Easter

 

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A month ago, after dinner, a devotional on the cross and Resurrection taught by a lady brought tears to her eyes. “I never get tired of hearing of Jesus’ sacrifice and all He went through-the awful beatings, His beard plucked from His face and ultimately, one of the cruelest forms of execution. He took the punishment for my sins and multitudes of others, some of whom end up rejecting Him.”

 

Tonight, we attended the dinner in a different locale and it was my turn to present the devotional. I left my statements and Scripture references early with an open-ended question because the ages of the Christians vary and their years in the faith vary. To say they are mature Christians would be an accurate statement. Completely perfect, impossible. Only Jesus is perfect, back when He walked the earth and now, alive in heaven. They are a group of believers that try to keep their eyes on Jesus and they repent when they mess up, but they sincerely try to follow God’s commands.

 

My text was James 1:5 and then James 1:6-8. God promises us wisdom from Him if we ask with faith. Then I went to James 3:13-18 which tells us in the ASV, (which I downloaded from e-Sword.net):

Wisdom from Above 

Jas 3:13  Who is wise and understanding among you? let him show by his good life his works in meekness of wisdom.

Jas 3:14  But if ye have bitter jealousy and faction in your heart, glory not and lie not against the truth.

Jas 3:15  This wisdom is not a wisdom that cometh down from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

Jas 3:16  For where jealousy and faction are, there is confusion and every vile deed.

Jas 3:17  But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without variance, without hypocrisy.

Jas 3:18  And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for them that make peace.

 

Even when God tells me I’ve done something wrong, the idea may be firm but it’s not condemning, nasty, and/or contradictory to Scripture.

 

So, when I ask God questions like, “Father, what should I do in this situation? Is anything hindering Your will?”

 

I can expect Him to give me the wisdom I’m seeking. In the past, when I needed answers, I’ve asked God what something meant and then I’d hear teachings from pastors or teachers on Christian radio. Sometimes, I’d sense a Scripture pop into my brain and there would be the answer.

Other times, I’d ask my husband or if we were at a different church sitting under a pastor, I’d ask the pastor. God always showed me what I needed to know.

 

What about you?

 

One of the ladies said that she hears from God when she spends quiet time reading the Word and praying and listening for Him and often times it’s such a silent little nudge in her thinking that is outside of her normal way but well within the precepts of Scripture. Once she felt she should share of her bounty with a fellow-believer, but she wanted to be sure and so she prayed for six weeks. She kept sensing the same direction, give to your friend. When she gave her the money she offered an apology for waiting so long. The friend said the income came at just the right time. Our associate said, “Isn’t that just like God? He knew it would take me six weeks to get to the place of obedience, so He started trying to get through six weeks before the need arose. He knew when she would need it. He knew how long it would take me to act. He is incredible and He is gracious.”

 

Many participated, although some did not. One person said he mostly gets what God wants Him to do by reading the Word and as he sees a need before him, he’ll help if he has the means and he’ll pray that he errs on the side of grace. There are times when he doesn’t give because he can tell the person is totally scamming him and is capable of working but chooses not to. Then he spoke about people losing the fear of the Lord, how God is a just Judge, but not completely forgiving and kind and willing to slip-slide around when it comes to His commands. That brought up more discussion. God does forgive when someone truly is sorry and truly starts to turn from their sin. He knows our hearts, our thoughts, every intent, every word we’re about to speak.

 

That’s why He tells us in Proverbs 21:23, (NKJV), “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue Keeps his soul from troubles.”

 

That’s a good word for me.

 

May God bless you.

To Speak or Not to Speak

I went to the library today to see a friend. Sometimes we get kidding around and then I second guess if I said the wrong thing. I think I should pray every time I interact in person or by text or on social media for God to put a guard on my lips and for clarity of communication.

Our Ladies’ Bible Study finished The Mind Connection by Joyce Meyer which I intend to give to our local library. We got the study book and that will help me if I want to reminisce about her points later on. She spoke of controlling our thoughts so we can control our words and ultimately our actions. I recommend it.

The Bible mentions quietness as an asset many times. For instance: Proverbs_17:28, (KJV) Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

Pro_18:6  A fool’s lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes.

(Strokes in the eighteen hundreds meant hits or punishment of some sort.)

Pro_18:7  A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.

Pro_19:1  Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.

Pro_23:9  Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.

Exo_14:14  The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

(When I looked up this word peace in a concordance it meant to be quiet.)

Ecc_9:17  The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.

This is a favorite verse of mine: 1Thessalonians_4:11 (KJV) And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;

It’s a good reminder to me to stay out of the middle of things that are not my business, to do my own work, and to learn to be quiet. Quietness does not come easily to me. Sometimes my strengths can be my weaknesses. I appreciate verses about stilling my tongue, as in the book of James when it describes the tongue as being unruly. God helps people to control their words.

Be blessed and have hope in Jesus. He is perfect and He is love. I’m holding on to Him whenever I hear unsettling news.

Controlling Words

 

When I spent some quiet time with the Lord today, I thought, what should I read?

 

The book of James came to mind and for some reason I read it out loud. That made it more immediate. When the part about controlling the tongue came up, and just how difficult it is to do so, I considered that’s not bad advice for being careful about what I write as well. Here’s the verse: Jas 3:8  But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

 

God is the only one that can help me control my tongue when I ask Him to. I try my hardest and when I sense I’m about to fail, I can call out to Him and save myself and others a tremendous amount of hurt.

 

I remember many years ago, when I took a correspondence writing course on Fiction, my instructor asked me if I wanted to portray my character in a harsh light.

 

It hadn’t occurred to me that I was doing that. That’s why professional writers usually want an editor to go over their stuff. Even if it hurts sometimes.

 

I’m spending more time writing lately and catching up on craft books. Today I continued reading and highlighting The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Magazine Articles by Sheree Bykofsky, Jennifer Basye Sander, and Lynne Rominger, published by alpha books, Indianapolis, IN and copyrighted in 2000.

 

I’ve owned it for many months. Sometimes I don’t get to the books I own for a while because I get books from the library with a due date to consider.

 

Anyway, the editors quoted in the book say, “Please familiarize yourself with our magazine before trying to write for us.”

 

There’s a lot of work to freelance writing beyond learning grammar and point-of-view and other basics. I’ve heard an author who wants to get published needs to spend fifty per cent of the time on writing and fifty per cent of the time on marketing. I’m reading this book on publishing magazine articles because it’s good to be reminded of the necessary steps for a freelancer. Also, some of it is review for me, and some points I’ve never heard of before.

 

I count on magazines and the internet to keep me current on writing trends, and conferences.

 

God bless!