Sacrifice of Praise

 

Psalm 118:24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it, (KJV).

 

Philippians 4:4  May you always be joyful in your union with the Lord. I say it again: rejoice!

Php 4:5  Show a gentle attitude toward everyone. The Lord is coming soon.

Php 4:6  Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart.

Php 4:7  And God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus.

Php 4:8  In conclusion, my friends, fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable.

Php 4:9  Put into practice what you learned and received from me, both from my words and from my actions. And the God who gives us peace will be with you, (GNB).

 

I am choosing to praise God today after hearing some bad news. A lady that mentored me a little, with a love for God and for her husband and for her family and for her friends had two brain surgeries. The first seemed to go well and then lately they decided something was wrong and so they went in again. Last night my husband told me she was in Palliative care and not expected to live. I prayed for her and midway through I got the distinct impression that her time here on earth was over.

So, I prayed more in case I was mistaken. I prayed more for us than for her. Heaven is a wonderful place from what I’ve read in the Scriptures. There are more warnings about hell than there are descriptions about heaven in the Word of God. I’m thinking if God put too much about heaven in there, we may get so homesick we could hardly function down here. He wants us to be joyful even in the midst of hard times.

 

Jer_33:11  The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the LORD, (KJV).

 

Jeremiah was a prophet to Israel warning them of the upcoming takeover of their land and their people by the Babylonians. They didn’t believe him and they persecuted him. In the years to come, he turned out to have preached the true Word of God. Israel got punished for turning to the gods of the other nations that practiced things that God hated: Offering their babies to a false god by putting them through the fire, enjoying the temple prostitutes of these other faiths, and telling God they would release their Israeli slaves and soon after putting them back into slavery, etc.

The verse of Jeremiah 33:11 tells the Israelites that they will be returned to their homeland. My husband is teaching the book of Daniel on Sunday mornings. Daniel prayed near the end of the seventieth year of their captivity because it was prophesied that they would return after seventy years. Daniel prayed humbly and beautifully to remind God of His promise. Indeed, God rose up a king that wanted to bless the Israelites and help them be restored to their land, as Jeremiah had said.

Our God is a God of justice and a God of hope. Those who may think God is too kind to punish someone have not taken the time to read the whole Bible. He rewards those who obey Him and love Him; He punishes those who disregard the sacrifice of His Son for our sins and live selfish lives.

I’m so glad my friend knew Jesus, God the Son. I plan on seeing her again.

Be blessed.

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Go Into All the World

Our church has been hosting unchurched people to give them opportunities to ask my husband questions they might have about God. When one of the pastor’s placed an ad about the Bible Study, Totally Forgiving God by R T Kendall, one man wrote a scathing letter.

I’m not aware of the contents. My husband thought he’d contact the writer to see about opening up a dialogue. I’ll be praying it goes well.

I was reading the last chapter of Mark, the last words of Jesus before He went up to heaven. In Mark 16: 15-20 (KJV), it says: And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Mar 16:16  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Mar 16:17  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

Mar 16:18  They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Mar 16:19  So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

Mar 16:20  And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

I’m not sure what it means, “they shall take up serpents.”

Something to look in to.

May God bless you.

 

 

Reunited

Twice now my husband has shown “The Way of the Master” videos by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron at our church. We get sparked to tell others about the Gospel of Jesus Christ because they show clearly what God’s Word says – there is a heaven and a hell.

 

What kind of Christian never tells anyone about a heavenly home and never warns against another place? Jesus said hell is a place of torment with people gnashing their teeth for eternity.

 

That’s why Jesus came to earth and took on all the sins of the world: every unkind word, every murder, every theft, every lie, every sexual sin, every kidnapping, etc. He’s a perfectly sinless man Who took every sin on Himself: God became flesh. Why? So we could get to know Him and decide if we wanted to repent of our sins and become children of God, or if we wanted to continue with our lives as usual and reject God.

 

When I sin I feel yucky inside and if I ignore my sins and choose not to repent, I get dull to my conscience. Once, I’d turned from Christ for a number of years and when I moved to a neighborhood with a few Christians, I said with disdain, “Oh, no, there’s a Christian.”

 

Deep inside, I thought, what’s going on with me?

 

When the young lady in her denim skirt finally met me, she asked if I was a Christian. I said, “Yes, I am.”

 

Weeks later, as we waited at a neighbor’s home, Jerry Falwell came on the television set. It was at a time when “talking heads” on television reviled him for some of his stances. I didn’t know anything about him, truth be told.

 

An argument against Jerry Falwell rose up within me. That precious lady blinked. She smiled at me. Gently she said, “I thought you said you are a Christian.”

 

“I did.”

 

“Can’t we agree to disagree?”

 

I backed down. Then they began to befriend me, day after day, sometimes talking about God, sometimes not. My hunger for God returned and I began reading my Bible again. Sweet relief!

 

We raised our babies together, learned to garden, learned to make soup, learned how to love our husbands despite some other women constantly putting their husband’s down.

 

God spoke to me to stop the gossip sessions with my unsaved neighbors. “If you think your husband is bad, you should see what my husband does…”

 

I discovered an amazing thing, my attitude toward my husband improved. In my experience, following God blesses many aspects of life.

 

I hope this finds you well. God bless.

“What Took Me So Long?”

We know lots of interesting people because we’ve met so many over the years.

A lady in our church loves Jesus even though she’s a widow and within the last few years she watched her youngest daughter battle cancer. The thirty-something year old daughter died after a rigorous fight, holding onto God through the ups and downs.

Through the trials, the mom prayed more, read the Bible more, became more concerned for her family’s salvation and that of others.

Eventually her older brother became ill. He might have been in his late seventies or early eighties. She took every opportunity she could to talk to him about Jesus.

His submissive wife doted on him even though he cheated on her, gambled their money away, and liked his alcohol. His sister said to a few of us at church, “Please pray, I’m going up to see my brother. I hope he doesn’t throw me out. I have to tell him about salvation through Jesus and only through Jesus.”

We prayed as his health failed. Finally, one day he decided to repent of his sins and ask Jesus to be his Lord and Savior. “He did it! He gave his life to God!”

What joy. She glowed as she shared her story. “Do you know what he said?”

We waited expectantly. “What took me so long?”

He stayed a disciple of Jesus for the months he had left. His wife and daughter – followers of Jesus – felt such relief at his funeral. He’d found his way to Jesus, the Lover of his soul, Who never gave up on him.

Every once in a while I think of her brother’s question, “What took me so long?”

So many people I know live life without loving God and receiving His gifts of love, mercy, strength, forgiveness, wisdom, compassion, self-control, healing, provision, peace, joy, patience and the ability to go through the storms of life with Him nearby.

Gal. 5:22,23 list the fruits of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There are no laws against these traits.

Proverbs start out with a father imploring his son to listen to him and to the boy’s mother. It is one of the wisdom books in the Bible.

Why did it take my friend’s brother so long to come to faith in Jesus? Only God knows but He was faithful until the end to keep drawing the man to eternal life. How kind our God is.

2 Peter 3:9 (NIRV) says, “The Lord is not slow to keep his promise. He is not slow in the way some people understand it. He is patient with you. He doesn’t want anyone to be destroyed. Instead, he wants all people to turn away from their sins.”

This includes the interesting people and those who may be less interesting. All people interest God because He made them. He knows how they tick, as the saying goes.

Have a great day!

Home Safely

We had a great opportunity to visit family for Christmas in another area of New York State. We held our plans loosely because one never knows what a day will bring. After a great Christmas and day after we made our way home. But this is not our home.

In two cases, this is not my home. My home belongs to the church that my husband pastors at. It feels like home, but once he retires, on we’ll go to another dwelling place.

Also, there is a great Christian song that talks about going to the Father’s house that’s fun to listen to: “Big House” by Audio Adrenaline.

Another song I tried to find is kind of a rock and roll song that talks about this world not being home, meaning the planet earth.

I searched for Scriptures to back up this idea that’s not really mine.

1Peter 1:17 (CEV): “You say that God is your Father, but God doesn’t have favorites! He judges all people by what they do. So you must honor God while you live as strangers here on earth.
1Peter 1:18 You were rescued from the useless way of life that you learned from your ancestors. But you know that you were not rescued by such things as silver or gold that don’t last forever.
1Peter 1:19 You were rescued by the precious blood of Christ, that spotless and innocent lamb.
1Peter 1:20 Christ was chosen even before the world was created, but because of you, he did not come until these last days.
1Peter 1:21 And when he did come, it was to lead you to have faith in God, who raised him from death and honored him in a glorious way. That’s why you have put your faith and hope in God.”

Jesus said in

(John 14:1-3),
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.
There are many rooms in my Father’s house. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going away to prepare a place for you?
And if I am going away to prepare a place for you, I will come back again and welcome you into my presence, so that you may be where I am.” (ISV)

gerhardy.id.au posted this photo:

 

 

So, I figure God wants us to enjoy our life here on earth, but not to get too attached to it. My paraphrase of Philippians 4:4, 6-8; one of Paul’s epistles. 🙂

 

 

 

 

God directs Our Path

I went to church the other night to a Bible study that Craig teaches even though I wasn’t feeling 100%. There’s another lady that attends and she’s about our age. I thought she might feel uncomfortable being alone with Craig since the other Bible study on the Holy Spirit was canceled because of Christmas being around the corner.

I thank God that Craig is trustworthy and that our church tries to have more people around so there’s no person alone with another.

After we arrived early, the phone rang and this lady called to let us know her transportation fell through, so she wouldn’t be able to attend class. I thought, Isn’t that just like God? Solomon says in Proverbs 3:6 “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” 

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(photo from chadd.org)

I wish I acknowledged God in all my ways, my life would be different, better than it is now. It’s hard for a human to constantly acknowledge God, especially if they don’t remind themselves. Maybe sticky notes all over the house would help. 🙂 But then, what about rebellion? Would that raise its ugly head? Ah, what a mess rebelling against God’s ways makes.

I’m so grateful that Jesus came to earth from the heavenly realm. He promises so many things in the Bible that I’ve found to be true. Speaking of Him coming to earth: Merry Christmas!

If you find God orchestrating your steps to work things out for your good, there’s another reason to give Him thanks.

Jesus -the Jewish Messiah

I stand amazed at the plan God made to redeem mankind. I don’t always understand it, even though I’ve been reading the Bible for a few decades or more, almost every day.

I don’t say that to brag, it’s just that after all that exposure, I still have tons to learn. What I think I understand having read the King James Bible and many others is that God gets seriously ticked at sin. So mad at murder and sex outside of marriage and homosexuality and stealing and gossiping and lying and cheating on your spouse and violence and taking His name in vain and for many other rotten things we humans do, that He sometimes wants to annihilate all evil people. On the other hand, He made all humans in His image and He loves people and enjoys us and wants to spend time with us.

So, He came up with a plan. Instead of wiping out most of mankind like He did when Noah was alive, and just saving a handful of people, He decided to send a substitute to take on all His wrath, so mankind could repent from their sins and this substitute would be chosen to take on the punishment.

The Jewish religion called for a perfectly formed lamb (or other acceptable animals) to be sacrificed for their sins at different times of the year for all those willing in Old Testament times. Thousands upon thousands of animals got killed as innocent sacrifices for the sins of the people. Maybe God got tired of seeing His creatures killed. He surely hated sin though and all the damage it causes others.

Yet, He made folks with the choice to love Him back or to reject Him. When men and women reject Him, He departs from their presence, even though He knows all and sees all, because He’s holy and sin is ugly. He removes His hand of protection from those that curse Him and don’t want Him around and so He says let their false gods take care of them. That’s in the book of Isaiah.

Eventually God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, three separate persons in One God, a complete mystery, decided the world needed help. So Jesus volunteered to become the Lamb of sacrifice the first time He came to earth and He took on the sins of the world for all of time. No human is perfect, so God became flesh since He is perfect.

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To access that forgiveness, He asked people to believe in Him and to repent of their sins and to follow Him. He gave them a choice. He came to the Jewish people at one of the worst times in history. They were subjugated to Rome’s rule.

He became a victim of crucifixion, one of the most tortuous ways to die. He became totally separated from His Father because God hates sin and He took on all the sins of the world from the past to the present to the future. Jesus became sin so we could be set free from sin if we choose.

Some Jewish leaders and some Roman leaders worked together to have Him crucified. Some of the priests and other Jews in authority wanted Him dead so He wouldn’t call out their sins to them. When King Herod killed John the Baptist, Jesus mourned.

Yet, the almighty God allowed Himself to be beaten and to be crucified for our sins so we could one day enter into heaven with Him and God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.

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In the meanwhile, He said that we who believe will do more than He who came down from heaven to our mess. Maybe because there’s so many of us and we have God working through us.

He says He’s coming again, the Jewish Messiah that encouraged the apostles to change tradition and invite Gentiles to worship God and become His children as well. The Jewish people that accepted Jesus’ teaching and followed Him as Lord and Savior were first called Christians in Antioch.

Many prophesies in the Word of God say Jesus will return. The second time He is coming as the Lion of Judah.

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No longer a lamb, but a lion. If you listen to those who study prophesies and those who study the times, they are saying He’s coming soon. Are you ready? Am I ready? I fervently pray so.

Will American’s Say, “My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?”

On an earlier day,as I listened to the news, I prayed for my countrymen. Baltimore citizens were plundering their neighbors and setting fires.

Americans may well say, “My God, my God,why hast Thou forsaken me?” as Jesus did at the crucifixion, Matthew 27:46.

God turned from Jesus on the cross, the only time the two were separated, because Jesus took all of mankind’s sin on Himself: Hebrews 9:28a. He became sin, Who knew no sin: 2 Corinthians 5: 21. He took our punishment to satisfy God’s justice. 1 Corinthians 6: 11 (NASB) says about believers that were saved from their sins, “And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.”

God hates sin. He is holy and pure.

America’s policy of freedom of religion opened our gates to many religions, many gods. Our military allows Wiccans a place to worship. God says witchcraft is rebellion against Him.

Right now in the United States, the Supreme Court is debating on whether homosexual marriages will be allowed and accepted in every state -regardless of the state’s laws against it.

God said homosexuality is an abomination: Leviticus 18: 22, Leviticus 20: 13. He hates all sin, and forgives all sin except the one unpardonable sin, which is blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

Homosexuality is in direct conflict with the family unit which God designed as the basis for society. When homosexuality becomes acceptable to the government and the masses, God reacts: as happened in Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible, and Mount Vesuvius erupting over the city of Pompeii in 79 A.D., both noted for excessively sinful lifestyles.

He pulls back His hand of protection over the country that rejects His laws – the Ten Commandments.

America not only watches television shows with homosexual and adulterous lifestyles portrayed as normal living, but has allowed grammar school children to hear teachings on accepting homosexuality.

In addition, America has killed over 53 million pre-born babies. One of the Ten Commandments is, “Do not murder.”

In the Old Testament of the Bible, God constantly wooed His people, but many times they preferred to follow other gods that allowed multiple sexual partners, the burning of babies in fire as sacrifices to appease those gods, gluttony, worship of material items, the love of money, the love of pleasure, many things contrary to the Judeo-Christian’s God’s commands.

He said to love Him first and foremost, and to love others as you love yourself in         Matt. 7: 12.

He promises heaven as a reward for relationship with Him. If we repent of our sin and obey God, Jesus said it would show our love for the One True God – One God made up of three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – a great mystery.

Jesus, the Messiah will come again, but this time He will be coming as a lion from the tribe of Judah – filled with wrath for the tremendous amount of sin on this earth.

How I pray for my unsaved loved ones! Hell is said to be a place of eternal torment, never ending gnashing of teeth, made for the devil – not for people.

God continually loves on all people and sends the gospel message: Jesus took our sins on Himself to pay the fine so we could freely enter God’s presence and His rest.

God asks us to believe in Jesus, God the Son, and repent of sin. Then, after we die, we get invited to enter heaven. If we love God, we’ll want to obey Him.

This world would be radically changed if every person loved every other person and did unto them what he/she wanted done unto themselves.

Talk about paradise, if everyone wanted the love of God and quaked with fear at the thought of God forsaking them. God made us to love us, but He gave us free will….

Hearing from God

Do you ever hear a Scripture over and over again, through prophesies, preaching, and/or casual conversation? I’ve been hearing and reading in the Word, Isaiah 64:6. Here it is in the Amplified Version of the Bible:

For we have all become like one who is unclean (ceremonially, like a leper), and all our righteousness (our best deeds of rightness and justice) is like filthy rags or a polluted garment; we all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away (far from God’s favor, hurrying us toward destruction). (Leviticus 13:45, 46)

Then I hear that even though all fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23), it is for sinful man that Jesus Christ came from heaven to earth. He took the curse of sin, and the sin itself, upon Himself (He who knew no sin), took my sin on Himself so I could be washed clean. Then Father God says, “I see you my beloved child, free from sin,” because I repented and believed on Jesus, God the Son.
When I die, God will say, “Come into My heaven, your home. Your mansion awaits. There’s no crying here. Enter into rest and be free of all aches and pains. Experience the joy and love of God forever.”

Why do I keep on hearing about “none are righteous, no not one.”? Maybe so I’ll be less hard on myself when I miss the mark of the high call of God. Maybe because pride is the basis of all sin, C.S. Lewis thought so. Then I’ll know any good thing in me is because of Jesus Christ, the Savior.

Isaiah 9:6 (KJV) says: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

To stay rooted and grounded in Jesus, I must live a repentant lifestyle. When I sin daily, hourly, moment by moment sometimes, I need to repent daily, hourly, moment by moment. God forgives and I must forgive myself. To live in God’s joyful presence, what a privilege. Grace – not striving, not legalism – but grace!

We are able to hear from God because of His grace.

Positioned with Christ

We had a guest speaker at our church two Sundays ago; Pastor Al Craig and his wife, Sue, visiting from North Carolina. He asked my husband to sit on a chair at the front of the main aisle. If you looked way over his head, you would see a huge wooden cross. Empty of the living Savior.

Pastor Al told us that God is our provider.

One of the most important things God provided us with was the gift of grace. If we will just believe in God the Son, Jesus Christ, repent of our sins and ask Him to be the boss, the Lord of our lives, He promises to be our grace giver, the Savior.

I’ve heard it said, “When the time comes to stand before God, the Father, Jesus says, ‘This is a child of ours, Look at this one through My sacrifice.'”

Jesus died after He took on all the sins of the world. He gave Himself, the perfect god/man as payment for our sins so mankind could be free from judgment. Once we ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, He tells us that He is in us and we are in Him, a great mystery of the faith. Pastor Al said, “Being in Him places us in heavenly places, according to the letter of Colossians.”

So, as an object lesson, we saw my husband sitting in a chair. As long as he sat in the chair, in Christ, He’s seated at the right hand of the Father. He’s sitting high above evil. If he should get off the chair, walk up the stairs, take the nails off the cross and choose to live in the flesh, he chooses to become lower than the heavenly places. He’s a Christian choosing to not sit in heavenly places and become subject to being in the world and turning his back on God’s provision and protection and power.

“Never mind, God, I’ll handle my life on my own. I don’t want to bother You. I want to live with bitterness and unforgiveness in my heart. I want to get drunk tonight, I want to live with someone outside of marriage for a while, I want to hurt them as bad as they hurt me,” etc., etc.

There’s more to this sermon, and this is a distillation of my notes, which missed some of what Pastor Al preached. But, being alive in Christ feels like a fresh fire to me after service on that Sunday. We need each other, believers, to stir up the gifts that God has given us. Today Is A Fresh Start. Jesus will let people repent and start over again, but He knows our heart. If we’re fooling around, playing at being a Christian, we may harden our hearts against God, and never get back on that heavenly chair. The enemy of our souls wants that to happen, since we remind him of God and he hates God.

We are made in the image and likeness of God and we will never be the holy and perfect God, but He treasures us. If we keep our relationship with God, He gives us position with Him. He promises us many things as joint heirs with Christ, and nothing beats the love of Christ and of the Father and of the Holy Spirit.