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 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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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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Trust in the Lord

Yay! I have been really wanting to get on here and write, and now that my Japanese class is finally over I have some time in my life again! I gotta pace myself as God has been working overtime! Not only do I not know where to begin… I can’t even try to share it all!

In the last post which was ages ago I mentioned about what I was learning from Proverbs 3:5-6. I promised to share on that cause it was really exciting stuff!

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

I highlighted specific words in the passage that I want to focus directly on. The definitions and synonyms come from the Hebrew dictionary or Strong’s concordance

Trust: rely on, put confidence in

The definition of trust in the dictionary is “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength or truth of someone/thing.  One in which confidence is placed”.

What am I trusting in?

The overwhelming truth is that God is trustworthy, and unchanging.  An unchanging God makes it possible for me to fully trust in Him and rely on Him without any hesitation or reservations. Because He is good all the time, and all His ways are perfect (no matter how they may appear to me in my ignorance.) The fact that God is in fact unchanging is a core foundation of our trust in Him. It makes it possible and practical!

The question of course is how do I do this with my whole heart? As I mentioned before I have no trouble doing this with parts of my heart and life.. but the whole thing… I struggle with that. However, I am learning bit by bit that over thinking, and planning is the biggest roadblock to succeeding in trusting with my whole heart. If I do it by faith and stop planning or thinking how and when God is going to accomplish such and such and I just take it as it is. God will do it some time and someway. Period. I find that if I resolve to just leave it at that and then fill up my mind with thanksgiving, praise and praying for others it truly does result in peace and it grows my faith also – therefore becomes even easier to really trust God in all of it.

Heart: inner self, conscience, thoughts

Own understanding: minimal, fleshy, deceived

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? This passage is pretty clear that this is the very reason we NEED to trust in God with all our heart because a) we can’t know it and b) its deceitful! I have to agree with Jeremiah, my experiences all these years have definitely proven that my heart easily deceives me and I fall for it more often than I wish to admit!

Proverbs 4:23 Guard your heart! Amen! This is the best way to prevent deceit! Guard is not only a command but it has a strong connotation. Like a soldier or body guard. nothing gets past! Fight the wrong things off – even to death! I’m so thankful that God has provided us with the things we need in order to guard our heart. Phil 4:7 The peace of God. No peace means its time for a fight! Until I have the peace of God I must fight the deception and continue to guard/protect my heart. That means filtering the thoughts that come in and the emotions that may be the most natural. Proverbs 3:27 tells us that our mind is also our heart and because of that the thoughts we allow to think on and take over will greatly affect both the deception and the peace.

all ways: conduct, manner, conversation, customs

Our ways have everything to do with how much we experience not only the peace of God but how much we are allowing our hearts to trust in Him. My actions and manners and customs should reflect my relationship with a Holy God. That means that I am living as holy as I possibly can knowing that God is worthy of all my devotion and He trusts me with His name (1 Peter 1:15-16)

When my conversations, manner, customs and conduct is in accordance with Gods Word then it will be much easier for me to have openness with the Lord and to trust Him with my heart. When I know I have disappointed Him (in times and ways in which I could have prevented or done better, of course I sin and mess up all the time naturally) then guilt and shame prevent me from coming to Him simply and full of faith or boldness.

I especially need to be careful of my manner and conversation. By nature I’m a rather quick person. It is a great gift as I’m efficient! However, this can also get me into trouble if I act too rashly or speak with out thinking. No doubt my greatest guilt always comes from saying or doing things too quickly and not taking time to think about how I affect others.

Acknowledge: Know, understand, certainly know, learned knowing, respect

Knowing God is the best way to combat deception or holding your heart in your own care/trust. If I truly Know God in the deepest way then it will be simple and natural for me to trust Him, no questions asked. But it is in ignorance and busyness that I fall a bit short of knowing Him in the way that will bring me to that place of peace and trusting absolutely.

I have learned a lot from that word actually. His Word is the substance to my life, and it facilitates every other aspect of my relationship with Him. As I read and study His word, then I am filled with wonder, awe, and respect for the God that I serve. My desire to please and serve Him grows with every word I read! It’s this “learned knowledge” of Him that allows me to trust in Him and put all confidence in Him. In Knowing His Word, we can know the character of our Father and there will be nothing to fear and no reason to hold back from Him.
Also, as I read I come to realize that He is the only One who can truly take care of me and my life! I have no idea what I’m doing on my own, but He knows and He is fully capable of handling it. Perfectly.

Shall: Will, Obligatory, Promise

Up to this point the verses put the emphasis on us, the reader to fulfill our part in this relationship and to learn to do just what the passage explicitly tell us to do (which in case you missed it, is to Trust in the Lord with all our hearts, and lean not on our own understanding, in all our ways acknowledge Him) this is our part.

However we hit a shift in this next verse. The emphasis is now taken off our responsibility and placed to God to complete it. Granted that we have done what God asked us to do, He will certainly do what He promises to do!

Shall denotes Gods Will. His plan and intention is to do what He says He is going to do (He lets us know what that is in the next verse) This word in Hebrew has a connotation of obligation attached to it. Meaning that it’s not just a promise made by one to another, but that it involves a partnership and a sort of ” if” along with it. “If you do this___, then I will do this” type of promise.

It’s a partnership between you and God, you do your part and by obligation and His own desire to show His trust and faithfulness He will accomplish the next part.

Gods promises stand forever. They are sure and God cannot lie,(Numbers 23:19, Titus 1:2) so that means what He says He will do – He Will Do! And as I get to the place of trusting in God with all my heart I will begin to have the faith that surely Knows this is true about Gods character and I will easily be able to trust Him with all  my heart.

direct: to do good, right, make straight, pleased, well-fitted, pure

This is Gods direction for us. His direction is always good and leads to good, He will never direct us otherwise no matter how it may look or feel. When I can trust in Gods ways then even the most uncomfortable path can be considered good from the perspective of faith!

I love that one of the synonyms of direct in the Hebrew dictionary is “well fitted” I just love that! that Means we can trust God that He will never lead us down a path that wont ultimately be fitting for us and our personalities ect.. This is so important to get! I think (at least it is true for my own life!) that the greatest hindrance to trusting God in all things with our whole heart has to do with this. I am afraid that God may lead me somewhere I don’t want to go. I used to fear he would send me to a place with big spiders and nasty bugs. The fact is a)God would never send me somewhere that wasn’t fitting to me and b) if he wanted to send me there, I would change mighty fast, get used it and stop being so concerned with that petty stuff when there is a kingdom I’m fighting for!

Gods direction truly will be fitting to each one of us, and it is pure! Nothing will be corrupt, or wrong about it. It may not have been what we planned for our selves (before this study- because we have now learned to give all our ways into His hands right?!)
But it will be perfect and pure and well fitted to us in a way that we will Glorify the Lord and work for Him with passion and a great desire to please Him in all that we do.
paths: way of life, manner of conduct

This is like a full circle because we read above that our ways also involve our manner and conduct, but know: fully trusting and surrendered to God we can finally walk in His ways and His conduct! He promised to direct us in that.  Fulfilling the first half of the verse will result in  the fulfillment of this last part. And that’s what were are all running toward right? Conforming to His image and Glorifying His name in this life we have been given.

I will finish now with a few verses to meditate on in regards to Gods promise to fulfill the direction of our paths. They have helped to give me purpose and live this life with passion. I pray they inspire you in an even greater way!

Proverbs 16:9  A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.

Psalm 25:8-9 Good and upright is the Lord: therefore will He teach sinners in the way. The meek will He guide in judgment: and the meek will He teach His way.

Psalm 32:8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.

Isaiah 30:21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. (my fave!)

Isaiah 48:17  Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.

Blessings!

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Love The Lord Your God

Love the Lord Thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind and strength. Mark 12:30

When I came to this verse, I have always taken it for granted that I, by default of my love for the Lord would naturally be fulfilling this command. However, it was really insistent to me that I study it and be sure that I am not just assuming but truly do fulfill the greatest commandment.

I took for granted that if I love God then I love Him in all of these capacities. But that is not necessarily the case.

The definitions of each area of life is defined below. I study from  Strong’s Concordance and looked up the definition in both Hebrew and Greek for the meanings.

Heart: is the being or inner self including the conscience. but also includes thoughts and courage.

Soul: defined by emotions and desires

Strength: is power and ability, however in Deuteronomy 6:5 the command is Love thy Lord with all thy heart, soul and might. The word might, speaks more about quantity rather than physical power or ability. synonyms being great, exceedingly, very.

Mind: is choices, and the processing of information into understanding.

Once I knew what was expected of me I could clearly see that I myself was not living up to this at all. In fact I had my heart in another mans hands, as were all my emotions thoughts and choices focusing off the Lord and onto a human.

I asked the Father to show me examples of living this out in the Bible. I myself always find things to be a bit too spiritual and need more practical everyday approaches to the scriptures. I am so thankful that the Lord wrote the bible for people like me! If we but come to Him and His word in Childlike thinking we will clearly see His Word to be direct, and easily understood.

Love in this verse is not a feeling or emotion at all, but refers to active love. The love of God for His Son and His people. We can see this in 1 John 3:18 Love not merely in Words but in deed. John 3:16 God so Loved the world that He gave His son. Luke 9:51 Jesus steadfastly set his face to Jerusalem. These are all actions made out of Love. Jesus knowing what would befall him in Jerusalem set his face there anyway. For us. Even before the cross and the praying in the garden we see that Jesus is choosing actions out of His love for us fully knowing what was to come from them.

Following are the examples I feel the Lord gave me in order to see clearly the act of Loving in each of these capacities:

#1 Love the Lord your God with all thy Heart:   Job.

His conscience was God focused. He was jealous for the name of the Lord so much so that he sacrificed for his children just in case! Jobs courage rested in the Lord.  We see in 2:10 that he was willing to except calamity from God, not just the good. This is a dangerous declaration! Yet he trusted that no matter what he would accept it as long as God was dealing with him in one way or another. Either Good or bad he didn’t care he just wanted to be on Gods radar. His heart was truly set on the Lord. Notice also that Job only spoke good of God. He gave no credit or glory to satan. We typically say “good from God, bad from satan” but that’s not the truth is it? For we know God is all-knowing and all-powerful and in complete control. Satan has no power accept what God allows and he can do nothing without Gods permission. Everything that comes to us is filtered through Gods loving hands first. A very good reason to rejoice and praise Him for His goodness! Though He may also set you up! 🙂

I do not believe Job was set up because of sin though, otherwise you can simply set me down with Jobs “friends” and I can attack and judge him as well. The Bible says in all these things Job did not sin. Job 1:22, 2:10. In fact God was angry at his friends, saying you did not speak right of me as my servant Job has 42:7.

No I believe Job was given a heavenly assignment, that  he alone could be trusted by God. He was the only man God could use for such a great purpose and the only one God knew would respond appropriately to the task he was given. How we respond to tragedy is vitally important to God and may in fact have eternal/heavenly significance. I believe that’s why the opening of the chapter took place in heaven rather than on earth with men. God is showing us something that Job was not privy to, which didn’t matter but we need to know that this situation with Job was directly from Gods throne and Jobs response truly did have repercussions though he himself didn’t know that. Jobs response and the tragedies that befell him had more to do with heaven and the Father than Jobs own life. Job was counted worthy to suffer for Gods name and that is an amazing assignment in itself that many of us do not have the privilege of experiencing.

#2 Love the Lord your God with all thy Soul: Woman at the Well.

Remember this is about emotions and desires. The example can be found in John 4:7 the Woman at the well. We see in the previous verse that it was the 6th hour. Think desert in the middle of the day when the sun is the hottest. Not many people venture out at this time of day. I think this is why the woman came to draw water at such a time, when she would be left alone and hardly noticed. I’m sure she had a reputation and I am sure when people saw her they whispered about her promiscuous lifestyle. But I find this story to be amazing as she went to draw water with her bucket, yet after a brief chat with Jesus left the well and her bucket! Jesus had promised her living water and she got exactly that – so much so that she had no more need of the bucket and the purpose for going to the well that afternoon. The questions she asks Jesus herself are clear indications of her desires. She is waiting desperately for the Messiah and even more so she is so very eager for it to be Him! 4:20 says Our fathers worshiped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. She is testing Jesus to see if He may be the one she’s been waiting for. See it again in verse 25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messiah cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Another challenge – shes wanting it to be Him and she just wants to be sure. Her desire for the Lord was so much so that she even forgot her shame! But openly preached evangelizing nearly a whole town in 4:29. Her soul, emotions, desires were so in Love with God that people took notice of that even over her reputation! Not only was she a woman preaching to the town but she was a questionable woman. In most cases this type of woman (if even a woman) is not trusted at all, especially to be teaching a man – yet that’s exactly what we see here! She was flowing with the Love of God, the living water pouring out of her all over the town evangelizing and bringing the Messiah to many. John 4:39, 41, 42 if my love for God could be as great as this – to the changing of a whole town and the many people I meet each day. Her Soul was truly devoted.

#3 Love the Lord thy God with all thy strength: Peter in the Garden.

Luke 22:36-38 Then said Jesus unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And He was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And He said unto them, It is enough.

The example of strength I have taken is from John 18. Peter in Gethsemane. This is not typically considered Peters shining moment of strength, Many claim his greatest weakness. But I cant see it that way. Peter was willing to Love God with all that was within him. We see in verse 3 that a band of men with weapons were sent to take Jesus. Peter loved God so much that his first instinct was to protect his Lord. Peter didn’t care about the consequences he only cared about Jesus well-being. Peter misunderstood Gods plan but even so his greatest concern was for the Lord he loved. Now little fisherman Peter with his sword is going to protect God. Its amazing! I wonder if Peter knew how to use it? What about the guy with the other sword what was he doing? Obviously he was too scared to fight . But Peter was ready to take on (according to some commentaries) over 1000 men! By himself! He put it all on the line for Jesus and I think that in this case Peter is the strongest man I have ever heard of.  I too wonder if my own love for God is nearly that strong that I would fight for Him at all costs and against all odds?

Later Peter denied Christ John 18:15-17 But I don’t think it was out of fear really. Personal opinion. But we know John was there too – no fear in John in fact he was calling the shots – ordering for Peter to be brought in. If there was a threat for Peters life I don’t think John would have brought him in at all.

We see the scripture records the girls words ALSO one of his disciples. Also means as well as , in addition to, too. They knew who/what John was and he was doing all right, they were just wondering about Peter and how he fit into the mix to be called into the closed gate at such an hour.

in verse 17 I think it reveals Peters real issue. The question given him was “this mans disciple” because of Peters misunderstanding Gods plan and how Jesus was going to reign as King I think we was thinking NO! Not THIS man, the man I have followed for 3 years is the Son of God, King of Kings, the all-powerful God, the Messiah who will save us — but this man? Taken? and arrested without a fight? No, this is not the man I thought I was following!

But the amazing thing about the strength Peter had at this time is shown in the fact that despite it all – he never left! His love was still strong even though he was confused, hurt, worried and unsure. Peter – the Rock. I myself would probably have ran home and hid, cried and doubted the last 3 years of my life. But Peter in all the uncertainty stayed nearby just waiting to see how God would unfold His plan. He resolved to do it Gods way through confusion and disappointment and maybe even fear. 🙂 Waiting on God, especially in confusion is a great way to actively show your love for Him with all you have!

#4 Love the Lord thy God with all thy mind: The Bereans.

This is choice, and processing of information. This is beyond merely thoughts but working out and processing what to do with those thoughts. Acts 17:11 Bereans. When you love God that much you want to know everything about Him! They searched out the scriptures. Their love is more than just traditions and emotions. I’m sure Paul was an amazing preacher, they had goosebumps and the anointing presence of the Lord Himself in that place yet they went beyond all that to examining for them selves what God said. This is a love that “works”. and puts in effort. There was no computer to cross reference or concordance to look up the verses – not even a book! I can easily find things in my bible I remember the pages, and about where in the middle or beginning of the page or paragraph to find what I’m looking for – yet they just had scrolls! It was tedious and time-consuming to examine all the Scriptures yet that’s just what the bible says they did! They were driven by their love for God to know Him more and deeper than ever before. Truly they are demonstrating their whole minds in love with God!

Conclusion: Gods love is action! and involves all of our capacities, every part of us consecrated to Him, submitted to Him. Everything I do, think, feel ect.. do it in Love for God – 1 Corinthians 116:14 than I can be sure I am loving Him the way I am meant to!

Blessings!

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Speak Now! Or Forever……….?

I know I said I was going to talk about our gifting and talents in the next post but this has been on my heart much heavier, so Ill get to that another time!

Recently the power of words has been on my mind. Not just mine though, seems to be a prevalent topic amongst Christians these days. At my Bible study on Wednesday I brought it to the table – this idea that we have power in what we speak.

We all know the verses, they are so common and widely used. But are they widely applied? Is it just me and my immediate circle that seems to struggle with this?

I heard a podcast in which the speaker who grew up in a pastoral family said that the pastor father believed so strongly in the power of tongue to bring life and death that it was considered swearing in the family to say “that makes me sick”. Is it going to far? He believed this was bringing a possible curse, bringing that power of sickness into the one who spoke it.

At first I thought, come on that’s really pushing it! But as I studied the Word – about words; I came to see that actually the Bible does say that very same thing!

Proverbs 18:21 The power of life and death are in the tongue. Can you kill someone with your tongue? Well maybe not literally but you can surely kill their dreams, their identity, their hope, and doing so can lead to death both spiritually and physically.

Proverbs 15:4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit. So soothing words can bring life and healing to someone while perverse and contrary words can break the Spirit. A broken Spirit eventually leads to a dead Spirit.

We all know Jesus’ reply in the wilderness quoted directly from Deuteronomy 8:3 that He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. But I challenge you to see. Is it not Gods Word that brings life? Not our own, But speaking the very Words out of the Mouth of God – now that has life-giving power!

Matthew 12:36-37  But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

So what are idle words? Those are words that do not bring life (Speaking Gods Word) or as Paul instructs Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (Eph. 4:29) Nothing is to come out of our mouth except these kinds of words. and Jesus warns us that we will be accountable for what we spoke and our words will either justify us (Through Christ Jesus Romans 3:24) or condemn us by our idle, useless, unwholesome talk that is slander, gossip and curses as well as cursing and lying. ect ect. All the things God has asked us to put off.

You can see this same message about reaping what we sow through our Words again in Proverbs 18:20 A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. As well as Proverbs 13:3 He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.

James talks extensively about keeping our tongue and using it properly. Look especially into James 3.

There is great power available to us just by the words we speak. particularly speaking Gods Word. We know Isaiah 55:11 – says His Word will not return void. It will go and do what it SAYS it will do! This is a great promise and you really can’t go wrong if you are speaking the words of Gods own mouth! (So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. )

I think there is a very strong message in Mark 11:23 It really opened my eyes to this whole idea and what God has been trying to tell us through His word for centuries!  For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

It does not say whatsoever he believeth, but whatsoever he SAITH! You must speak the word. We see when Jesus was praying He did so out loud. He cried out to the Father, He spoke to everything (fig trees and demons, people and sickness, wind and waves) He didn’t just think it, or wish it He spoke it.

Last thing I want to bring up is the Bible calls the Word of God our Sword. As I talked in a previous post about the Armour of God we need to learn to wield the Sword. Knights and Swordsmen weren’t just handed a sword and sent on their way, NO! They practiced daily and extensively to become great men of war. So must we! We must learn how to wield the sword properly. Our tongue is also likened to a sword (Psalm 64:3, Proverbs 12:18, Heb. 4:12) I think there is a reason for this.

I read in Psalm 18:34  He teacheth my hands to war. David is talking about God teaching his hands to war. Likewise, if we want to be warriors of God and use our Sword properly and victoriously we too need God to teach us to war with it!  Rely on Him and He will teach you! Is. 50:4 The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. Is. 54: 13 And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD, John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. AMEN!

I pray Holy Father for us to rely on You, and the power of Your Word to Teach us all things and guide us into living our lives as You desire us to live. For Your Glory and Honour. In Jesus Name I say!

May we all Bless God today!

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Lets take a walk…or run!

Narrow is the path. (Matthew 7:14)

The path becomes even more narrow the longer you walk it. You will find in time there is no longer any room for your baggage of the past. You will no longer be able to walk that path with unforgiveness as there is no space for both you and this! (Is 43:18, Matt. 6:15)

As you continue it becomes even more narrow, you can no longer walk this path comfortably with strife (Gal 5:26, Prov. 20:3) or jealousy.(James 3:16, 1 Cor. 3:3) Gossip will also keep you from continuing your journey. (1 Tim. 5:12-13, Romans 1:29-32)

Eventually as you continue walking, you will begin to see that there is starting to be less room for negative thoughts or feelings and even pessimistic words spoken will begin to keep you from walking that path. (Prov. 6:2, James 1:8)

As more time continues and you continue to work your way along this path of Life, you start to realize that in fact there is no room left for even YOU on this path! (Luke 9:23-24, Romans 6:1-23, 2 Tim 2:11)

Oh what a Glorious Day! The day you can say with Paul. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me! ( Gal 2:20) And you will see that you can comfortably walk this very narrow path as Christ’s body walks it through you!    ( 1 Cor 12:27)

Thank You Lord that we are the body, and you are the head. (Col 1:18) As the body we cant see where we are going, but we trust you as our head, our eyes and our mind ( 1 Cor 2:16) to lead each step ( Ps. 37:23, 119:133) for Your Glory! ( 1 Cor. 10:31)

If your like me (and David) sometimes a walk just wont cut it! 🙂

Psalms 119:32 – (AMP)
I will [not merely walk, but] run the way of Your commandments, when You give me a heart that is willing.

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Follow THE Leader

Following Jesus means we leave the world behind, I can’t follow Him by looking back on what I am leaving or giving up for His Sake.

Luke 9:57-62

57And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.58And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.59And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.60Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.61And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

I highlight this passage because it speaks to each of us, no matter where we are in life or what is going on, Jesus is there speaking the very same message to us today.

In verse 57 we see a man, desiring to seek Jesus. I believe he really was sincere. BUT when Jesus told him the conditions (verse 58) in which he would be living/choosing in following God the man wasnt quite so keen.

What things, comforts, luxuries are we not willing to give up in order to follow the Lord? I have thought about this many times myself and still see so much lacking in my life as far as being ready and willing to surrender ALL for the Glory of God.

Verse 59 we see a different man in and different Situation. Jesus Himself calls the man to follow. What a privilege! Honour! Jesus, God and creator of the Universe has called you to go with Him! BUT we see the response in the very same verse (note the man was not referring to his father who had just died and needed burying, No this is referring to the man wanting to wait until his father had died before following Jesus) In other words…Not Yet Lord.

Have I said that to Him recently? Not yet Lord? Have I put Him on hold? I couldn’t imagine saying to my own boss “not right now, after” now imagine saying that to the Master of your Life! Yikes. that’s terrifying to consider.

Jesus response to that in verse 60 sheds light on the situation further. His father is not open to the Gospel. His father is not open to hearing the Word of God. and in fact he is dead already spiritually. But this man has a call (literally!) on his life to preach the Kingdom of God! Do you think he took the call?

61 we see a similar example of those wanting to do other things first. Once again in verse 61 we see a not right now, later God attitude. but Jesus makes it perfectly clear to us in verse 62. No one who is looking back , looking at that old life, at those old plans is fit for the Kingdom of God.

Its true though. How can you fully serve the Lord in His will if we are still thinking and looking back on our old ideas and plans. How we thought it was going to be, you know before God came and “messed everything up!” 🙂

Which of these men do I represent? What do I want to do first before choosing to follow Jesus?

Of course in my mind I can say “nothing” I serve the Living God! What could possibly be greater than that?” However, my prayers and life say something completely differently. As I pray and hope for a husband, and continue to enjoy the comfort of my life here in Japan it begs the question…. Am I following Jesus? Is THIS His plan and purpose for me?

It occurs to me often and it is something I have to not just fight daily but hourly even. Seeking His plan for my life, asking what He had designed for me, not what I hoped for, imagined or dreamed of.

I pray Father conform my will to Yours. My heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He Will*. Continue to turn my heart to Your Will. I once again commit my life and surrender my desires to You. I trust You Holy Father, and I cast out the spirit of fear In Your Mighty Name Jesus of Nazareth! Thank You Lord! A million times over Thank You!!

*Proverbs 21:1

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