Monday, December 28, 2009

Knowing Love

I've been meditating on LOVE.

My beginning thoughts about the subject were fun and poetic. Then, after a time they became exhaustive... and to such an extent that I began to feel overwhelmed by it. Suddenly it felt complicated. Difficult. Foreign.

Holy Spirit reminded me often that it was
not complicated.

Nevertheless, it seems I've wrapped it up with a bit of melancholy. I've come to the conclusion that I don't know what it is at all. I mean really
really know.

I believe what the Word says it is though... Yes I do.

Maybe next I need to meditate on what it means to believe...


For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 1 Cor. 13:12



Photo is "pondering" (google re-use)


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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gao Zhisheng

Christian human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng, disappeared February 4, 2009 and was last seen being taken away by a dozen police officers.

I want to do something to help Gao Zhisheng. He is imprisoned. He is being tortured. I pray for him and I think about him a lot. Beyond that my heart wrings over the suffering he endures at the hands of hatred. The only other thing I can do to help him is to let others know about him.

I would love it if you would take the time to visit the "Help Free Gao Zhisheng" website to read more about this amazing man and discover some real ways you can help get him out of prison. As of this writing, he has been imprisoned for 315 days! The last email update I received about him described his condition as being worse than death. This man is our Christian brother. Please, do this for him!


photo: Gao Zhisheng (google re-use)


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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Church

I am a spiritual being with a soul that lives in a body. It occurs to me that the church is too.

The church’s spirit is full of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

The body of the church are all those who are subjects of Jesus the Christ; each one having special gifts meant to be shared for the benefit of all and for taking the gospel to lost people. When two or more get together God joins them for fellowship, worship, prayer, study, fun and and and... all kinds of wonderful stuff.. just like a family!

The soul of the church is its mind, will and emotions. Creativity abounds here!! This is also the realm that gets us into trouble sometimes! It’s where traditions, laws and practices can sometimes try and overrule the simple and wonderful gospel of grace.

I love the church...all of it. This is how they (the world) shall know us right? By our love for one another. If I could put the church in a tidy little box it's my hope that it would look something like this…

GOD
is love

God IS love
God is LOVE



This post was done in participation with the One Word At A Time Blog Carnival and was hosted this week by Bridget. Thanks for inviting me to be in on the fun!!


Photo is: "Walking" from Morgue File.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Bible on Bones

I've recently been informed that I am getting older. Me! It's a very strange notion... a shock really. Evidently my bones are thinning. Doctors call it Osteopenia... bleh!

To stave off the dreaded prescription remedy that's been suggested, I instead, jutted my jaw, went to the natural market and added to my vitamin repertoire. Other than that, the only proactive move I can make is to exercise. Or is it?

Turning to God's word I searched the references for bones. I was pleasantly surprised to discover quite a lot on the subject. I decided to pick out a few that seemed especially relevant to my recent diagnoses and expound a bit. Here they are...

Pro 16:24 ~ Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.

The pleasant words here, according to John Gill are "the doctrines of the Gospel; such as the doctrines of God's everlasting love, eternal election, the covenant of grace, the person of Christ as God-man; of peace and reconciliation by his blood; of remission of sins through his atoning sacrifice; of justification by his righteousness; of life and salvation by his obedience, sufferings, and death; all the doctrines of grace, which show that salvation in all its parts is owing entirely to the free grace of God; these are all pleasant to the ear of him that knows the joyful sound, and to the taste of everyone that has tasted that the Lord is gracious."

*

Pro 3:7-8 ~ Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.

Don't be a know it all...conceited and full of pride. Be humble and obedient to the Lord.

*

Psa 32:3 ~ When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long.

If we do not acknowledge and repent of our sins they are ours to keep. Repent of them quickly so God can cast them into the sea of forgiveness!

*

Pro 14:30 ~ A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones.

Again, I must defer to John Gill's commentary of the verse, it is quite enlightening. He says..."A man (mankind) that envies the happiness and prosperity of others,... this preys upon his own spirits, and not only wastes his flesh, but weakens and consumes the stronger parts of his body, the bones; it is as a "moth" within him, as the Arabic version: the Targum is - "as rottenness in wood, so is envy in the bones;''

*

Pro 17:22 ~ A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.

Looking at the root in Strongs of "Broken Spirit", it seems to be referring to vain anger and worry. Be joyful in the Lord!


So, it seems there are spiritual options for me to consider as well...hmm?


  • Meditate on God's Word.
  • Kick pride to the curb!
  • Be quick to repent.
  • Don't be envious.
  • Be joyful.

Thank you Father for your marvelous Word!


It seems especially apropos to tie up my study with the following verse - a worthy meditation....

Eph 5:30 ~ For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.



Photo from the morguefile.

Disclaimer: This general information/opinion is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional so please, consult with them if you are having health issues.



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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Nite Nite at Cricket Creek












body against the ground

lying heavy
weary of being flesh

wanting to return

yet breath of life
moving my soul
leaving the dust to sulk
wanders beyond

listening to the wind
stirring chartreuse leaves
high above
on black oak branches

coming then perfume of night
smoky nomadic ribbon
cinching up the day
dunking me into sleep



photo "forest night" (google re-use)



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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Book Tour: K.M. Weiland - Behold The Dawn

I have the pleasure of introducing you to the fabulous fiction of K.M. Weiland. It’s a great honor to participate in her book touring itinerary by treating you to an exerpt from her brand new release – Behold The Dawn.

About the story...

Marcus Annan, a tourneyer famed for his prowess on the battlefield, thought he could keep the secrets of his past buried forever. But when a mysterious crippled monk demands Annan help him find justice for the transgressions of sixteen years ago, Annan is forced to leave the tourneys and join the Third Crusade.

Wounded in battle and hunted by enemies on every side, he rescues an English noblewoman from an infidel prison camp and flees to Constantinople. But, try as he might, he cannot elude the past. Amidst the pain and grief of a war he doesn’t even believe in, he is forced at last to face long-hidden secrets and sins and to bare his soul to the mercy of a God he thought he had abandoned years ago.

The sins of a bishop.

The vengeance of a monk.

The secrets of a knight.


The excerpt...

He ran a hand over the saddle, checking the Baptist’s flat-bladed sword where it lay snug in its fastenings on the near side. “Fetch the food purse.” She had kept it near her during the night, and he hadn’t asked for it. What he had told her about having nothing to fear from him would sink in better if he stayed away from her.

He gave the cinch a final check and tossed another glance at the sky. With blessings from both the weather and the saints, he and the lady could be in Orleans within the month—if the horse held out that long. He patted the courser’s shoulder. The horse blew through his nostrils and tossed his head. He was a far cry from the bay destrier Annan had lost outside Acre, but then the bay’s stamina probably wouldn’t compare w
ith the courser’s on a trek of this sort.

Without looking at him, Mairead handed him the heavy leather purse. “The horse should have a name.” It was the first offhand comment she had offered since he had met her two nights ago.

“I don’t name my animals.”

“Why not?”

He tightened the knot that would hold the purse to the saddlebow, then turned to where she stood fondling the courser’s dark head. Why indeed? The last animal he had named was the charger Lord William had gifted him with a few years before St. Dunstan’s. He had called the big stallion Caird. Since then, he had owned and
lost countless beasts, some through the tourneys, some to pay his debts. Marek named them all, but Annan never paid him heed.

Mairead looked at him, and he straightened. “Animals without names are easier to watch die.” It was as good a reason as any.

“Oh.” Her mouth set in a firm line once more. “I see.”

She didn’t see, but he hadn’t expected her t
o. She had known the shelter of her father’s and then Lord William’s castles for too long; she couldn’t realize that the pain and the death that filled a man’s life were bearable only when kept at arm’s length.

She didn’t look at him until he had lifted her onto the pillion, and then her eyes met his only for a moment. But it was an unguarded moment. And in it, he sensed again a flash of pain—raw and burning—and he was reminded that perhaps Lady Mairead of Keaton was a woman who knew pain all too well.

He could guess at the cause. He could piece together the import of her fear and of Lord William’s words and of everything left unsaid in her own statements.

But, that too, like all the horses he had seen fall beneath him in battle or forfeited for melee ransom, was something he needed to leave unnamed, lest he open himself to the realization of what had been done to her. Were he ever
to allow a crack to open in the mental barrier of sixteen years, that would be all the gateway his own pain and fear and anger would ever need.

He mounted, wincing at the groan of his old hip wound. Reining the horse around, he headed for the riverbank where the going would be smooth. Mairead did not brace herself with her arms around him as she had yestermorn during their escape from the prison camp.

He urged the horse into a trot to loosen its muscles. The courser stumbled, then righted itself, ears pointed ahead, hooves crunching in the
pebbles.

Annan glanced to his left. By now, the stranger on the donkey should be too far away to hear them. He rubbed the horse’s rough mane with his knuckles. Let the horse hold out. It was as close to a prayer as he had come in a long time.

The lady didn’t speak until the campsite had almost disappeared around the river’s bend. “He deserves a name,” she said.

The breeze, cool and still heavy with the damp of night, slid across the thickening stubble of his cheek, whispered secrets in his ear, then blew past him to caress the countess’s long hair.

Lines knit themselves deep in his forehead. H
e touched the horse’s belly with his heel, and the animal leaned into a canter. “Then name him.”

About the Author: K.M. Weiland writes historical and speculative fiction from her home in the sandhills of western Nebraska. She is the author of A Man Called Outlaw and the recently released Behold the Dawn. She blogs at Wordplay: Helping Writers Become Authors and AuthorCulture.

Now that your fiction fancy has been tickled you may want to watch the book trailer for Behold The Dawn.
I hope you have enjoyed having K.M. here at GrowUpDeep as much as I have.

Thanks K.M., it was a blast! Blessings for all your novel writing adventures. We look forward to more!!


If you have an interest in writing I also encourage you to become acquainted with ChristianWriters.com. Fabulous place to learn the craft, make friends and gain support.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Hypocritical Noise

Take away from Me the noise of your songs, For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments. Amos 5:23

Dr. John Gill says that "during the time of Amos, the ten tribes, very probably, imitated the temple music at Jerusalem, both vocal and instrumental, and had their songs and hymns of praise, which they sung to certain tunes; but the music of these is called a noise, being very disagreeable to the Lord, as coming from such carnal and wicked persons; and therefore He desires it might cease, be took away, and He be no more troubled with it."

The people were living carnal lives and wouldn't completely turn back to the Lord. They wanted their idols, their unholy lifestyles and God too. It doesn't work that way!

This sounds so familiar. Today, a lot of people dress up and play church on Sundays but outside of that their lives are barely different than those who don't... sometimes worse. The greater shame is that churches are catering to these folks with "feel good" sermons that rarely mention the consequences of sin.

In many cases these churches are so politically correct that those living outwardly abominable lifestyles are applauded and promoted to positions of leadership. The word of God isn't preached except when misconstrued or it's convenient for accommodating the carnality of mere motivational speeches to luke warm or apostate congregations.

How utterly disgraceful and hurtful to God! Is it any wonder that He isn't interested in hearing their songs and instruments. Just a bunch of noise! The following verses come to mind.

Rev. 3:16 says - So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.

John 4:23 says - But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.


Lord, I want to be a TRUE worshiper! You are worthy. Put in me a clean heart, pleasing in your sight and to your ear. I love you.


Photo is "noise" (google re-use)



Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rain of Righteousness

Hos 7:2 They do not consider in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness; now their own deeds have surrounded them; they are before My face.

Hos 10:12 Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the LORD, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.

~~~

Both of these verses are about works. I notice in the first verse that the ground of their hearts is hard. Their own wickedness doesn’t even occur to them… much less the consequences.

“… Now their own deeds surrounded them..” That sounds so creepy to me. In my over active imagination I see impish creatures leaping and encircling their creator (us) like a captured prize to present to God with glee and pointing fingers!

I can hear the sadness of God’s heart… in the word ‘now’. It’s like He’s saying … “now look what you’ve done”.

It’s hard to think that I am "before God's face" while here on earth, but I am. Nothing is hidden from Him, especially my heart.

The second verse encourages me to keep my heart tender to the Word, my relationship with God; to do good works and enjoy His mercy!


Lord, I want to dance in the rain of your righteousness. Thank you for your Grace and Mercy!!


Photo is: "Praise The Lord" (google re-use)

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Whiff

from young days
long forgotten
arrives the smell
of caterpillars
kept in a jar
with a willow stick
sour dock and
beads of sweat
under a rusty white lid
poked with three holes

the smell is gone
before I am through with it



Photo is "caterpillar" (google re-use)


Friday, October 2, 2009

Hasty Consent

Dan 6:14 And the king, when he heard these words, was greatly displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver him.

Talk about drama! King Darius decreed that every man who petitioned god or man, except for him, for thirty days would be tossed to the lions. Shortly after, Daniel was ushered before the king a guilty man.

The decree was brought about by newly appointed governors and satraps vying for power in the newly acquired kingdom. They couldn't stand it that Daniel, because of his excellence was being considered for the top position over all of them.

They knew they couldn't trip Daniel up on anything except where his God was concerned. They knew he was faithful. Thus they requested the decree of king Darius.

What gets me is that the king must have been oblivious to the evil plotting of the politicians because he was quite concerned for Daniel's life. Why did he permit the decree in the first place? Once declared it couldn't be withdrawn so one would think it wouldn't have been issued carelessly! I'm convinced the politicians went to the king praising, flattering and groveling... fanning his pride to the point of blindness of their true intent.

Poor king Darius spent the entire night awake, fasting and worrying. Once morning finally arrived the king ran to the lions den and found Daniel alive. God had shut the mouths of the lions. What a relief!


Lord, how often does the evil one whisper flattery into my ear about some self serving situation? How often do I consent before fully considering a matter? Forgive me of my pride. Keep me from deception and give me discernment!


Photo is: Daniel in the Lion's Den (google re-use)


Thursday, September 24, 2009

He Restores

The Gentiles shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity; because they were unfaithful to Me, therefore I hid My face from them. I gave them into the hand of their enemies, and they all fell by the sword. According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions I have dealt with them, and hidden My face from them. Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Now I will bring back the captives of Jacob, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name. Ezek 39:23

The picture in my mind of God hiding His face from his children is so heartbreaking. Like a loving parent who had no choice but to punish... He grieves. But, His love is not diminished.
It is with great passion that He restores His own to a right relationship with Him.

I am so glad that Israel is not forgotten. No one has taken her place as the apple of God's eye. I love that! This wonderful example of God's great love is a comfort. I too have gone astray. I too have caused God to hide His face from me. I am so grateful for His grace and mercy.

Lord, help me live with a grateful heart and to please you in all that I think, say and do. Thank you for restoration!


Photo is: Golden Jerusalem (google re-use)


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fear










fear eats faith

words are unsaid because of it
tears are shed too

fear is subtle
insidious

fear creates more fear
it squeezes
it mocks
it steals

fear causes confusion
regret

brings depression
makes flight

starve it!



For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7


Photo is: Crazy Heart (google re-use)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Andrew's Farewell

I think the following poem has been with me a lifetime. It was first whispered in my ear about 6 years ago. For some reason, until now, I have been unwilling to release it.

If you've read Foxe's Book of Martyrs you will recall the account of the apostle Andrew's death, or rather, his demeanor as he approached it.

"Andrew, going toward the place, and seeing afar off the cross prepared, did change neither countenance nor colour, neither did his blood shrink, neither did he fail in his speech, his body fainted not, neither was his mind molested, nor did his understanding fail him, as it is the manner of men to do..."

Though Andrew was not in my mind as I wrote the poem, I find that I often think of him when I read it. I marvel at the Grace and Peace that was with him as he was delivered into eternity.





Andrew's Farewell


If the palms of wickedness
rub hot with hostility
and strategy
or if we see love turn to wax
before our breaking eyes

O wounded soul
look away

If the guillotine’s bladed thirst
be unquenched by martyr’s blood
or if fires bellow for fagots
a crowd to witness
and a melancholy wind

O miry clay
rejoice in the terrible hour

See beyond the storm
of this great stage
and nestle beneath His wings
where He lifts our chin to see His face
and we let go of fear forever

O how beautiful
the gates of Glory





Photo is: Martyr's Stake (google re-use)

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Beware My Love

We all want our loved ones to be happy, healthy and wise. Typically, we overlook the bad and magnify the good; we forgive and defend them passionately. This is a good love.

But what happens when a loved one becomes devoted to a false religion, life style or belief system and refuses to be persuaded about their error?

Sometimes we come to conclusions…or we rationalize -

“Well, I believe that God is love. There is no way that God’s going to send them to hell...I just don’t believe that!"

"Everyone always thinks they’re right and that their way is the only way!”

Suddenly our love for the person manifests by defending their error.
We can’t accept or tolerate the adverse consequences indicated by the choices they’ve made. It’s too painful. This is a bad love.

It seems to me that this rationale not only validates and condones their error but is also an insidious mar upon our own consciences; a subtle wedge of deception. If not careful we will find ourselves in the grasp of a false belief system too.

A shift from biblical truths for the sake of our loved ones does nothing to save them. In a real sense, it’s checkmate for the devil. We’ve become deceived ourselves and rendered ineffective witnesses of truth in the loved ones life. We’re no longer full of faith and hope. We’re no longer praying for the person’s salvation!

Instead, we become full of defensive pride, fear and even resentment for anyone who would be so philosophically and mystically deprived as to suggest that there is but one narrow way to God and heaven. We have declared the loved one and ourselves acceptable.

God Word says –

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.


If we, as believers surrender and exchange the truth for a lie then perhaps our neighbors will. After all, they have loved ones too. Over time, this ‘bad love’ becomes a vortex for the whole of society. Everyone is right in their own eyes, truth is suppressed, churches are politically correct, governments oppress and on it goes.

I’m not suggesting that we harden our hearts and shun our misled loved ones. Au contraire! We are to love them even more by holding fast to the truth we know, praying and being good examples. Let the Holy Spirit lead us.

Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Remember the old adage… “if you can’t beat them join them?” Well, we’re not trying to beat them. We are trying to win them! Selah



Photo is "lost souls" (google re-use)


Friday, August 14, 2009

Sword



Holy pages turned
A blade, whet against the soul
Lay quiet - lay still





Photo via morgueFile

Friday, August 7, 2009

Honest Scrap Award

My friend Vee from Living Journey has tagged me with the "Honest Scrap Award". I'm to reveal 10 honest things about myself and then tag seven other bloggers to do the same...muahahahaha! Oh, and check out Vee's blog while you're at it. You'll know right away why this is one of my favorite places to go.

This was much harder than I originally thought it would be. Good fun though so here we go...here's my ten:


1. Since I was a small child I have favored all things Jewish. One of my favorite sounds is that of a
well blasted shofar! Would love to learn Davidic dance.

2. I eat the Vegan way. No meat, dairy or eggs. Many folks who eat this way call themselves Vegans. I think it's kind of strange to identify ones self by the food they eat. It's not who I am. Not my religion either – some make it a spiritual thing too… brother!

3. I always wanted to be a homemaker and mother. I had no ambition to be a “career woman”. Turns out that I don’t have any children and have worked 35 years so far. So now… I have issues.

4. My favorite place on the planet is the deep ferny forest of the Sierra’s. If given the opportunity, I could easily retire there as a hermit and write poems.

5. I was a sight as a kid. Tall and stork-skinny, pigeon toed and freckle-faced. To top it off I had enough kinky uncooperative hair on my head for 10 people! I'm not disclosing some of the nicknames my schoolmates had for me.

6. Rarely do I remember dreams but when I do they're often messages. The last dream I had was a scene of my mother sitting in a chair and her head suddenly falling back like she had fainted. This went on all night long over and over. When morning came I remarked to my husband about the dream scene and that I was exhausted due to praying for mom all night long. Later that morning I was notified that mom was in the hospital. She had felt sick, went to the doctor and collapsed in the chair in his office… the description of her collapse was the exact scene in my dream.

7. I grew up in the California valley where everything was watered by sprinkler or irrigation. Our cow pasture was irrigated regularly in the summer via ditches that filled it up with about a foot of water. Great alligator swimming territory! Yes… it's what you’re thinking. As kids we swam around in that cow patty ditch water pretending to be alligators. It was great fun and I'm still alive - imagine that!

8. I'm thinking I would like to learn Swahili.

9. My dad died of a sudden-death heart attack 30 years ago at the age of 42. I still miss him very much.

10. My husband says I’m a color coordination freak with everything. I use to think about clothes design a lot so maybe it’s mixed up with that. I’m not so sure I like this. I like to think I’m funky… not freaky!

Okay, to these below....Your turn! (of course, anyone else is welcome to join in too)

Heading Home
Just Say the Word
Seedlings in Stone
Fresh Insights on Ancient Truths
A Journey Through His Garden
What I learned Today
Wordplay: The Writing Life of K.M. Weiland

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Simply Radical!

For most of my Christian life I have thought in terms of right and wrong. The internal gavel of my heart could easily strike a verdict on issues that were black and white. Thanks to fabulous home training as a child my conscience guided me fairly well through the gray areas too.

Recently though, I've been enlightened to a new and radical concept that is transforming my spiritual walk. It's not complicated. You can be transformed too if you have a desire to please God.

You did get that didn't you? It's one of those "can't see the forest for the trees" things. Simply…please God!

Wanting to please Him has become a wonderful living place within my spirit that overrules the soul (mind, will, emotions). I have found that being a right/wrong person allowed room in my mind for rationalization and compromise. In contrast, a desire to please Him is intimate and sure; which in turn, for me, is motivation for greater obedience too.

As I actively seek to please Him I quickly discover a constant companion in the Holy Spirit who is discernibly different than mere conscience. I can live in an abiding, communicating relationship with the master of the universe!


By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, "AND WAS NOT FOUND, BECAUSE GOD HAD TAKEN HIM"; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. Hebrews 11:5


Photo is "revelation" (google re-use)


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Casting Judgment

There’s a whole lotta judging going on… uh hu! I think this is one of the biggest turn offs for folks who are fed up with Christians. Non-believers are probably fed up with it too!

One might say, “Well that’s just because they’ve hardened their hearts to the truth." And I would say that that’s a perfect example of the type of judging I’m talking about. How do we know the condition of another person’s heart? Half the time we don’t know the condition of our own hearts!

Yes, there is right and wrong. I’m not reaching for a Gnostic soapbox here. The Bible is full of absolutes but the divine law is to love God with our whole heart, mind and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. It’s not our business to judge the thoughts and intents of a person’s heart. We can’t anyway. There is no way we are capable of rightly doing this. We’ve all done it but in doing so we literally judge ourselves.

Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.
Romans 2:1

The law isn’t very merciful. Love is. Love sees the green or even sour fruit in another’s life and loves even more. Casting (to throw upon) judgment is critical, condemning, hurtful and dangerously proud.

Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!
James 5:9

And what about those non-believers out there?

By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
John 13:35

Love, love, love…



The photo is "Arms Crossed" by Jim Baker aka Forrest Runner

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tambourine



Tambourine
black half moon and silver tongued
bring me your primitive story
tell how your voice praised Yahweh
tell how David danced with all his might





This is a Random Act of Poetry prompt response (whew, say that a few times real fast!). If you are interested in a little poetry fun then check it out!.



Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Withheld


Grace and Mercy rein the steeds of Yahweh
but they stomp
and their nostrils flare

How long O Lord?
How much longer until we ride?


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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Well Done Good and Faithful Servant?

A few weeks ago I listened to an interesting sermon by John MacArthur. I’m still thinking about it. He spoke of the Greek word “doulos” and how it was translated in the English New Testament beginning in the 1500’s.

Evidently the word caused enough social discomfort that to properly translate it is as “slave” was compromised. Instead, the words “servant” and “bondservant” were substituted. A quick search in my e-Sword revealed that in every circumstance where either of these terms is used in regards to a person, it translates back to the word “doulos”.

There’s a big difference between the word servant and the word slave. A servant is an employee with a certain level of independence. An employee takes a bit of pride in a job well done. A slave on the other hand is someone who is owned, someone who was purchased for a price or even captured. A slave has no power. No pride.

Thinking of myself as a slave in relation to what Jesus has done for me brings a truer sense of humility and gratefulness. Look at the passages below and exchange the “bondservant” or “servant” words for “slave”.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:5-8

You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. John 15:14-15

Paul, James, Peter and Jude all referred to themselves as bondservants (slaves) of Jesus Christ.

The more I meditate on this word the more “ah-ha” moments I have. It is truly marvelous. If you would like to listen to MacArthur’s sermon you will find it at Grace to You. It’s about 40 minutes long and worth every minute! There’s much more in the sermon than my thoughts are able to convey. The title is "2009 NRB Worship Service."



How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed. My chains are gone I've been set free. My God, my Savior has ransomed me. (lyric from Amazing Grace by Chris Tomlin)


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

23



I'm 23

born in the 50's, but
I
am
twen-ty
three

when I look in the mirror
I wonder...
who is that?
It's not me

I'm 23




Graphic: "sunset" by Dryicons.



Monday, April 13, 2009

Hiatus

Well I've went and done it! I've burned myself out with too many commitments! It's time for me to break away from almost everything for awhile and come back after a rest for a bit of restocking. I'm tired!

I'll be vacationing in Wyoming for a week soon too so that should help. In any case, I didn't want you all to wonder where I'd flaked off too. I hope to return refreshed and inspired.

Blessings all!!


.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Resurrection Day

Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.

Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, '
The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.' " And they remembered His words.

Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.

Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.

And He said to them, "What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?" Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, "Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?" And He said to them, "What things?"

So they said to Him, "The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see."

Then He said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?"

And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. But they constrained Him, saying, "Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent." And He went in to stay with them.

Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. And they said to one another, "Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?" So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, "The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread.

Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, "Peace to you." But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And He said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have." When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, "Have you any food here?" So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and ate in their presence.

Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me." And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high." And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them.

Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.

Luke 24:1-53



Is the resurrection of Jesus Christ true? Yes it is!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

My Persecuted Family

Near and dear to my heart are fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering for their faith.

This very moment!

One might think that such a thing ended with the coliseums of Rome. You may have read Fox’s Book of Martyrs and thought … “glad I didn’t live back then!”. Sadly, there are more Christians being persecuted for their faith today than ever before.

On the wall next to my computer is a small map that shows all the countries of the world and their level of hostility towards Christians.

Many are considered “restricted” which includes countries where government policy or practice prevents Christians from obtaining Bibles or other Christian literature. Also included are countries with government-sanctioned circumstances or anti-Christian laws that lead to Christians being harassed, imprisoned, killed or deprived of possessions or liberties because of their witness.

“Hostile” areas include large areas in nations where governments consistently attempt to provide protection for the Christian population, but Christians are victims of violence because of their witness.

More than anything else these precious ones need the support of our prayers. Sometimes, however, it’s hard to know how to pray for the persecuted church so I am posting the following resource provided by the Be-A-Voice Network to help us.

Pray:
• That persecuted believers will stand firm in their faith. (1 Peter 5:8-10)
• That they will not be fearful, but trust God. (Rev. 2:10)
• That they will not seek to retaliate, but entrust themselves to Him who judges justly and seek to live in peace with everyone. (Rom. 12:17-21; 1 Peter 2:23)
• That they will be enabled to rejoice, even in suffering. (1 Peter 4:12-13)
• That they will be able to actually love and forgive those who persecute them. (Matt. 5:43-44; Luke 23:34; Col. 3:13)
• That they will bless those who have persecuted them. (Rom. 12:14, 21)
• That they will keep their eyes on Jesus, persevere in their faith, and not grow weary or lose heart. (Heb. 10:32-39; Heb.12:1-3)
• That they will trust God to enable them to proclaim the Gospel even while suffering. (2 Tim. 4:16-18)
• That they will rely on the Lord's strength and not on their own. (2 Cor. 1:8-9)
• That those who oppress Christians may experience repentance and salvation, just as Paul did. (Acts 9:1-19)
• For the provision of Bibles and other Christian literature to reach the most remote and needy areas where they are in the shortest supply. (Psalm 119:42-43)
• That those who suffer tremendous physical pain and trials will be delivered by the Lord from their agony. (II Corinthians 1:9-11)
• That local leaders of the persecuted churches around the world would continue to faithfully fulfill their God-given responsibilities. (I Peter 5:1-4)
• That those of us who have religious freedom will understand what it means to suffer with other members of the worldwide church. (I Corinthians 12:26)
• That we who have religious freedom would have the boldness and courage to speak out and seek to make changes in the name of the Lord, on behalf of persecuted believers. (Proverbs 31:8-9)
• That we who have religious freedom would faithfully remember and pray for our Christian family worldwide who are in prison and suffering for their faith. (Hebrews 13:3)

You can also write letters to Christians who are in prison! If you are interested please visit Prisoner Alert.

It is my hope that you will get involved. Thank you and God bless you!



Heb 13:3 Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also.

.



Friday, March 27, 2009

The Wishy-Washy King

As I read through the Old Testament it stands out that it was always noted whether a king did good or evil in the sight of the LORD*. More times than not they were doing evil. Idol worship, sorcery and offering up their children to demons were just some of their despicable practices. It all just makes me wonder why.

The life of King Rehoboam gave me a clue.

Now it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom and had strengthened himself, that he forsook the law of the LORD, and all Israel along with him. 2 Chron 12:1

He established a secure kingdom by preferring the advice of his friends over that of the elders (probably his first mistake!). He appointed priests for the high places**, demons and calf idols while forbidding the Levites to serve as priests in the house of the LORD. And, he was always at war with somebody!

One can't forsake something that isn't known. He knew the law of the LORD but his heart wasn't in it. He was a wishy-washy king!

And he did evil, BECAUSE he did not prepare his heart to seek the LORD. 2 Chron 12:14

Matthew Henry comments that Rehoboam "never quite cast off God; and yet in this he did evil, that he prepared not, he engaged not, his heart to seek the LORD."

He didn't pray or seek wisdom. He didn't consult the word for direction. He just shrugged away the things of the LORD. What a tragedy for him and all of Israel.

Inevitably, because of their sin, God rose up a foreign king to come against Israel, to destroy them. As human nature would have it... they quickly humbled themselves and returned enough to the LORD for Him to grant them some deliverance. But not all...

Nevertheless they will be his servants, that they may distinguish My service from the service of the kingdoms of nations. 2 Chron 12:8

Because the LORD is the same today as He was then I'm bound to ask myself these questions:

When comfortably 'established' in my own little kingdom do I forsake the LORD?
Do I prefer the advise of friends over the council of the LORD?
Do I compromise the laws of the LORD in the culture wars of my time?
Am I sorrowful about my sin only when it becomes consequential?
Do I love the LORD with all my heart, soul, mind and strength?

One last thing... I may not take a whole nation with me as a result of my actions but I do influence those around me. We all do. There is no question about that!



* LORD = written with all caps refers to Yahweh himself.
** high places = sanctuaries of idolatrous worship.



Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spontaneous Grace

One of the gals I work with earned a 2-year detail in another office in a big city. It’s a great opportunity for her to advance her career. We all know she is sure to move onward from there. Since she probably won’t be coming back to our office we decided to throw her a little send-off party at a local restaurant.

This isn’t about the party. It’s about what happened as I was leaving. I got up, said goodbyes to those on my side of the table, walked around to the other side, set my purse down on the floor, hugged the guest of honor and then turned to go.

As I picked up my purse the gal sitting next to it said, “Sorry Lorrie, I dropped a bit of fish in your purse!” I laughed and said, “Oh boy, I hope not, I’m allergic to fish!” (I have an anaphylactic reaction).


Her face went pale and she grabbed my purse and started taking everything out as she hunted for this bit of fish. I tried and tried to reassure her that it was okay, not to worry about it, but she wouldn’t have any of it. She was horrified and probably embarrassed too.

Why in the world didn’t I just chuckle it off and not mention my allergy when she told me what happened? That would have been the graceful thing to do. My response was one of those things that just falls out of the mouth on it’s own… and is instantly regretted.

The incident was innocent enough but it caused me to wish that grace had been spontaneous on my part. My 2009 resolution was to forget myself. The more I work on it, the more I notice that I still automatically think of myself first. Bummer!


I look forward to the day when I realize, after some little something happens that I truly, and spontaneously responded with grace. But, then again, when that day comes will I even know it… if I truly have forgotten myself?

But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace also. 2 Cor 8:7



GRACE; graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude): - acceptable, benefit, favour, gift, grace (-ious), joy liberality, pleasure, thank (-s, -worthy). Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries



I love the 'Island' graphic I found at DryIcons. It's full of biblical and natural symbolism that could be applied to this post.




Saturday, March 14, 2009

Voices

I recently read an article by a popular and respected evangelist who, unburdening himself, gave warning to Americans that we are in eminent danger of a catastrophic event. I've known of this man practically my whole life. He seems very sincere. I hope he is wrong though.

Sunday night, I watched a well-known preacher on TV expound on the tragic error many make by believing in a pre-tribulation rapture. He was very convincing. I really don't know much about him except that some say his doctrine is questionable. I love the worship music in his services. I am always sure of what I believe on this subject until I hear the "other side" give a really good argument. I just want to be ready no matter what!

This morning my local talk-radio guy was going on about having read that evangelicalism will be dead within 10 years. Evidently, the writer of this forecast is well known in his circles. Sadly, I feel that much of it has been dead for a while now.

All the voices today! It makes my head feel like one of those blurry high-speed traffic shots... smears of color and light. Stop!

It makes me want to be sure that I know God's voice all by myself. What if I were without TV, radio, books, my husband, my preacher or your blog. Could I, on my own, with confidence, discern God's voice? I do not want to be deceived!

Just as surely as these thoughts began to play in my mind, I heard this from within:

Be anxious for nothing... I am with you always... trust in Me with all your heart... I'll show you the way... I'll supply all your needs. Fear not.

Wow! You probably recognize bits and pieces of scripture verses in that string of words. That is how it came to my heart though... quick, commanding and comforting; the Shepherd's voice, a familiar staff lifting me out of my dumbness. What a relief.

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. John 10:27

I'm so thankful that He knows us!


Thank you Lord, for your unfathomable love, grace and mercy. Give us an urgency to stockpile your word in our hearts. Give us wisdom.


Picture, Talking Mouths with permission.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Labor of Love

One of the greatest gifts God has given me is the big wonderful family that I have. My grandmother was born in Indian Territory (called Oklahoma now). She's a natural born storyteller and a wonderful cook. Both of these abilities have created memories that each family member cherishes. Over the years there have been multiple attempts to write things down, to tape record her stories... to somehow compile the treasure.

It finally dawned on me one day that I could use blog space for a website to transform this dream into reality. And so it began, a labor of love. So far, I've been working on her recipes and scanned images of handwritten scriptures.

Working with the scanned images can be so wearisome. It's very intensive. Scanning in the page from a little notebook, transferring it to a photo program, cropping, enhancing, erasing, flipping, uploading, editing, formatting, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Exhausting!

This project causes me to contemplate what a motivator love is. I don't consider quitting when I feel weary. I don't get careless and sloppy. No, I have a vision and a passion for the goal.

I wonder if the same goes for the things God has appointed me to do. Am I motivated by my love for Him to press onward every day in the things he has for me to accomplish? Does that love win out when my flesh whines over the tedious task at hand? Do I give it my utmost? I think the following verse provides an answer:

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. I John 5:3

There is no burden when motivated by love.



Picture, Love Flowers by Dry Icons


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Give Hope

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 1 Peter 3:15

Until recently, when I read the above verse, I felt a certain amount of anxiety. I have never been one who could recall Bible passages and expound on them eloquently when confronted by those opposed to the truth. I've never been capable of a snappy retort in the natural, much less in spiritual matters!

I love the word of God but to always be ready to give a defense? It's quite intimidating to think that I could muster any level of apologetics worthy enough to be convincing.

Here is the definition for Christian apologetics: It is a field of Christian theology that aims to present a rational basis for the Christian faith, defend the faith against objections, and expose the perceived flaws of other world views.

What if I were to say something wrong and lead someone astray? Terrifying!

The problem with all this is that I never got past the legal sounding "give a defense" part of the verse. I read that much and my mind clouded over with inadequacies.

The rest of the verse is simply saying that to everyone who asks us why we have the hope we do... to tell them! Basically, to give them our testimony. The man who was healed of blindness was no theologian. He just told what he knew. When questioned by the Pharisees he said..."One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see" (John 9:25).

I don't have to have all the answers. I don't have to wow anyone with my Christian-speak. I only have to be ready and willing to share my testimony; to give the marvelous Hope I have in Jesus to others.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Peter 1:3-5



Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wall

Poetry play time! Over at Seedlings in Stone L.L. has prompted takers to write a "color" poem. She started the action with one of her own titled Scarlet. I will follow her lead and go with red too.



WALL

There you sit
on your pedestal
munching
munching
my ideas of heaven
like a rabbit
with its lettuce
oblivious
eyes wide
immune to revelation
your pride
red
and hard as brick




If you would like to play too then check out RAP, Random Acts of Poetry for ongoing opportunities!



Saturday, February 21, 2009

Forget Fear

These are fearful days. I hear and see it everywhere I go. Concerns over the economy, politics and the future loom large in many hearts. I've also noticed that a certain amount of anger accompanies that fear.

Depending on your media sources, it should be fairly obvious just from headlines that end-time prophecies are being fulfilled right before our very eyes and ears. Whether or not this is "it" no one knows for sure. I feel pretty safe in saying we might at least be experiencing a test run.

I can't imagine being in this world without Jesus. Without Him there is much fear, no hope and plenty to be angry about.

Thankfully, as Christians we have nothing to be fearful of. To do so would be irrational.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

So that means that if we have faith in our God and we trust His word, we literally have nothing to fear! Nevertheless, at times we do find that we are fearful. Don't be discouraged. God knows His children well and He has provided us with fabulous tools. Let's see what we can do about having a sound mind.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things. Philippians 4:6-8

For myself, I cannot plug my ears or shut my eyes to current events. My head is the total polar opposite of sand. It won't go in! I cannot appease, disengage or be complacent. Yet, at the same time, I know that I am in this world but I am not of it. I know that if I am to do what I am called to do that I cannot have the world in my first-thoughts. The world cannot be allowed to occupy my mind.

Okay then, what about the power part?

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of HIS might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. Ephesians 6:10-16

Did you know that we can set our minds and put on our armor before we ever get out of bed in the morning? For some reason we have a propensity to first rouse with negative thoughts. I don't want to go to work today, go to the dentist, do all that laundry, fight the crowd at grocery store, etc, etc. You fill in the blank. Hit the snooze! See how the battle begins before we've even opened our eyes in the morning?

Last but never least is the love. People are starving for love. This is our calling.

Jesus said to him, 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the Prophets." Matthew 22:37-40 (The caps are not mine. Think Jesus was trying to tell us something?)

So... things boil down like this:

1. Focus on the good stuff.
2. Dress for battle
3. Love, love, love

Whooops, forgot the fear! Well, how about that...