Book of Rememberance

Malachi 3:16

Slippery: Proceed with Caution

Studying the book James has had huge impact on my thought life (hopefully also my physical life when all is said in done!) But I do think that the first changes begin inwardly before they are manifest outwardly.

I have read James countless times in the past, I am sure. But this is my first time to study it chapter by chapter and verse by verse. It is a hard word to take in.

I am only just into chapter 3 but I have noticed that there seems to be some repeat of thoughts and lessons from chapter 1 to chapter 3. In chapter 1 James gives us 27 verses that are lessons in and of them selves but then he unpacks them more in later chapters. In chapter 1 James talks about the tongue and the connection between it and our religiosity. He lets us know quite bluntly that if we think were religious, and do not have control over our tongue/words then guess what…. all that religion is USELESS! Yikes.

In chapter 2 we are confronted with our tendency to prefer some over others and show partiality.  But then we get into chapter 3 and BAM we are hit once again with the need to control the tongue.

I recently heard a quote that made me laugh as much as made me gasp.

“The tongue is in a wet place and can easily slip”.

That is just so true! It makes me want to grab a big sign “caution slippery when wet” and stick it in front of my face! (I just was thinking that naturally when we have a dry mouth we are apt to speak fewer words)

But scarier yet is James’ caution to us in verses 5-8. Basically he is reminding us that the tongue has the power of both life and DEATH (Proverbs 18:21) and also that when we use it for death we are tapping into the power of hell. (James 3:6) If this does not make anyone want to shut up and really tread lightly maybe the fact that James’ continues to inform us in verse 8 that no man can tame the tongue. No man can tame the tongue? WHAT!?  Not even you James?

Something brought to my attention as I read through chapter 3 after spending 4 weeks in chapter 1 and 2…is that in chapter 1 and 2 James is talking to “us” I mean he uses the word you, or my brethern, brother or sister when he is writing. But suddenly in chapter 3 there comes a turn. James has switched to WE in the next 9 verses. He is now including himself with us as we struggle in this area, and knowing that people alone can not fulfill the necessary expectation. What are we to do then? How can we over come this if not through self-control?

I am graciously reminded that self-control is a fruit OF THE SPIRIT. (Gal. 5:22-23) Not a fruit of man, or a fruit of striving, or even a fruit of religion, church going or discipline. It is a fruit of The Spirit.

In some ways this really takes the pressure off. WHEW. No man can tame the tongue, BUT the Holy Spirit CAN and WILL tame the tongue. When HIS fruit is what we are bearing then with it comes the fruit of self-control. and only then are we able through HIS grace and HIS fruit to accomplish it.

James 1:19 says each one us should be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.  This does take a conscious effort to be aware and tuned in to those around us. But let me tell you from my experience, do not even bother to try this without seeking God for His help and Spirit. Ask Him to constantly remind you to listen to what others are saying (not just use that time to think of what you want to say next…Bree!) and then cautiously weigh what you will say, slowly and carefully. This is the only way that I know how to bear His Fruit in my life and it is a very new journey that I am beginning, I barely have buds just yet (let alone fruit), but my branches are firmly attached to the vine and growing steadily….

I pray others will know each one of us by our fruit and not by our useless religion.

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Joy in Obedience

I need joy!

Then again, who doesn’t? Especially now,  in the world we live in,  in the craziness happening all around us. It’s so easy for me to lose my joy when i see the news. I often tend to avoid the news for this very reason. It sometimes causes me confusion, fear and all things that are the exact opposite of that which Jesus brings to my life.

Part of this is a need for me to grow and mature more in the things of the Lord, in His Truth and His promises. I know that bad news should not cause fear or stress to me or in any way override The Good News!  but no matter what I know mentally this does happen and so I say again – I need Joy!

I am so glad Jesus himself promised to supply my joy, and not just at the level it was before, but actually the Words He spoke bring my joy to FULL! (John 15:11)

I have recently learned that in the book of James, he is also talking about Joy. In the first verse he has a salutation of “Greeting”. In the Greek this word is Chairein (ka-ee-rain) which means “Joy to you”. (James 1:1) The book of James is about living out what we say we believe. In other words it means to be living in obedience to God’s ways and percepts.

The best part of this is that actually when we are obedient, our Joy increases in those areas where we submit. It sounds kinda counter-culture  -that obedience would breed Joy; but this is actually more true then we give credit. I think naturally our sin nature wants to rebel and be in control, but at the same time God has placed in each of us another desire. A desire for order, rules, boundaries and safety. This is harder to see in adults maybe, but in young children its very clear.

I teach 2-5 year old’s and have been doing so for 7 years. I spend hours day in and day out in a unique setting and a unique role. I do everything from toilet training them to teaching them how to eat with utensils and basic manners of life. I am more inclined to say “I raise kids in English” rather than “I teach English”. But the one thing that’s very important for the kids is guidelines, consistency, rules and boundaries. They need them – but more than that they want them! They are uncomfortable with too much freedom, they look for an answer to everything and even more precious is their desire to be obedient and pleasing to me.

Is that not our hearts desire also? I know I WANT to be obedient and pleasing to my Great Teacher. I want to live a life and way that is honouring to Him. I want him to say to me just as my students want me to say to them “Good Job! Your doing very well! Thank you for your great listening!” 🙂

So, on further reflection about my joy and The Lords joy in me. I have to admit that the times I am most Joyful is when I am in His presence (no sinning there!) or when together God and I have overcome a previously sinful attitude/ behaviour. When I am changed and walking in obedience in that area I have so much more joy! Thank You Lord!

Have a Great week,  Chairein!!!!   Joy to YOU!!!

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Honey from the Honeycomb

Good Morning!

Today has already started off great! As a general morning routine I tend to read a chapter Proverbs for the day. The idea is that there are 31 days this month and 31 chapters in Proverbs. so I add a chapter of proverbs to my daily devotional reading (on months with less days I just double up!)  Anyhow, this morning I found myself way ahead of 21 into chapter 27. I always feel much wiser after reading proverbs! 🙂

It’s a great way to start the day, meditating and thinking about ways I can apply what I am learning to my day, and my interactions with others. I think this also gives the Holy Spirit some instant reminders for me throughout the day when I may not be allowing Wisdom to function at her fullest.

Today was a bit different for me though. As I read, I felt like I was frequently reading about honey. It is kind of true… Between chapters 24 and 27 honey or the honeycomb is mentioned 4 times. But I mean there are other things mentioned much more frequently than this in those same chapters. So I really felt like God was trying to bring my attention to this.

As I read, my mind went on a “Bible tangent!” Does this ever happen to you?! I cross reference one verse to another to another… before I know it I have about 20 verses and multiple topics I am learning about at once…none of which are directly related aside from a couple of shared verses. Ahh. I just go crazy with information overload!

Well needless to say it took me a few minutes to get my mind back on to ONE topic and to what I felt like God was trying to say specifically about the verses between 24 and 27.

I don’t have a complete thought quite yet maybe. But as my mind has started racing again I felt it best to get down what I have.

It was Proverbs 27:7 that made me stop, so I am trying to keep my focus on that verse and how it relates to what I feel is on my heart about it.

“The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.”

The thing that struck me immediately is the use of the word soul in this verse. It really isn’t necessary to make the point or keep the meaning. The verse simply could have read “the full loatheth the honeycomb, but to the hungry every bitter thing is sweet.” This is the case in verses 25:16, 27. The word soul is not used.  (However is used in earlier verses so this is not necessarily particularly significant).

But when I thought about it and began to consider who may delight in something bitter and regard it as sweet. It seems to me it is those people who have not tasted the sweetness of the Lord (Ps. 34:8, 119:103, Hebrews 6:5, 1 Peter 2:3).

For people who are hungry for that which they can not even name or identify within their soul, even the bitterness of the world is sweet to them. I know this sounds impossible, that one would regard bitterness as sweet. However,  It made me think of the horror in very deprived places where even eating dirt to just feel full is somewhat satisfying even though truthfully they are starving.

But how much more so, the soul without its’ God? People are striving for that which does not satisfy (Is 55:2) and as a result continue to strive for more and more hoping to find sweetness in their labour, which truly is just bitter.

I continued to think on how words are likened to the sweetness of honey. (16:24, 5:3 – more on this another time) The Word of God can and will bring sweetness to the hungry soul. But it may truly be up to us, vessels used by God to bring this sweetness to those who only know bitterness.

Jesus Himself is our healing, He brings healing to those He touches, His Words are cleansing and healing to us as well. (John 15:3, Eph. 5:26)

I noted that honey is also likened to health in Proverbs 16:24 which reminded me that ALL over health articles there is a recurring fad to remind readers of the health benefits of honey! Dr. Oz recently posted an article and various medical websites ect I only needed to type in “health benefits of honey” to get back countless articles documenting the case for honey.

No wonder God wanted to bring Israel to a land flowing with this stuff! I think God wanted to use the physical property of honey on earth to demonstrate his love and sweetness to His people. He wanted them to be healthy and enjoy life (John 15:11) Even the Manna tasted like honey (Exodus 16:31)

I was reminded again through this verse that with God nothing is without meaning. We may not always know the meaning nor be aware of the different layers to the truths we learn, but God has specifically chosen things on earth and words to demonstrate clearly his Love and promises to His people. I know it is often said that Honey does not spoil, even over the years it will not lose its goodness or be inedible. Is that not just like the God we serve? He is always there. Always willing and wanting to heal, bring joy and sweetness to us and from everlasting to everlasting He will always be Good!

RECIPE!                                                                                                                                                                                                         *** Mornings in Nagoya are starting off cooler the past couple of days, I have a little recipe for cup of warm sweetness: Honey Hot Cocoa!  Combine and heat 1/2 cup milk with 1/2 cup water, 1-2tbs chocolate powder or cocoa mix, 1tsp of honey (or more to taste) top with cinnamon or stir with a cinnamon stick.*** Yumm!

Enjoy the sweetness of God’s blessings to you!

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God Decides

 

Yesterdays sermon at church really had me thinking the past two days.  I love when I leave a teaching and  it stirs a lot of thoughts and questions and reflection in my life.  Its the best sign I have for myself to know that I am growing.. or at least that God is trying to grow me up and if I am willing to allow Him then I will be growing!

Allowing God to change me is a whole other topic that I can’t get into here, but needless to say this is the most difficult part of God’s work I am sure! It is a clear demonstration as to why God’s mercy would need to be new every morning. Ever wonder why that might be? Come and meet me and you will have all the answer you need 🙂 Lam. 3:22-23  It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

God is great though! And as is usual for me, my thoughts tend to ruminate around His greatness, our lameness and how we can fit together with such a Holy Lord.

The sermon was short and sweet, but extremely effective!  It brought up some questions that I needed working out, and I am ever so thankful for my very understanding husband to work with me through my thoughts and questions.

Basically I left thinking about our circumstances and how no matter what situation or place in life you may be right now, God is fully in control and the long and the short of it is that He allows you to be where you are for His glory. If one is a born-again spirit filled follower of Christ Jesus, and are walking in a manner that pleases Him as best you can and your ever striving to live in obedience than basically you are where God wants you to be. That made me think about the most simple parts of our lives.

For example if I wanted to change my job….I am free to do so. It is wise to pray before hand but generally speaking we are free to choose our jobs and God has given us the liberty to do so. (1 Corinthians 6:12-20 and 10:23-33 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. ) But it occurred to me that even if I changed my job my overall living arrangements, situation and financial position at this current time in my life will not be improved hardly at all (if anything it would decline) if I changed my job. It kinda makes me laugh. If God wants me to make more money then I will! In the earth there are principles I need to adhere to and in the natural I need to meet these, but If God wants me to make more or less money, move further or closer to home, or be married or unmarried, have children or not…..whatever it is, God is fully in control and at the end of the day He gets to decide! (For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another. Ps. 75:6-7)

It makes me so in awe of Him. How much love He has for us, How strong he is to carry our burdens and give us His, ( Matt. 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.)and how well He can manage our lives even when we give him the mess we made out of them!

It really takes the pressure off! I know that I have to do what I can to meet the goals and requirements of the natural order here on Earth, but in addition to doing my part I have God! No one can do His part and His part will always take precedence over anything else.  This has also helped me to really understand the necessity of prayer and the importance that we must learn to give prayer in our life and relationship with God. (more on that another day.)

So that’s what I have been thinking about!

Talk to ya later!!

 

 

 

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Passion and Purity

This is a book by Elisabeth Elliot. If you are not familiar with her life and story I recommend looking her up….But it is not for the faint-hearted! Let me tell you, her life scared me and gave me new fears I had never even thought about fearing. But its an amazing example of Gods grace and mercy in life so I still recommend it!

I was reading this book, and though I thought it would help me to keep my focus on God while in the midst of a relationship and waiting for marriage, it really didn’t pertain to this type of life. I mean it was still really good and helpful, but I much more suggest this book for those who are still waiting for God to manifest their mate for them or confirm singleness. It would have been a huge help a couple of years ago for me! None the less there is always something to learn.

I just want to share some things I gleaned from the book in the hopes that it will strike a chord in someone else and be an encouragement for those who are growing weary of the fight.

Surrender:

When we are attempting too and striving towards surrendering to the Lord we must keep in mind: an utter yielding of our best. So as long as our idea of surrender is limited to the renouncing of unlawful things, we have never really grasped its true meaning: that is not worthy of the name for “no polluted thing” can be offered. This really made me think. How often I struggle to surrender and yield up the sins I have taken for my own, and the wrong thoughts, actions and emotions to the Lord, knowing they displease Him, I offer them to Him in the hopes of pleasing Him. But isn’t it true that offering Him sin and polluted things is similar to what Cain did when he offered fruits of the ground which God Himself had already cursed?

I used to often think about how broken I was. That I was useless and too big of a mess for even Jesus, how could I possibly be given in marriage to another? If my life is broken when given to Jesus, it is because pieces will feed a multitude, while a loaf will only satisfy a little lad”.

Patience:

I am not naturally a patient person. Actually in Bible study this week we discovered that I am actually not impatient either. I know what your thinking…how can you not be either. But its true! I actually have no time to be impatient! haha

I act so quickly and immediately that truly I rarely have time to feel impatient. BUT this is not a good thing! Slow to speak quick to listen the Bible teaches… I am not very slow at anything at all and this oftentimes gets me into trouble or regret. But it also leads to me being so independent and I do not rely on others very well, because factually its faster if I just do things myself. Patient waiting is an important discipline for anyone who wants to learn to trust. Truthfully it is hard for me to trust anyone because I do most of all things myself. When I do find myself in the place that I need to trust someone else to take care of something, I am anxious (impatient!) fearing they will take too long, or wont do it in time. Now usually I am right. People do tend to do things much slower than me, but I need to be merciful and realize that a) its done just as well and the timing is rarely as important as I make it out to be. b) often its done better because others took the time to look at the fine details that I tend to overlook or miss completely and in the end I am very thankful that someone else took care of it instead of me.

Waiting will not be the same for all people. I hear stories that were meant to be encouraging but was actually terrifying, examples such as “I know someone who was 56 when they got married, never give up!” “My daughter was 49 when she met her husband and she’s never been happier” “I waited 16 years but God was faithful”. The list could go on and on! Me personally? I waited almost 8 years, though I only waited well about 1 year so I don’t know if the first seven years even counted! Each of us will have to take Christ’s yoke upon ourselves and learn of Him. I do know that waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one’s thoughts.It is easier to talk oneself into a decision that has no permanence – easier sometimes then to wait patiently.

This is so so true! When I said I waited well only one year though I was waiting 7 years I meant it. I got myself into situations and relationships that were not pleasing to the Lord, and caused both of us much pain and heartache that could have been avoided if  I had simply obeyed and waited well. Instead I greatly hurt others, and God as well as myself because of my selfishness to make things happen instead of resting in patience.

Reflect and meditate on Gods word, and HIS definition of patience and waiting well. We can all learn from Him. The True example of Surrender and Patience for us to follow

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God works/ Good works

I have already posted about Ephesians 2:10. Yet here I am again. With a different direction and different thoughts. I think God is really serious about it as I can’t go long in my reading without coming back to this verse specifically. I actually forgot that I wrote about it back in November. So here are my current thoughts regarding this verse.

10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

This scares me kinda.  Theoretically speaking there is a list of things that God has prepared and expected from us each day. I can almost guarantee that on any given day I more than likely go to bed without having accomplished all of them, probably none of them.

I really, really wonder about this. God has ALREADY prepared for us the good works that we are supposed to do. How blind am I? How deaf? How selfish and me centered am I that on most days I can’t really end the day with an example of a “good thing” I did that day.

Now the one saving grace that I do sorta have is that what is a “good work” to the Lord and what we would consider to be a good work may look very different. I am aware and thankful of this. BUT it doesn’t really change the idea that we are here on assignment from God till the day we leave this planet. And there are things we are supposed to accomplish and complete. When Jesus was ready to leave this planet he declared “it is finished, I did what you asked me to do.” (Bree paraphrase) Can I honestly say the same thing? NOPE!

One other thing that I also want to address while I’m on this topic is that I definitely should never feel proud or smug at the end of the day when I do feel that I did a good works for the Lord, because it wasn’t even my idea! Any “good idea” I have is from Him in the 1st place, I’m just following through with it. I can’t boast or be proud at all or feel like a good person, because all that good stuff that caused me to do the good thing ISN’T ME! Its Christ in me! 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose. (Phil. 2:13) So He gives me the brilliant idea and then He gives me the will and energy to do exactly what He wanted done. I am simply a servant, obeying and following orders.

Will he (master) thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’ (Luke 17:9-10)

I pray (cry, scream, beg!) that I would be found in His mercy again today. That He would grant me the eyes to see and the ears to hear His Spirit leading me to will and to act in the good works that He has pre-assigned for me to do, today and everyday. God of all Mercy, hear my pray, forgive my selfishness and hardness that I may be found worthy of this calling.   Because it is your great pleasure that I seek and yearn for. Thank you Lord! I love you, and I will seek to have you glorified through my good works just as you taught us it would be (Matthew 5:16 and 1 Peter 2:12.) I Ask all of these in Jesus Name (as instructed in Acts 16:23-24.)

Amen, let it be so!

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What’s the Point?

I’ve been really thinking about a ton of things these days. In regards to my walk with the Lord and my Christianity in general, my focus has been shifted some what and I can honestly say that I have a completely different view about things than I have ever had before.

I am not really sure of everything that may have brought on my change of focus and perspective but I am sure it is likely a combination of factors and people in my life that have helped to lead me here, in addition to books I have been reading ect..

My first thought is about salvation. There are so many times in the past that I doubted my salvation and was not really sure that my motive was blameless and holy at all. In the past 2 years I had pretty much over come that, with faith and placing my security in the cross and blood of Jesus Christ. However, it seems to be cyclical and recently I have struggled again with condemnation and uncertainty about my spiritual health.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. For one, it causes me to really evaluate my life and actions, as well as thoughts and responses. It also helps me to have more fear of the Lord and we can always use more of that! But on the other hand, I think it causes my focus to be off of the Lord and onto myself, and my own life. This is not a pretty place to be!

Now, I have really come to a place where I feel for once that my love for the Lord is more genuine and sincere than it has ever been.  I made an absolute decision that no matter what I was feeling or thinking, I would serve the Lord and honour Him in my life and choices no matter the outcome.

As a Christian this is the basic thought most of us have, and think we have towards God in general, I would guess. If you ever asked me I would be confident to declare this absolutely. However, I came to realize that I did not quite understand the Lord or the motives behind my life.

God is God! He is Amazing, Glorious, Perfect, Wonderful, Loving, Forgiving, Righteous, Holy. I mean the list could go on and on. But how often I had an incorrect perspective about our relationship.

I often hear Christians talking about Heaven. It’s such a glorious place, no more pain or suffering. Heartaches are gone, illness does not exist, bodies are made whole ect.. All the very truthful and biblical descriptions of heaven are always all around us. Oh ya and God will be there too! Isn’t that great?! But I realized that so often we talk about heaven as a place where things are wonderful instead of talking about WHO is Wonderful. The benefits of heaven and the great things we look forward to when we get there are so excellent, but more than that GOD IS THERE!!! Those things are a result of God’s presence. How much more I wish we would emphasize God for HIM, who He is, rather than what He does and gives us.

Frequently,  I hear the fear of hell and wanting to run towards The Lord for Salvation. He does in deed save, but should I not rather fear God than hell and run into His Arms instead of into His Kingdom?

I have firmly decided that I Love God truly, and that I will love Him no matter what. Today, my motive for loving Him is not simply to get to heaven, or even to be with Him one day. I love Him because He is God! He is worthy and He deserves so much more than even the most I have to offer Him. I choose to love and serve Him. Heaven is no longer my goal. Salvation is also no longer my goal because I realized that in the midst of assuming I am actually unsaved I continue to serve the Lord anyhow. The only reward I seek for is to know that I have served the Living God, Worthy and Perfect One as best I can and with all the resources He has given me.

If God has mercy on me and chooses to extend His salvation to me in the end then I will gratefully rejoice. If not, than He is righteous and Just anyhow so I will still be grateful that in my little time here on earth I had the opportunity to converse and serve Him anyway.

I am striving towards God and no longer heaven, I am loving Him because He Is and not for what He can give me or promise me.

 I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. (Exodus 33:19b)

May we all be found in His Grace and Mercy for another day.

 

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Nakedness

This is a Bible Lesson I taught at church a couple of months ago….It really helped me to look at the Words in the Bible  in a different sorta way.

It starts with the Lesson outline and then I add my comments and explanation to it at the bottom half. I included all the scriptures I used, The main Scripture of the Lesson was Revelation 3:17-20.

Revelation 3:17
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

1. What is biblical nakedness?
Biblical nakedness is described as shame in a number of verses:

example Is 47:3, Rev 3:17, 16:15

and we can see it from the beginning in Genesis 3:10-11 And he said, I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.And He said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

One way to keep ourselves from Shame before God is to know His Word.
2 Tim 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Our nakedness and shame is always before God, not man. No one wants to be ashamed in life but so much more so not to want to be ashamed before God Himself!
Romans 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

2. We do not want to be found naked
Revelation 3:17 And white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear

2 Corinthians 5:3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.

Revelation 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

Matthew 22:11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

3. The solution to our nakedness

God has out solution already worked out!

Genesis 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:

Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

Revelation 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

Psalm 132:9 Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy. ( See Rev 1:6, 1 Peter 2:9)

4. Our part/responsibility:
Isaiah 55:1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

Matthew 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Romans 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

Revelation 22:14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.

EXPLANATION:

These above verses tell us our part and responsibility to DO something in order to prevent shame and nakedness before God. The Bible tells us to put these things on. This is an imperative command. It also is an ACT. we must DO it.

The solution is that God HIMSELF will provide our clothing for us (see above verses in section 3)

You do not have to pay for it (Is. 55:1) but you will need to BUY it! Sounds contradictory, But I believe that the cost to us to buy this is TIME with God!

In English we say things like that all the time don’t we? “Spending time” “spent time” “how much time was spent” “time is money”  ect.. ect.. There is a reason we use this analogy I think and God is making use of it also. Is 55:1 tells us to buy without price….So you BUY but it is not money or a price we are using, but time!! HEARKEN, INCLINE, HEAR… You can’t do these things without devoting time to it. Spending time with God will cost you time else where…..we are all given the same amount of time. That means none of us have an advantage over another. There is no one “richer” in time than another. We are all given the same 24 hours and it is up to US to use it the best we can.

Basically I came to the conclusion that God provides us with everything we need to keep from being naked and ashamed. He HAS provided the clothing, now WE must put it on.That is our part/responsibility.  The fact is we can’t really do anything if we are naked! I mean you don’t want to leave your house naked, and I don’t know about most people but I don’t rarely leave my room or bathroom naked without at least some covering.

That being said if we are going to go out in the world we wouldn’t even want to leave our closet naked! That’s where we will find out clothes! In Matthew 6:6 God reminds us of this very thing! Go into your CLOSET, shut the door and pray!

Then when you leave your closet after having spent time alone with the Lord you will be able to open the door and leave CLOTHED with the robes and raiment that Jesus will give to you …. I feel that this is really important also because in Rev 3:20 Jesus tells us He is standing at the door knocking and He wants us to open the door and invite Him in. I feel this is when we will be given our clothing!

My conclusion is simple. Now you are naked, you don’t want to be, go into the closet with God and come out clothed with the clothing He picked out to cover you. Then you will not be ashamed and your intimacy with God will allow you to have the right attire on for the Wedding He wants to invite you to. BUT you need to be clothed correctly. Just anything wont do. You can’t pick what you want to wear to THIS event. There are things you can be dressed in that are NOT acceptable. There is a dress code the King is expecting to see (Matthew 22:11-13).

I pray that we will all be dressed with HIS righteousness and not our own. That we desire to be dressed correctly and not stand naked or ashamed before Him…or worse try to hide from Him in our nakedness or choose our own clothing that is not acceptable or appropriate. I thank the Lord that He provides for us and that we can count on Him to clothe us well.

Praise His Great Name!!!

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Concerning Discerning

There are some things in life and about my life that have often puzzled me when I take the time to think about them… or am faced dealing with them directly.  One of those things that has been keeping me up these days is the differences between feelings and emotions. In fact it took me until just the other day to realize there was in fact a difference between them. At least there is for my understanding and purposes.

The definitions are as follows:

emotion  e·mo·tion (ĭ-mō’shən)
n.  An intense mental state that arises subjectively rather than through conscious effort and is often accompanied by physiological changes; a feeling.

feeling                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    n.  An affective state of consciousness, such as that resulting from emotions, sentiments, or desires.

According to these definitions, feelings and emotions are connected and are often in many dictionaries synonyms of the same expression.  For our everyday purposes this works and makes perfect sense. I am often using either word interchangeably when having conversations. However for expressing my spiritual self it doesn’t work the same way. Now maybe I just don’t know the word I should be using, or the one that is meant to express that which I am often trying to understand myself, but either way I need to clarify the differences.

I want to show a difference between them because I am a Christian and I trust in the Lord to lead and guide me in His Word and in His ways. This is still a great and amazing mystery to me!

I struggle sometimes with my emotions. Those unconscious reactions to what is going on around me. These are always for me situational and subjective. My emotions are fickle. They change very quickly depending on whats happening and what I’m doing. I can not choose an emotion nor prevent an emotion from rising up in me. But I can control the emotion and control my physical response to that. ( Well at least theoretically I can, the reality of me doing this is not always the case). I can shut up when I want to scream, I can run when I want to fight, I can clean when I want to cry.. you get the idea.  I also believe that our thoughts can add or take away from  the effects of emotions.

If I am angry thinking about the thing that made me so angry always makes me angrier. When I’m sad continuing to replay the sadness makes it nearly impossible to stop the tears but on the other hand of I  think of something else, even neutral, I can tuck those emotions away and go on with my day.

So where do feelings come in I guess you may be wondering…and whats the big deal of talking about why they may be different…

Well,  when I have been at a critical point and a very specific decision needs to be made, and I have prayed for Gods direction.. there is that moment when I know what God has told me to do. How do I know? I don’t know!!! It’s just  a very deep peaceful feeling that I know what the right action is to take.  I have a feeling of peace though the situation may not be peaceful. I have a feeling of confidence in the choice though I may not know the outcome. Sometimes its directly against the thing I want to do… in that case it’s bizarre to have a feeling toward something that I want and yet a different feeling toward that thing I feel God is directing me toward. I can not explain this. I hardly understand it at all. How does that work?

Now this is very important to be able to distinguish between a feeling and emotion. Especially for  me as I go to a rather charismatic church and though my pastors are not overly emotional the congregation can often respond that way. It’s important for me to differentiate when the people are flowing out of emotion and when the spirit is flowing freely.  I am blessed in that I have a rather critical heart..and in comparison to others I too am not overly emotional. I never enjoy experiences but always want the lesson that God is teaching. But I can not say with certainty that at times I don’t mistake my emotion with feeling that God is leading me. It happens! I wish it didn’t but I have no perfected discernment.. on the other hand I have gotten more deliberate and take time to act or speak to be as certain as I possibly can when I feel God is talking vs when I know its my emotions just on a rampage! I have gotten better at discerning and continue to grow as God provides me with lessons and situations.

I hope to have a more biblical understanding of this as I study about it. I know that God has provided the answers to my questions through His Word and when I take the time to search it He will teach me along the way. (Proverbs 25:2)

Maybe next time I will be more capable of discussing the differences between confidence and  confirmation.

Blessings 🙂

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Free will is not free.

Some things I have been thinking about these days:

Free Will (is expensive!).

Ephesians 2:10.

Good works.

Timing.

I know there is a ton there. One topic alone could take up multiple posts! But these are some things that weigh heavy on me recently.

Free will, and how we use it. Wow! what a massive responsibility God has given us. The best thing I can think to do with this is just give it right back to the Lord! I don’t want it and I can’t afford it!! It terrifies me to think about every choice I make and the results and consequences that come from each and every one..Pricey!

Most of the decisions we make in a day may not seem to have any huge impact on our lives as a whole, but it’s in those moments when it is that very decision that proves to be life changing or costly that we stop and think about “what if I did___ or didn’t___”.

My favourite line from one of my favourite songs from one of my favourite albums: 🙂 “Just an ordinary day, like when I met you. It’s funny how life can take new meaning, you came and changed what I believe in….”

I love it! But seriously. When I stop to think about how many of the little choices I make each day actually have huge effects on my life; it’s scary to think of the responsibility God has given us with free will.

Ephesians 2:10 talks about the good works that God has before ordained that we should walk in them. Yikes.

I think about this a lot. I think God has great and awesome plans for our lives, and I also think that when we pray and turn to Him for direction that He is very faithful and He will direct us..at least one step at a time (even if He wont show us the whole map, or destination before we start.)

But when I combine this verse with the reality of free will, the responsibility grows even more in my heart. I truly believe there are things in particular people’s’ lives that God has in mind for them and he puts things in our hearts and personality that enable us to live these plans out in a fulfilling manner.

I really don’t think God wants us to be miserable, and He knows that when we are satisfied we will be the most productive. For example, I think about Paul’s writing about marriage. He wishes all could be like him (single), but he knows that some do not have the gift to be satisfied in that.. so for those people he writes instructions.  Jesus also talks about this (Matt 19:10-12)So there are some who must due to their lives, and some who have chosen to live alone for God, but then those who would be much more satisfied and productive in a union: Free will!

I also believe there are people who God has a plan for in a specific way and He knows that they would be best with another particular child of His in carrying out this work. But as a general idea, I do not think that God has one specific person for me to marry that He has planned from the beginning. (I may or may not be right, it’s just my opinion) However, by using the wisdom, discernment and Word that He has given I can make a Godly choice and follow His leading to either be single and work and live for the furtherance of His Kingdom in that manner. Or, I can marry a mighty man of God, who is also seeking to further the Kingdom and we can together look to God for His direction and seek His blessing on the relationship. Both are scriptural, God centered, and will- in their own way bring Glory to His name. (Which no matter what is always the goal!)

The good works God has planned for us to walk in is kind of center to all of our choices and actions. This can be successfully carried out alone, or in unity. I think that overall this is the greatest responsibility. Look to God for the works He has planned for us and then Do them! Alone, with a spouse, with friends, as a church…Whatever!   God has given us free will, but also His Word for direction, and as a standard to hold each one of our decisions up against to be sure it fits. Wisdom also, is given to make the right free-will-choices to serve the Lord.

I may be wrong but I think half the things we worry about as far as whether it is in God’s plan or not are not really that much of a concern to God. Follow His Word, look to Him for direction and go forward. We have the free will to choose within the boundaries and  guardrails He has provided for us. If we do so in a way that is honouring to Him, He will bless it and be a part of it.

I think we should stop asking “is this Gods plan/time?” (that’s what praying is for!) and start really asking. “What good works did God plan for me? What am I suppose to be walking toward? Who am I meant to be helping?” “How should I spend/use my time and money?” “Where can/should I go?” These are the things I believe that God will be looking at when he looks at how we used our free will.

You and I are created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.  So take a step and start walking, I’ll see you there!

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**Just in case: I want to clarify that I do not take marriage lightly. In fact I think it is the second most important decision one will make besides choosing to Follow Christ. But what I meant by having free will is just that if you meet a mate that is living their life for the Lord, you have prayed about it extensively and you have complete peace about the person; there are no signals or nagging uneasiness about him/her, you do not feel God saying “no”. Than there is no reason to fear that God will not be a part of the union if you invite Him to be. He will bless it if it lines up with His Word!

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