It Won’t Be Long Now

I don’t think it will be long now until Jesus comes for His Bride!  So I write this blog to help myself (and my loved ones) to be ready when He appears.   The problem  is, we have wandering hearts and we think He is delaying indefinitely. 

I mentioned before that I was “going” to “Virtual VBS For Grown Up Girls” with writer, speaker, and encourager Christin Ditchfield Lazo, a Bible study in the book of 2nd Peter. I must say that it was really life changing for me.  To be honest I never took much notice of 2nd Peter before. Not that I hadn’t read it, but I guess I just wasn’t paying attention…didn’t have ears to hear.  This time was different. It addressed a lot of the questions and doubts that I had allowed to seep into my mind about God’s  intentions, His timing, and even His character.  Questions will always come in! Suggestions,  accusations. That was actually the first temptation in the garden:  “Hath God said…?” That’s why time spent with HIM & HIS Word  is essential.

Me? I LOVE to read! I have my favorite Christian authors and writers who expound on topics relevant to Christian life.  One says this, another says that, and still another has a different viewpoint.  Exploring is good, unless you are a sheep with a tendency to wander far afield.  We must pray each day that our ears will be attuned only to the Shepherd’s voice, and no other.

2Peter gives strong warning and great advice in Chapter 3: 17 & 18:

 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen. KJV

When we read the warning of verse 17, we have a tendency to think, “Not me! I could never be led into the error of the wicked!” Really?  Peter knew how easy it is to fall into bad thinking.  He knew how vulnerable we humans are to fear, pride, and thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought. His own heart failed him, didn’t it?  Still, we never would lump ourselves with the wicked, would we?

The word “wicked” there in the Greek (atheamos) actually means “lawless.” Think, people who are going their own way!  The Amplified version uses the word “unprincipled.” Teachers who have their own agendas, or whose teachings are contrary to the Lord’s.

We see this all the time in our culture: people with their own agendas trying to convince others to join their sides.  But do we really think about it when it comes to our teachers in the religious realm?  Are we discerning about what we are being fed? Peter wants us to remain steadfast in our faith. Sure of what we believe. Not gullible and easily led astray.

Do you know what you believe and why you believe it?  I grew up in a denomination that read the Apostle’s Creed every Sunday. So a few years ago (in another Virtual VBS!)  I prayed, pondered, and wrote down my own creed.  It has helped me to become more confident when exploring spiritual concepts and ideas.  I am still testing, pondering and considering aspects of the faith.  I think we always will if we truly want to “grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour.”

Jesus is coming back for us one day!  Do you believe it?  Is it part of your creed?  It won’t be long now!  Be ready!

 

 

Guess Who’s Coming?

I have had something on my mind for a long time now.  And it sent me back to reading my own words on the subject.   I am learning that most of what I write here is for ME!!  I am exhorting myself in the areas I need the most reminding.  Please feel free to eavesdrop on my conversations with myself!

I decided to re-post this one with a little editing from June 2015, “Company’s Coming!,”  because needed to hear it again! So perhaps you do, too.  Sometimes I feel like my brain is like this:

Everything has a tendency to leak out, and soon I am back to my old ways.  My family came again this week-end, and there I was again, rushing around to get ready for company.  When will I learn?

So here goes:  A few weeks ago my phone rang and I had to drag myself away from the computer to answer.  It was my brother.  “Hey, you guys going to be home this weekend? We thought we’d come for a visit.”  “Great!” I said. “Awesome! Can’t wait to see you!” …gazing around my house at the dust, debris, and doggie hair.   Now, we hadn’t seen Steve & Barbara for a while, so I was happy for the visit…I could finally give them their Christmas present! (Well, maybe we should call it an Easter present now.)  But was I ready for company?   No way, Jose’!!   So, it was a  crazy cleaning marathon to get ready!  Company’s coming! Get a move on!

Oh, come on!  Admit it, it’s happened to you, too, right?  Well, maybe not, but I want you to notice that I said I had to drag myself away from the computer to answer the phone.  My problem is that I allow myself, all too often, to be lured into doing the stuff I like (Facebook, Ancestry, reading) before my work and preparations are done.  It’s so easy to do.  We don’t have a lot of visitors so it’s really easy to just let things slide a little.  After all. it’s just us here. No hurry…

Well, guess what?  Company IS coming! And his name is KING JESUS!  Just take a look around.  Are we ready?  Are you ready?  Do you have what you need?  Are you prepared?

Let’s take a look at Matthew 25.  This is Jesus’ parable of the 10 virgins who were to go out to meet the Bridegroom.  They all had lamps, but 5 wise women also took extra oil with them, and 5 foolish women took no extra oil.  Well, the Bridegroom tarried and everyone fell  asleep. In the midnight hour the watchman called out, “Behold! The Bridegroom cometh! Go ye out to meet Him!”  They all woke up to trim their lamp wicks, but the foolish virgins’ lights had gone out. They tried to get the others to give them oil, but the wise women said, “Not so!”  (KJV) So they went out to try to buy more oil.  Meanwhile, the Bridegroom came, and the wise virgins went in with the Bridegroom for the feast, and the door was closed.  When the others came back, they were not allowed in. The Bridegroom said, “Verily, I know you not.”  Then Jesus, who is telling this story, says, “Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour when the Son of Man cometh,”    He’s telling this story because He wants us to be ready! He is giving us a “heads up!”

We CAN be ready!  He will help us, because it is His desire to find us waiting for Him. In fact He paid a hefty price that we might become one of His own.  The first step is really pretty simple, but it is absolutely necessary to become a child of the King!  We must acknowledge our sin; ask Him to forgive us; believe that He shed His blood and died on the cross, to take the punishment for our sin upon Himself.  This is Salvation: He is the Lamb of God who takes away our sins.  Inviting Him to become the Lord of our Life is only the beginning…He comes into our ransomed heart and makes His dwelling place right there.   This is the miracle: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”  Col. 1:27     We are made alive unto God. A new creation. A new beginning.  Now we can ask Him for oil!

Let’s pray:  Heavenly Father, We do want to be ready when you come.  We want our hearts to be made alive unto you.  Thank you for sending your only begotten Son, as a ransom for our poor wounded, sinful hearts.  Forgive us for our sins and make us Your own because of the blood Jesus shed for us. Show us how to burn ever more brightly for You. In Jesus’ Name.

AMEN!….This video by Misty Edwards will rattle your cage & even your bones!  Pretty intense, but don’t we need to wake up?

 

Are You Wearing Your Habit?

Today I thought I’d share one of my favorite pictures with you.  It is a picture o a woman with a secret that brings her so much joy.

This picture makes me smile every time I see it! What is this woman so happy about? She seems to have a secret joy.  Maybe it is the secret of the “habit.”

We can all think of people of certain religious organizations or “tribes” who can be recognised right away by their clothing: Catholic and Orthodox priests and nuns; Amish and Mennonite sects with their plain clothes, caps, and aprons; conservative Pentecostals whose women wear long hair and long skirts.  These are outward expressions of inward convictions.  Their effect is to make others aware of who or what the person wearing such things is serving. A little like a military uniform.

I bet that these clothes also serve as a reminder to the person wearing them about their own identity… about whom or what they serve.

I am not advocating that we adopt a uniform or “habit” to identify ourselves to the world. But I think it would be helpful if we developed “habits” that we use everyday to gird ourselves for our journey.

Remember that old song: “They will Know We Are Christians By Our Love?”   That love only comes by developing the “habit” of spending time with Jesus.  And by “habit,” I mean spending time consistently …ie)habitually with Him.  And doing all the things we need to do to stay spiritually  focused and healthy.

Jesus himself had good spiritual habits and customs.  St. Luke describes  these several times.

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.            Luke 4:16 

And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.  Luke 6: 12 KJV

And again in Mark 1:35, Jesus takes personal time for prayer:

And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

Jesus loved to spend time with His Father.  It was necessary to His ministry on earth.  Matthew 14:23

 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.

Jesus told us to follow Him.  If we are going to do that, shouldn’t we stop at the very places that He stopped? The solitary place of prayer and renewal?  If the Lord Jesus needed prayer time;  if He set aside time to seek His Father; how much more do WE need the same?  Shouldn’t His customs be our customs?

Heavenly Father, we don’t want empty “habits,” and meaningless rituals.  We want customs like Jesus.  Customs that feed us and transform us into your likeness and love. Fill us with desire and determination to follow on with YOU.  In Jesus’ Name;

AMEN 

 

 

Get Ready!!

Can you  hear it???  It’s the sound of bells ringing!  There is going to be a wedding!  The Bridegroom is getting ready to come for His Bride!  When you hear the sounding of the wedding trumpet, will your heart be ready to respond?   Now is the time to prepare.

My daughter’s good friend, Angela, is getting married in a few months and she has asked Amy to be her maid of honor.  Believe me, there is a flurry of activity to get ready for the big day. Dresses to find; venues to search for; foods to select; flowers and decorations to buy. As the day approaches, there will be dress fittings, cake tastings, shoes to find, hair to dress, jewelry to choose, bridal showers to plan, and the work to merge two households into one!   It’s going to take a lot of time and attention!  Yes, preparing for the wedding is occupying almost every waking moment of this bride and her friends & family!

The Bible tells us that there is going to be a great “marriage supper” for the Lamb of God and His Bride.  WE, His people,  are that Bride. As pictured in the ancient Hebrew marriage ceremony, the bride prepares and adorns herself for the wedding, then waits for the bridegroom to come to her house to get her to escort her to the wedding and then to the place  He has prepared  for them to live!  (Didn’t Jesus say he was going to prepare a place for us? John 14:2)

We have been called and chosen to be His own. Purchased really. In ancient Israel, the father of the bridegroom paid a “bride price” to secure the bride for the bridegroom.  (Didn’t the Heavenly Father pay a great price for us?  John 3:16)

Now it is time to prepare and adorn ourselves to be ready for when He comes. Here’s the thing: if the bridegroom delays coming, the bride must guard her heart from forgetfulness. She can’t let her garments become shabby or torn. She must keep her shoes clean and polished. And most of all, her heart on fire for Him.

 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. Eph. 5: 27 KJV

and again:

 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 2 Peter 3:14 KJV

Diligence!  That is the bride’s part.  Giving all of her time and attention in the anticipation of the coming of her Beloved.  Time and attention! In prayer; in the Word; in searching our hearts and confessing; in worship; in service.

Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:   For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:10 & 11  KJV

Don’t be distracted by a jealous enemy who would like to prevent this wedding by any means possible.  An enemy who would defile and besmirch your spotless garments with the corrupting influences of the world. Stay focused on His great and precious promise.

 

And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.  Matthew 25: 6 KJV

JESUS IS COMING SOON!

Brighter to the Full Day!

I am so excited to be going to VBS (Vacation Bible School) this summer!  Virtual VBS, that is,  For Grown Up Girls! That is the name of the online Bible study that my friend Christin Ditchfield Lazo does each year.  This time it is on Facebook, which makes it so easy get to each week.  If you want a little Bible study boost, ladies, check it out.  Just go to the page and click on a request to join.  You will be so blessed.  The study, which is called “Stand,” is all about the book of 2nd Peter.  Short and sweet and packed with power!

I have been asking the Lord for direction for Until the Daybreak, and sure enough, I discovered His direction in 2 Peter 1: 19

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.. KJV

That is what this blog is all about; Preparing our hearts for the coming of the Day Star, Jesus.  Time is short, but the Word is sure! So it is time to “take heed” – pay attention – to the Light that shines in the darkness of this world.

But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.  Prov. 4:18 NAS

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  2 Cor. 4: 6
This path that grows brighter and brighter runs through our hearts! He is calling us to the Light1 to be IN the Light! To BE Light to a darkened world.
Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.    For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.  Isaiah 60: 1 & 2
Let’s Pray:  Heavenly Father, even though these are things that we have heard before, and know to be true, help us to pay attention. To remind ourselves of the Light that should be growing ever brighter within us and through us.  Help us to see it, believe it, and stand in it when darkness tries to overtake us. Until we come to the full day of Your coming. In Jesus’ name,
AMEN 
Let this song by Phillips Craig and Dean be our anthem!

 

Lost?

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  For a time I thought I might be lost, but, good news! The Shepherd knew right where I was all along!  He took “hold of my wandering heart” and led me back to where He wants me.

Without boring you with details of my medical woes, let’s just say that I have not been in top form for a while.  Praise His name!  “He restores my soul”  and I am on the mend. I hope it doesn’t sound trite to say that it is in those wilderness places of our journeys that we find the most precious truths. Faith can be found there!  Hope!  And His strength.  His arms are everlasting and His Spirit inexhaustible.

Are you feeling lost in a fog? Are you hurting or unwell?  Have you found it hard to pray, worship, or enter His Presence?  Has your fire dwindled? Your passion flagged?  Don’t fret! He knows where you are. He loves you still.

Let the words of Psalm 139 speak this truth to your heart today:

139       O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.

 2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.                                                                                                                  Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.                                                                                                                      For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.                                                                                                                          Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.    Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.  Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?                                                                                                                              If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.                                                                                                                If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;                                                                                                                           10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.       11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.  (KJV)

You see, it doesn’t matter if you can see Him, hear Him, or feel Him. HE sees you, hears you, feels & knows you!  He never leaves you or forsakes you!  You are His & nothing can separate you from His love. Even your darkest night doesn’t conceal you from His loving eye.  His tender mercies will lift you up!

“Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?  Song of Solomon 8:5

Whatever kind of “wilderness” in which you find yourself: a dry and arid desert; a rocky hard place; a deep, dark forest; tangled underbrush…know that He is there, watching out for your soul, keeping you safe until at last His marvelous work is done in your life.

 

Let’s Pray: Father, help us to realize that there is no condemnation for us who are in You!  We are just poor sheep and subject to weaknesses and wanderings. We trust You to find us when we think we are lost.. To restore us and speak kindly to us. We refuse to listen to the lie of our enemy who would keep us hopeless and condemned.  May we come out of our hard places leaning on your everlasting arm.  In Jesus’ name,

AMEN!

Here’s the David Crowder Band with an oldie but a really good goodie!

 

 

Back in the Saddle Again

Thrown!!

That must be the dread of every rodeo rider!  Being thrown from your horse …and in front of the whole arena of spectators!  It is frightening to think of the possibilities of injuries: broken bones, concussion, bruises, humiliation, disappointment.  Is it any wonder that fainter souls are loathe to mount up and go again?

Thrown 2

I have to admit that this is a very apt picture of me recently! Yes, I was galloping along when,  suddenly, I found myself down and dazed!

Did you hear me bawl, “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!?”

So…doctors and tests and meds! Oh, my!   The cure has been almost as bad as the affliction.  Actually, there is no cure for the kind of nerve pain I have.  Except for a miracle healing.  But, until that comes, there is help through medication. Unfortunately,  that has left me living in a dense fog, with difficulty concentrating. So I have had to take a break from the blog.

However, I am being prodded  to get up, and get back on.

saddle-up                So…I’m saddlin’ up and gettin’ ready to ride!  Again.

If you’ve ever been thrown for a loop, even felt like you were trampled under hooves; sore; bruised; disillusioned; wounded; dazed and perplexed.   Don’t worry! You’re in good company.  Listen to these words by the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 4: 7 – 9

7But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

Yes, friends. We are weak, but HE is strong.  It is OK to be thrown. It is OK to be down. Just know that it is not for “the count!”  He will lift you up, set your feet back on the rock, steady you with His strong right arm, and tell you to get back onto that horse He’s called you to ride!

And seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not. 

 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Cor. 4: 1 & 6

There is work to be done. We are, all of us, called to shine in this dark world. To hold forth the Word of Life to the lost. This is why we must ride!

Let’s Pray: Father, help us to realize that there is no condemnation for us who are in You!  We are earthen vessels and subject to weaknesses. We trust You to pick us up when we are thrown. To help us and heal us. We refuse to listen to the lie of our enemy who would keep us from our appointed work.  May we minister the Gospel of Truth in Your mighty name.  In Jesus’ name,

AMEN!

Come on! We have a trail to blaze!!

 

Do You Have A Plan?

It’s that time of year again…the sound of “Pomp and Circumstance,” mortor boards, and honor ribbons.  Graduation! Feeling pretty good about ourselves!  And rightly so!  Years of what seemed like an endless school career at the high school level, or college or beyond. We’ve set goals, planned strategies, mapped our lives.  Things are lookin’ good right now. Onward and upward! The sky’s the limit!  It’s time to jump in with both feet and start livin’ the plan!

Success

But, sooner or later, life, as it often does, takes some unexpected turns, and we find ourselves in places that weren’t in the plan.  Bumps in the road or major mishaps.

If you’ve been to a baccalaureate service lately you may have heard this verse quoted:  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11  (NIV)   It is one of my favorite verses. In fact, I have a beautiful brass refrigerator magnet with this verse on, right there in the kitchen, staring me in the face every day!  Here it is in King James Version:  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.    It is  powerful.   Ponder the idea of being in the mind of Almighty God!  HIS thoughts are aimed at YOU! He has a plan for your life!  But, before we run out to the hitching post, grab the reins, mount up, and gallup off into our adventure, maybe we’d better take a closer look at what God is saying to us here.

  1.  HE knows the plans!Not that He has shown them to us.  He doesn’t hand us a map and say, “Go ahead now. Work the plan.”  Sometimes you don’t find out what the plan was until years later when you look back and see where He has taken you!  ( When I graduated from high school I had big plans for a career in singing.  I won a voice scholarship to a big university and I was on my way…uh, without Jesus, I might add.  To make a very long story short…that wasn’t God’s plan.  Things didn’t work out the way I expected.  As I look back over the years, though, I can see what God had intended for me.  I did have a career in music! Not on the stage of the opera house, but, directing church choirs and teaching kids in Christian schools to make music and sing praise to the Lord…and loving every minute of it!)
  2. HE wants us to know that He has a plan!…He is declaring it to us.  In the King James version this  sounds a little different: “thus saith the Lord.” That always makes me sit up straight and pay attention! 🙂
  3. What is in HIS plan?  King James doesn’t use the word “plans.”  It uses the word “thoughts” from the Hebrew word machashebeth, which literally means “contrivance, invention, advice, intention.” I like to think of God having “intentions” for my life.  And when He says His intention is to “prosper” me the word there is “Shalom!”  So much more than prosper, it means peace of mind and heart; well-being; completeness; absence of discord.  And…He says His intention is not to harm us, but to bring us good.  (He is not out to get us!)
  4. Plans for “a future and a hope!”  King James  reads: “an expected end.”  The word for expected, “tiqvah,” means, a cord, or an attachment that helps you reach your goal, one meaning is “the thing that I long for;”  hope!  I keep seeing the farmer’s life-line that he rigs up to help him find the barn during a blizzard!  He “expects” to reach the barn every day, no matter what, to milk the cow and care for the livestock. In a blinding blizzard the rope is his only hope of finding the barn & making it back to his warm fire. Otherwise, he is lost!        Rope of Hope                                                                                                                                                                                                             So, God has holy intentions toward us!  And they are all “SHALOM!”  One of the names for Christ is Sar Shalom – Prince of Peace. We find every promise in Him. I love that He has given us a future to reach for, and hope to hold on to..  I am calling it the “Rope of Hope!”   Our expectations  come from being attached to Him with the beautiful, golden cord (tiqvah) of hope.   Hope is the lifeline that we all will need because eventually our plans come to a screeching halt.  We will feel like we are groping along in a blinding blizzard, but if we will stay attached to His lifeline we will reach the “expected end.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Let’s Pray:   Oh, Prince of Peace, our Sar Shalom, help us to seek after you with all of hearts, that we might grasp the cord of your intended plan for our life. May we learn to trust that Your intentions are righteous whether we can see where You are leading us or not.   Holding on to hope let, us live out the destiny you  have planned…all things working together for our good and Your glory.  In Jesus’ Name,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  AMEN!

 

Take With You Words

 

Pain

Pain….I’ve been living with that most unwelcome visitor lately.  Having moved in and made itself at home, it is a very demanding visitor!

The problem with pain is that it wants all of your attention!.  It hurts!   It is hard to ignore it. What is causing it? How can you get rid of it?  If it leaves for a while, is it going to come back?.  How many pills are left in that bottle? Will there be enough to get through ’til the insurance kicks in again?  Doctor appointments; Google; WebMD; Symptom Checker, vitamins & herbs; icepacks; hot packs; OTC everything … On and on it goes.  Just how can you make it stop?  Make. It. Stop. The reality is that it changes your life and your focus.  It begins to become the center of your reality; it can become your identity.

More than a little discouraging, it is depressing.  Life is not what it used to be. The drugs mess with your mind and you emotions, so you begin to question your thoughts and feelings.  Like little foxes, pain spoils the fruit on your vine.

This little fox has run off with my words!  It’s hard to write; it’s hard to pray; it’s hard to praise!  My heart feels like a rock. My tongue seems frozen to the roof of my mouth. Where are my words??

I’m sure that some of you have felt that way at times when you’ve experienced wrenching loss and grief, or health problems. Maybe your son or daughter is in trouble.  Perhaps someone you’ve loved with all of your heart has betrayed you. We suffer on this earth.  And we know that Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation, but, be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33 KJV   Sometimes it just seems too hard to be cheerful. It’s not that you don’t believe it, it’s just that pain has come for a visit, and is clamoring for all of our attention, and our words have left us…words of prayer; words of praise; words of warfare and victory.

It is hard to go to the Lord without words.  Hosea tells us to take with us words and turn to the Lord!

Hosea 14:2 Take with you words and turn to the Lord: say unto Him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so we will render the calves of our lips. 

Calves?  The calves of our lips, you say?   Yes, just like they took offerings of cattle to sacrifice to the Lord, we now offer Him our words.

Hebrews 13:15  By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

Sometimes it IS a sacrifice to offer our words.  Sometimes we must dig deep, cast the stones out of the well, to get the river of praise and prayer to flow again.  We may be tempted to just sit down and not make the effort…because it IS effort.  We must be intentional about bringing our words to the Lord.

Paul had a “thorn in the flesh” that he asked repeatedly for God to remove.  Was it physical pain?  A discouraging, besetting trait?  Was it an emotional hurt that beleagured him?  The Bible never tells us for sure what Paul’s thorn was, but this is what Paul wrote about the answer to his prayer:

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”    2 Corinthians 12:9 & 10

The Apostle Paul surely experienced pain in his  life, his body, his fellowship, his ministry…but he never seems to have been at a loss for words!   He wrote most of the New Testament!  Plus, he mentions other letters that we have not seen.  He prayed; he exhorted; he corrected, chastised, and encouraged. But most importantly he praised!  Beautiful heartwarming, inspiring praises and prayers.

So, when I am stuck with no words of my own, I am going to start with Paul’s words!  Or ANY of the WORD words.  And I am going to speak the Word aloud, not just read them in my head. I am going to loosen my tongue with the Word of God.  I am going to break up my fallow ground with my praise plow, until the rain of heaven falls again and His strength is made perfect in my affliction.

Let’s pray:  Lord Jesus, Word of God made flesh, Let Your Word be made flesh in our stoney hearts.  Help us to come to you with the calves of our lips that we may be whole again.  In Jesus’ name,

AMEN! 

Remind Yourself!

So…I am back at the keyboard again after a short “Martha” break.  Being busy about a multitude of things; cumbered  by so many details and provisions.  Honestly, I had been feeling that perhaps the Lord had set me on a shelf to watch as He completed His work on earth.  But, no! He isn’t finished with me yet, but He has taught me a few lessons about myself and my journey in recent weeks.  I need to remind myself!

So, I am reminding myself of something He spoke to me earlier this year.

Rain righteousness

Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground for it is time to seek the Lord till He come and rain righteousness upon you.”  Hosea 10:12 KJV

                                                               Never forget to seek the Lord!

How should we seek the Lord? you may ask.  Maybe we should check the instruction manuel!  🙂  Let’s take a look at Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, who displeased the Lord by doing evil in the days of his reign. His mother was an Ammorite woman who worshipped Molech, the fire God. (whose sacrifices included babies and children.)   His maternal heritage did not have to be the recipe for disaster that it turned out to be.  Rehoboham had a choice!   2Chronicles 12:14 says: “And he did evil because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord.”

We must think of our hearts as a field to be prepared for the seed of God’s Word.  It needs to be plowed fieldplowed, broken up, all the stumps and rocks removed.  How do we do this?   Hosea 10:11 says, in part, Judah shall plow.   The translation for the name Judah is “praise.”  Praising and worshipping the Lord will help to break up the fallow, dried-up ground of your heart. Put on some good praise music.   Read in the  Psalms about  God’s works, and attributes. Tell Him what He means to you!  Sing to Him; speak to Him; shout to Him!  You are plowing!  Find a friend who loves Jesus and talk to them about Him. You are plowing!  Read a book about the names of the Lord. You are plowing!  Think about His goodness, His passion, His love. You are plowing! Preparing your heart!

Is that all there is to seeking?  No! That is just the preparation of the heart!  The  Apostle Paul, in the book of Acts tells us this:

“…They should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us. For in Him we live, and move , and have our being….”             Acts 17: 27 & 28

Some translations say “grope for Him.”  I must admit that sometimes I have felt like a blind person groping my way back to God.  But, thank God, Paul goes on to say that He is “not far from every one of us.”  He is even “in us, and we are in Him,” if we have opened our hearts to Him.  But, “feeling or groping for him” suggest a purpose. An intensity. Even a desperation! Not a casual inquiry, but a diligent seeking.  A determination to find Him.

I am asking myself today:  Am I desperate?  Am I diligent?  Am I determined?

Remind yourself with the Psalmist:  Psalm 73: 25 – 26 “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.  My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.”   KJV

Let’s pray:  Oh Father in heaven, We are so grateful for your longsuffering and compassion; that you are there to lift us when we fall; to draw us back to you when we wander away; to breathe on us when we are discouraged.  Our hearts and flesh fail us often, but You strengthen us again.  You restore our souls, and make us to know that we truly belong to You.  Be our portion forever.  In Jesus’ name,

Amen!