NEW EVERY MORNING

I am sure we’ve all said or thought, “it just can’t be possible that another year has passed.”   When you think about it,  the year passed  only ‘one day at a time’?   All 8,760 hours of it!    For many of us the days were not all easy and often the events seemed tangled,  yet the time passed and here we are beginning another journey of 365 days that will transpire just a ‘day at a time’.     We can look back and recognize it was not lost time,  but we learned lessons we never knew and thankfully recall the many joys that we experienced.    Each day we have a real firm foundation to rely on—our God never changes…..and His promises never fail!    So we can be assured that  “Strength will be given to  us in just the amount our day requires” and He will be right there – never leaving us for one second!

       Our days will lead us each in different paths for sure,  but we all can count on the consistency of His Word and His presence…..moment by moment,  step by step.   I was reading in a devotional book  by Chuck Swindol, a paragraph that caught my attention:   “With each new dawn there is delivered to your door a fresh new package called  “TODAY”.   God has designed us in such a way that we can handle only one package at a time….. and all the grace we need will be supplied by Him as we  live out that day.”  (from Improving Your Serve).

          So we are being handed a string  of days that will come  moment by moment–just plain ordinary days for the most.    God is always providing us with enough surprises and bright spots to keep them interesting. 🙂    Keeping on with our daily routines,  faithful in  His Word,  we can set sail on the unknown,  expecting blessing,  growth,  His strength in our weakness and with praise in our hearts.   Keep your focus on Christ with positive perspectives and lean on His promises and before you know it,  another year of  ‘days’ will be passing into the past.   His mercies will have been  “NEW EVERY MORNING”.

       Let our Shepherd lead  us where He has put the stepping stones and whether there are many big splashes of color on our routine or not…..always remember:   “MANS ‘STEPS’ ARE ORDERED BY THE LORD”

     “TRUST IN THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR HEART;  AND LEAN NOT ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING.   IN ALL YOUR WAYS ACKNOWLEDGE HIM AND HE SHALL DIRECT YOUR PATHS.”  

       A  BLESSED  NEW  YEAR  TO  ALL  OF  YOU

The words I share with you today are not mine……but as you will recognize, belong to our Lord straight from the Bible.  With His enablement I have arranged them to form a continuous reading with the purpose of showing the Gift God gave us….a Savior,  why,  who we are in Him;  and how then we should live and climaxing with the Hope we now have in Him.   Keep in mind,  Hope is a ‘confident expectation‘ of His promise,  He Will perform. 

“Unto you is born….a “SAVIOR” which is Christ the Lord.   For we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God.   All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way.   But God who is rich in mercy,  because of His great love with which He loved us, demonstrated His love to us while we were yet sinners,  Christ died for us.   Not by works of righteousness which we have done,  but according to His mercy He saved us.   For by Grace you are saved through faith and that not of ourselves,  it is the gift of God.   To him who works not but believes on Him,  his faith is counted for righteousness.  Therefore being justified by faith,  we have peace with God;   accepted in the beloved;   have access into this grace;   the forgiveness of sin;  partakers of the divine nature;   a living Hope.   The Comforter which is the Holy Spirit  shall be in you that He may abide with  you forever.   He will teach you all things.

If any man be in Christ,  he is a new creature,  created in Christ Jesus unto good works, so we should walk in newness of life.   If we live in the Spirit,  let us also walk in Him.   Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought to love one another.    By this shall all men know that you are my disciples.   If we walk in the light as He is in the light,  we have fellowship one with another, considering one another to stimulate unto love and good works.   Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.   Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,  in all  wisdom teaching and admonishing one another, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  Study to show yourselves approved to God as a workman that needs not to be ashamed,  rightly dividing the Word of Truth.   Receiving the Word with all readiness of mind and search the  Scriptures daily whether these things are so.    Praying always for all saints,  in everything give thanks for this is the will of God.  With thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God shall  keep your hearts and minds.    The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous and His ears are open unto their cry.    What has the Lord required of you but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humble with your God.   Our God shall supply all your need,  through Christ I can do all things.   For it is God that works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure.   His grace is sufficient.   If for a little while you are distressed by various trials,  perplexed,  persecuted…do not loose heart.   Our light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond comparison.   Our inner man is being renewed day by day.   For He will never leave you or forsake you.   Let us come boldly before the throne of grace to find help  in time of need. 

Now the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,  that you may know the Hope of His calling,  Christ in you, the Hope of glory.   Who will transform the body  of our humble state into conformity with the body of His Glory, which Hope we have as an anchor of the soul.   Looking for that blessed Hope and glorious appearing of our great God and our   “SAVIOR”  Jesus Christ.

             THANKS  BE  TO  GOD  FOR  HIS  INDESCRIBABLE  GIFT                                                 EMMANUEL,   WHO  IS    GOD  WITH  US               

SMILE ! :)

Part  of  our human make up is to have joy, feel pleasure and show it.   Since we are made in God’s image, would it not  follow that He also enjoys  pleasure and joy?    I have found in His Word,  this to be very true.    Synonyms and definitions for the word PLEASURE and it’s derivatives are given as:  to have delight in,  object of affection,  valuable,  greatly beloved,  incline to,  think well of and be pleased in,  acceptable,  enjoy,  rejoice,  gladden the heart,  to cheer  and to have satisfaction.     Various passages in Scripture give us the knowledge that these very definitions are true of His thoughts and plans both ABOUT and FOR US!

I want to remind us of this fact and be renewed by it’s truth.   Our God has given us encouragement by letting us know that He has pleasure over us.    We might have only thought in the terms of ‘our’ “rejoicing in the Lord”  (which is necessary), not knowing there were verses that declared that God rejoices over us!    Zeph. 3:17 is one of my favorites…..”He will rejoice over you with gladness;  He will quiet you with His love;  He will REJOICE OVER YOU WITH SINGING.”    What a tremendous truth!!!!

In ancient Middle Eastern courts, it was a great relief when the monarch looked upon a claimant with a look  of pleasure–(remember the story of Esther).   How much more glorious it is for us when that ‘smiling Monarch’ is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!    In Numbers 6:24-26, the Lord spoke to Moses telling  him to have the priests “Bless the children of Israel with these words:  “The Lord make His face shine upon you” and “lift up His countenance upon you.”   These words carry the meaning of sensing GOD’S SMILE!   Imagine that!…..He has pleasure in us and His face ‘smiles’ over His children!     Among the meanings of the word bless is ‘happiness, speaking well of and showing favor to’.    Commentators agree that the word ‘bless’ in Eph. 1:3 refers to being spoken well of as in an eulogy.  And we all agree He blesses us with His favor over and over again.

Time now doesn’t allow mentioning more of these feelings of acceptance and enjoyment that are attributed to God in His thoughts toward us.   Proof enough is in His wanting to be ‘with us’ enough to provide through His own death and resurrection so great a salvation freely by Grace alone.   “Blessed are the people that know the joyful sound; they shall walk in the “light of His countenance” as He calls His own people “the apple of His eye”

                    SPEND  TIME  WITH  HIM……LET  HIM  ENJOY

                           THE  PLEASURE  OF  YOUR  COMPANY

                     

A Rock or a Hard-place?

Recently I had some disquieting news come my way.   As I started to think about it, the word ‘rock’ kept interrupting my thoughts.  How could a rock fit into all this?   Suddenly, it came to me….”I have a ‘rock’  to stand on….aka  a foundation!   Yes! That is what I have to hold me up, to stand on and to rest on.  I have been through tough things before and was strengthened to come through them.   Then I remembered the  words to a favorite hymn–“On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand”.  It became a faith builder too me.   David,  both as shepherd and king,  found many occasions to refer to the  Lord  as his ROCK.   From a concordance I found he used the word  ‘rock’ to speak of the Lord, His God  24 times in the Psalms alone.    Throughout Scripture God used rocks to remind His children of His stability and how He provides our need.   Rocks are used for protection, a foundation, defense and hiding places.   “There is no other foundation that can be laid except our Lord Jesus Christ.”

I’m limiting my thoughts to using rocks to build on our ‘foundation’ at this time.   A foundation is laid at the very beginning of a project and then built upon until the structure is finished.  I am thinking of the Christian life as the project and it’s completion at the day of Christ.  All through life we should be building our trust, our hope  on our firm foundation which is Jesus Christ   This comes through what we go through in life whether they are trials (hard-places) or joys.  I don’t  believe that how we were brought up in the family God chose to put us into at birth or any of the past experiences we have gone through are by mistake or happenstance.  When we look back to these things we can find that we have learned certain lessons we would have learned no other way.    These lessons become strongholds that we can hang onto each time we face a new circumstance.  In other words,  they become ‘rocks’ we build with on our foundation,  that which we can stand on to find strength to keep on;  a promise to hold onto to have stability and a fact to rest on to give us peace.   We can look back and trace God’s hand at work  in orchestrating what happened to us and it’s results.   Are you beginning to see that you have and are building foundations that you can look back on and rely on  to show you that you CAN make it through and to show you the love of our Lord and Savior?

The ‘rocks’ you use on your foundation are not only the things you have learned, but are the Bible verses you can recall and read.  Just as all children collect rocks from time to time when growing up,  think of yourself  ‘collecting’ rocks to be able to claim whatever you need for what you are facing.  They prove to be of  insurmountable value to your life.

I can not stop without reminding you of one more thing.   We have looked at the word ‘rock’  as a noun–a strong secure object.  However, the word can also be used as a verb which we find is VERY different.  As such it means to “move back and forth”  as in a rocking chair (going nowhere)  or a vacillating mind like a wave tossed to and fro—no stability!   Be reminded by this thought  that unless you have a firm foundation, YOU  WILL  ‘ROCK’!     So build for yourself strongholds of faith to anchor your soul as you grow in your Christian life  and find the peace you are meant to enjoy.

                                               MAKE  YOUR  HARD PLACES  A  ROCK

Whose Side Are You On?

What do you really think of yourself?    Many people have or have had a ‘big’ inferiority complex.   Not only do they say that they can’t,  but they actually believe they can’t do whatever they have been asked.   Ever been there?   Well,  I have!   So I know whereof I speak.   I never volunteered to do anything no matter how much I might have wanted to do it.  I thought many negative thoughts about myself.   I remember a sentence my mother used to say to me—“Can’t never did anything”.   However it really didn’t seem to sink  into my mind enough to change my thinking…..at least not at that time.

THEN,  one day after reading a book given to me, my thinking began to take on change.  The book plainly explained how God looked at me and ‘thought of me’.   It told me ‘Who I was…..in  Christ’.   After studying God’s Word which verified the things the book said and I realized that GOD was the one saying these things,  my whole being began to change!   Isaiah 43:4a plainly says, “You are precious in my sight, you are honorable and I love you”.    He “knows everything about us” (Ps. 139); “knows us by name”  and loves us anyway.  Wow! 🙂      You may have a long list of things that are ‘wrong’ with you and naturally, you believe you ‘can’t’  do much for the Lord.   Let me remind you of the words in John 15…..”Without Me you can do NOTHING“.    So, you are right!!   Well, not too quick,  read it all,  “without Me” means you can’t by yourself  do anything.   We are not intended to work from  our own strength and intelligence.   There is the truth,  and it is the “Truth that  sets us free”……free to do what He asks you to do — because “it is God which works in you both to will and to do of His good  pleasure.”    So now you “CAN DO all things (that He wants you to) because it is His strength working through you.”    “As a man thinks in his heart,  so he acts” (my paraphrase).    Do your thoughts of yourself lineup with what God says about you?

Let me share one  more thought that was shared with me once.   With just a little thought you know where these negative thoughts come from—Satan, himself!    So if you allow yourself to indulge in any negative thinking about yourself, then you are taking sides with the devil—-not your Heavenly Father’s thoughts of who you really are “in Him”.     Any negative thought against yourself defies God’s Word about you.   

Let that sobering thought take hold of you!     Begin today to study to find out Who You Are and what God thinks of you!    There is so much more that can be said on this subject, but for now let this small amount of  information begin to renew your mind.   Your mind will be transformed I can assure you.      It will literally transform you from an introvert into the rejoicing person you’ve always dreamed of……..into being who YOU REALLY ARE—-“a child of God,  becoming mature and thoroughly equipped to do all good works”.

“LET THE MEDITATIONS  (thoughts) OF YOUR HEART BE ACCEPTABLE TO HIM”

THROUGH IT ALL

Sometimes we may tend to forget that God is guiding and leading in our lives.   Our tendencies are so quickly focused on our own devices to know how and where and what we are to do  and before we know it we begin to question what IS going on in our lives.   I am sure I am not the only one that has thought that life just didn’t make sense.   Or it seems life is like a merry-go-round, or maybe an elevator with plenty of ups and downs.   And at times have sounded like 2 year olds with every other word being ‘WHY’.    Well,  don’t loose heart,  we are in very good company.   Just read through the Bible and you’ll find  there were many who could not at the beginning see how God  was really in control  of their lives.   After all, they were human just like us and many faced situations that surely made them feel just as do we at times.    Example:   How would you like to be told to leave your home and head out to some unknown country—-somewhere…..Abraham was!     Or told to go preach to the people, but they would not listen or heed anything you had to say……Isaiah was!    Talk about going from bad to worse….consider Joseph,  what questions must he have had!    Then there was Elijah…..oh my!     However, we see that they all made it!     Not always without some speed-bumps,  a few falls and even despair.   When we get to the N.T.  we read these all “died in faith”!   Understanding everything?—-certainly not—but still believing, they persevered.

We are told that the things that happened to them were  “examples for OUR learning”.   So what is it  that we are to learn from their experiences?    How often we read in their stories that they  “waited upon the Lord”.   There is the key—-WAIT……how foreign to our nature.   Trust,  faith and prayer are all a part of the word ‘wait’.   Can we then say that  waiting is coming to have a firm belief that  ‘God is in Control’?     So basically I would say that we are to study and learn how they handled and got through the circumstances they found themselves in.    Practice what they did right and learn to avoid what they failed in.    They weren’t perfect either you know… 🙂

First of all,  be reminded of WHO they were ‘waiting on’…….”The  Lord was their Shepherd”.    We should not forget that we are sheep—“the sheep of HIS pasture”  and we have the same Shepherd they had.   Shepherds are to  lead the sheep, care for and “direct their steps”.    Then….the sheep are to ‘follow Him’.    Their Shepherd was not absent!!! and neither is ours!     He is the same as He was,   what He IS today,   and  what He always will be!

THROUGH  IT  ALL……..LEARN  TO  TRUST  HIM

NOT SUFFICIENT IN OURSELVES

In today’s world we have such quick ways of finding directions to any place we want to go.   With GPS and Map Quest on-line,  we can get detailed instructions on how to get to a destination any where we desire.   To use this knowledge, we must know the destination that we want.   BUT, sometimes we face questions of  ‘which way’  that aren’t so simple.   Maybe our question isn’t so literal, but rather a serious life decision that could affect our whole life and maybe those of others.   Our desire is still the same—we want to know the best path to take.   But in this case, we don’t know the exact destination or the way.    Interestingly,  our answer is going to come from above,  just like the GPS systems and etc. bounce their answers from a satellite high above us—-our Bible instructs us that  “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord”.   We only have to stand in faith and get counsel from God through prayer and meditation in His Word.    We can “devise our way”  as it tells us in Prov. 16:9  but in the end it is  “the Lord that directs our steps.”

Here is a thought that might surprise you—-Jeremiah 10:23 states  “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself;  it is not in man,  that walks to direct his steps.”    No wonder we need help to find our way—“we are not sufficient of ourselves”. II Cor. 3:5.     Man does not even have the ability to correctly direct his life in the ways of consequence that affect our lives.   So to know the BEST WAY  we must get our directions from above—-that is,  the Lord.    Do take the time to read the first three or more verses of Psalm 139 and you will find the reason why there is  NO ONE  better qualified to put our trust in to give us directions.   “Our sufficiency is of God”.

HE  ALONE,   KNOWS  ALL  ABOUT  US

AND  HE  CARES  FOR  YOU!

Then Came The Morning

         Promises always have a future event in mind.   You promise your child an ice cream cone if he or she does whatever you have asked.   The child does not have it literally now, but works with that  ‘hope’ constantly  on his mind.   Of course you keep your promise.   In Rev. 2:28 Christ says, “To him who overcomes……I will give the Morning Star”.   We know that Jesus Christ IS the Morning Star…..thus He is the culmination of our reward.   When does the morning star appear?   Just before the dawn…when it is the darkest before the beginning of a New Day.   As I read that verse this morning, it struck a chord of some thoughts of application that I think can strengthen our hope.  This church at Thyratira had much trial, but there were some in this church who remained faithful.   It is to them that this promise was given….they would overcome through faithfulness and would receive the promise of the Morning Star.

      If we say  the trials we all have are like our  ‘dark or night times’,  we need to remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.   We can not always see it,  but that doesn’t keep it from being true.   Scripture says we have  “sure prophecy (promises) as a light shining in a dark place until the dawn and the Day Star arises in our hearts”; “the path of the just is as a shining light shining more and more unto the perfect (completed) day.”     Our end result is to be learning more of our Lord in a closer relationship and the ultimate end to be …..  “we shall be satisfied when we awake with His likeness”.    I could not help recall the words to the great song….”Then Came The Morning”  as it was written concerning the crucifixion and resurrection.  (Find the song and listen or read the words—you won’t be the same!)    And also be reminded of the words that a preacher once titled his sermon….”It’s Friday,  but  Sunday’s acomin'”!!!    WE DO HAVE HOPE EVEN IN OUR TRIALS—a light shining in the darkness.   Even now we rely on His promises of His not allowing more than we can bear and that He limits even Satan in his attacks on our faith.    SO—–always remember———-

THERE IS A LIGHT ALL THE TIME AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL

AND

MORNING SHALL COME

One Thing To Do

“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek, inquire for, and (insistently) require:  that I may dwell in the house of the Lord (in His presence) all the days of my life, to behold and gaze upon the beauty (the sweet attractiveness  and the loveliness) of the Lord and to meditate, consider, and inquire in His temple.”   Psalm 27:4 (Amplified version)

Did you happen to ‘feel’ all those “action words” called verbs in that verse?   Definitely a challenge for some action and yet not the tiring kind.  “To behold and gaze, meditate, consider and inquire” take place in  our mind or thought life which normally does not take extreme  effort.  But how important it is to our health, both physical and spiritually.  It determines  our demeanor and our actions.

This morning I was outside just enjoying the few moments of cool air we will have today 🙂  and there next to the fence, in the shade were a few of my neighbors—the cows that call that pasture home and yes they were ‘contented’.   I noticed a couple of them were  ‘really meditating’! :)—chewing their cud or ruminating,  that is re-chewing their last meal.   This may not sound appetizing  but the Bible word, ‘meditate’ is from the same  idea.   It means  we muse,  ponder,  contemplate over and over again on the meaning of a verse, a thought, or teaching we have just read or heard.  We may end up actually studying it,  but  just thinking it over and finding out how it fits a situation in our life  will bring  much  satisfaction and will be the fulfillment of the verse quoted above in “dwelling in His  presence and inquiring in His ways”.  You just might be surprised at how your life will benefit.

DON’T RUSH THROUGH LIFE SO FAST YOU FORGET

TO MEDITATE,  CONSIDER AND INQUIRE IN THE THINGS OF THE LORD.

A Singing Heart

There is a song in my heart,

A song mere words can not sing.

There is a song in my  heart,

Given to me from my King.

Praises to Him I must bring,

Because there’s a song in my heart.

You have probably felt the same from time to time as you contemplate all that we have in our Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour.   We feel full with the abundant grace we have been given and keep our Blessed Hope in our sights when we will see Him as our Lord of Lords, and King of Kings.   Praising Him here and now comes in all forms,  not  just singing, praying and giving Him thanksgiving.   Our very life lived by faith, a growing belief in who He is, learning obedience and serving according to the gift you have been given  is a very real form of giving praise to our Lord.    He allows us to feel so overwhelmed with the riches of His grace,  that we truly realize the praise that words cannot suffice to explain.

Let Him hear that song in your heart!