Tuesday, January 16, 2018

It is a wonderful time to be alive! Winter cannot stop our hearts from celebrating the truth of God, and His work being done on earth. In my heart I would curl up on the sofa with a blanket and cup of tea and not move, but there is much good to be done. There is a time for tea and blankets, Thank God.

"And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, {Ephesians 1:9}

Do you like mysteries? I used to like  the t.v. series "Murder she wrote", which was based on the Agatha Christie novels.There wasn't any blood, or gory details, just a good mystery to figure out. Never as simple as the butler did it, but always a good challenge. I like this sort of mystery, a thinking kind of setting where you can't sit back and not engage.

God hasn't hid His will from us, otherwise He never would have sent his son. He wants us to know his ways, and he wants us to listen. Not only did he plan out our salvation, it pleased him, a lot. Why did it please him?  He wanted you to be born, so that he would have a relationship with you. God is all about relationship. What exactly does this mean for our everyday lives?

It means that you count in God's eternal plan, and purposes for this world. Every thing you do. Every thing you say. Everywhere you go. You have an opportunity as I do, to influence some one for God. Jesus plans on coming back to this earth very soon. Many don't know him, but he wants to give them every opportunity to know him before it is too late.

When he returns every sickness will cease from ever harming another person. No one will go hungry. There will be no war, or fighting. The very earth that we live on will react and rejoice. No more decay, not a flower will die or wilt. I don't think we will have to think about calories, or foods that will hurt us. We will have banquets that will last for a long time, because no one will be running here or there.

When we honor God in our dailyness, he is closer to his coming. Why does he wait? More souls to come to His saving grace. God would not have any to perish, but some will not turn their hearts to the truth. Pray, pray, pray for the lost. Every one wins as more come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Won't you pray?

Monday, January 15, 2018

On a cold winter's day, it is great to look at something alive and bright. This was one day that I had trouble waking up. It is 5:00 pm and the sun is down; there's a large fire in the fireplace, and I'm glad to be inside.  My husband asked my son to build a fire earlier, and he said where do you want me to build it? I guess he was sleepy as well.

"which he lavished upon us in every kind of wisdom and understanding[Practical insight and prudence,]Ephesians 1:8 Amplified Bible

God lavishes us with his grace according to Ephesians 1:7. Think on this for a moment. Grace is God's unmerited favor, that I haven't been given because I deserve it, or did anything in order to obtain it. I can't be "good" enough, or "smart" enough or wise enough to have it placed on me. It is only His love and desire  to freely give this grace to me that I can have anything at all.

This can make me uncomfortable. I want to be in charge. It's not that God decides in a random way who receives and who doesn't. It makes perfect sense how we are able to  see His hand on our lives. It is because we want Him. Our desire for the truth lines up with His desire to pour it out on us.

It makes perfect sense that when we aline our will to His hand that wisdom and understanding begin to dawn. The God of all the heavens and the earth has made a way for us to live with his blessings if we will only follow His lead. This is where the problems begin. One person says all you have to do to follow after God is pray. Another says you have to tithe to unlock the blessings of God. 

 Men are replete with answers about "how to" do anything you can think of.  What does God care about? He cares about your heart attitude. Can I be perfect? Not at all. Can I look to Jesus to give me the strength and ability to do what He desires? Yes, I can. Is this an easy thing? Never, but it is worth every struggle we have with our selves to do what God says. This grace bestowed on us is a bit of heaven come down to earth. It is a reflection of our Father in heaven, who loves us with an everlasting love. The end result if peace.

Ask the man on the street what he would give for peace of mind or heart. How many people truly have these gifts? Some might say, I will have peace when I have enough money. Nelson Rockerfeller once said when asked how much is enough money, "Just a little more." Others might say, "I'll have peace once I retire," but peace never comes. If I learn to be a teacher or doctor or climb Mount Everest, I will have inner peace, and these dreams never bring peace. 

"Peace I leave with you: my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." { John 14:27}

These are the words of our Great King, Jesus. If we cry out to Him, He hears, and fills our hearts with everlasting peace. It comes with no cost, no effort on my part. All He asks for is my heart.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sin, according to the riches of His grace" {Ephesians 1:7} NKJV

I'm wondering if you like my basket? It came with food in it last Christmas or the one before.  I had these other items around my house and I combined them to make this wall hanging. At first I wasn't sure if I liked it, but then it grew on me. It hangs in my kitchen, without the words of course.

I know my taste is not the same as everyone else, and I'm fine with it. What kind of a world would we have if everyone only liked one style decor, or clothing, or house? God made each one of us as an original and we can rejoice in how He has made us.  

It's good to agree with God in what he has made. It's not prideful, it's accepting who he has made us to be, and being glad about it. This acceptance of self brings peace, and His love can flow out of us in a genuine way. I'm not saying that we love our sin. I'm talking about loving the individual God made you to be. When we abandon the old self, with its selfish, mean and destructive ways, we will truly shine with the glory of the Lord.

Oh dear, I have really strayed off course today, but I know the above paragraphs are meant for several someones. If this is you, grab hold of God's love for who he made you. Even with all your flaws and gifts, and thank him today for the process that he is working in your life, to make you more like Him. Once we surrender to his work, we can relax and go with the flow.

I'm not saying that life will be a picnic when we surrender to God. I do think a lot of stress is tossed to the wind because our striving to do life on our terms is alleviated. We are not alone. Whatever you are feeling there are others who have gone through similar circumstances. The enemy of our souls wants us to feel alienated and alone in our emotions. His lie is that no one has ever felt like you do, and that's just not true. 

If you would like to talk to someone who understands, leave a message at the bottom of this blog post, and a caring,  praying Christian woman will answer you. God loves you and I do too. "Walk with the King and be a blessing." Robert A. Cook

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

"which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved." {Ephesians 1:6}

I hope that you can feel the rich warmth of this picture, and not the coolness of the snow. It is meant to display the golds and rich browns of the trees as the sun reflects off of them. It is still; can you sense he is working behind the scenes?  Even though these trees look dormant, dead, and lifeless, this rest is storing up the strength that is needed in the future. He is always working for us, on our behalf, so that we can thrive.

As we continue walking through Ephesians chapter one, I want to concentrate on the end of verse six. There is something very special to me here. Before my husband and I were married, we had some issues that needed to be dealt with in our lives. I was passive aggressive toward him, and he felt uncomfortable with this. I wasn't aware of what I was doing, but it came out in counseling.

I'm not saying that it was all my fault, we both had important communication faults that we were glad to get rid of. As the counselor worked with me I told him how I knew that God freely accepted me, and that I was in the Beloved. {The  New King James Version reads,"He made us accepted in the Beloved.}

I knew this was true, but I didn't know where it was in the bible. In the 80's we didn't have computers or iphones to look these things up. Isn't it funny how quickly we forget what life was like without technology?

Finally I found it here in Ephesians. It brought healing to my heart, to know that no matter what happened God would always receive me, and he accepted me even with all my shortcomings and fears.The beloved is our Lord Jesus! To realize this truth made my heart rejoice and I was strengthened in my relationship with God. We read in the Song of Solomon 6:3, "I am my Beloved's and he is mine."

When I rejoiced in the Lord, he in turn rejoiced in me. What an amazing revelation this was. I came from a broken home, where the word love was never spoken, and rarely shared. To know that God's word said that as I loved him, he loved me in return meant everything! This wasn't just another "nice" bible verse. It was downloaded into my heart by the living God.

I hope you can say to me today that God has done something similar for you. Maybe you have no idea what I'm saying but desperately want the hope that I have in God. He is a faithful Father and wants nothing more than to pour His love on you and cause you to thrive for his glory. Call out to Jesus, and ask him to forgive you of your sins, and failures and he will!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

I hope you can enjoy the stark whiteness of this page, with the darker colors of the wreath.It reminds me of winter in the vastness of these two characteristics. Everything outside right now is bright white as the sun shines on the snow.

 The trees are varying shades of grey and tan, but are always changing as the sun changes its degree of dominance. The evergreens against it  makes for a painter's palette. In a hour all of the hues change as the sun makes its way across the sky. I live on a beautiful Island. If it were warmer these tress would not dig down deeply into the soil in the harsh winter.

We can't have everything in one place, at least not on earth. Forgive me for my tangent. Grace is what I planned on sharing with you. 
" The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love."  Psalm 145:8

Grace is different than love, or mercy and is found in God alone. We can extent grace to someone, but only because it has already been extended to us in Christ. This is similar to love. The bible says that "God is love." 1John 4:8 No one can show love unless it is first given to them from God.

 Mercy is what God showed to us in sending Christ to die in our place, and pay our debt. Only after a believer is "in Christ"or "In Him" Ephesians 1, can the grace of God flow to them. I found this quote in the Unger's Bible Dictionary, page 430. "Knowledge of and faith in this glorious "in Christ" position is the key that makes it actual in the believer's everyday experience."

 " Grace thus rules out all human merit. It requires only faith in the Savior. Any intermixture of human merit violates grace." {Also from Unger page 430.} Grace has to be in the purest sense all that we rest in. Chapter one of Ephesians is all about being in Christ. 

There is no other place I'd rather be. This is the place of blessings, safety and stability.This is where change can come. This is where I 
can abandon all insecurity and fear. From this perspective, I can see God, in his holiness and perfection. Not completely, because I am still in this frail body, but just a taste is enough to long for what's to come. I hope that you are longing for more of him too.

Monday, January 8, 2018

"To the praise of His glorious grace which He has freely given us in the One he loves." {Ephesians 1:6}

 I can't believe that it is still so cold in my house! Those of you in warmer climates, I wish I was there today. We were told by the local news that it would be warmer today, and I guess it is, but not by much. My hope is that it will feel warmer soon. I know it will, because eventually it has to because spring will come. I can take off at least one sweater at that point.

The best way to handle my dilemma is to focus on God's grace as our scripture talks about. Before we dive into this verse, let's backtrack just a little. Right before this, the Apostle Paul says that "he predestined us to be adopted as his sons {and daughters} through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-"{Ephesians 1:5}

Paul  said that none of what God has done for us was ever put together in a weak hap-hazard way. It was an intentional work of God to make you, and call you out of sin and destruction, and it gave him great pleasure! I think if Paul were here today he would shake us physically and say,"DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I AM SAYING, THIS IS HUGE!"I could see him jumping up and down, trying to get our attention.

We haven't touched on grace yet, but whole books are written about this phenomenon. How do I explain spiritual truths with mere words? People have been grappling with this for centuries. We can get a taste of what is heavenly through words, but just a smattering.

Grace is not earned or deserved. It is unmerited favor, that God gives to those who are of the household of faith.Mercy is not getting what you deserve, in terms of punishment for sin, and grace is getting what you don't deserve in terms of blessings.Grace is only found on those who have been washed from their sin, and have dedicated their life to live for Christ.

As I said, we could write for hours and not even touch on all the amazing things God has done because of grace, or favor that he has bestowed on the faithful.We can talk about that tomorrow. I will try my best. Blessings to all.

Friday, January 5, 2018

"According to the good pleasure of His will,"   {Ephesians 1:5b}NJKV

"In accordance with the purpose of His will- because it pleased Him and was His kind intent." {Ephesians 1:5b} Amplified Bible

God is kind. This may sound simple and basic, but many people do not know this. There is this enemy of ours who wants all people to believe that Our God is mean, self absorbed, and condescending. Christians have played into this idea by portraying God in this way. I'm not saying that anyone would misrepresent Our Wonderful Savior like this on purpose.   

Some Christians have a hard exterior when it comes to who God is.

God's intent has always been to make us like Him. That is a basic goal of our Father in heaven toward us. His goodness runs deeply through everything that He does, but His primary goal and purpose for putting us on earth is to shine forth His nature.

 Yesterday we talked about His adoption of believers, and that this is actually a drawing closer than even being sons and daughters. It is His kind intent to draw us closer, so that we can hear His voice. Hearing the sound of His voice is not an audible sound, it is a prompting in our spirits that feels different than anything else in our lives.

We sing a worship chorus that goes like this: You are good, good oh you are good good oh. As we sing this truth of His goodness, it grabs hold of my soul, and I feel complete peace. The confidence of His goodness encompasses me, to the point of rapture. It captures all of my being, in complete bliss.

As I write this now, I feel the warmth of His presence, and I pray for you, when you read, to feel His presence too. It's not about feelings alone of course, but knowing His closeness makes us courageous, like the lioness as she confidently cares for her own. She has no fear as she roams through the fields, because she knows her place, and who she is.

God's goodness is what He wants us to bring to the lost. This world is filled with those who feel that trust in God is foolish. The truth that "He is a strong tower, and the righteous run into Him, and they are safe"[Proverbs 18:10] is not known to many. Can you share the love of God with someone today? You will be doing His good pleasure. Kindness is always a winner.

Please let me know if God uses this in your life today.Blessings and love, Ann