The Book of Job

I’ve been reading the book of Job, and I have to tell you, I am blessed by my friends. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a place of hurt and had my friends say, “You sinner, if you’d only stop sinning your crisis would disappear.”

I have some friends I’ve known for the majority of my life. I have had good times and bad times in childhood and beyond, but overall, I count myself fortunate. God came into my horizon early. Some folks never hear of God other than in a swear word. I found that out some time ago in a small town in Upstate, NY.

I heard a little girl swearing up a storm. I asked her to stop using Jesus’ name as a swear word. She asked me what I was talking about, so I told her Jesus is God’s Son, or maybe I said, “God the Son.”

She never knew that and before I could say much more, off she ran. How my heart broke for her. We moved away so I never saw her again, but I prayed for that little one.

God knows right where she is and He loves her.

I hope this finds you well, and not suffering like Job, although if you have a relationship with God like Job did, you can count yourself very favored by God. Not that I understand everything about the book of Job and definitely not everything about God. I don’t think that’s possible.

What do you think of the book of Job?

God bless you!

13 Year Anniversary

Our Ladies Bible study celebrated their 13 year anniversary today. It’s actually two days from now, but we meet on Wednesdays.

We’ve been getting new people lately and I love how our group welcomes visitors. Occasionally, I jump too soon into giving a book away and the person never returns.

The latest person, a young college student, rearranged her classes so she could attend today.

She is going to memorize the worship songs and bring her guitar on Sunday with permission from the leader.

I sought out a stranger in town today and found out she’s this young girl’s mother. They both have the sweetest smiles and joy in their hearts for the Lord.

One never knows what a day will bring. Since I gave away our last spare book to someone that may not come back, I’ll ask this young person if she wants our Unglued tome by Lysa TerKeurst.

My husband said since we’re almost done and if she doesn’t need the help that book gives, she may not want Unglued.

I’ll ask her on Sunday. I’m going to try and remember to bring in a zucchini plant as well. Her mom thanked me for the cherry tomato plant one of the ladies gave her daughter.

So delighted over a plant, it sparked the thought, I have four zucchini plants and a small space set aside for a garden.

I offered her a zucchini plant and she smiled with such delight, it gave me a warm feeling inside.

No wonder the Lord tells us to be thankful. It’s good for our attitude and I imagine it gives Him joy to be appreciated.

Occasionally people scam other people – strangers or friends may steal. My dad determined in his heart whenever he lent money to hope for repayment but not to expect it. That way it didn’t get in the way of relationship.

With the way the world is going, we have chances to forgive people daily – even those we haven’t met in person.                                                              (photo from http://images.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search;_ylt=A0LEVvRSUSZZpR8ADktjmolQ;_ylu=X3oDMTBsa3ZzMnBvBHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2JmMQR2dGlkAw–?_adv_prop=image&fr=goodsearch-yhsif&sz=all&va=praying#id=251&iurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.womensetapart.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2014%2F11%2Fbigstock-Praying-African-American-Teen-47553724.jpg&action=click)

So, we opened our Bible study in prayer, as usual, but we included people we don’t know whose names or home cities were in the news. We prayed for victims and families of deceased victims and for perpetrators and we prayed evil ones would repent and get saved and stop hurting people. Then we remembered our loving, just, all-powerful God before we shared favorite Scriptures.

A little later we celebrated 13 years of Bible studies and prayed for a continuation for as many more years as the Lord allows. Praise His name!

May God bless you.

Curtailed

Occasionally I look at my life from an objective viewpoint, or as much of an objective viewpoint as is humanly possible. Lately I’ve noticed that people I saw regularly have been moved out of my life. I don’t see some due to sickness, some from changed circumstances so their time doesn’t mesh with mine much, and some from their lack of interest. I decided that there are seasons in life when people are nearby and seasons when they’re gone and then it changes, and they’re back again.

It doesn’t feel that way right now. I wonder if the Lord is trying to get through to me and I’m not hearing Him. Recently, when plans are made or opportunities come along, the door gets slammed shut. Not all of them, but some of them. I’ll make plans and move along to fulfill them and then someone calls and cancels. My husband and I accept invitations and then work demands more of him than he expected and he tells me we can’t go. Then one of us picks up the phone and apologizes. Either the Lord is trying to get through to me or He’s helping me to adjust to variations so I can be flexible.

On the other hand, I’ve also noticed how He orchestrates my steps. I’ve been on my way somewhere and think that we’re almost out of bread. I have time to stop at the store. Once there, I’ll run into someone I haven’t seen in a while and they need to know something I can answer, or I need advice or prayer and they’re there for me. I’ve seen it over and over again with different situations.

Today I intended to spend half the day at home doing chores. My husband and one volunteer have been working hard to get handicap bathrooms into our church. We’ve moved more than once in our lives, so I’ve learned how to paint. I intended to offer to help paint tomorrow. Then I realized they were painting today and my husband looked tired.  So, I ended up staying there to paint and another lady joined me. I got hungry before he did and the helper, an expert contractor actually, agreed that he could eat as well. I ordered pizza with my husband’s approval and that blessed the man that has so greatly blessed us. My husband calls this volunteer “The boss” because his level of expertise in building far surpasses ours.

Others have volunteered as well, but not as steadily.

Maybe the reason I feel like a bird whose wings have been clipped every time my expectations get dashed is because God wants me doing things for others that are more important than what I’m aiming for. I enjoyed painting today and getting to know a couple of people better.

I don’t have anything to complain about, I just feel a bit off-kilter. 🙂

I guess that’s a part of life.

How are you doing today?

May God bless you!

 

Showers of Blessings

When I went to a baby shower tonight, one of the games for the people attending was to try and match a sentence or two from the children’s book it belonged to. Sixteen classic books, from Winnie the Pooh to The Secret Garden to Peter Pan to I Think I Can to Horton Hears a Who to name a few.

The ladies throwing the shower requested we bring a children’s book with a message to the baby written inside the cover. What fun!

It’s amazing how impactful children’s books are. Those attending ranged in age from low twenties to the grandmother at age 89. So many of the gals shared contented sighs as they talked about their favorite stories from early childhood.

Jesus told stories. He told about the young son asking for his inheritance early in life, while his dad and brother were still alive. After he spent all of his money on “wine, women and song,” he became hungry and friendless.

After almost starving to death, he remembered his dad and decided to go home and ask to be hired as a servant. His father welcomed him with open arms and I’ve seen more than one movie made based on “The Prodigal Son,” as the story is called.

We, as sinners goof up and as soon as we ask God to forgive us and determine in our hearts to turn from our wicked ways, God accepts us as a loving, earthly father would do.

It can be found in Luke 15.

I hope you are having a great day. May God bless you.

 

Retreat

My husband used to go on a men’s retreat two times a year with a group of men from the city we lived in at the time, some from the same church, some unchurched, some from smaller churches. Most were believers in Jesus Christ and went to seek God on a deeper level and to enjoy camaraderie with others. They spent three days in the Spring, if memory serves me correctly, and five days in the Fall.

At first, I resented it. I was a stay-at-home mom and he worked a ton of hours. I sensed God’s Spirit saying to let him go. So, I agreed, hardly wholeheartedly. I didn’t hide my feelings. When it was extremely difficult to let him go, I would wipe away the tears. He would hug me and say, “I love you. We’ll be praying for you.”

Then he’d surprise me, once with a plaque of an old-fashioned beautiful mother with her long flowing gown, ministering to her young ones. The bottom of the picture quoted a Scripture from Proverbs 31 praising the wife. One other time he brought me a bouquet of flowers. It always surprised me because of the randomness of the gifts, but the greatest gift was his safe return and his growth with God and with his friends. Our marriage improved, too.

All these years later, he is going with the friend that took the first trip with him. They walked Mt. Washington along the road with bags of provisions attached to cheap backpacks up and hiked the trail down. Yowza. Over the years they discovered great camping equipment, maps of the trails, dried food, light weight clothes, and their favorite restaurants along the journey.

Now, his buddy for over thirty years has an RV and they’ll take the trip with less physical exertion. We wives will wait at home and pray for them and they’ll seek God and hopefully find their favorite bakery, and a great pancake house that gives portions beyond belief.

These two men are so different from each other that they bring out the best in each other. His friend gets him laughing like none of his other friends, and they discuss God and His characteristics, and they share things no one else is privy to, or so he’s led me to understand. I get it, I have friends like that. What a blessing.

So, I’ve decided to take a few days to go visit one of my kids and the grand-kids, yet I plan on getting home before him so I can see the missionary and his wife who’re coming to our church.

Sometimes, it’s just good to go away to get refreshed and to seek God in another environment. I told my daughter I am not bringing any books to read or any writing assignments. I’m going to relax and maybe help her out some around the house and then turn around and come home recharged. That’s the plan. She’s free to sit with me in her church which is much different than ours, and that will be re-energizing as well. That’s what I’m thinking anyway. 🙂

May God bless you.

What Does God Want?

 

We enjoyed a pleasant visit with friends and some fine food last night. The lady of the house loves to cook and they both enjoy people. So, she and her husband invited us and another pastor and his wife to their home. The pastor’s wife has a ministry in mind that all six of us are interested in, but we all agreed to pray about it, before beginning. She gave us an introduction to the classes by giving us the book for leaders. Her husband helped set up the video so we could see the people that began this opportunity to bless others.

Her husband can help, but his church and the denomination they serve under has increased his role in other churches, so his time is limited. They also hope to use our location since their church is far away from most folks.

I liked the fact that we’re going to pray before we decide for sure if we’ll step out and make this commitment.

We haven’t seen the host and hostess at their home for a couple of years, so it was nice to talk to them and to get to know the other pastor and his wife better. We’re not in the same denomination, so we don’t run into them very often.

I know God wants us to love Him and to walk humbly before Him, and if I can I’ll find the verse that says something to that effect. This verse talks about humility, but it’s not the one I was thinking of: 1Peter_5:5 , (KJV), Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

I had to ask my husband and he found it right away. Micah 6:8, (KJV),  He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Occasionally, He wants us to step outside of our comfort zone to serve others not in our own little world. I guess that’s pretty clear with the story of the Good Samaritan.

Luke 10:25, (KJV)  And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

Luk 10:26  He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?

Luk 10:27  And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

Luk 10:28  And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

Luk 10:29  But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

Luk 10:30  And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

Luk 10:31  And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

Luk 10:32  And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

Luk 10:33  But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

Luk 10:34  And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

Luk 10:35  And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

Luk 10:36  Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?

Luk 10:37  And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

The Jews and the Samaritans did not associate with each other. They walked miles out of their way to avoid going through the others’ territory.

God’s ways are not our ways, it tells us in the book of Isaiah.

Isa_55:8, (KJV),  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

Isa_55:9  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

God gets me thinking, that’s for sure. Yet, He makes it clear what He wants, if I’m willing to read His book and figure it out.

May God bless you.

Encouraged

My husband and I met with some friends tonight and one of the people wanted us to read Scriptures tonight to encourage us. She didn’t want to be reminded of all the sad things happening or even to think of politics and platforms.

Knowing her, she’s prayed about all these things, she will cast her vote in November, and she will stay aware of current events. But for tonight, she wanted to hear others read aloud Scriptures reminding everyone that God loves us, He does things well, and He is in control.

She understands we’re to revere God and she stands in awe of Him. But tonight, she wanted words of comfort and for her husband and friends to leave lifted up in spirit – feeling God’s compassion for us when things feel difficult, almost impossible.

So, I’d like to share some of the verses. With my husband’s help maybe we can remember most of them. Here they are:

  • Psalm 46:1,10,11 – Psa 46:1 To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A Song. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah.
  • Zep 3:14 Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!

Zep 3:15  The LORD has taken away the judgments against    you; he has cleared away            your enemies. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall never again                  fear evil.

Zep 3:16  On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Fear not, O Zion; let not your                     hands grow weak.

Zep 3:17  The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will                     rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with         loud singing.

  • Zec 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
  • Eph 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:

Eph 1:2  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Eph 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in           Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

Eph 1:4  even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we                         should be holy and blameless before him. In love

Eph 1:5  he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the            purpose of his will,

Eph 1:6  to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the                          Beloved.

Eph 1:7  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our                           trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,

Eph 1:8  which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight

Eph 1:9  making known to us the mystery of his will,   according to his purpose, which           he set forth in Christ

  • Psa 100:1 A Psalm for giving thanks. Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!

Psa 100:2  Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!

Psa 100:3  Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are           his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Psa 100:4  Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks              to him; bless his name!

Psa 100:5  For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his                              faithfulness to all generations.

  • Psa 119:1 Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!

Psa 119:2  Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole           heart,

Psa 119:3  who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways!

Psa 119:4  You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently.

Psa 119:5  Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!

Psa 119:6  Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your                               commandments.

Psa 119:7  I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules.

Well, I guess that’s all I can come up with now. May God bless you as only He can. 🙂

We Need Each Other

 

Hebrews 11:1-3, (NKJV) says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”

My husband preached a little from Hebrews 10 on Sunday with a selection from Genesis 2 where God said it wasn’t good for man to be alone so He made woman from Adam’s rib, a helpmeet for him.

By faith, Christian and Jewish believers accept Genesis’ account of God creating the world by speaking it into being. “…things which are seen were not made of things which are visible,” as referenced above in Hebrews 11:3 and here in Genesis 1: 1-3, (ESV): Gen 1:1  In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Gen 1:2  The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Gen 1:3  And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

God continued to speak the Creation into being in the beginning of the book of Genesis.

I wrote a letter to a man undergoing cancer treatments in Buffalo. In the letter I told him that some decades ago our newborn son contracted a virus that ate 90% of his liver. The head doctor of the infectious diseases department warned us that it could move to his heart or other major organs. When we listened to her we didn’t react much. “Don’t you hear what I’m saying?”

“We hear you, but we are praying,” we responded.

I think she wondered if we’d lost our senses.

I wrote this man with cancer about our experience with sickness to encourage him to hold onto God’s word even in the midst of a bad report.

Now, I’ve never been able to manufacture faith. It is a gift of God’s Spirit as listed in 1 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV), “to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit.”

I think as people exercise their gift of faith and see God’s faithfulness, it helps faith grow. But when our son battled for his life for thirty days, my husband and I believed together some of the time and many times when my faith floundered he felt confident that God would heal our son and when he struggled to believe, my faith in God buoyed him up.

As it turned out, God heard our prayers and those of family and friends. A week before he came home from the pediatric Intensive Care Unit, my husband felt sure God was directing him to tell our church to stop praying for healing, but to thank God for the healing before we saw it happen. Someone else told him they had the same impression from God, which he received as confirmation, before he spoke to the congregation.

God answered all those prayers and chose to restore our son’s liver and destroy the virus’ power.

In Hebrews 10, this Sunday my husband reminded us that we need each other. Here is part of the Scripture in Hebrews that he preached about: Heb 10:21, (ESV), and since we have a great priest over the house of God,

Heb 10:22  let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Heb 10:23  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

Heb 10:24  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,

Heb 10:25  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Believers in Christ are to “meet together” not only for worship and the reading of the Word of God, but also in casual gatherings so they can get to know one another. They need to learn to get along together and to speak the truth in love to one another if someone needs correction. They need each other if some should suffer lack. Then the other believers can learn of their predicament and share from their plenty. There are lots of reasons for believers to assemble. Jesus sent the disciples out in pairs to preach the gospel, to deliver people from demonic influence, to lay hands on the sick so they would recover.

Well, anyway, we need each other, if it’s to keep from being discouraged, or to keep from being lonely, God made mankind to rely on one another, as risky as that may seem if you’ve been hurt. In addition, we need God to direct our paths and to trust Him to take care of us as we develop friendships and relationships.

May God bless you and protect you and lead you in paths of righteousness.

Alone

There are times when people long to be alone. Away from crowds, noise, responsibilities, and even loved ones. When we’re alone and away from the television, computer, electronic devices, radios and phones we may stand a chance of connecting with God. As I’ve written before, Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth,” is one of my favorite verses.

There are times when I was alone and I was lonely. Trying to get over the loneliness, I called friends or family, watched television, buried my nose in a book, ate something whether hungry or not, or went shopping. After none of those things lessened the loneliness one day, I began singing, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” a hymn from 1855, written by Joseph M. Scriven, with a copyright status of Public Domain. The composer of the music was Charles C. Converse in 1868.

As I sang the song it felt like I woke from a dream, “Oh, yeah!”

I’m never alone. Jesus promised to never leave nor forsake us in Heb 13:5, (GNB) Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never leave you; I will never abandon you.”

In the book of John, chapter 15: 1-11, (ESV) it says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.

Joh 15:2  Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

Joh 15:3  Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.

Joh 15:4  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.

Joh 15:5  I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Joh 15:6  If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

Joh 15:7  If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

Joh 15:8  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

Joh 15:9  As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.

Joh 15:10  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.

Joh 15:11  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

All those years ago, I discovered that I am never alone. It has brought me great joy. Not that I don’t get lonely anymore, but it’s not often and when I do get lonely, I realize I need to read the Bible and talk to Jesus. That’s what I’m really longing for.

May God bless you.

There’s a Song

 

“God is on the move, Hallelujah, God is on the move in many mighty ways,” performed by 7eventh Time Down can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPB9ENSd1Xc. I love that song.

Craig and I went to a birthday party at 4:00 p.m. We caught up with friends, ate a wonderful meal and then gave gifts.  Before we knew what was happening, God began moving on the heart of one of the attendees. Seems there was unseen business to attend to. The person felt God was saying to forgive something never mentioned before. So after a bit of counsel and prayer, the burden got lifted. Joy filled this persons’ countenance.

Another person needed to pray for a release from bitterness against someone who might have been able to intervene in a difficulty they were experiencing, but for whatever reason, the authority figure didn’t approach the perpetrator. The hurting person wants God to show the individual in authority that those crying out for help need to be heard and possibly helped. Again there was prayer after counsel by another person in attendance. Then more prayer and a person with the gift of prophecy spoke encouraging words about turning to God for problem resolution.

There are no perfect persons in this world, but God moves on hearts. He can help a leader see their need to act or at least to say I hear you, I see you.

As I’m typing, I decided to listen to a Youtube video presentation of the WOW top songs of 2016 and I love these songs: www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcnIJYkgVS8&index=3&list=PLWvahZRxLnLMSWeULnub0CCeQzvxGM8hB

My husband and I received a word about our church that encouraged us both. That’s how God is, in my experience. When you go to bless someone else, often times you get blessed as much or more.

I truly feel God is on the move. How about you?

God bless!