What is the Point of Reading Scripture?

Years ago, when our house was up for sale, a realtor asked, “Why do you have Bible verses taped to your kitchen window and hanging on the walls?”

“They help me to live my life.”

Once, I taped a verse to the kitchen window and I told a close friend of my husband’s I felt it was for him. After he read it, he said it pertained to him and his wife. I had no idea.

Sometimes, I read the Bible out of duty or because I’ve set a goal to read so many chapters. Other days, I put on the tea kettle and picture myself having tea with our invisible God. Later, I read the Bible as I sip, and anticipate learning more about the Creator, the joy giver, the author of my faith, the God Who possesses Wisdom, according to (Proverbs 8:22, NKJV).

(John 10:10, NKJV) says: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

The real Jesus came to watch over His sheep, His followers. The thief, the anti-Christ comes to steal, kill and destroy people. Sometimes, I don’t want to read the book of Life, God’s Word which nourishes my spirit and my soul because of spiritual warfare-which I’m not always aware of.

(https://www.youversion.com/the-bible-app-for-kids/)

I read Proverbs this week, chapter 1-12 so far. Wisdom is telling us in (Proverbs 8:30-31, NKJV) that during the creation of the world, “Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman; And I was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him, Rejoicing in His inhabited world, And my delight was with the sons of men.”

Wisdom is always with God. So, God’s Word is filled with wisdom, which I need every day. When I rejoice and am grateful it changes my attitude, the brain develops healthier memories and releases dopamine-a pleasure hormone. For more insight, check out “Neuroscience Reveals: Gratitude Rewires Your Brain to be Happier,” a blog from goforthrecovery.com at https://goforthrecovery.com/articles-news/addiction-recovery-neuroscience-gratitude…

God says we are fearfully and wonderfully made in Ps. 139:14. So many encouragements, so many promises, so many warnings and incredible truths in the Bible. To me, that is the point of reading Scripture: to know God better and His ways for us.

James-Count It All Joy

As I listened to a pastor on our local Christian radio station speak on James 1:2 I had an aha moment. The New King James Version of the Bible states James 1:2-4 this way: “2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

It’s my understanding that as trials make us “perfect,” it means “mature.” The whole book of James is full of wisdom, akin to the book of Proverbs, but with four chapters instead of thirty-one.

Holy bible pictures free stock photos download (264 Free stock photos) for  commercial use. format: HD high resolution jpg images
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I knew a lady in her late 80’s or early 90’s. She came to our Bible study. One day she said, “I’ve been reading James 1. It says to count it all joy when going through various trials and temptations. Imagine that! We’re to count it all joy!”

I believe she was having a Rhema Word, when God highlights a Scripture to you, giving you a deeper insight. I’ve been reading Deuteronomy lately. Oh, the tremendous promises of God for those willing to love Him first and foremost and to obey His commands.

Then there are the curses that come upon people when they serve the false gods of the land the Israelites were about to enter. Sacrificing children to Baal by fire, worshiping gods made of wood, silver, or gold; and bowing down to the sun, moon and stars infuriated the God they could hear but not see. The God Who said He created everything, in Genesis 1 and elsewhere in the Bible.

And so, I hope you can count it all joy because of Jesus and the hope He gives if you’ll look to Him. During these times of quarantining and missing others who’ve chosen to stay away even when they’re healthy, with political upheaval, and civil unrest I hope you’ll seek Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. He promises never to leave nor forsake us!

I was reminded by the radio show’s pastor to count it all joy when going through hard times. I needed to remember that and to ask God to help me not to lose peace and joy, for my sake and for the sake of those around me.

May God bless you!

Finding Relief

Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed with all the changes going on and all the negative news? Wednesday was one of those days for me, so I sought out a favorite song on YouTube performed by The Martins: “The Promise”. https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=YouTube+The+Martins+singing+%22the+promise%22+song

After that song played, a medley of songs by Mercy Me and other artists came up, one after another. I remember “Holy Water” by We The Kingdom and Tasha Cobbs started and that is a praise and worship song. I must have pressed the +50 button. Some of those spiritual warfare songs rising up got me dancing. The next one was Mercy Me’s “Even If”.

In the Bible in the Psalms somewhere close to Psalm 150, it mentions fighting the adversary of our soul. I believe I learned that singing to Jesus and dancing for Him makes the enemy flee. Lisa Bevere taught many years ago at a Ladies’ Retreat offered by Bethel Full Gospel Church on East Avenue in Rochester, NY. The ladies traveled to Watson Homestead in Coopers Plains, west of Corning, NY. Maybe that’s when I learned it.

The next song may have been “Raise a Hallelujah” by Bethel Music. I remember “Chain Breaker” performed by Zach Williams and “Redeemed” by Big Daddy Weave and “Eye of the Storm” by Ryan Stevenson and “Surrounded (Fight My Battles)” by Michael W. Smith.

Earlier, I was asking God, “What’s the matter with me?”

Were tears brought on by being overtired, not getting the right nutrition, because after all this alone time-meetings starting three to four a week, what was it? Or maybe a combination of it all? Company staying over for days on end, as much as I love the people involved? Reading the book of Job in my daily devotions?

Heart breaking from my country attacking itself from within. Disbanding police is the most ludicrous thing I have ever heard of. Dear God.

After a few songs, a few worshipful dances I began to realize whatever was bothering me was completely gone! Lifted! As long as I’ve been a Christian, there are still times when I don’t recognize spiritual attacks. The enemy of my soul threw salt into wounds. Looking to God, Who is in control-even if I can’t see the way things will work out for people, gives me back my peace and my joy. Repentance and then prayer moves the hand of God!

May God bless you!

Glycemic Index Cooking

I bought a recipe book a while ago and forgot about it. It’s entitled, Glycemic Index Cooking made easy: Lose Weight, Eat Well, and Boost Your Energy Levels Using Low-GI Foods. It’s written by Dr. Jennie Brand-Miller, Kaye Foster-Powell, Johanna McMillan-Price, Johanna Burani, Dr. Nadir R. Farid, and Kate Marsh. It’s published by Rodale, Inc., but the book does not give the location of the city and state where it originated except for the direct mail order edition from Avalon Publishing Group in New York, NY. I bought it in a wholesale store. They suggest getting their products at rodalestore.com, which may have been accurate in 2007, the year it was copyrighted.https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/517V%2BNQmL-L._SX408_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

On page 185, a recipe entitled “Spaghetti with Summer Tomatoes and Basil” featured an entrée with only six ingredients. It suggested the presentation of the cooked food in an artful manner. My husband looked at it and said, “That looks like a girly meal.”

I asked if he was going to try it. He said, “Yes.”

The next thing I knew, he was back in the kitchen to dish up another bowlful. I marked the top of the page, “mmm good.”

I always use whole wheat pasta when it’s for the two of us. If company comes over, I may change the pasta to corn/quinoa pasta or artichoke pasta or white/enriched semolina pasta. The recipe didn’t specify what kind of spaghetti to use. Low glycemic meals are good for diabetics, from what I understand.

I’ve been crazy busy lately. As I read the Bible this morning, I thought I should be sure and blog tonight. I was reading in the book of Isaiah, and God was mad at the people for turning their backs on Him. He described the punishments He intended to unleash on Judah and Ephraim and Samaria. Yet, He promised them a remnant would be saved, from the line of Jesse, which was the father of King David. The prophet spoke of Jesus coming to the earth without naming Him directly. Jesus fulfilled the prophesy in Isaiah 9: 1 & 2, (NKJV) about a light shining in the darkness in Zebulun and Naphtali, etc.

Tornadoes may be heading our way tonight. They have touched down in PA. Tornadoes don’t normally come our direction. In Isaiah, God was furious because His people turned to wizards and mediums. In our town, I know of folks paying psychics for information about the future. God says in His Word, “Why aren’t the people coming to Me, asking for wisdom? They go to darkness instead of the light.”

I don’t even know how to pray for America, other than to say, “Dear God, please send revival.”

Then, I go about my day, buying groceries, cutting up tomatoes, getting research books from the library for things I want to write about. Jesus said that when He comes back, it’ll be like the days of Noah. People will be getting married, living ordinary lives, yet evil continued to grow worse and worse. I pray and then I take one step after another, trusting God and holding on to the joy He gives, because of the grace He gives.

May God bless you!

You’ve Got to Hear This Guy

 

I’m at the second library of the day, waiting for time to elapse between doctor’s appointments. I’ve been on the go so much, I haven’t been resting well. So, I’ve been trying to heal up using home remedies, praying and sitting down in the middle of the day to relax. I finally called the doctor this morning and maybe the healing is beginning after seeing him and before applying any medicine. Sometimes it’s just that way.

This afternoon, I’m heading back to the dermatologist and plan on avoiding that place until Spring.

My husband and I listened to some CD’s borrowed from a friend on our way up and then home from seeing family up north. Twice in nine days, someone recommended we see or hear Dan Mohler and his associate, Todd White. Our friend got home from seeing speaker Dan Mohler in PA that morning and the evening before.

When she offered the CD’s, I thought perhaps the Lord wanted us to hear the man. We both enjoyed his ministry and learned a few things. Many of his comments echoed our understanding of the Word of God. And as I said, we learned from him and appreciated the passion he spoke with and the clarity he imparted, as God had blessed him with insight.

My friend said her family listens to Dan Mohler on YouTube before the children go to bed each night. I couldn’t understand why until I heard him talk about the joy he finds with life in Christ.

I hope this finds you well. May God bless you.

An Eventful Day

Barley Field Sunrise Morning Solar Cloud L (This was on a Shutter-stock free photo page that I found with Google, but I lost the source. It may be a USDA picture according to one site I clicked on.)

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This month, one of the days started with an early agenda.

My husband and I went to our local Gideon’s breakfast for pastors and their spouse, if married. The Gideon’s auxiliary, wives of the Gideon membership, made a small box for all the attendees and put rock chocolate in the gift container, which was really good. It looked like stones, but they were soft candy.

The Gideons want to thank the pastors and their spouses for their care and compassion for the folks that attend the local churches. They want them to know that the Gideons are praying for them and also, as the Gideons lead people to Christ, they will refer new converts to a local church.

I enjoy going so we can see folks from other denominations and one couple from our fellowship. We get to see a testimony of a believer who came to faith in Jesus Christ because someone gave them a Gideon New Testament.

The man we listened to received a Gideon Bible while in elementary school, but never opened it. Then, as a soldier, possibly a Marine, someone gave him a small Gideon Bible he could keep with him. Just before going on a life-threatening mission, he opened the Scriptures and couldn’t stop reading in the book of John. When he read about Nicodemus speaking with Jesus in John, chapter 3 where Jesus told the Pharisee, “You must be born again,” to enter heaven, it grabbed his heart.

He prayed to Jesus and told Him he wanted to be “born again,” a disciple of Jesus Christ. That young serviceman repented of his sins and kept reading the Bible, and that step of faith turned his life around. We watched as this same man, many years later, spoke to a large crowd of Gideons. With tears in his eyes, he said, “I now pastor a church and if it wasn’t for that little Gideon Bible that I carried in my pocket, my life would have been much different.”

Every testimony moves me to tears, as do the testimonies I hear of people being delivered from hurts, habits and hang-ups at the Celebrate Recovery meetings. God is faithful to help people, no matter their age, whether they are rich or poor or in-between, no matter their culture or their skin tone. He helps all folks that call on His name and humble themselves before Him.

Later that morning, my husband and my sister and I drove almost two hours to go to a funeral of a man near and dear to family members of mine. I only saw him a handful of times in my life, but he graciously invited my husband and me to his home that he shared with his wife if we found ourselves in their vicinity. Unfortunately, it never worked out. They made it our way a time or two, and we enjoyed visiting with him and the rest of his family.

He served our country, so the military gave him a 21-gun salute at the graveside. When one of the men played “Taps,” I almost burst out crying. It hit me that I won’t see him this side of heaven any more. He also volunteered for the fire department for many years. He didn’t talk about himself. All I knew was that he was a quiet man who loved his family and worked hard to provide for them.

When I spoke to my dad about salvation when I asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins and for Jesus to be my Lord and Savior, it didn’t go over well. When I told him that Jesus said many things about heaven in the Gospel of John, my dad told me that no one knows who goes to heaven except for God. I got mad at him for that. As an adult, as so often happens, I began to see that my dad may have known more about life and God than I did at the ripe old age of seventeen years old. So, IF I make it to heaven, I hope to see my dad and my mom and this man whose life we celebrated, and many others who have proclaimed themselves to be Christians. Only God knows our innermost being. I mean no disrespect to any of the aforementioned people, truly I don’t.

In the prayer we call “The Our Father,” which Jesus taught, He said, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors….”

I’ve always taken that to mean that if I harbor unforgiveness in my heart, that I won’t be forgiven when I stand before God after I’ve died. The Apostle Paul told us to examine our hearts. My husband tells us to examine our hearts and to keep short accounts with God. I read in a newspaper today about a 48-year-old woman who was out walking her dog, when a parked town truck—the big, highway kind—rolled down the hill without anyone in it and it killed the lady and her pet. They’re going to look into what caused the accident. We never know our last day on earth, either.

I’m never quite sure where these blogs are going when I start. I just feel like time is slipping away before Jesus comes back for His disciples and after that, this world is going to implode with evil and famines and plagues and lots of things foretold in the book of Revelation, a scary book of the Bible.

God says to seek Him while He may be found. I hope if you’ve never done that before in your life, that you will make a point to do it now. Last week or so, I kept thinking God wanted me to seek Him. When I read the Bible lately, I’m thinking it gives me more joy than ever before. I hope this finds you well.

May God bless you!!!

 

 

Modern Day Miracle?

I went with a friend to see another friend at the hospital today. We talked and laughed and then the nurse came in with a wheelchair. A heart catherization scheduled for 11 a.m. stopped our revelry. I asked if we had time to pray and she gave us the okay.

Three hours later, we began to fret. It was usually an hour-long procedure and no one knew if she rested in the recovery room or if they were still in surgery.

Her husband and son left the room to check the status board and we didn’t see them for a while.

Then the gurney arrived and she looked better than she had before the surgery.

During the operation, the doctor discovered there was no blockage in her heart.

Somehow, the blockage they saw in tests dissolved away. Perhaps the medical procedures did that. They don’t know. All I can say is that she had a large amount of prayers ascending to heaven after news of her mild heart attack reached prayer warriors.

When I told a close friend of hers, she got so excited and started bragging about the goodness of God.

She quoted Scripture from the book of John where Jesus said that His Father is always working. Then she said, “God doesn’t need rest like we do.”

Her joy and awe of God added a sweet touch to a great day.

May God bless you!

Encouraged, Exhorted and Rewarded

I went to a writers’ group last night. I left feeling encouraged with a plan for marketing and ideas for further chapters. That’s gotta be why the Apostle Peter wrote to Christians about not forsaking the fellowship of believers.

We need each other. Sometimes people can see we’re under spiritual attack and then they’ll promise to pray.

Besides, friends will listen to us and if they’re frowning, it prompts us to ask, “What’s wrong?”

Usually, I pray, “Lord, give me ears to hear what I should hear, and discernment to know what isn’t of You.”

When I used to volunteer at a ministry, I prayed the above plus asking God to limit what the other party said so I didn’t hear yucky things. Then, I’d pray I wouldn’t say things I shouldn’t say. That’s a prayer I ought to pray every time I interact with people. As a sanguine, my greatest gift can be my greatest weakness.

I was reading in the gospel of Matthew today and Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Matthew 16: 24-27, (NKJV)

I never heard the lie when I came to Christ that everything would be better and that prosperity is an entitlement for those who give money to certain ministries. I heard that God wanted me to be in relationship with Him; that was news to me. I heard that when you go through the deep waters, God would go with me. I heard that if I cast my cares upon Jesus, He would care for me. If I’m having cares to cast, that means things aren’t going my way.

One prosperous lady I knew lost her husband in their sixties after he became a born-again Christian. She stayed at the church, and made many friends. Then, she became a born-again Christian. She told me immediately, things got worse. She fell at a grocery store and broke both wrists. That made her helpless and vulnerable. She needed basic human compassion and care. Her son kept making lousy decisions and she would bail him out, time and again. Talk about family strife. The last major blow, she contracted Parkinson’s Disease. Yet, she had more joy over the latter part of her life than when I first met her.

She made friends that stuck by her for years. She had an incredible sense of humor. She was loyal to me and others. She knew heaven afforded her the closest contact with God and a reunion with her husband. She would have a new body in heaven. She wouldn’t ever sin again in heaven and Jesus said those who loved Him would have a mansion up there.

I moved away before the disease got worse. I would imagine she grew closer to God through the pain. I’ve seen some suffering saints glow with the love of God. I wouldn’t choose hard times, but I’ve seen the radiance and the peace afforded by them. So, there are compensations for those believers suffering on this side of eternity.

May God bless you!

God Loves You and Me

 

4 Keys to Staying Full of God: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Andrew+Wommack+four

This site showed up from my friend today, Part 1 of 4. Whenever I hear something, I try to “eat the meat and spit out the bones” as my husband suggests when there’s a good teaching but possibly a bit off. As I listened to this teaching, there was only one part I wasn’t sure about. Maybe you’ll get a chance to hear it and you’ll let me know what you think.

Pastor Wommack makes a point of remembering that God loves him and has his best interests at heart. Since God is all powerful, that helps him to keep his peace and his joy. I got a lot out of this sermon and I hope to hear the other three parts soon.

The more I read the Bible, the more I realize that God loves people more than I can understand.

May God bless you!

 

Squeezing in Time for Thoughts

I’ve been working on sending out manuscripts lately. I entered one short story in a fiction contest and I was a bit dismayed to see they’d extended their deadline. They accept more than one entry, so perhaps I’ll send in another one.

Last week I started reading One Great Way to Write Short Stories: A Step-by-Step Approach by Ben Nyberg. Copyrighted in 1988, and published by Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, OH, the author gives the first writing assignment on page 49.

So I came up with a few ideas of events from my childhood and decided to write about an experience with my best friend.

The second exercise is to consider this person’s character traits and tell the story over again from my best friend’s “standpoint.” Page 62.

I enjoy this kind of activity. I took time out to change the clock battery just after I told my husband I was going to blog. He saw me sitting quietly. “I thought you were going to blog. Why aren’t you typing?”

“I have to think before I write.”

He smiled and made some kind of joke. He’s finishing his sermon, so his mind is fully engaged in one room, while I transcribe my thoughts onto legal pad papers across the way from him.

Sometimes when I ask him to edit my manuscripts, he lets me know he hates doing that sort of thing. One – he doesn’t want to hurt my feelings. Two – he’s busy with his own stuff. Three – he doesn’t see why anyone would want to write.

He reads magazines and Bible commentaries and stuff on the Internet, but I haven’t seen him read a fiction book for a few years now.

I probably read three novels a week. I squeeze in a few pages here and there when I’m busy. When I’m less busy or I need a break, I’ll read a few chapters at a time.

A writer needs to read other people’s works.

I took out a book from our local library, The World’s Finest Mystery and Crime Stories, edited by Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg, It’s the Third Annual Collection, copyrighted in 2002 and published by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC; A Forge Book; New York, NY.

I was grateful that the editor gave a small synopsis of each story. One or two sounded too graphic for me. Someone I care about told me she feels more sensitive inside the longer she follows the Lord. I understood. Maybe tender is a better word; I don’t remember her exact phrasing.

Anyway, when I hear the news and people are hurting other people over religious differences, cultural differences, skin color, or selfish reasons it brings tears to my eyes. I have to pray and then put my mind on positive things so I don’t stay distraught and not be able to function.

Years ago, I stopped listening to the news because I was getting depressed. I’m able to handle it better now because of God’s help. As I’m reminded in Neh_8:10,(ESV): Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

I enjoy reading and writing and they inspire me to contemplate situations characters go through. I can determine what actions seem plausible in various circumstances.

Maybe my husband sees writing as a chore – that’s okay. If everyone was the same, life would be a mess. We need variety to function and not to be bored, bored, bored.

God Bless!