Monday, January 21, 2019

Yes, furthermore I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege- the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth and supreme advantage- of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, and of progressively becoming more deeply intimately acquainted with Him, of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly. Philippians 3:8a AMP

Whew, that is some verse, and this is only half of it. I am writing from the amplified today because I want you to see this verse in all of its glory. It is impossible to put into words with accuracy the greatness and privilege of knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior. Each day we get little glimpses of truth from His word and creation around us.

His majesty and honor surpass anything we can know here on earth, so I'm glad for the glimpses. I want to hold them in my hand like a ray of sunshine, but not let them go. I'm not made to hold them yet. One day I will be surrounded by His presence forever and then I won't have to seek after God, because I will be with Him forever.

I have peace here on earth, yes, this is His will for us as we wait. My peace comes from knowing He lives within me, by His Holy  Spirit. The best thing in this relationship with God, is growing ever  stronger  as a vessel of His grace.  I don't want to shine; I want Him to shine.

It can be a rocky road at times, as I still want to be in control. In the classic"Hind's Feet on High Places" the main character , Much Afraid finds it very difficult to navigate the rocky terrain. She slips and falls, but she is encouraged to get up again, and not give up.

I feel this story captures who I was as a young christian and so do many of you. We didn't know the shepherd well, but we wanted to believe he was good and kind as he seemed to be. As time moved on, we learned we could trust him, and we leaned on his arm, and the path became easier to walk on.

He never meant for us to walk alone. This is why those who isolate themselves are not happy. We are meant to fellowship, communicate, and rely on others, but especially on the Savior.
Other people can satisfy our needs to a certain extent, but no one can meet us and truly complete us as the Creator of all things can.

No one can understand you better than Jesus! No one knows all the details of you, like Him. He sees every valley and mountain of where life has taken you. He knows why you chose to go one way or another, and loves you regardless of your choice. Who could be greater than this?

Friday, January 18, 2019

as for zeal, persecuting the church; as to righteousness based on the law, faultless. But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. Philippians 3:6-7 NIV

We had a bit of snow this morning but only an inch or so. Today is the  17th of January and no snow storms. I hope you can say the same where ever you are. I don't dislike snow it's just a hassle if you have to get out of the house. Now that I have all of my children driving it is a different story.

When my youngest was about 8 years old she got caught in a blizzard, while coming home from school on the bus. It seemingly came from no where, but fell quickly and stopped traffic. She was two hours late, but thank God no one was hurt.  Just a random story about January.

Our friend the Apostle had everything to hope in as far as natural circumstances were concerned. The best education, the right family, so what more could he need? God knew Paul needed a clean heart.  He was of no use to Jesus without cleansing and salvation. At times we can think someone is the most wonderful person, maybe because of their sports ability, or their smart enough to be at the top of their class.

Our society values people for their outward appearance. I sat this morning at my kitchen table reading "Shape" magazine. I don't know where it came from but I thought maybe I could learn something important. The hair dressers were giving life advice. Now maybe these women had knowledge I wasn't aware of, but to me it seemed silly to be saying anything about life if you cut hair.

I'm probably wrong, but it just didn't make sense to me. Where did their advice come from, and why was it valid? How could it be substantiated as good? My hairdresser and I talk about history because we both like it. Anyway, Call me an old Bible teacher, but I'm not going to listen to anything about life that's not truth.

I've been around the block a few times and I know what listening to just anybody will do for you. It can cause me to go around in circles, doubting what I knew all along. I don't have time for this, because I'm older but also I have learned to want Jesus more than anything else.

Paul seemed to be a devout Jew on the outside, when in reality he was killing those who were right before God. He needed an attitude adjustment which involved a horse and the Lord. God got his attention in the most unusual way, but Paul had to be stopped right in his horsetracks.

 Blindness gave him time to contemplate what Jesus said to him, and He believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who cleansed his heart, and gave him a new way of thinking. I don't want God to throw me off my horse to get my attention. I'll stay close by His side without any need for an attitude adjustment! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

If anyone thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more. Philippians 3:5 NIV

All is quiet this afternoon. The dogs are sleeping on the floor, as the sun fades from the sky. I have been tired today so my regular laundry and cleaning will have to wait until tomorrow. Some days are like this, and it's fine. I'll catch up tomorrow.

This morning I was up and out with our Great Pyrenees pup to the Veterinarian. She is six months old and needed to be spayed. I was ready to go, but she wasn't. She's 61 pounds and only half way through her growing season. I couldn't convince her to go into the garage and I realized she is afraid of cars.

On the way out of the Vets office I couldn't get her to move off the sidewalk. I thought it would be easier going home since she would be sedated. She wasn't interested in moving. I asked the Lord to help, and she advanced into the car! Don't ever think any prayer is too simple for the Lord!

Paul states in our verse that he had confidence in his upbringing, and education. Why do we think any one of us is superior to another? Insecurity, division, and competetion cause us to strive against everyone else, but in the end it does nothing but destroy us.

The enemy is behind this for sure. He wants to dominate our thinking, and he especially wants us to think we are superior to others. If he can convince us to be alone, isolated from others then he can grab our attention and really make us miserable!

From the beginning of time this has been his way of operating. In Genesis, the enemy by way of a snake, spoke to Eve and convinced her that God didn't really say she couldn't eat the fruit from the middle of the garden. He has been on the attack ever since the creation of man, because this is his way of attacking God.

The enemy knows he can't attack God, so he tries to pull us under, making us feel less than, or unworthy of God's attention and love. When we belong to Jesus, by way of the cross, the enemy will lie cheat and steal to get us to turn away from believing in Jesus and following His ways. Don't believe him. 

What God says about you will stand for eternity. His love is ever-lasting, and HE promises to never leave us or forsake us. NEVER! Who do you know that can say this? Even our loved ones can't be with us always. Rest in His truth, and allow Him to take control.

Monday, January 14, 2019

though I myself have reasons for such confidence. Philippians 3:4 NIV

Every bit of religious knowledge and legality Paul had fulfilled, but it didn't satisfy the longing of His soul. It wasn't intended for this. The law in the old testament was meant to be a taskmaster to lead us to Christ. God wanted mankind to see how limited they are without Him.

Have you ever walked around in your house in the dark when it is pitch black out?  We loose our way when we can't see anything in front of us. Have you ever been in a room when the music is cranked up and you can't even hear yourself think? You are at a disadvantage, aren't you?

Why would it be any different when we are made to glorify God with our words, thoughts and actions, but we don't?We can't hear what He wants for us and we can't see why it's good. Our senses can be limited, just as our spirits can be dull when we are clogged with things that don't satisfy.

The Holy Spirit wants to lift us out of those places where we are dull of hearing Him. He wants to fill us to overflowing so we can spill over on the lost. We have to let go so He can fix that which needs an adjustment.

We could think of the Holy Spirit as a fifth sense but this would limit Him and we don't want to do this. We don't disrespect the Almighty in anyway. I mention this though because it gives us a picture of Him being essential like our senses.

Lysa Terkeurst says we can be bored by an unwhelmed soul. We loose the excitement of our first love and the expectancy is thrown by the wayside. We can easily be thrown off track, and be confused about how to get back on. 

Our Savior and God is forgiving, and ever present to help us when we ask. Maybe all you need to do is ask?

Friday, January 11, 2019

Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh.  For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, who put no confidence in the flesh. Philippians 3:2-3 NIV

This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24. A new day dawns every 24 hours so why should I be glad? The Lord has a purpose and plan for each of them. One day may seem to be just like the other, but when God is in our lives, you can be sure it has a purpose.

Paul is alerting his friends in Philippi in this verse. It seems some people have been preaching circumcision is required to be saved. {Of course this doesn't apply to most of us since we are women}, but Paul is angry with these "dogs" because this is a lie.

Every generation has had to contend for the truth, because salvation by faith seems too simple. We must have to "do" something! Faith is alot of something. It requires our every inch of energy and strength. Jesus is the only one who could pay our way to God. It required Him to give His all.

Our faith says to God we believe and stand with Jesus in the completed work of the cross. Our faith is raised before our Father in heaven as a banner, waving high and bright, so all will know who we belong to. This banner declares our victory over sin and its nasty chains. It declares God's grace is over us and His protection.

We do the deeds of God in kindness and justice. Compassion for others is our crown. Displaying the love of God is our business, and we look for opportunities to do this. We pray for the lost, and healing for those who hurt. We stand in authority against the devil and his liars.

The Holy Spirit leads us to accomplish His will. He blankets us in His love, and draws us close to our Father's side. All peace is found here.  No turmoil or stress, but perfect peace. Our soul is at rest, and our spirits full. We can banquet at His table, and be restored. 

We live in this world, and it pulls and tugs at us to conform to its image, but we know better! There is feasting at God's table, and only He can satisfy. Since He made our spirit, only He can fill it to satisfaction. Why would we turn back and lose this place of joy?

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. Philippians 3:1 NIV

This is a cathedral ceiling! It produces a sense of awe in us, and so it does what it was created for. The architects wanted to inspire a reverence for God in their work.The majestic power and presence of God is overpowering to our imperfect minds. 

The holiness of God is sensed by the high columns , and the arched ceilings give a sense of moving on forever. His power and authority endure forever! In the days of this architecture, God seemed to be distant, and so it didn't quite catch who God is according to the Bible. He certainly is all of the things I described, but so much more!

The love of God seems to be removed in this vast cathedral, being stark and hollow. God with us, the Savior who walked among us tends to be lost in these halls. How can man capture the majesty and the humanity of Jesus Christ?

It won't happen in a building, I'm pretty sure, however I appreciate those who have tried.  Most days I realize His presence in the simple things around me. A child's smile, a friend's hug, even the wagging of my puppy's tail. 

These things are vastly wonderful and creative as much as the highest mountain top, and the deepest ocean. It all depends on how we see them. The mighty creator of all things speaks in a whisper, as well as in a thunderous clap. We can miss the thunder if we aren't careful or on a tangent.

Don't miss the thunder, and certainly don't miss the whisper. Paul is happy in our verse today to repeat what he's said before. Don't we all need to hear the same things many times before we realize them as truth? God speaks in ways of which we can be oblivious , if we aren't  quiet in our hearts.

He doesn't speak through yoga, or hinduism, and He will never use the occult. These are enemies of God. He speaks to us through His word, the Bible. The roaring anthem of the King of Kings and of His Spirit is loud and clear. I AM. Nothing else needs to be said.


Monday, January 7, 2019

Therefore, I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. Welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor men like him,  Phillipians 2:28 NIV

This is my amaryllis, with six blooms on it. Although it is supposed to open around Christmas, I'm glad it is opening now. It may have been lost on December 25th with all the other commotion. It is the perfect time for something living and beautiful!

The Christmas tree is down, the outside lights are packed away until next year, but life is being honored in red and green. I'm not surprised by the joy I receive from flowers, after all, God gave them to us for our pleasure. 

When Christ returns, we won't be saying good-bye to the beauty of summer and have the dead of winter. Blooms will be opening all the time, while old flowers won't die off. Nothing will decay. Can you imagine such a place? Life will be as God always desired for us. 

 As we read the verse of today, the Apostle Paul is feeling stressed about Epaphroditus and his safe return to Philippi. He was not exempt of emotion, but felt like we do because he was just like us. It's hard sometimes when we read about such brave and extraordinary people, to think of them as real and human.

Thankfully the scripture reminds us elsewhere too, of Paul's humanity, and Moses, and Abraham, and all others who were living examples for us. "And if the spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his spirit, who lives in you." Romans 8:11 NIV

We have everything Paul had spiritually, and yet we don't really believe it. Sarah Watne, in a recent article for the"International House of Prayer's" blog said," Every revelation about who God is carries infinite layers of invitation to know Him deeper and build trust with him."

 Can you believe God for more of Him? More answers to prayers prayed as he would have them? More healing in bodies and minds?  An increase among people of the glory and goodness of our God? What do you want to increase as we begin this wonderfully new year?