me.  From chapter 1, I am reminded that my Lord, King Jesus, freely offers forgiveness and grace!  I have an inheritance with the Father that cannot be repealed as Queen Vashti’s was by her earthly King.  My inheritance is set; it cannot be given away to someone else. Through his eyes of  love God sees his children as perfect and complete, none better than another.  Reading this reinforces in my mind the desire to do my best, for him, in whatever I do.  He gave his best for me.

The King may have exchanged Vashti for Esther, but, God had a plan for Ester’s life and for his people.  He was preparing the way for that to come to pass. God’s fingerprints cover the book of Esther, even though his name may not be mentioned.  

Pride, what do we know about it from bible?  We have all heard the famous verse, “Pride comes before the fall”.  Well, think about those words, the fall of Adam and Eve came about from pride. Pride seems to be at the root of most sin.  We see in Esther great pride of Haman and also of the King Ahasuerus.  Haman’s pride was so great he ordered every Jew be killed and even after that was ordered he became filled with wrath against Mordecai for not bowing down and trembling before him.  Oh, my, Haman, if he only knew the gallows he was having built would be used for his own death and all the mighty honor he was having the king give would not be going to him, but to Mordecai.  

The drama continues in the book of Esther, like a play of drama, pride, passion, rising and falling.  The story encompasses it all!  The story, of the little orphan girl, the girl who’s course was set for the purpose of saving the lives of the people of her heritage in her kingdom.  We know the end of her story.  God wrote it perfectly.  

She allowed it to be carried out because of her pure heart and her respect for her adopted father, Mordecai.  Her obedience to his leading in her life put her in the proper place for such a time as this.  Our obedience and respect for our Father will put us in place for his story of our lives to be perfectly cast and acted out…we are now living in our for such a time as this. How we respond is up to us.    

 Have a listen to Mandisa’s song about Esther

 

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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

An Act of Love!

May 4 is Compassion Sunday.   Compassion International will be highlighted in churches throughout the world.  What a joy and an act of love it is to sponsor a child.  We have sponsored up to 5 at any one time, however we have sponsored more through the years.  What a privilege and blessing to be a part of the life of a child in need.

We watched a boy who we sponsored for about 12 years outgrow the program as he turned 18.  His name was Runner.  It was sad for us to lose him, but, we pray as we touched his childhood, we also will have an affect his adult life.

Jesus told us that as you have done to the least of these, you do it to me.  When you sponsor a child, you are doing it in the name of Jesus and you are bringing the joy of the Lord into his life.  There is a child somewhere in the world waiting for you to be there for him or her.

Focus on Grace, because of the grace of God, you have a hope for a future.  Because of your grace, a child with little can be given that same hope, as well as having their physical needs taken care of.  You can be the love of Jesus to that child.

If your church is taking part of Compassion Sunday, prepare your heart in advance through prayer.  If your church is not, take time to visit Compassion International’s website and see how, or more specifically who, you can help.  You can choose boy or girl, you can choose what part of the world you have a heart for, you can also look for children with critical needs or give a one time gift for a special need.  What ever you do, in word or deed, do it for Jesus.

“FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS”

“For such a time as this.” These words came back to me today as I was reading on a Facebook page.  If any of you have done the Beth Moore study on the book of Esther, they will be very familiar to you.  In Eshther 4:14 these were the words Mordecai said to Esther.

I have, as I am sure you all have, friends that are going through new seasons in their lives.  Seasons that they are uncertain of, seasons that seem unsettling.   Although I can sympathize with them, I cannot say I know what they are going through because my life is not their life.  It is hard on us when we have friends walking in hard times, whatever they may be.  It is harder on our friend, but they need to feel our support and our love.

There is a time for everything under heaven, a time to be a friend to someone who needs you.  A time we may not be walking in their shoes, but certainly, a time to give them our love, encouragement and support.  The focus this week in the Good Morning Girls Bible Study, “Intentionally Focused” is Friendship, so it is on my mind.

We have the greatest friend in Jesus, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 NLT  I cannot attest to being that kind of friend; I do know that Jesus did it for me, and, he did it for you.

There are times for us to hold on to our friends and to hold on for our friends.  God gives us the grace to do that.  He gives us all we need to be a friend to those in need of our friendship.

Do we always see the need?  Do we look for where we can be a friend?  How to be a friend?

What ever is going on in your life or in the lives of your friends, God has placed you both where you are for such a time as this.  Whether you know what that time is now, or see it later, you will see it when it is necessary.

As you walk along this path, be a vessel for him, allow him to use you for such a time as this.

God will direct you and lead you down the path you are meant to follow…for such a time as this.

Determination

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“GAZE AT ME; GLANCE AT PROBLEMS—THIS IS the secret of living victoriously.   Your tendency is to gaze at problems for prolonged periods of time, glancing at Me for help… I have called you to live supernaturally, and I have empowered you to do so…  Invite Him (the Holy Spirit) to alert you whenever you get overly focused on problems so you can redirect your attention to Me.”  From the daily devotional by Sarah Young, Jesus Today: Experience Hope Through His Presence.

This little devotional is speaking to me this year.   I am currently working through several different studies and reading plans,  one of them being the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study Made to Crave.  Last week the word was #EMPOWERED, this week’s is #DETERMINATION.   I have found one short devotion confirming both to me. Choosing a healthy lifestyle with healthy food choices, choosing to crave God instead of food;  how perfectly this ties it together!

In the Made to Crave study, we were encouraged to use a craving as a prompt to pray.  In doing that I achieve VICTORY!   Rather than letting a craving control me, my thoughts will go to prayer, therefore setting my sights to gaze on Jesus.

Gaze at Jesus, not just glance, but gaze.  Wow!  Think of driving up the top of a mountain, seeing a rest stop and pulling over to admire the view, or looking over another amazing part of creation, such as the Grande Canyon or Niagara Falls.  That is gazing, with wonder and amazement, looking out and wondering how anyone could not believe in a creator at such a sight.   I am sure you know the feeling.

Gaze at Jesus, how much love he had for us to walk the road he walked.  The pain he suffered, the death he died, he died so you and I could live free! He claimed victory when he rose to live again.

I know that we can live victoriously through Christ as we allow him to lead and direct us.  Our thoughts and our actions, day-to-day, are directed by him.  We make a choice in allowing his direction to guide us or not. Determination is, or is not, in the choices we make.  I am determined this year to focus on my Savior and doing what is pleasing to him.

~Day- to-day, in every way, choose to let Jesus lead~

~Set your gaze on him~