Wednesday, December 12, 2018

But I think it necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messanger, whom, you sent to take care of my needs. Philippians 2:25 NIV

It's beginning to look like Christmas! I love the richness of this wreath against the old door. You can tell the wood is aged because it's not smooth, and it speaks of many years gone by. The molding is heavy and shows a craftsman took time to measure, cut and design just the right look.

Perhaps the wreath is hand-crafted too. Someone had to carefully place each ornament in its place to give it a certain appeal.The right balance of dark and light colors form an article that stands out and stands for something special.

No time of the year is as decorated as this! Why do people get all decked out and fancy? I don't know about them, but I do it because of Jesus. God wants us to be a people that celebrate, and what could be better than the birth of the one and only Son of God!

He is the best gift to come into our world. No one gave more than God did when He gave His son. No one could love us more.When you think of Jesus giving up heaven to come to our stinky, sin drenched and evil world, you realize the sacrifice made by both Father and Son.

Heaven is a perfect place with no heart ache and disease. No lying, cheating, robbery or abuse. No one ages and dies because death is a defeated foe. No worries or fears either. We can hardly comprehend such a place. It seems surreal, but only because we see mostly this side. 

The Bible is clear about the fullness and completness we will have in heaven. We can have it now because Jesus made the way for us to be whole on earth. We have to fight for it though. Fight lies and distortions of who God is and His goodness for us.

Where do we hear the truth? Church, and others who know the truth, but the most reliable source is His Word. Love the Word of God. Hold on to it as if your next breathe depends on it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon. Philippians 2:24 

I love Paul's optimism in this verse. He is unshaken, immovable, and steadfast in God. His heart is undivided and enduring regardless of the circumstances.What a witness he is to all of us throughout the ages.

His life is a miracle, but then, so is yours. You were ordained to be you from the beginning of time. God created you as He wanted you to be. You are here on earth at this specific time, to be His hands and feet. What great things does He have for you?

My husband said to me last night, "God has much for me to do." And I replied, "You have done much for so many already." He wasn't satisfied with my answer. Every day he touches people who are hurting and lost. He walks forward being who He created us to be. 

If only I could have half of the faith and tenacity of Paul! God says, "Call it forth!" His power is within me, and as I allow Him more  space in my heart, foward I will go. It doesn't matter if I don't see it now. We don't see very much of what happens spiritually.

We can know because God's Word is true, when we ask, He will provide. Not according to our whims, but according to His will and what's best. Life is tough, but it helps to know He holds everything in His hands. 

Some day we will see the puzzles of our lives, and how all the pieces fit. From God's perspective looking down, He sees every curve in each peice and exactly how it fits. We are too close to our "pieces" to understand. As we read His word we can see how He weaved people's lives to make sense.

Look at Ruth, left with her mother in law, no support, or plan, until she went to Israel. She clung to the God of her husband's people. God gave her family, provision and peace. Mary, a young girl, pregnant and unwed, but in the will of God, and He made it all fit exactly as He had planned.

None of these knew how their story would end.  God did, and He took their faith and trust in Him and put life together. God honors faith and trust. We are just as important as those who have gone before us. 

Monday, December 10, 2018

Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me. Philippians 2:23 NKJV

Grace is an important gift. It's a gift from God to us by way of His son. Maybe you have never thought of grace in this way. Unmerited favor is the common Biblical definition for grace. We certainly haven't earned a right to belong to God.

Grace was available to believers before Christ came by way of remembering the promise of the coming Savior. They looked forward to the coming Messiah, as we look back to the completed work on Calvary. 

What a day of celebration we have each and every day as we pursue Christ, our All consuming fire, our all in all. He is aware of eveything we are thinking, doing and feeling at any given moment. This is a great comfort to me, and I hope for you too.

His eye is on us because of His abounding love for us, not to catch us in sin. "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." John 15:13 These are Jesus' words. Verse 14  says we are his friends if we do whatwever he commands us.

God is not looking for perfection, but for willing hearts to serve Him. Did you know He cares for you right now, where ever you are, and no matter what you are feeling toward Him. He is a good good Father as the song says.

There are many hurts in this world, but He has overcome them all. He invites you to partake of His healing for you heart. The goodness of God is greater than any hurt you are experiencing, and He knows about hurt. Even His best friends denied ever knowing Him, but still He loved them.

If you reach out to Him now He will welcome you into His arms. A simple task but one that can be so painful and humbling. I assure you He will not disregard your feelings. Be blessed today as you are loved! 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. Philippians 2:22

Is this what your church looks like? Probably not, but bless those who come out in the snow to this simple place of worship. It never matters what the building is like, since we are the tabernacle, the dwelling place of the Lord. 

Every one of us could use a Timothy in our lives. Someone who understands where we have been and why we think the way we do. Paul is mighty blessed to have a young man who is dedicated to his care. Maybe Timothy knows this is his calling for God?

Timothy takes over the church in Ephesus while Paul is in prison,but I'm jumping ahead here. I think this young man is called and set apart to serve the Lord, and he isn't looking out just for himself either.

The young man sat with the Apostle Paul and learned much from the seasoned leader. I can see them now sitting together in Paul's house while under house arrest. "Now Timothy, make sure you tell all of my friends to visit me. I know I'm far away but I'll make it worth their time. I'll find a place for them to sleep somewhere!"

Timothy hurriedly writes every word so he remembers each command. The anointing of the Holy Spirit was probably flowing from Paul like river over a cliff. Oh, how I wish I could have been there to hear Paul's words and instructions.

When I get to heaven, I will ask Paul to tell me what was said. I might not remember this particular verse, because I'm sure I will have lots of questions for everyone. Who do you want to find first and what will you ask them?

Jesus is the first one I want to talk to, and rightfully so,  He is the King. Can you imagine having access to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe? Wait a second, I already do! Yes, but this is different. I will see Him face to face. 

I can't imagine I will be able to formulate words, so forget about questions. Do you think about what heaven will be like? The Bible is full of answers for us. Why not find some facts today in God's Word? 

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. Philippians 2:21 NIV

Do you remember being a child in someone's arms? I can't quite bring a memory up but I know I was, and you were too. What was life like at age 5? Most likely ego centric, and now oriented. I pray, as I am an adult I do not ever act this way.

Having a giving heart begins when we look outside ourselves to those around us, I guess about age 13 as I recall. I remember being in History class and the teacher was enthusiatic about her subject. I recall all of a sudden being aware of other places and people, and I wanted to know more.

It was an awakening for me of life outside the four walls of my home and school. I feel bad Paul says no one is caring for the cause of Christ.  He is inside the four walls, and  he may be feeling the world to be a small place at the moment.

Perhaps it refers to a specific situation we don't know about, or is it a general insight he has? 

As I read Paul's other letters I have to say He must be referring to a specific situation. Maybe he is tired of being in jail, and he feels no one is doing what needs to be done. His perspective may be tanited by the surroundings at the moment.

Perhaps he isn't updated on the progress of the work of the Lord, but we know it was happening. Anyone can have an off day. I'm sure he wasn't having any picnics chained to a palace guard. 

We are not going to take this verse out of context and develop some theory about the man. God knows enough of this sort of thing has happened over the ages. We will let him be. We can enjoy this man for what he was, a true disciple of Christ. How many millions has he influenced for Christ? Maybe I can ask him when we meet!

Monday, December 3, 2018

I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. Philippians 2:20 NIV

Can you believe the weather today? It is 58 degrees in New York on December 3. I have never experienced this. If you are south of us this may not seem like a big deal, but it is. I went outside with my pruning shears and trimmed my hydrangeas!

I was in the car about 10 minutes ago, and my daughter Stephanie called to tell me she lost our puppy in the woods. Our golden retreiver is having surgery on is hind leg today for a torn ligament. He will be in the hospital for two days. The dog scenerio is ridiculous, and the saga continues.

Those of you who are empty nesters can laugh because you remember being in this place. My Lena passed almost two weeks ago, and now I'm back at the Veterinary Hospital. Some years are like this. I praise God we can have such lovely animals.

The time we have with loved ones, animals or human, is only temporary. Chaos has no hold on me because I know it is temporary. I walk with God regardless.When I feel weak, I lean in to Him a lot more. This is how we learn His faithfulness. 

God has given us precious relationships to show us His love. Paul is thankful for Timothy because he cares for the church at Phillipi with the same intensity Paul does. Paul is blessed by the loyality of his friend. God uses people in our lives to the extent we allow him. 

Some of us have been hurt by others and are hesitant to allow help, and not everyone is trust-worthy. We will know others by their fruit. How consistent is another's concern for you? 

Yesterday our Pastor shared about giving and the first thing he said was he wasn't talking about money. Often we think of our monetary giving in a church setting, but God has given us many other gifts we need to share. Time, compassion, listening, are only a few of what we all need. If we are friendly to those around us, eventually friendship will be returned. Thanks for listening to me today.

Friday, November 30, 2018