Archive for the ‘GOD’S LOVE’ Category

Ephesians 2:10

For we are God handiwork, recreated in Christ Jesus, that we may do those good works which God predestined for us, taking paths which He prepared ahead of time, that we should walk in them, living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live.

WHY AM I HERE? Isnt’ that one of the big questions in life? Scholars and philosophers have pondered this question since the dawn of history. Apparently, they haven’t been looking in the right place–the Bible.  The Bible answers this question again and again. The above verse is only one example, but I love this verse.

It sounds so simple: God created us to do good works. He prepared a path for us. If we walk the path, we will have a good life. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, real life isn’t always so simple. Some of us make a wrong turn and miss that path. And how are we even supposed to even know what path to take? After all, there are a lot of paths out there to choose from.

What did God create you to do?

When God starts our heart beating, His touch lingers for just a moment.

And in that touch, He creates us to be us.

And in that touch, He creates us to be unique.

And in that touch, He gives us talents, interests, abilities and gifts.

And in that touch, He pours passion into our heart.

And in that touch, He loves us as no other ever can or ever will.

So, what’s the answer to the question of what does God want you to do? He wants you to do something you love. Something He gave you passion for. Something you are good at. Something you care about so much that you will spend hours and hours doing it and enjoy it.

That something is YOUR DREAM.

Your Dream is God’s Purpose.

Here is some really good news.  He gives us all that we need to accomplish it. So no matter how crazy your dream sounds to you or to every one around you, God wants you to pursue that dream. And it is when we do we are filled with a joy and peace that can’t be explained.

As we pursue our dreams, we are fulfilling God’s purpose for us. Some may not understand it; some will call it a hobby; some a waste of time, but focusing on our God-given dream is a divine task.

My dream was to be a writer. And after many years as God as my partner, I am living that dream. No, I’m not getting rich or famous, but people love to read my books.  And I still love to write them.  GOD IS SO GOOD!

So, take a minute and share your dream with us. What would you love to be doing right this minue?

 

Psalm 31:15

My times are in your hands.

I hate roller coasters! Not only rollercoasters, but most any amusement park rides. I don’t have the time to tell you how many times I ALMOST got hurt on various amusement park rides, but that is neither here nor there.

Real life has ups and downs, just like a roller coaster. If we aren’t careful we can get  caught up in the cycle of all those exhilarating highs and those desperate lows. Some people may enjoy that ride, but I’m not one of them. I am not a drama queen. I don’t like drama any more than I like roller coasters.

Unfortunately, my life has been more like a roller coaster lately. As the two-year anniversary of diagnosing my bilateral brain tumors approaches, it seems as if those hills and curves are coming even more quickly. One day–good news. The next–bad. The next–worse and then back to good news. And at this point, it seems as if it’s never going to be done.  It just keeps going on and on and on and…..

The thing about roller coasters (and life) is that control is an illusion. The best we can do is buckle up, hold on tight, and go along for the ride. Life can get that way as well if we let it. We can start worrying about every little detail, not just in our lives but in the lives of the people we love. As if worrying about it can change the outcome. NEWS FLASH–IT CAN’T!

 I’m done with the roller coaster.  In fact, I’m jumping off the roller coaster! I am not  in control, but God is. All those emotional highs and lows are too exhausting and stressful. Certainly, not good for me or for you. Instead, I’m claiming God’s promises of peace and joy, no matter what the circumstances.

He promises me my times are in his hands.

I believe Him!  

 Philippians 2:12

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed-not only in my presence but now much more in my absence-continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.

This  verse has always bothered me, I thought salvation was a free gift.  So, then what’s this verse talking about?  Does it mean that we really do have to work for our salvation after we accept Jesus as our Savior?  

I prayed about it, asked God to clarify what it meant, meditated on it, listened to what others said it meant. I started to have an idea what it meant but it still wasn’t clear enough to be able to verbalize what it meant. 

As a speech pathologist and a teacher, I know if you can’t explain it to someone else then you probably don’t get it completely.

I also know prepositions can be very important. In this case the  words work out instead of work for are crucial to the meaning.  Anyway this analogy popped into my head.  Yes, I believe it was the Holy Spirit clueing me in.  Let me explain what I believe the verse means by using this analogy.

 

The City Slicker And The Farm

A city slicker inherits a farm from a distant relative. The city slicker owns that farm, free and clear. There is no doubt about that, he owns the farm. He doesn’t even have to pay taxes on it. It was all taken care of by his relative.

No one can take the farm from the city slicker. He doesn’t have to do anything to get the farm except to accept this wonderful free gift. He didn’t do anything to deserve the farm but thanks to his very loving and generous relative, it’s definitely his farm!

The city slicker is very excited about his new farm.  He’s telling everyone about this wonderful gift that he’s received but, alas, he’s never been a farmer before.  He doesn’t know the first thing about farming.  He doesn’t know how to use the tools and equipment.  He doesn’t know what to plant, when to plant, or how to plant. 

So, even though the farm belongs to the city slicker, he doesn’t know how to use the farm to its best advantage.  He doesn’t know how to make the most of his farm.

The city slicker has a choice. 

He can just enjoy knowing that he owns the farm or he can learn how to make the most of his new farm.  The choice is his.  Either way the farm belongs to him but if he chooses to learn how to farm, he can make the farm much more fruitful for himself and for others.

Becoming a Christian is the same way. We can choose to learn how to use our wonderful gift of salvation so that we can become more fruitful for God.  We can, also, choose to accept the gift but not dig further to understand the true meaning of God’s gift. We won’t be as fruitful and we may miss out on many of the blessings that God wants to give us.

 But we are still Christians even if we don’t unwrap all the generous gifts God included as part of the gift of salvation. A few of the wonderful gifts included under the multifaceted gift of salvation are God’s love, grace, forgiveness, an intimate relationship with him, wisdom and power to name a few. I could go on and on but time doesn’t permit it.

God in His great love and generosity wasn’t satisfied with just giving us a way to get to heaven someday.  He wanted to give us a way to overcome the world now.  So, how do we go about opening all these gifts? Through Bible study, meditation, and putting God’s words into action.

It may not always easy, but it’s always worth it!

 

Are You A Quitter?

Posted: February 24, 2014 in DAILY LIVING, FAITH, GOD'S LOVE
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Proverbs 24: 16

For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.

Are you a quitter? As children, we knew being called  a quitter was bad. Right up there with being a chicken or having cooties. But as adults we know there are times when it’s right to quit, but when?

Certainly, we aren’t called to quit just because things get rough. Or when it takes longer than expected. Or when our feelings get hurt. Or when we’re just plain tired.

I can’t tell you when it’s the right time to quit. That’s between you and God, but I can tell you when to rise up again because the Bible tells me the answer. When you fall! Seven times? Maybe, but it could be even more. Just as Jesus answered Peter when he asked how many times he had to forgive someone–seventy-seven came the answer.

Giving up is easy. Rising up again and again and again isn’t so easy. In fact, it can be quite difficult, but we learn so much when we rise again after the fall. Rising up again strengthens us and matures us as Christians. Each time we rise again that mustard seed of faith grows a bit more as does our dependence on God.  And never forget someone somewhere is watching you. Each time you rise, you show the power of God.

I’m struggling now–physically, but not spiritually. In spite of all my health issues, I’m at peace. At least most of the time. I won’t say I don’t get discouraged because I do. But when I am discouraged I remind myself of  two different verses.

First, Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Second, Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

As I remind myself of these two wonderful promises, God gives me the strength to rise up and face the day once again.

I pray the same for you.

 

Zepheniah 3: 17

The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you.

He will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing.

The holidays are over for another year and it’s time to get back real life, right?  For some people that’s a good thing and for others maybe not so much. As  we get caught back up in the daily drudgery of life, we soon forget about all the peace, joy, and love we celebrate during the Christmas season.

We were cleaning off our Christmas porch today and as I saw each of my fourteen trees along with my snowmen and Santas go back in the box a thought occurred to me. Couldn’t I keep up at least one tree all year, just as a reminder?

I didn’t actually mention the idea to my husband. It was quite obvious he was a man on a mission to not only clear the porch but to do it as quickly as possible. But you must admit, it’s a good idea! A year-long Christmas tree to remind us of God and his love.

It’s so easy for us to forget God is with us–all the time.

It’s so easy for us to forget God loves us–all the time.

So, as we pack up our Christmas trees and decorations, find another way to keep remembering God and His amazing love all year long.  Perhaps, it’s a Bible on a coffee table? Or a favorite verse on the refrigerator? Or tune your radio to a Christian music station?

Whatever way you choose, I can guarantee that as you remember God each day, it will bring more joy, peace, and love to your life each day. And that’s a wonderful thing!

 

Luke 1: 29-33

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

 

With Christmas just past, Mary and Joseph have been on my mind. I think there are some valuable lessons to be learned from them.

The first two that come to mind are faith and obedience. Both Mary and Joseph proved their faith in God when they were obedient.  They chose to follow God’s will for them in spite of the difficult circumstances. Being pregnant before marriage was not just frowned upon then, it was a sin punishable by death.

That’s a lot faith and obedience.

But the real lesson I want to focus on is that in spite of their faith and obedience, God did not make their chosen path easy for them. As so many of us face adversity, whether physical, emotion, or our circumstances, we may question whether God is punishing us. Whether we are doing what God wants us to do. Whether we are living a life of obedience and faith. Whether God still loves us.

The message of Mary and Joseph clearly shows that we can be obedient to God and doing exactly what he wants us to do, but life can still be difficult for us. Surely, if anyone had a right to believe God would make their path easier it would be Mary and Joseph, but clearly the circumstances Jesus was born under show that didn’t happen.

They had to face all sorts of trials and tribulations even as they brought God’s son into this world. They had to face the shame and humiliation of Mary’s pregnancy with their family and friends. They had to make a journey that was difficult under normal circumstance, but it was made even more difficult by Mary’s pregnancy. Then they had no place to stay, Jesus was born in a structure of some sort with the animals.  Talk about a tough situation. Then as they were getting settled in a new life, they had to flee for their lives.

No, God did not make their path easy in spite of their faith and obedience.

Most of us will face adversity in one form or another in the coming year, remember the message of Mary and Joseph and know that you are still loved by your heavenly father.

Luke 2: 10-12

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.

 

A baby changes everything, there is no arguing that point. Ask any parent, new or experienced, young or old, tired or rested. A baby changes everything for their family.  And that’s even more true for the baby we celebrate during this Christmas season.  Let’s take a look at the reason for the season.

JESUS–his birth, his life, and his death changed the world!

Atheists–agnostics–and some who just aren’t sure often give Jesus his “due.”  Oh, he was a great teacher, they say, but He wasn’t GOD.

Let’s take a practical look at that for a moment, shall we?

What’s the year? Oh–it’s 2013 A.D   A.D. does not mean “after death,” as a lot of people believe, but it stands  for a Latin phrase: anno domini, meaning “in the year of the Lord”—the year Jesus was born.  B.C stands for Before Christ, though now people have changed it in an attempt to downplay the religious aspect.

Wow!  Time is measured by Jesus’s birth and death. I’m impressed!

JESUS–his birth, his life, and his death changed the world!

Let’s take a look at Jesus’s life for a moment and those who knew him best–his disciples.

Without going into the gory details, ten of the original twelve apostles chose death rather than renounce Jesus’s divinity. Why? Because they experienced life with the Messiah. Some were with him the day he was baptised and they heard God’s voice come down from the heavens saying,  “this is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased.”  They experienced the darkness the day he died.

They knew beyond a shadow of doubt that he was the Son of God and they were willing to die rather than renounce His divinity.  Because of that certainty, they spread the good news of the gospel throughout the world.

JESUS–his birth, his life, and his death changed the world!

But even better, Jesus changed my world. Christianity isn’t about rules and religion. It’s about a relationship with God through His only begotten son, Jesus. And that has made all the difference in my world!

Indeed, a  baby changes everything!

1 Chronicles 16:34

O give thanks to the Lord for He is good; for his mercy and loving kindness endures forever. 

 

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and that means turkey–oops, I mean that we should be focusing on being thankful for the things in our life. Oh yeah, right? I’m supposed to be thankful for my brain tumors and how they are affecting my health and my life. That’s a little hard to do. God doesn’t really expect me to do that, does He?

To answer the question, no I don’t think God expects me to be happy I have brain tumors or all that I’m going through, but I think He doesn’t expect me to forget all the blessings He has done for me in the past, is doing for me in the present, and will do for me in the future. When we focus on the negatives in our life, we end up with blinders on. Not being able to see or to enjoy the blessings we have in spite of our circumstances.

But keeping a thankful attitude will keep you in God’s peace and joy.  I think praising God and be thankful in all circumstances go hand in hand. It’s a little hard not to be thankful when you’re praising God and it’s hard not to praise God when you’re thankful. So, if you feel a pity party coming on and who doesn’t when life get’s difficult, then put on your favorite praise music and sing of God’s great love.

I’m not saying it’s easy to be thankful when you’re in the middle of the storms, it’s not! Life is filled with tragedies, some big  and some little. But a lot of times we seem to lose sight of the big picture. This earth is not our home. His loving kindness endures forever. No matter how hard life is right now, it’s still temporary.  Heaven is waiting for us and that’s why we should be thankful!

God is LOVE!

Posted: October 19, 2013 in GOD'S LOVE
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1 John 4:8

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

 

God doesn’t just love; He is love—all love is created through him. 

God’s love is not based on who we are but who He is. And that’s good news for us. Because of God’s perfect love for each of his creations (that’s us!), we can know that he will never turn away from us.

1 Corinthians 12:4-7 is considered one of the classic verses on love in the Bible.  Usually, we interpret these words as they relate to marriage or other relationships but I want you to look at it from a different perspective. We already know that God is love from 1 John 4: 8.  So, now read these verses again but substitute God for the word love or for the word it when it means love.

 

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 

Wow! That’s pretty awesome to know that God loves me like that.

Your life and my life will never be without troubles of one kind or another. Often from our own making but not always.  Life can be unfair.  Life can be overwhelming but knowing that God’s love never fails can make the difference in a bad situation.

Keep those words in your heart.

Anytime you are having difficulty believing that God wants the best for you, that God still believes in you, that God is taking care of you: just read those verses. God will never give up on us. God won’t stop loving us.  God keeps no record of our wrongs.

God loves you and me yesterday, today, tomorrow, and forever.  

This I know for the Bible tells me so.

Romans 8: 28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Well, my second Gamma Knife treatment for my second brain tumor is over. The day went pretty much as expected. It was difficult but it’s done!!  Yay!!. And I’m feeling great today. Not even a smidgen of a headache. Last treatment I had a headache for about 3-4 days and all I could do was lie on the sofa.

Now, comes the waiting time. Waiting to see if it’s successful. Waiting to see if I have complications. Waiting to see if I lose more hearing. Waiting to see if I lose more balance. Waiting to see……Well, I suppose I could do that, but maybe not. Maybe, there’s a better way.

As far as I’m concerned, the treatment is over and I’m ready to move on with my life. I’m not going to sit around waiting for the complications to happen. They might happen, but God is in control.He will take care of me and my situation and work it out for my good. That’s His promise in Romans 8: 28.
I believe that promise. I believe that whatever happens, God’s got my back and will work it out for my good.
There are all sorts of seasons in our lives. Seasons of joy and sadness. Seasons of hard work and times of rest. Seasons of success and failure. Seasons of moving forward and of waiting. And there is nothing wrong with any of them–as long as we don’t get stuck in the negatives.  It’s so easy to get stuck in the negative when things go from bad to worse, when we don’t feel good physically, emotionally, or spiritually.
My remedy to getting stuck in the negative is to read, meditate and remember God’s promise that He’s got my back–now and forever!
My prayer for each of you who is struggling with some issue (and who isn’t?) is to remember God has your back!