Book of Rememberance

Malachi 3:16

Bondage and Freedom

I was reading the other day and came across something that really made me appreciate God’s precepts all the more. The quote that jumped out at me impacted my understanding of why God goes to such lengths to make sure we know His Ways and what His Laws really are. I’m sure you have heard it said many times that God’s rules are for our good and not to keep us from happiness? Most parents and people who spend time with children are easily able to understand this concept but it is still so hard to live out sometimes! I also find it even harder to explain and express to non believers about why I do or do not want to do certain things. It’s always usually a matter of them feeling much more “free” to make their own choices and not have to answer to anyone (yet!) but this little snippet might come in handy next time I find myself in a situation with a non-believer who may not be able to understand my lifestyle.

“Freedoms have but corresponding bondage, example one can be free from teeth brushing but then be in bondage to cavities. Likewise, being free from cavities negates ones bondage to brushing. You really cannot enjoy freedom from one without a bondage to the other.”

In a Christian’s life, we have some guardrails the Lord put down clearly for us, in order to keep us free from certain things that would be destructive and detrimental to us. However, we can be clear we are in a sort of bondage to the Lord as we follow His regulations. but how free we are from the horrible bondage that we have traded in!

So from now on, when people make comments about how I can’t do anything, and God is a Dictator over my life, I may just respond with a positive YES! and I am so thankful He is, because I may be in bondage to following His rules and His ways, but I am oh-so-free from sin, destruction, shame, and guilt and ultimate death that always follow going my own way and the way of those in bondage to the world.

Problem is they do not know they are in bondage too. My own may seem a bit more overt, but theirs is taking a toll on their life – make no mistake. They are slaves to society, its governing leader satan, and following the norms and expectations of those around them, also slaves to not offending others, fearing what others may think or say about them and in real bondage to having to take care of themselves. I am Free from all of that! On top of it all I get to serve a real King in a real Kingdom, who is for His people, and has done everything in His power to make my life worth living. Who better to bind myself to then the One who can exceed at everything I can not?

Are you free today to bind yourself in bondage to be a slave to the Master of love, kindness, goodness, patience, holiness and beauty?

This comic sums up what I was thinking in about 5 seconds! and You can find Paul’s’ (much better!) explanation of this whole topic in Romans chapter 6, so choose this day who you will serve!

guardrail

Bree

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Where is my faith based?

This question jolted me this morning!

For the past few weeks, I have been in an emotional upheaval. I tend to over prepare for things and prepare early enough for things to allow ample time to drive myself crazy. So I have been busy!

Needless to say all of the changes that will be happening for our family and the move out of Japan for my husband in 5 months from now has left me completely on edge to a million things. So as I have been having the sleepless nights, and the mental scenarios of good, bad and worse playing in my mind for weeks. It has left me a hot mess!

That brings me to the question I was faced with a few minutes ago. This pretty much sums up the issues I have been having for the past couple of weeks in dealing with the coming changes.

Q: “Do you base your faith on what I do, or who I am?”

I found the root of my anxiety, fear and dread! I unintentionally and incorrectly based my faith on what God does.

This was easy for a long time where things have been going along quite smoothly with very little changes. Who I think God is was matching up nicely with the things I see God doing.

In this past season God was working on changing me internally and for these particular things He was merciful enough to come at them from only one side. However, now that season is coming to a close and the new chapter requires some application! A hands on exam on everything I have been studying and praying about. I wasn’t  ready for this! Now not only do I have to keep myself in check internally I need to do it physically and publicly as well. (Self-control? What? Again?!)  Show ’em what I’m made of as they say  (or sing?). (sorry couldn’t resist, not planned but it is a nice touch! haha)

I’m sad to say I haven’t been showing very much of what I need to these days. (Matt 7:16-17)

But, thanks to God, that He has shown me exactly where my disconnect is! The trouble with having Faith in what He does is that His ways are not our ways, (Is. 55:8-9) and many times it doesn’t make much sense to us from this Earthly view. It is sometimes hard for me to see the goodness of WHO He is if I only look at what is being done. This faith is the exact opposite of what I  know the Word says about living by faith and NOT by sight. (2 Cor. 5:7) having faith in what God does is all about having faith in what I can see.

Faith in WHO God is however, is all about the God who is who He says He is! What I know about God’s Character can be seen through His Word and how He describes Himself. Also, Jesus says that to look at His ways is to see the Father. (John 14:7,9) It’s sight based on the view God gives us, and not the sight based on what we can see by ourselves in the natural.

A faith that is based on God as all loving, knowing, powerful, caring, forgiving merciful, slow to anger, kind, generous ect. ect. can easily stand against actions that do not seem to be in agreement at the time. Because I trust that God is all the things listed above (and more) then it is possible to experience even the situations that are unlovely without questioning God’s love.

This is not easy nor does it come natural for me. But it is an active fight that I sense strong in me right now. I am contending for my faith and I need to lift my eyes from what I see, to the Lord who is unseen in order to get the correct view of the situation.

So for now I am winning the fight! I am content, excited for the new changes, ready to face it all, and my faith is steadfast in Gods goodness. I fear NOTHING right now! He is in control and He is trustworthy.

But in a few minutes, hours, or days the outcome of this fight may turn and I could be close to losing it (as I was yesterday and have felt the defeat for the past couple of weeks). But the great thing is that now I have found the crack in my faith foundation and I can get to work on fixing those things that would threaten my stability in Christ.

Fight the Good fight of faith, contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. (1 Tim. 6:12, Jude 1:3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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God has a plan for life?

As a Christian, how often do we here that “God has a plan for your life”? Especially if your in and around the evangelical circles, you will hear this pretty much weekly! The question though is, “Do I believe it?” Sometimes I can’t with all honesty answer yes. Other times, I can be as sure as day that this is in fact the reality of human existence.

There are quite a few scriptures throughout the Old and New Testament that would lend to confirm this belief. (Esther, Ps. 139:6, Proverbs 19:21, Is 14:21, Jer.1:5, 29:11, Romans 8:28, Eph 2:10) However, for me the trouble (doubt?) comes when learning to distinguish our “yous” from our “you”.

This is what I mean. Sometimes in scripture God is speaking to a specific individual and that promise or word is just for that person, it may or may not apply to others, but in the context we understand that it is meant for that person pretty much alone. (For example Jer. 1:5 is specific about a particular individual who God had planned prior to birth to be a prophet.) Now taking this verse, we can expand it a bit and assume that all prophets throughout the scriptures were also chosen beforehand for the plan/ purposes of God (John the baptist is a good example as well).

However, in other cases we see that the “you” was referring to a group not necessarily an individual though it was spoken to an individual at that time.(See Genesis 48:21-22 and 50:24-25) So we see in 48 that though this word was spoken specifically to Joseph on behalf of Jacob’s faith, it never actually happened to Joseph as Jacob had said to him. Likewise we see the same scenario in 50 with Joseph telling the same thing to his brothers, though we read in Exodus 1:1 that Joesph and all of his brothers died in Egypt and, clearly a long enough time had lapsed because there arose a King who did not know Joseph. So we see the word “you” in these examples to be a plural form for the group/nation of Israel and not actually to the “you” being spoken to directly.

Now, I come to my original question. Can we easily assume that when we are confronted with the statement that “God has a plan/purpose for your life” that we can stand firm on this, no matter how we feel. No matter what we see around us, no matter how much our current situation is looking more useless than fruitful?

I do not have the answer. But I will say YES! not because I am firmly convinced of this in my own life, but because of faith. I have to have faith that God is going to allow me to serve Him. That if I will make myself available He will have mercy and be moved by my desires and include me in His plans. I keep going, doing the best I can and learning to know Him more. What else am I going to do anyhow?

There are a few options here.  1) God has a plan and I don’t know it now but I will learn it as I go and I will ultimately fulfill it through His leading or 2)God doesn’t have a specific plan for me and I just go on my life looking for ways to serve Him in my own capacity at whatever whim I feel 3) God has a plan and I am too afraid to fulfill it, or it isn’t what I expected and so I keep looking and searching never finding fulfillment or completing my goal 4) God does not have a specific “call on my life”for me aside from the general purpose of salvation, doing good, helping others, spreading the word of the Gospel and taking care of my family which when I list the few scriptures that confirm these to be true of all Christians….sure does look like a life-long plan!

I have decided that it actually doesn’t matter! Whether I can confidently say and prove experientially that “this is exactly what I was created to be doing, I was born for such a time as this” or not. I have things I can be doing a)while I wait to confirm a plan or b) until I die! No sense in wasting time because I do not feel as “sure” as others about my specific job in this generation. I could wait and hope and pray and wish and wait some more until I have the confirmation I was hoping for. Or I could hope and pray and wait for the confirmation in the midst of pressing towards holiness, maturity and a deeper relationship with Christ.  I think that in this particular time of my life while in limbo between two counties, lives and futures God is much more bent on my serving him internally, and becoming more and more spotless, sinless and blameless than in putting me in a job I feel more useful at.

And wouldn’t you know, that no matter what specific call or job God may have planned for my life (if he has one in mind), it will absolutely require me to be less sinful, spotted, and blameable anyway. So I’m getting started on this plan for now, and we will see what God may do next.

God has every detail covered! He sure is smart!

Blessings to you,

-Bree

 

 

 

 

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Blessed are the Peacemakers

So a few months back I was doing a Beth Moore study on the Fruit of the Spirit. She spoke a little about peacemakers (vs. peacekeepers). It perked my ears a bit and I began to check out my bible and other passages in scripture that taught on the same theme. It was months ago and so I will paraphrase what I learned from the study, learned on my own and got from the Bible – in no particular order. I wont be able to even tell you at this point which is which! It is all one lesson in my head and so I will share what I learned but I want to be clear that ALL of this is not original to my own ideas, I can not take credit for anything that may sound intelligent.

Definitions:

Peacemaker -a person who brings about peace, especially by reconciling adversaries.

Peacekeeper – refers to one involved in activities that tend to create conditions that favor peace.

At first glance they seem almost the same, interchangeable and ideal. But fact is that peacekeeper is never used in the bible (at least not in the KJV) but peacemaker is used a few times over.

In the Strong’s Concordance you can find these 5 entries: 1514, 1515, 1516, 1517 and 1518. All talking about making peace or having made peace.

So if we think about the act of making peace (instead of just keeping the peace) we can already anticipate a struggle or trying time. Making peace usually will involve a confrontation of some sort, wouldn’t you agree? Have you ever made peace with a person or situation without having to confront? I cannot think of a single time when I intended or was required to make peace, that I did not have to do something…and in most if not all the cases….it wasn’t easy on my flesh!

Peacekeeping on the other hand is just the opposite. It typically will involve NOT confronting the situation or person, and just “keep the peace”. Keep quiet, don’t rock the boat. We want peace not a confrontation after all. It is the passive side of having peace…..and if we can be honest this usually does not work long term for us. This typically happens by us ignoring our feelings, opinions and what we think is right and just for the sake of “peace”. But internally we will not have peace at all! We will be annoyed at the least and bitter or resentful at the worst.

–side note– I understand that I am over simplifying things, and that in some cases confronting will not be the best option, and keeping quiet will truly be the Godly action for us to take. We need to be discerning of when to confront and when not to, and also WHAT to confront and what not to.  In the case of the contrast between the peacemaker and the peacekeeper I am talking about black and white, Biblical sound situations where the right thing to do for a friend, loved one, and self would be to confront with love and truth….but we just don’t want to deal with it and so we take the peacekeeper route instead..–

The Bible tells us that the Peacemakers will be blessed. I know I have a lot of growing up to do, and maturity is needed to deal with people and situations I would rather ignore and wish away. But this is not helpful to any of us, and we definitely can not grow and get passed these things if we are not willing to deal with a little mess and MAKE peace that will be long term and eventually lead to everlasting reconciliation.

We desire to live peaceably both with others but also within ourselves. Both are necessary to experience the peace of God, who is not just a peacemaker of external situations but even more importantly internal!

 

Thanks for stopping by!

Comments are welcome – I learn a lot from you!

 

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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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