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MY PURRSONAL SPIRITUAL JOURNEY

 

God is love. Jesus loves me. I have heard often both of these statements, as a child, as a teen, and as a young adult, but it was not until I was in my early 30s that the truth of these statements finally got into my being. God is a personal God as well as a national God, a universal God, a holy God, and righteous, just, merciful, gracious, loving, etc. I don't claim to be a theologian, but I experience God every day of my life, whether I realize it or not. Sometimes, however, the light goes on and I get a special lesson from Him. When that happens, I will share those personal ("purrsonal") lessons here with hope that those reading may be encouraged to trust the Lord in everyday life.


Topics discussed are:

  1.  
Regeneration (mine)

  2.  Regeneration (the eternal)

  3.  God's Love, Grace and Mercy
       a.  He Loves Me
       b.  He Lifts Me
       c.  He Comforts Me
       d.  He Rewards Me
       e.  He Is My Father
       f.   He Is My Redeemer
       g.  He Blesses Me
       h.  He Makes Me Young Again
       i.   He Remembers Me

  4.  God's Sovereignty:
       a.  He Is Sovereign
       b.  He Is Lord
       c.  He Is In Control
       d.  He Keeps His Covenants
       e.  He Changes My Mind
       f.   He Is On The Throne
       g.  He Compels Me to Speak of Him
       h.  He Is Omnipotent
       i.   He Is With Me

  5.  God's Judgment:
       a.  His Judgment is Right
       b.  He is the Judge

  6.  God Corrects Me
       a.  He Convicts Me
       b.  He Instructs Me
       c.  He Teaches Me

  7.  God's Patience

  8.  God Is Holy
       a.  He Hates Sin
       b.  He is the Holy One

  9.  God Is Great

10.  God Is Exalted On High

11.  God Is Praiseworthy

12.  God Is True

13.  God Is The Vine To Which I Cling

14.  God's Word Is My Soul Food

15.  God Is My Constant Companion

16.  God Owes Me Nothing

17.  God Alone Is Good

18.  God Is Beautiful

19.  God In Human Flesh

20.  God's Timing Is Just Right

21.  God Is Wisdom

22.  God Is Worthy Of My Thanks

23.  God Loves My Fears Away

24.  God Is Merciful


Links to blogs of friends:

  • Blogging friends and others:

  • Chip's Home Page --My friend Chip
    [YOUR site name here] --[YOUR name here]

  • Christian Exodus blogging friends:

  • Earth-Shattering Distinctives --Toni
    Celtic Lassie's Ramblings --Buffy
    [YOUR site name here] --[YOUR name here]


    When I Received My Lesson From Scripture
         
    Tuesday,
    09/16/2008
    GOD IS MERCIFUL
    (a purrsonal lesson)
    Psalm 103:8 (ESV)
    Monday,
    12/24/2007
    GOD REMEMBERS ME
    (a purrsonal reminiscence)
    Psalm 37:25; Matthew 1:21; Matthew 6:11; Luke 11:3; Romans 8:28; Ephesians 3:20-21 (ESV)
    Thursday,
    09/13/2007
    GOD MAKES ME YOUNG AGAIN
    (a purrsonal youth)
    Psalm 103 (ESV)
    Sunday,
    10/22/2006
    GOD IS WITH ME
    (a purrsonal comfort)
    1 Timothy 6:13-16 (ESV)
    Saturday,
    07/01/2006
    GOD IS OMNIPOTENT
    (a purrsonal power-struck awe)
    Romans 8:38-39; 1 Timothy 6:15-16; 1 John 4:19 (ESV)
    Saturday,
    01/28/2006
    GOD LOVES MY FEARS AWAY
    (a purrsonal revelation)
    1 John 4:18 (ESV)
    Saturday,
    12/31/2005
    GOD TEACHES ME
    (a purrsonal education)
    Matthew 5:43-45; Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV)
    Saturday,
    11/26/2005
    GOD IS WORTHY OF MY THANKS
    (a purrsonal thanksgiving)
    Nehemiah 8:10; Psalm 37:23; Psalm 103:3; Ezekiel 36:27; Luke 6:35; John 14:26; Acts 17:28; Romans 8:26; 2 Corinthians 9:12; Ephesians 2:8; Philippians 4:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 4:16; James 2:3; 1 John 4:19 (ESV)
    Saturday,
    10/15/2005
    GOD BLESSES ME
    (a purrsonal testimony)
    Psalm 103:8-14; Proverbs 16:7; Isaiah 45; Luke 23:39-43; Romans 4:4; Romans 4:7-8; Ephesians 3:20; Ephesians 6:5-8; Philippians 4:19; Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV)
    Sunday,
    09/11/2005
    GOD IS WISDOM
    (a purrsonal fear)
    Proverbs 9:7-12; Proverbs 16; Matthew 10:28; John 3:3; Hebrews 13:5-6 (ESV)
    Saturday,
    08/13/2005
    GOD'S TIMING IS JUST RIGHT
    (a purrsonal time)
    Matthew 19:26; Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)
    Sunday,
    07/24/2005
    GOD IN HUMAN FLESH
    (a purrsonal follow-up)
    1 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)
    Sunday,
    07/03/2005
    GOD IS MY REDEEMER
    (a purrsonal adoption)
    Ephesians 1 (ESV)
    Sunday,
    06/26/2005
    GOD IS BEAUTIFUL
    (a purrsonal adoration)
    1 Samuel 31; 1 Chronicles 10; Deuteronomy 28 (ESV)
    Sunday,
    06/19/2005
    GOD COMPELS ME TO SPEAK OF HIM
    (a purrsonal fire)
    Jeremiah 20:9; John 20:28-29 (ESV)
    Saturday,
    06/18/2005
    GOD IS MY FATHER BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST
    (a purrsonal connection)
    Ephesians 2:13; Colossians 1:19-20; Hebrews 13:12 (ESV)
    Saturday,
    06/11/2005
    GOD IS THE HOLY ONE
    (a purrsonal reverence)
    Psalm 8; Psalm 110; Isaiah 6; Mark 4:35 (ESV)
    Monday,
    06/06/2005
    GOD ALONE IS GOOD
    (a purrsonal rags-to-riches lesson)
    Isaiah 64:6; Matthew 5:15; Matthew 7:21-23; Matthew 16:27; Mark 10:18; John 6:29; Romans 14:23; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 2:3; Hebrews 11:6 (ESV)
    Sunday,
    05/29/2005
    GOD OWES ME NOTHING
    (a purrsonal response)
    Luke 17:1-19; Philippians 4:11 (ESV)
    Sunday,
    05/22/2005
    GOD REWARDS ME
    (a purrsonal reward)
    Exodus 3:14; Deuteronomy 4:29; Ezekiel 36:27; John 6:65; John 10:27-28; Romans 3:11; Ephesians 2:8; Hebrews 11:6 (ESV)
    Saturday,
    05/14/2005
    GOD IS MY REFUGE
    (a purrsonal hiding place)
    Psalm 56:8; Isaiah 38:5; Jeremiah 31:16; Luke 7:36-50; Revelation 7:17; Revelation 21:4 (ESV)
    Sunday,
    05/08/2005
    GOD IS EXALTED ON HIGH
    (a purrsonal praise to the Most High)
    Job 1:21; Psalm 57; 1 Tim 1:12-17; 2 Tim 2:8-13 (ESV)
    Saturday,
    05/07/2005
    GOD IS ON THE THRONE
    (a purrsonal waiting time)
    Psalm 37:7; Psalm 46:10; Ecclesiastes 8:3 (ESV)
    Monday,
    05/02/2005
    GOD CHANGES MY MIND
    (a purrsonal renewal)
    Psalm 1:1-3; Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV)
    Tuesday,
    04/26/2005
    GOD KEEPS HIS COVENANTS
    (a purrsonal assurance)
    Jeremiah 33:20-21; Numbers 14:35; 2 Timothy 2:13 (ESV)
    Friday,
    04/22/2005
    GOD LIFTS MY SPIRIT
    (a purrsonal refreshment)
    2 Corinthians 4:7-9; Ephesians 2:4-7 (ESV)
    Tuesday,
    04/19/2005
    GOD IS EVERYWHERE
    (a purrsonal celebration)
    Genesis 1; Psalm 139:7; John 2:16; Romans 1:20; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Hebrews 10:25; Hebrews 13:5 (ESV)
    Sunday,
    04/17/2005
    GOD IS IN CONTROL
    (a purrsonal hiding place)
    Isaiah 45:9; Isaiah 46:9-11; Jeremiah 31:33; Acts 17:28; Romans 9:20; Romans 14:8; Romans 8:28; 1 Corinthians 2:5; Revelation 1:17; Revelation 22:13 (ESV)
    Saturday,
    04/16/2005
    JESUS IS THE BREAD OF LIFE
    (a purrsonal soul feast)
    Psalm 37; Matthew 5; John 6:35; 1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV)
    Saturday,
    04/09/2005
    GOD'S GARDEN
    (a purrsonal attachment)
    Song of Solomon 2:1; Matthew 6; John 15:1-11; Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
    Friday,
    04/08/2005
    GOD'S ETERNAL SPRING
    (a purrsonal renewal)
    Matthew 19:28; Titus 3:5; Revelation 21:1 (ESV)
    Thursday,
    04/07/2005
    GOD HATES SIN
    (a purrsonal definition)
    Exodus 20:14-15; Leviticus 18; Leviticus 19; Deuteronomy 5:18; Deuteronomy 18:10-11; Matthew 5:27-28; John 8:44; Romans 1:26; Romans 14:23; 1 Timothy 5:13 (ESV)
    Monday,
    04/04/2005
    GOD IS WORTHY!!
    (a purrsonal acknowledgment)
    2 Samuel 22:4; Psalm 18:3; Hebrews 3:3; Revelation 4:11; Revelation 5:8-10; Revelation 5:12 (ESV)
    Saturday,
    04/01/2005
    GOD IS PATIENT
    (a purrsonal fact--I WILL be patient!!)
    Psalm 103:8; Romans 5:1-5; Romans 8:29; 1 Corinthians 4:13-18; Galatians 5:19-24; Philippians 1:6; James 1:2-4 (ESV)
    Tuesday,
    03/29/2005
    GOD IS THE JUDGE
    (a purrsonal "news" flash--He will judge the judges!!)
    Deuteronomy 32:39-42; Psalm 7:11; -Jeremiah 25:15; Revelation 6:9-11 (ESV)
    Monday,
    03/28/2005
    GREAT IS THE LORD!
    (a personal song of praise to God)
    Psalm 96 (ESV)
    Saturday,
    03/26/2005
    GOD'S WAY IS BEST
    (a purrsonal reminder--It's NOT ABOUT me!!)
    Psalm 19:14, Matthew 5:16, Matthew 25:40, Luke 6:31, 1 Peter 2:12 (ESV)
    Wednesday,
    03/23/2005
    GOD'S WORD IS TRUTH
    (a purrsonal liberation)
    Acts 13 (esp. verse 51) (ESV)
    Saturday,
    03/19/2005
    GOD IS THE LORD
    (a purrsonal lesson--He is MY Lord!!)
    Isaiah 53:6, Amos 2:6-7a, 1 Peter 2:18-24 (esp.18-19) (ESV)
    Friday,
    03/18/2005
    GOD'S RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT
    (a purrsonal challenge)
    Psalm 50:20, Proverbs 11:13, Matthew 7:1, John 7:24, Galations 6:1 (ESV)
    Thursday,
    03/17/2005
    GOD'S CORRECTING WORD
    (a purrsonal conviction)
    Matthew 7:1-5, Matthew 7:12 (ESV)
    Wednesday,
    03/16/2005
    GOD IS SOVEREIGN
    (a purrsonal experience)
    Matthew 6:9-15, Matthew 18:21-35, Romans 8:26-27, Romans 13:1-7 (ESV)
    Tuesday,
    03/15/2005
    GOD'S LOVE IS PASSIONATE
    (a purrsonal illumination)
    Genesis 4:1,25; Jeremiah 1:4-5; Jeremiah 31:3; Hosea; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 17:11; Romans 8:29; Ephesians 1:4-6; Ephesians 5:25 (ESV)
    Monday,
    03/14/2005
    GOD GOT MY ATTENTION
    (a purrsonal reflection)
    Jeremiah 31:3, John 3:7, 16, John 10:27, John 17:20-21, Philippians 2:12-13, 2 Timothy 2:19 (ESV)


    Tuesday, September 16, 2008
    GOD IS MERCIFUL
    (a purrsonal lesson)

    A few weeks ago, I received a speeding ticket less than a mile from home as I was headed out for work very early in the morning. The officer said I was going 20 over the speed limit. Though I wondered about the speed, I knew that I was going faster than posted speed and told the officer I was sorry, that I wasn't paying attention.

    Upon handing me the ticket, the officer and I went our separate ways, after which I phoned the court to request an informal hearing.

    The hearing date was set, notice was received, and I went to court today. Hoping to have a chat with the officer before court, I prayed for mercy.

    Court was delayed due to unforeseen circumstances (other hearings).

    My case was called. As I was walking up to the podium, the officer asked the judge to dismiss the ticket. The judge asked me if I had any objection. I said, "No objection, Your Honor." The judge said, "You're free to go." I thanked the judge, thanked the officer, and left the courtroom.

    Those are the facts. Now, let's review my attitude changes and the means by which my attitude was changed.

    I received a ticket. Knew I was speeding but denied I was going as fast as claimed. I was upset.

    I talked with my husband. We drove fast down the same little road to test whether we could get speed up that high. We could not. Obviously, we were paying attention, though.

    We started praying.

    We know that God is in control of all things.
    We know that I was driving too fast when I was caught. How fast does not matter.
    I'll ask court for mercy.
    I deserve justice.

    We went to church and heard a guest preacher speak about humility.

    I decided to obey God's Word and humble myself, believing God's promises.

    At court today, the officer moved the court to dismiss several tickets, including mine.

    We thank the Lord for His mercy upon so many of us, not just on me.

    The Lord is good.

    Scriptures: Psalm 103:8 (ESV)
    ^back to the top^

    Monday, December 24, 2007
    GOD REMEMBERS ME
    (a purrsonal reminiscence)

    I can't think of a more fitting time to post than now, as we remember the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. God did not forget us when we fell into sin. Instead, He remembered us when the angel said to Joseph (Matthew 1:21), "...you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."

    Many times in life we find that people are nice to people until they get what they want from them. For example, leasing agents are nice to prospects until they become tenants, then they go onto the next prospect and forget about the tenants, or, employers are nice to prospects until they hire them, and then they lower the ax.

    But God remembers us, "[a]nd we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).

    God remembered me and my husband when we both were out of work at various times during this year, and He gave us our daily bread (Psalm 37:25; Matthew 6:11; Luke 11:3), even giving to us beyond our expectations (Ephesians 3:20

    God remembered me when He came from heaven to earth to be born of a Virgin, to save me from my sins--like idolatry, rebellion, self-centeredness, and others. He was born to die--for me--because of my sins He died in my place, but He lives, and in Him I have eternal life. All because He remembered, and because He loved me--and still does.

    In fact, let me close this with an echo of the apostle Paul's praise to God from Ephesians 3:20-21: "Now to Him Who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen."

    Scriptures: Psalm 37:25; Matthew 1:21; Matthew 6:11; Luke 11:3; Romans 8:28; Ephesians 3:20-21 (ESV)
    ^back to the top^

    Thursday, September 13, 2007
    GOD MAKES ME YOUNG AGAIN
    (a purrsonal youth)

    Again, it's been awhile. My life has been amazingly full! Vibrant! Exciting! Eventful! Educational! For instance, this:

    Psalm 103 is packed full of good things about God, about ourselves, about how God relates to us and how He reigns over His creation, which includes us. My focus today is on verses 1, 2, and 5, which say:

    1"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! 2Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 5who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

    When I learned that beginning in January a passport will be required in order to cross the river into Canada, I decided it was high time I get my passport renewed, because it is effective for 10 years, and mine was 10 years old already, so off I went to AAA to get my picture taken to be my passport photo (AAA had taken my picture 10 years ago so I know I could have it done there again), then went to the post office to send off my application for renewal. I had to send in my old passport as part of the process.

    When I got them back (both the old passport with holes in it and the new passport in separate mailings), I noticed that the Passport Agency stapled my extra new photo to the top of the page that contained my old photo at the bottom. I could readily see a marked difference in my appearance.

    Let me share here what I saw:

    Not only do I no longer wear eye glasses, but also I have more color in my cheeks :)
    Ten years ago I was not a very happy person. Now, I couldn't be happier.


    Yuppurrs :) Psalm 103 says it all.

    See Psalm 103 in the lyrics of a wonderful hymn, as found at
    http://www.opc.org/books/TH/old/Blue072.html:


    Original Trinity Hymnal, #72

    O bless the Lord, My Soul;
    Let all within me join,
    And aid my tongue to bless his name,
    Whose favors are divine.

    O bless the Lord, my soul,
    Nor let his mercies lie
    Forgotten in unthankfulness,
    And without praises die.

    'Tis he forgives thy sins,
    'Tis he relieves thy pain,
    'Tis he that heals thy sicknesses,
    And makes thee young again.

    He crowns thy life with love,
    When ransomed from the grave;
    He that redeemed my soul from hell
    Hath sovereign power to save.

    He fills the poor with good;
    He gives the sufferers rest;
    The Lord hath judgments for the proud,
    And justice for th'oppressed.

    His wondrous works and ways
    He made by Moses known;
    But sent the world his truth and grace
    By his beloved Son.

    Scriptures: Psalm 103 (ESV)
    ^back to the top^

    Sunday, October 22, 2006
    GOD IS WITH ME
    (a purrsonal comfort)

    I'm really here! Yes, it's been awhile since I posted. Better late than never, so they say.

    Anyhow, I missed church entirely today, for the first time since last December after I had surgery.

    When my husband was getting ready to leave for church this morning, he kissed me and I cried, because I knew that I would miss the fellowship of God's people, as well as just being with him and listening to him play on the piano the songs he'd practiced with vigor.

    When he got home from church this afternoon, he told me that he got choked up telling the pastor I cried for missing church today. It broke my husband's heart, too, that I could not be there due to illness.

    My husband reminded me, though, while sharing what he learned at church today, that I will not be deprived of God's blessing through the week because I was not in church today.

    I told him "I know, because God was very near to me today while I was writing [an email] today."

    I share here the bulk of that email, for while writing it, the Lord reminded me of His great sovereignty over all things visible and invisible and I was comforted thereby. You can find this content at:
    http://purrskitty.com/predestinfreewill.htm

    The Scripture reference I give below is a part of Paul's exhortation to Timothy.

    Scriptures: 1 Timothy 6:13-16 (ESV)
    ^back to the top^

    Saturday, July 1, 2006
    GOD IS OMNIPOTENT
    (a purrsonal power-struck awe)

    God is definitely God, Lord, Master of the winds and seas, and more powerful than any created being. He orders our lives.

    He ordered my life.

    Yes, it's been a few months since I've been here to update. A lot has happened since January. John and I were married in May, and our pictures can be viewed at our new "together" online home,
    The Taylor Home

    In a nutshell, it is good to get up on Sunday mornings and go to church with my husband. It is good to wake up weekday mornings with a kiss, a prayer, and Bible readings :) It is good to wake up on Saturdays to leisurely do domestic stuffs with the one I love :)

    There is a contentment knowing that I am married to God's chosen man for me :) I'm purring often :) John loves the Lord Jesus with his whole heart. I'm comforted to know that John is not afraid to love me completely because of God's perfect love for him.

    Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. He has given us each other, making it easier for both of us to do His sovereign will. He is our Cause. Even our good deeds in His Name are caused by Him. I'm comforted, and in awe of His work in my life!

    Scriptures: Romans 8:38-39; 1 Timothy 6:15-16; 1 John 4:19 (ESV)
    ^back to the top^

    Saturday, January 28, 2006
    GOD LOVES MY FEARS AWAY
    (a purrsonal revelation)

    Last month I said I had no idea what 2006 will bring me, but I do know Him, Who has everything, even me, in the palm of His Hand.

    Well, interestingly enough, not many days thereafter, the Lord was pleased to reveal to me the man He wills to be my husband. My fears of growing old "alone" vanished with this revelation.

    "Perfect love casts out fear" (1 John 4:18). Yes, God's perfect love for me drives out my fears :)

    Scriptures: 1 John 4:18 (ESV)
    ^back to the top^

    Saturday, December 31, 2005
    GOD TEACHES ME
    (a purrsonal education)

    Jesus says to love our enemies. Certainly He loved me when I was at enmity with Him. I'd like to think I don't have any enemies now, because this year He turned my life upside down and showered many blessings on me, but the truth is I had someone I perceived to be an enemy. We tend to judge others according to how we would behave, and act accordingly; however, due to none other than Providence, I had an opportunity to do good to her, and I did so. After that, I learned what it means to love my enemies and do good to them that speak ill of me, and I was blessed by the lesson.

    I'm reflecting on everything new in my life. New church, new friends, new job. New perspective on life. I'm pressing on, though, because I want to bless others as I have been blessed.

    I'm looking forward to 2006 and beyond. I have no idea what the next year will bring me, but I do know Him, Who has everything, even me, in the palm of His Hand.

    Yes. Life is worth living because God values me in Christ Jesus my Savior.

    I'll leave you with this, from Philippians 3:13-15, the apostle Paul speaking: "Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

    Have a GREAT 2006!

    Scriptures: Matthew 5:43-45; Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV)
    ^back to the top^

    Saturday, November 26, 2005
    GOD IS WORTHY OF MY THANKS
    (a purrsonal thanksgiving)

    During the past week especially, I have been pondering the many ways I know that my Heavenly Father has been good to me. I know that I will miss many as I list some, as I'm sure there are ways He is good to me that are unknown to me and also my memory is less than purr-fect :)

    That being said, I'm going to make a quick list of some ways I can remember that God blesses me.

  • He directs my life, causing me to live according to His will. (Psalm 37:23; Ezekiel 36:27)
  • He gave me His Spirit, to bring His Word to my mind, to apply to any given circumstance. (John 14:26)
  • He shows me mercy by causing judges to be merciful to me despite my mess-ups. (James 2:3)
  • He removes the pain of my hurts when others offend me, healing my mind so I can be kind to my offenders. (Nehemiah 8:10; Luke 6:35)
  • He gives me the desire to be kind to others.
  • He gives me the talents and abilities I have to be a help to others.
  • He reminds me through circumstances that His Word is true and He upholds all things. (Hebrews 1:3)
  • He preserves my life despite my ignorance and sometimes stupidity.
  • He healed me from humanly incurable disease during my childhood, so I grew up healthy. (Psalm 103:3)
  • He re-created bone in my leg despite the doctor's word that bone is gone forever.
  • He cares for me through His people and others who make sure I have what I need when I need it. (2 Corinthians 9:12; Philippians 4:19)
  • He gives me family and friends and a church family, who love me.
  • He opened to me a new employment opportunity this past summer, and I love the people I work with.
  • He hears and answers the prayers of His people in my behalf. (Hebrews 4:16)
  • He hears and answers the prayers and cries of my own heart, even when I cannot speak them. (Romans 8:26)
  • He gives me faith in Him, love for Him, and love for others. (Ephesians 2:8; 1 John 4:19)
  • He saved me from sin, hell, and the devil, and gave me hope and the promise of eternal life with Him.
  • He gave me His Word through the prophets and apostles, so that I can know His will for my life.


  • I could have been more specific, but that would take an eternity, so I tried to group the huge number of blessings into general categories instead :)

    May God bless you, my reader, most of all with Himself, for He is the Source of life temporal and life eternal and every good thing.

    Scriptures: Nehemiah 8:10; Psalm 37:23; Psalm 103:3; Ezekiel 36:27; Luke 6:35; John 14:26; Acts 17:28; Romans 8:26; 2 Corinthians 9:12; Ephesians 2:8; Philippians 4:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 4:16; James 2:3; 1 John 4:19 (ESV)
    ^back to the top^

    Saturday, October 15, 2005
    GOD BLESSES ME
    (a purrsonal testimony)



    WOW! What a week. Let me summarize, but first some background:

    First, see
    God's Timing Is Just Right to get the background on my job situation.

    Second, in August I was speeding to church because I left late and didn't want to be late. Speed was not on my mind, being in church on time was. I was pulled over for going nearly 20 over in a live construction zone and graciously given a ticket for 5 over.

    Now for the blessings:

    To repeat... WOW! What a week. Here's a summary:

    1. Last Saturday to church for apologetics conference.
    2. After church conference, to the office to work from 3:00 to 9:00 for a client prepping to begin trial last Monday.
    3. Last Sunday to church and Sunday school.
    4. After Sunday school, to the office to work from 1:00 to 8:30 for the same trial prep project.
    5. Monday and Tuesday I worked though I was very sore from working the weekend. Didn't expect physical work!
    6. Tuesday I received flowers (pink and yellow roses and greenery) from the trial prep project lead secretary--she bought flowers for everyone who worked the weekend.
    7. Wednesday I received a letter of appreciation and bonus check from the firm for working the weekend on the trial prep project.
    8. On top of all of that, Thursday morning in an informal court hearing, the officer who ticketed me for speeding in August moved the court to dismiss that ticket, and the judge granted the motion. No fine, no fees, no point, just as though it never happened!

    Now, to reflect on all of these blessings :)

    A couple weeks ago my employment agent phoned me to inquire how things were going on the new job now that I'd been there about a month. I said they were going very well and that "work is play" (meaning that I really enjoy working there). I told her that everyone is very nice and very professional and reasonable and human. She said that she spoke with the office administrator and received excellent feedback from him concerning me as well, so this employment definitely is a good match-up, for which I can only give credit to God, for He is the best and only true "match-maker" :) He is the Sovereign One. [Isaiah 45]

    I pray always that in everything I will be mindful that I'm living "coram deo" (before the face of God), i.e. I'm living literally in the presence of God. With this in mind, I will always strive to give at least a day's work for a day's pay and that my work product will always be the best I can do. [Romans 4:4; Ephesians 6:5-8; Colossians 3:23-24]

    Thursday morning I arrived early for my hearing, so I had plenty of time to meditate. My mind travelled to the crucifixion scene, where I was identifying with the dying thief, who said to Jesus "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom," to which the Lord Jesus replied "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." [Luke 23:39-43]

    Truly I received mercy in the case of the ticket. Grace at reception, mercy AND grace at dismissal. My adversary (the officer) became my advocate. Certainly that came about only by God's sovereign hand. Blessings abundantly indeed. God, indeed through the officer and the court, did not deal with me according to my deeds. [Psalm 103:8-14; Proverbs 16:7; Romans 4:7-8]

    As a "PS" on the ticket, after calling the court to get a date for an informal hearing, I learned that the ticket was not written in a way that they could charge me the double fine typically assessed to speeders in construction zones. I deem this to be caused by none other than the providence of God. He truly was watching out for me and my purse! [Philippians 4:19]

    The bonus check and the flowers received at work certainly were total surprises. The check in particular brought tears of joy to my eyes. Such grace and kindness is nearly unheard of in the workplace these days! Again, I thank God for working in my life to supply my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. [Ephesians 3:20]

    Scriptures: Psalm 103:8-14; Proverbs 16:7; Isaiah 45; Luke 23:39-43; Romans 4:4; Romans 4:7-8; Ephesians 3:20; Ephesians 6:5-8; Philippians 4:19; Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV)
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    Sunday, September 11, 2005
    GOD IS WISDOM
    (a purrsonal fear)

    "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom"--Proverbs 9:10a (ESV), "and by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil"--Proverbs 16:6b (ESV).

    "It is only the fear of God that can deliver us from the fear of man."
    --John Witherspoon

    I heard the above quote from Witherspoon and the passage from Proverbs 16 in a radio broadcast on my way home from church this afternoon. I immediately thought of the passage from Proverbs 9 and had to take a look at not only Dr. Witherspoon but also the context of these Proverbs.

    Proverbs 9:7-12 (ESV):
    7 Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,
    and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
    8 Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
    reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
    9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
    teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
    10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
    and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
    11 For by me your days will be multiplied,
    and years will be added to your life.
    12 If you are wise, you are wise for yourself;
    if you scoff, you alone will bear it.

    "I do not speak this only to the heaven-daring profligate or grovelling sensualist, but to every insensible, secure sinner; to all those, however decent and orderly in their civil deportment, who live to themselves, and have their part and portion in this life; in fine, to all who are yet in a state of nature, for 'except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God' [John 3:3]. The fear of man may make you hide your profanity; prudence and experience may make you abhor intemperance and riot; as you advance in life one vice may supplant another and hold its place; but nothing less than the sovereign grace of God can produce a saving change of heart and temper, or fit you for his immediate presence.

    "While we give praise to God, the supreme Disposer of all events, for his interposition in our behalf, let us guard against the dangerous error of trusting in, or boasting of an arm of flesh."

    --John Witherspoon, May 1776 "The Dominion of Providence Over the Passions of Men"
    http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=597

    See also Proverbs 16, esp. vv.6-7 (ESV):
    6 By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for,
    and by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil.
    7 When a man's ways please the LORD,
    he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

    One thing my pastor said during his sermon this morning was that unless we truly hate the sin we have engaged, we cannot truly appreciate the pardoning mercy of our God. In closing the pastor reminded us that if in our lives Jesus is not Lord of all then He is not Lord at all.

    Herein is wisdom, from Hebrews 13:5-6:
    5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." 6 So we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?"

    "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell."
    --Jesus in Matthew 10:28.

    This is my meditation today and for as long as I need it. Hm, that's the rest of my life!

    Scriptures: Proverbs 9:7-12; Proverbs 16; Matthew 10:28; John 3:3; Hebrews 13:5-6 (ESV)
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    Saturday, August 13, 2005
    GOD'S TIMING IS JUST RIGHT
    (a purrsonal time)

    It's been months since I learned that one firm I liked so well decided to let their temporary secretary try out for the position for which I interviewed. Three months went by, and despite my regular phone contacts to at least two of my agents, no interviews were to be had, that is, until two Tuesdays ago, which I got a phone call from one of my agents asking if I would consider a job in the big city. Not being my preference, I said, "Sure, that's where it's at! I'll go for it." She assured me the firm is a good firm and the attorneys respect the staff for the support they are.

    The interview was scheduled for that evening, that being Tuesday, August 2. I arrived downtown at 5:30 and interviewed with everyone that wanted to talk with me--the comptroller and both attorneys needing assistance.

    In my mind, the interviews could not have gone better. I left there feeling really really good about it, but again I prayed and asked others to pray that, no matter what the outcome, I will be submissive to God's will.

    On Wednesday of that week, the agent phoned me with the firm's feedback. She said they were very impressed and that I could not have done a better job on the interview than I did. They had other interviews scheduled, or they would have hired me on the spot.

    This past Tuesday, August 9, I got a phone call from the agent. The firm offered me the job. They are willing to pay my bottom dollar requirement and provide a full benefit package as well. I accepted and gave 13 days' (9 business days') notice to my current bosses.

    God is good. His timing is always just right. He is on the throne. He knows the end from the beginning. All of these things I kept in mind no matter the outcome. Praise the Lord, for He is good! He gives us our heart's desire when we delight in Him.

    Now my prayer is that I will be the best employee I can possibly be, for all things are possible with God. I want to be a help to these young attorneys in order that they will succeed in their endeavors, and above all, I want to reflect the glorious grace of Jesus!

    See
    God Blesses Me for follow-up on this :)

    Scriptures: Matthew 19:26; Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)
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    Sunday, July 24, 2005
    GOD IN HUMAN FLESH
    (a purrsonal follow-up)

    Following up from last month, a couple weeks ago I did a second paper focusing on the Incarnation of God in Jesus Christ, because after giving the blasphemers the truth and the warning, it became clear to me that unles they understand that Jesus is God, they won't understand the triune nature of God, so I set out to explain this, coming out from 2 Timothy 3:16.

    Since that Bible study group uses the King James Version of the Bible, I used that version too, as in this case the truth cannot be any clearer than as expressed therein. Here's what it says:

    "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."

    Amen! As a result of presenting this and the other to them, the hostess called me a week or so later. She wants to meet with me one on one to study the Scriptures, so we hope to get together late summer or early fall to begin this study. Her best friend is the woman the Lord laid on my heart, which woman has great respect for this hostess, so may the Lord use His Word to reveal Himself to both women, is my prayer

    Scriptures: 1 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)
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    Sunday, July 3, 2005
    GOD IS MY REDEEMER
    (a purrsonal adoption)

    The sermon today was from Ephesians 1, the many spiritual blessings for which we praise the tri-une God. The song that came to my mind during the sermon is "I Will Sing Of My Redeemer", and it goes like this--click here for the tune and the words: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/m/y/myrdeemr.htm

    Later today, I thought of a newer song by Melody Green entitled "There Is A Redeemer". Click HERE for the music; the words are these:

    There is a Redeemer,
    Jesus, God's own Son
    Precious Lamb of God, Messiah
    Holy One

    Jesus, my Redeemer
    Name above all names
    Precious Lamb of God, Messiah
    O for sinners slain

    Thank you, O my Father
    for giving us your Son
    And leaving your Spirit till
    The work on earth is done

    When I stand in glory
    I will see His face
    And there I'll serve my King forever
    In that holy place

    Thank you, O my Father
    for giving us your Son
    And leaving your Spirit till
    The work on earth is done

    Words and music by Melody Green

    Jesus indeed bought me back from the evil one, and the debt He paid was His precious blood. Because this satisfied God's plan, Jesus was raised from the dead, my sins forgiven, and my pardon sealed. I can't thank Him enough for this, for in Him and because of Him I am a child of the Almighty!

    Scriptures: Ephesians 1 (ESV)
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    Sunday, June 26, 2005
    GOD IS BEAUTIFUL
    (a purrsonal adoration)

    Today is the Lord's day. I went to church and was greatly blessed as a member sang and my heart worshipped my beautiful Lord God. The words of the song by Keith Green are:

    O LORD YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL

    O Lord, you're beautiful,
    Your face is all I seek;
    for when Your eyes are on this child,
    Your grace abounds to me.

    O Lord, please light the fire
    that once burned bright and clear;
    replace the lamp of my first love
    that burns with holy fear!

    I want to take Your word and shine it all around,
    but first help me just to live it Lord!
    And when I'm doing well,
    help me to never seek a crown,
    for my reward is giving glory to You.

    O Lord, you're beautiful,
    Your face is all I seek;
    for when Your eyes are on this child,
    Your grace abounds to me.

    I needed that reminder, as this week will be interesting. Further, the Word preached today reminded me that God's Word always comes to pass and obedience to this Word brings blessing.

    Scriptures: 1 Samuel 31; 1 Chronicles 10; Deuteronomy 28 (ESV)
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    Sunday, June 19, 2005
    GOD COMPELS ME TO SPEAK OF HIM
    (a purrsonal fire)

    I'm reading through Dr. Robert Reymond's book "A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith", just started reading, I'm in Chapter One. It's chock full of Scripture quotes and cites, and one of them is Jeremiah 20:9. In the English Standard Version (ESV) this verse reads as follows:

    If I say, "I will not mention him,
    or speak any more in his name,"
    there is in my heart as it were a burning fire
    shut up in my bones,
    and I am weary with holding it in,
    and I cannot.


    I recently found myself in such a predicament. Many times I go to Bible studies, and my purpose (in my own opinion) is to learn, so I don't say much at all unless I have a question. In a particular Bible study a few weeks ago, however, I found that the study was led by people who do not know God as He is revealed in Scripture, and I found myself asking questions about what they do believe about God. After that study, the lady sitting next to me said she's confused, and I told her that her own church (Lutheran) is correct about God.

    The Lord laid her on my heart, and as her advocate, I had to speak. Since I write better than I speak, and a writing can be referred to time and again, with the Lord guiding me through Scripture and the works of other godly Scripture researchers, I did a paper summarizing God's revelation of Himself in Scripture.

    I am not a prophet as Jeremiah was, but God doesn't save us to be alone; rather, He saves us and places us in the body of His people, to be a reflection of Him in the world. God chose written words through which to reveal Himself to us, and it is these words that I dared to explain. I simply was not allowed to keep silent, to allow in my presence the blaspheming, the profaning, the supressing of the Truth of my God in Jesus Christ. I was compelled by God Himself to warn those people whom I encountered by divine providence of His wrath upon them and His impending judgment should they not repent and believe what His Word says about Him.

    I said the following:

    Is Jesus God? The answer to this question begs another question: Is God a "Trinity"? If God is a Trinity and I fail to believe that Jesus is God in human flesh, I risk eternal life; however, if God is NOT a Trinity and I believe He IS, then the most I'm guilty of is believing that Jesus is my Lord and my God, and I'm in good company with Thomas who, seeing Jesus, recognized Him and called Him both (literally) "the Lord of me" and "the God of me", for Jesus calls me blessed for believing He is my Lord and my God, sight unseen (John 20:28-29).

    I prayed, and still pray, the following:

    My prayer is that truth that the Lord Jesus is God our Savior will so grip you that you will fall at His feet, repent of unbelief, and truly worship Him as your God, your Lord, and your Savior. Your eternal destiny depends on it!!

    Scriptures: Jeremiah 20:9; John 20:28-29 (ESV)
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    Saturday, June 18, 2005
    GOD IS MY FATHER BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST
    (a purrsonal connection)

    How many times have we heard it said, even said it ourselves, while in church or just chatting with another Christian, that our relation to one another is oftentimes closer than our relation to our blood relatives?

    Well, peoples, here's the reality--Christians ARE BLOOD RELATIVES!! That's RIGHT!! Ya can't get any closer than that!! I am united to Christ AND to other Christians by/in/with HIS OWN BLOOD.

    Ephesians 2:13 says "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ." Colossians 1:19-20 says "For in Him [Christ] all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross." Hebrews 13:12 says "So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood."

    There's a whole lot more where that came from, but you get the idea. WOW!! What a God! What a family!

    Scriptures: Ephesians 2:13; Colossians 1:19-20; Hebrews 13:12 (ESV)
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    Saturday, June 11, 2005
    GOD IS THE HOLY ONE
    (a purrsonal reverence)

    Here are my notes from a set of Sproul videotapes I watched concerning "The Holiness of God." While my notes don't do justice to the subject, here's hoping they will nonetheless benefit the reader :)

    4 years after King Uzziah died, the city of Rome was founded.
    Isaiah 6:1ff: Isaiah was called by God to be a prophet in the year that King Uzziah died.
    God let Isaiah see into heaven, as did John for Revelation.
    Lord = Hebrew "Adon Adonai"
    LORD = Hebrew "YHVH" ("I AM")
    Psalm 8, Psalm 110
    Jesus is given the title "Adonai"
    "Adonai" means "The Sovereign One".
    Even the 6-winged angels had to cover their faces in the presence of God.
    English speaking people emphasize with underlining or italics or bold print or quotations, brackets or parentheses.
    Hebrews emphasize with verbal repetition.
    Jesus used the Hebrew style of verbal repetition.
    "Truly, truly" or "Verily, verily" were His frequent words of introduction when He wanted to underscore an important teaching.
    The only attribute, characteristic, of God that is repeated thrice is "Holy".
    God's holiness consumes His very essence.
    God alone is holy.
    What does this mean? How did the saints historically react?
    Many have a tendency to soft-pedal the character of God, because His holiness is traumatic.
    Calvin in his Institutes spoke of the terror experienced by holy men of God in the Scriptures.
    People who catch a glimpse of the true character of God become unglued.
    Our natural tendency is to hide ourselves from Him because His holiness exposes our sin.
    We're comfortable with our imperfections, judging ourselves by each other.
    We fail to compare ourselves to God.
    Isaiah saw pure holiness and was "undone" (KJV).
    Isaiah saw the sin of his speech.
    Jesus repeatedly taught that every idle word we have spoken, etc. will be brought before the tribunal of God.
    Jesus said what goes in doesn't defile, but what comes out, of a man, i.e. our words.
    God's response to Isaiah was not patronizing or cursing or "cheap grace", but rather, He had His messenger place hot coals on Isaiah's lips.
    Our lips are the most sensitive part of our bodies.
    The coal was applied to cauterize, purify and heal Isaiah's lips, to prepare Isaiah to be His prophet, to speak for Him.
    By this, Isaiah's guilt was removed and his sin was atoned for.
    Then God asked, "Who shall go for us?"
    Isaiah, having been justified freely by the grace of God, responded "Here am I, send me."
    In the 18th century the preachers said "man is very very very bad and God is very very very mad".
    In the 19th century the preachers taught the love of God.
    In the 20th century the preachers responded to the love of God with the justice of God and His wrath.
    Some even called Him irrational and defective, citing Leviticus 10.
    Uzzah died for touching the throne of God. He assumed God would be happy that he tried to prevent the tabernacle from falling to the ground and be ruined, but God killed Uzzah because it was not the dirt of the earth that wasn't supposed to touch His throne but rather the hand of man.
    History of the Bible's canon:
    Marcion produced the first canon, which contained just a few words from the apostle Paul.
    When we compare the OT to the NT the OT seems severe.
    The mystery of iniquity is not that a holy and righteous God should exercise justice, but rather why God tolerates rebellious creatures who commit treason against His authority.
    Remember the rules set forth at creation, especially of man and woman--the gift of life, wherein the first rule was "the soul that sins shall die." The fact that Adam did NOT die physically THAT day was due to the gracious mercy of God.
    Anyone who lives after sinning is living by the gracious mercy of God.
    In the slightest sin I am saying that my will has a right that is higher than the rights of God.
    We have become recalcitrant in our relationship to God and commit cosmic treason against His authority. We justify our own sin.
    Thus, the history of the OT is the manifestation of the gracious mercy of God in the face of repeated disobedience.
    The purpose of God's forbearing mercy is to give us time to repent.
    We have become so accustomed to God's grace and mercy that we assume it, we demand it, and are angry with God when we don't receive it.
    We need to understand the difference between justice and mercy. God does NOT OWE us mercy.
    By definition mercy is voluntary and God is NEVER obligated to be merciful to a rebellious human race; He alone choose the vessels of mercy.
    God will NEVER punish an innocent person; He is just.
    Mercy is non-justice but is NOT IN-justice.
    When you say your prayers, don't ever ask God to give you justice--He may just do it.
    We live by God's grace and mercy; let's never forget it. May God forgive us for presuming upon His kindness and being angry when we don't receive it.
    His grace is amazing.
    Pope Leo called Martin Luther a wild pig and excommunicated him. He said Luther was a drunken German and would be okay when he's sober.
    Luther was rude and bombastic, in a class by himself, and some said he was insane.
    Why was he this way? What provoked people to see him like this? His intemperance (lack of self control) was extraordinary.
    Luther feared God extremely.
    Luther was a lawyer.
    In the midst of a terrible storm at an uncomfortably close encounter with lightening, Luther promised God that he would give up his law career and become a monk.
    In the Roman Catholic church mass, during the prayer of consecration by the priest the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Jesus Christ (transubstantiation).
    Luther went to do his first mass, and froze. He trembled and his lips moved but no words came out. He didn't forget the lines. Finally he mumbled the lines and quickly completed the mass in embarrassment, but at that time he began to contemplate how one so sinful as he could hold in his hands the very body and blood of Christ according to the church.
    Ultimately at the Diet of Worms where Martin Luther was tried and given a chance to recant his protests, Luther said he needed 24 hours to think it over. He was granted the additional time and retired to his private cell for prayer and meditation.
    His prayer: O God, Almighty God Everlasting, the earth opens its mouth to swallow me. My God, help me against this, for the work is not mine but Yours. Don't hide from me. I know You chose me for this work. Your will be done.
    Next day, same question. Answer of Luther: Unless I'm convinced by Scripture and reason, I cannot recant. My conscience is held captive by the Word of God, so here I stand, God help me.
    Luther was overtly conscious of his sinfulness and spent hours in the confessional, driving the confessors nuts.
    Many of us, most of us, have built-in guilt defense mechanisms that seemed to be lacking in Luther.
    Luther was constantly comparing himself to God instead of to other people as we so often do.
    Luther was captivated by Romans 1, and the truth that "the just shall live by faith" consumed him.
    He finally understood the gospel of the grace of God.
    May we all be insane as this, that the gospel may not be eclipsed.
    The Holy God has offered His Holy Son Jesus as a covering for our sin; for this gospel Luther was prepared to die.
    Our righteousness is only in Christ.
    What is the meaning of holiness? What does "holy" mean?
    Commonly used as a synonym for moral purity, but this is somewhat misleading.
    The secondary meaning is moral purity but the primary meaning is "separate".
    i.e. Theologial Apartate. Other. Different. God's transcendence. God's majesty.
    i.e. holy ground, holy moments, holy prophets, holy men of God, etc.
    "Holidays" are "holy days"--different than ordinary days.
    What is it that makes the bread and wine "holy"?
    What makes certain real estate "holy ground"?
    Not because of their intrinsic value, but rather the touch of God upon these things.
    When the "other" God touches the "ordinary" the "ordinary" is made "extraordinary".
    When God touches you, He makes you holy.
    "Xenophobia" is the fear of strangers or foreigners. We tend to be afraid of those whose customs are different from ours.
    God is high and exalted; He is different from us, thus we fear Him.
    "The holy" is the "mysterium tremendum" (Latin). Our experience of the "holy" is mysterious, strange, powerful and thus fearful.
    All believers have had such pregnant experiences of God. Reactions vary from silence to ecstacy; but all are ambivalence, conflict.
    Something about God's holiness attracts us while repelling us, fascinates while terrifying us.
    "Enter sanctum" means "within the holy".
    Note that Jesus said the first petition in the prayer He taught us to pray is "hallowed be Thy name."
    Our first petition in prayer should always be that God's name be hallowed, holy.
    If it was part of the divine address, the words would have been "hallowed IS Thy name."
    No wonder that when God wrote a constitution for a national government, the prohibition against profaning God's name made the top 10.
    Next petition is for God's will to be done on earth as it is done in heaven.
    Dr. Sproul believes that the kingdom of God will never appear on this earth until God's people hallow His name.
    If you use the name of God as a common curse word, you are at root a profane person.
    When we are called to be holy, we are called to be different, to be a witness to the difference of God.
    The task of the Christian is to mirror the character of God to a dying world.
    May God give us a holy respect for His name.
    Many will publicly criticize theologians but few will publicly criticize Jesus.
    Jesus alone has been given universal respect--by believer and non-believer alike. Given this, why was He killed? What was it about Jesus of Nazarus that inflamed people either for Him or against Him? Mark 4:35ff.
    Picture Jesus sleeping on a cushion in a boat, and here comes a storm. The disciples on the boat with Him feared for their lives, and Jesus is calmly sleeping!

    Academic atheists in word say there is no God but yet the masses are attracted to religion. Religion emerges from human frailty. The one thing we all share is our mortality. We all have a built-in fear of natural forces that threaten our very lives.
    Freud said we personalize nature, and we learn how to respond to natural disasters and short-circuit personal attacks against us--but how does one respond to an earthquake or a storm? We talk to the storm, etc.
    He says out of our fear of nature we create God.

    Back to the boat--The disciples were petrified! They shook Jesus and said "Master, do something or we perish!" Jesus analyzed the situation and then He commanded the sea and the wind to "Peace! Be still!!" They obeyed Him. How did the disciples respond to this? At that moment, they became very much afraid!! Their fears, rather than being diminished, were aggravated!! They trembled in the presence of the holy Jesus and asked each other "What manner of man is this, that even the winds and seas obey Him?"
    The reason we are so closed-mouthed about ourselves is we've all been betrayed by others. We don't want to be vunerable and open, so we program our responses to strangers depending on how they appear to us. The disciples did not have a programmed response to Jesus, because He was so different!! The disciples recognized then that they were in the presence of "the holy" and they were afraid.
    In another fishing incident, Jesus caused Peter to say "Depart from me for I am a sinful man" because he recognized Jesus as holy, different, after the fishing miracle.
    The Bible says the wicked flee when no one pursues them.
    Many times non-believers are uncomfortable just being in the presence of a Christian, without the Christian uttering a word. People are uncomfortable, not because we are holy, but because we represent the One Who is holy.
    The outcasts and sinners were more comfortable around Jesus than the self-righteous hypocrites, because the outcasts had no false airs.
    The worst-kept secret in the whole world is that we are invited into the presence of the Holy God.
    The one place we can be naked and vulnerable without fear is in the presence of Christ, Who said "come unto Me and I will give you peace."
    Remember:
    1. There is no possible escape from the holiness of God. If not dealt with now, we all will deal with it later. Better it be now.
    2. The essence of the Christian faith is grace, gratitude, faith. None of us is righteous in and of ourselves; only in Christ. May God forgive us for being hostile and self-righteous in the midst of unbelievers.

    Scriptures: Psalm 8; Psalm 110; Isaiah 6; Mark 4:35 (ESV)
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    Monday, June 6, 2005
    GOD ALONE IS GOOD
    (a purrsonal rags-to-riches lesson)

    On my way to work this morning the Isaiah 64:6 passage came to mind, for indeed all of my good deeds, etc. were as filthy rags in God's sight. The reason HIT me this morning as to why good people die and go to hell.

    There is none good but God, the Bible says (Mark 10:18) no one is good but God.

    What this tells me is that what we see as good and what God sees as good are two very different things! Let me explain.

    Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God, because whoever comes to God must believe that God exists and rewards those who seek Him.

    Romans 14:23 reminds us that whatever is done not in faith is sin; thus the cliche' "When in doubt don't."

    Clearly God is pleased with works done in faith and actually works in us both to will and to do what gives Him pleasure (Philippians 2:13).

    Bottom line: Only those deeds done by virtue of faith in God can properly be called "good" in God's sight.

    WOW!

    Scriptures: Isaiah 64:6; Matthew 5:15; Matthew 7:21-23; Matthew 16:27; Mark 10:18; John 6:29; Romans 14:23; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 2:3; Hebrews 11:6 (ESV)
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    Sunday, May 29, 2005
    GOD OWES ME NOTHING
    (a purrsonal response)

    That's right! God owes me NOTHING!!

    He has given me everything I need for life and godliness--and He didn't owe me THAT!!

    He gave me saving faith in Jesus His Son--and He did NOT owe me THAT!!

    Therefore, I need to learn, from the apostle Paul as he has learned, "in whatever situation I am to be content" (Philippians 4:11).

    The above is what GOT me during and following the sermon preached by an elder in this morning's worship service, from Luke 17:1-19. In context, Jesus is speaking with His disciples, and He makes a few points with them, not the least of which is that they, like we, are not worthy of ANYTHING.

    Okay, from the beginning, I'll share my sermon notes here :) He titled his sermon with the question "Are You God's Servant?"

    1. God's servant does not lead others to sin (vss 1-4).
        a. Temptations will surely come.
        b. Don't be the doorway through which temptation enters the church.
        c. Don't take offense; be ready always to forgive a repentant brother, even repeatedly.
    2. God's servant does not shift blame (vss 5-6).
        a. Faith as miniscule as a mustard seed is enough to trust and obey Him.
    3. God's servant understands that the Master owes him nothing (vss 7-10).
        a. He created us; therefore, we owe Him everything.
        b. He sustains us.
    4. God's servant obeys without hesitation, without reservation and without conditions (vss 11-14).
        a. Lepers prayed for cure.
        b. Jesus did NOT say they would be healed, but rather, He said "Go show yourselves to the priests".
        c. They left to go to the priests, and as they went on their way, they were cleansed (healed).
    NOTE: THIS is where the mustard-seed faith comes in--they OBEYED Him. Faith, even miniscule faith, trusts and obeys without hesitation, without reservation, without conditions.
    5. God's servant praises God and falls down at His feet to worship Him, giving thanks (vss 15-19).
        a. We owe Him our love and worship and praise.
        b. We owe Him gratitude and thanksgiving.
        c. We owe Him obedience; the faith He gave us obeys Him.

    Note, in summary, the progression here:
    A. It all begins with God. He made us. He alone has the rights TO us.
    B. We therefore should forgive our debtors repeatedly upon repeated repentances.
    C. We, like the apostles, say this is overwhelming, "Lord, increase our faith!"
    D. Jesus says in essence we have all the faith we need to trust and obey Him, so just obey.

    What I get out of this is that I need to learn to trust Him and be content in my circumstances. He does not owe me a better life. He doesn't even owe me eternal life. That is a gift of His grace, given solely because of His good pleasure, so my challenge is to (1) trust my Lord and (2) obey His Word.

    This Word of the Lord directly confronted my depression and my discontentment, so when we sang the old hymn "I Surrender All", I couldn't sing it though I tried, because I was extremely pricked and blubbering through tears of sorrow. My response was "Lord, I am sorry. Please forgive my discontentment." My challenge is to repent and trust and obey Him. This message affects every part of my life.

    Yes, I owe Him my life, my thanksgiving, my gratitude, and daily worship, honor, and praise, for He is God, and He alone is worthy. I'm not worthy, but He has given me all that I am, all that I have, all that I ever will be or have. WOW!

    Scriptures: Luke 17:1-19; Philippians 4:11 (ESV)
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    Sunday, May 22, 2005
    GOD REWARDS ME
    (a purrsonal reward)

    Hebrews 11:6 in the English Stand Verson (ESV) reads: "And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him."

    In the King James Version (KJV) it reads: "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

    I was on my way to church this morning when this verse came to my mind from the KJV.

    Following this verse, the words of Jesus came to my mind as well (John 6:65), saying "no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father", and also the apostle Paul saying (Romans 3:11) that "no one seeks God".

    Hmm, how could Moses have said in Deuteronomy 4:29 that "you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul" when in fact the apostle Paul said that (Romans 3:11) "no one seeks God"?

    This is where Jesus comes in saying that "no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father" (John 6:65) and then (John 10:27-28) "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand."

    Now, since Paul said (Ephesians 2:8) "by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God", it makes sense that (Hebrews 11:6) "whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him."

    God IS. He is the great "I AM". God said to Moses (Exodus 3:14), "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, "I AM has sent me to you."

    He is my Rewarder, and He Himself is my Reward. How do I know this? By faith in His Word. Where did that faith come from? From God Himself.

    God's Word is (Ezekiel 36:27) "I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules." God gripped me, may God be pleased to grip my friend, is what I prayed on my way to church, and I still pray "God grip my friend".

    I don't know about you, but I would rather live my life knowing God exists than live as if there isn't a God and die to find out there is. Amen?

    God IS. He is the great "I AM".

    Scriptures: Exodus 3:14; Deuteronomy 4:29; Ezekiel 36:27; John 6:65; John 10:27-28; Romans 3:11; Ephesians 2:8; Hebrews 11:6 (ESV)
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    Saturday, May 14, 2005
    GOD IS MY REFUGE
    (a purrsonal hiding place)

    Continuing this comforting theme and knowing the Lord is my refuge, on the phone this week my pastor reminded me that God stores our tears in a bottle. That's in Psalm 56:8. I had heard that before but never really thought about it other than as comforting cliche'. Well, it's true, right there in Scripture, and yah, that is comforting.

    Had a good week :) Not as much crying, but I do look forward to that day when my Lord will wipe away all of my tears from my eyes. That's in Revelation 7:17 and 21:4.

    Scriptures: Psalm 56:8; Isaiah 38:5; Jeremiah 31:16; Luke 7:36-50; Revelation 7:17; Revelation 21:4 (ESV)
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    Sunday, May 8, 2005
    GOD IS EXALTED
    (a purrsonal praise to the Most High)

    I woke up this morning with these words on my mind: "I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen" (1 Timothy 1:12-17) and "Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful--for he cannot deny himself." (2 Timothy 2:8-13).

    One of my favorite hymns is this one, you can find it at

    The CyberHymnal


    ...and turn your speakers on and sing along!! The entire song is awesome, but that very first verse is straight from 1 Timothy 1:17 and goes like this:

    Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
    In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
    Most blessèd, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
    Almighty, victorious, Thy great Name we praise.


    I will be okay. Last week I had some disappointments, not the least of which was that I had to put my cat down on Wednesday. She was God's gift to me. I called her Velvet kitty, my Christian kitty, my little girl, and she was kitteny right up to the very last day of her 16-year life, but she had to go because she developed a blood clot or some neurological damage (a stroke?), the vet could not tell me certainly without extensive testing but did say that no matter what we could do the prognosis would not be good. Velvet kitty was in pain, and I knew that it would be cruel for her to suffer, so I hugged her, told her "I love you baby" and then let her go. She was injected and left within seconds.

    Oh, I kid you not--I cried Wednesday night and Thursday morning and much throughout Thursday, and I was not thinking clearly until Friday morning. Even through that, though, I remembered Job, who said (Job 1:21) "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Yah, the Lord gave me my little Velvet kitty, and the Lord took her away, and He is the One my lips will bless even still. I was reminded yet again by this that God alone is eternal, and His gifts are like me, creatures. He is the immortal, invisible, and only wise God, to Whom alone be honor and glory forever and ever.

    Yup, I'm okay :) This morning in church the pastor preached about David in the cave, and how he turned to the Lord for refuge because the Lord took everything else away from him. God indeed is my refuge. I'm reminded of yet another song we sing sometimes, "Be Exalted O God", straight from Psalm 57, verse 5 first and repeated in verse 11. Hmm, in fact the entire Psalm was David's prayer while he was in the cave! Good reading :) I repeat and say with David:

    "Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!"
    Amen.

    Scriptures: Job 1:21; Psalm 57; 1 Tim 1:12-17; 2 Tim 2:8-13 (ESV)
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    Saturday, May 7, 2005
    GOD IS ON THE THRONE
    (a purrsonal waiting time)

    Last month I mentioned a job interview that went well. I said "Do I know today whether I will get that job? No. While I do have good feelings about it; my faith does not rest in feelings; rather, it rests in the power of the God Who is in control of every detail of my life."

    Indeed that is still true, for the agent telephoned me yesterday to let me know that the temporary assistant working in that position wants to try for permanency, and they want to try her too since she's been there. After that phone call, I talked on the phone with someone else who indicated that he got his job because the guy they were trying out for the job didn't work out and he was next in line. My agent did say that if and when that particular position reopens, she will present me again and remind them that they were impressed with me.

    That is the human side of things. The divine is simply this: God is on the throne. He does whatever He pleases (Ecclesiastes 8:3); therefore, I will wait for Him and rest comfortably in His care (Psalm 37:7; Psalm 46:10).

    For further follow-up on the job interview topic, see
    "GOD'S TIMING IS JUST RIGHT"

    Scriptures: Psalm 37:7; Psalm 46:10; Ecclesiastes 8:3 (ESV)
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    Monday, May 2, 2005
    GOD CHANGES MY MIND
    (a purrsonal renewal)

    Romans 12:2 says: "Do not be conformed to this world,[a] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."

    Questions that have come to my mind concerning how to "do" this part of the Word are these:

  • What should I be thinking?
  • What is "mind renewal"?
  • How do I renew my mind?

    Well, today the light goes on yet again, and I have the answers to these questions!
  • Think as God thinks.
  • "Renewal" is a refilling or an extension, so "mind renewal" is refilling it and/or extending it.
  • Simply put, Psalm 1:1-3: "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers."

    In one of my email groups we were discussing hermeneutics and memorization, which is better, etc. and someone made the comment: "When you learn Scripture by studying it in the right way, it simply becomes a part of who you are. Your language becomes peppered with it and its concepts. Your mind is saturated with it." I responded in agreement thereto with this comment: "This is true absolutely!! When the Word gets in you via study and meditation, you can't help but to think it and speak it! Thus, as the Father's children we think His thoughts after Him and, like Jesus, we share those thoughts in our daily conversations."

    If I am going to know God as He has revealed Himself, I need to read His revelation! I need to read it often. I need to ponder it. I need to meditate on it. In so doing, it will get into my memory and change the way I think, talk, and behave. I will be transformed as my mind is changed and renewed.

    Now another verse just came to my mind, that (2 Corinthians 3:18) "we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit."

    WOW!

    Scriptures: Psalm 1:1-3; Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV)
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    Tuesday, April 26, 2005
    GOD KEEPS HIS COVENANTS
    (a purrsonal assurance)

    Jeremiah 33:20-21 is too good not to quote here, so here it is in the English Standard Version: "(20) Thus says the LORD: If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night will not come at their appointed time, (21) then also my covenant with David my servant may be broken, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and my covenant with the Levitical priests my ministers."

    In another passage the Lord says "I the Lord have spoken, I will do it" (my own paraphrase of Number 14:35). In fact, Genesis 1 repeats this science over and over and over again with the Lord speaking the world into existence.

    God acts through His own covenants, and He honors His own word without fail, so I can be assured, thus I am assured, that 2 Timothy 2:13 is true, that "if we are faithless, he remains faithful--for he cannot deny himself."

    All praise be to God!

    Scriptures: Jeremiah 33:20-21; Numbers 14:35; 2 Timothy 2:13 (ESV)
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    Friday, April 22, 2005
    GOD LIFTS MY SPIRIT
    (a purrsonal refreshment)

    I found the following on the Internet today concerning President Lincoln:

    "Abraham Lincoln, in his 1863 Thanksgiving proclamation, wrote: 'In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed. No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the most high God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.'

    "Lincoln also lamented: 'Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.' His words were true in 1863, and they are true today. We need to repent."

    This past week has been the week from hell for me, or so it appears, but I am reminded by Scripture and the words of Abe Lincoln that God is merciful, and He certainly has lifted my spirit despite my circumstances.

    It is good to know that by the grace of my merciful God I am numbered among those seated with Christ Jesus in the heavenly places, and because of this I can say certainly with Paul that "...we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this allsurpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."

    Scriptures: 2 Corinthians 4:7-9; Ephesians 2:4-7 (ESV)
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    Tuesday, April 19, 2005
    GOD IS EVERYWHERE
    (a purrsonal celebration)

    Through the years I heard in church often that we ought to not forsake assembling with God's people, that the church sanctuary or building is the house of God.

    I have also heard that my body is the temple of God, and that the church is not the building but the people.

    All of the above is true; however, it's not stressed nearly as much that God is everywhere!! Stay with me now. I'm not talking about pantheism, which unites the order of nature and created things to God in such a way there is no distinctive difference between them. No no no; however, omnipresence is one of God's attributes. I look at nature and stand in awe because it's picture purr-fect, the handiwork of my Awesome God! He truly is the Master Artist. When I go to the office, God goes with me. He is my Constant Companion. When I have no one else to talk to, He is Someone I can talk to. When I have plenty of people to talk to, He is still in the meeting, for there is nowhere that I can go to hide from His presence.

    That fact is both comforting and sobering. I rest in Him at the same time I check my behavior, asking myself often whether I am a proper witness to His majesty, His wonder, His love, and His grace and mercy?

    The shear wonder of God's grace toward me, and the fact of His care for my ordinary affairs, and that this high, holy, omnipotent (all-powerful), omnipresent (everywhere) God pays attention to detail concerning me, all of this never ceases to amaze me. WOW!

    Scriptures: Genesis 1; Psalm 139:7; John 2:16; Romans 1:20; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Hebrews 10:25; Hebrews 13:5 (ESV)
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    Sunday, April 17, 2005
    GOD IS IN CONTROL
    (a purrsonal hiding place)

    Good morning :) It is barely 7:00. I awoke about an hour ago, needing to urinate after fasting while drinking water all day yesterday. I spent my day in communion with my Lord. I went to bed with Him on my mind, as I always hope to do every night.

    This morning, I woke up comfortably knowing that God is in control of every detail of my life. I take comfort in this, because of His everlasting love for me (Jeremiah 31:33).

    Last Wednesday I had a job interview for the first time in quite awhile--a couple months, anyhow. I believed the employment opportunity doors to be closed to me, since every time I phoned my agents (three of them), of late they all said "nothing, sorry, we'll let you know."

    Last Wednesday's interviews went better than I expected, and my test results were better than the firm expected, so this appears to be a good thing. The firm fits my prayed-for description of a law firm in which I want to work, having offices in the states where I'd want to work. I learned of this opening from an agent new to me that I just decided to phone.

    We who know and love the Lord know that things don't just happen, but rather, we know that all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28), because we belong to Him (Romans 14:8) and He is the Master Orchestrator of all events (Isaiah 45:5-7); thus, who are we to question Him? (Isaiah 45:9; Romans 9:20).

    I'm learning more each day that it's futile to question God, for only He sees the entire picture, knowing the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:9-11), even He is the First and the Last (Revelation 1:17; Revelation 22:13); thus, rather than question God, in light of His love, I rest comfortably in His sovereignty.

    Do I know today whether I will get that job? No. While I do have good feelings about it; my faith does not rest in feelings; rather, it rests in the power of the God (1 Corinthians 2:5), Who is in control of every detail of my life (Acts 17:28).

    Allow me to share the song that is in my heart and on my lips this morning, written by Diane Ball:

    "IN HIS TIME"

    In His time, in His time.
    He makes all things beautiful, in His time.
    Lord, please show me every day,
    As You’re teaching me Your way,
    That You do just what You say,
    In Your time.

    In Your time, in Your time,
    You make all things beautiful, in Your time.
    Lord, my life to You I bring,
    May each song I have to sing
    Be to You a lovely thing,
    In Your time.

    For a follow-up to this job interview subject, see "GOD IS ON THE THRONE"

    Scriptures: Isaiah 45:9; Isaiah 46:9-11; Jeremiah 31:33; Acts 17:28; Romans 9:20; Romans 14:8; Romans 8:28; 1 Corinthians 2:5; Revelation 1:17; Revelation 22:13 (ESV)
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    Saturday, April 16, 2005
    JESUS IS THE BREAD OF LIFE
    (a purrsonal soul feast)

    About three months ago, my pastor gave me an invitation to join TOPS (that is "Take Off Pounds Sensibly"); a TOPS group meets in our church education building on Wednesday evenings. Prior to this invitation, I was convinced that I was okay, didn't matter what or how I eat, I was satisfied and content with myself. I knew this really isn't the case and I was really in denial.

    After thinking about my pastor's invitation for a few days, I decided to go to a meeting to "observe". The next week, I joined. I thought, "Why not? This surely can't hurt."

    Shortly after joining TOPS, I was at home and on the Internet at
    Crosswalk.com, engrossed in personal Bible study and using the tools there, whereupon an ad for "The Lord's Table" appeared. I never click ads on websites, but I did click that one and haven't been the same since.

    "The Lord's Table" is one of the ministries at SettingCaptivesFree.com, which is designed to lead us to the Lord Jesus, Who alone breaks the power of sin in our lives, setting us free. One of the things I realized immediately is that I was a glutton for food. I ate food for comfort. Sometimes I starved for self pity. In a nutshell, I did not eat right, and certainly was not eating for the right reasons.

    The Lord has given us all foods to enjoy with thanksgiving. Our bodies need food to survive, but food cannot satisfy the desires of the heart, so the key to changing my eating pattern, and also my pattern of exercise, is Jesus Himself, for He said that He is the Bread of Life (John 6:35). If anyone reading this has a weight problem, I encourage you to feast on the Lord Jesus daily at "The Lord's Table". I would enjoy walking with you as we learn daily to feast on Jesus, our "soul food" indeed!

    My goal is to glorfy God and enjoy Him forever, and the more weight I lose toward goal weight, the better I feel, and the more energy I have to glorify Him and enjoy Him in everything that I do.

    My motto verse in this life-long project is 1 Corinthians 10:31, "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." Another verse I'm finding to be true in my own life is Psalm 37:4, "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." In fact, Psalm 37 in its entirety is good advice :) Compare this to Matthew 5 and note that Jesus quoted Psalm 37:11 in Matthew 5:5 :)

    To date I've lost 30 3/4 pounds over a 12-week period, so I'm averaging 2 1/2 pounds per week. Some weeks I lose more, some less, but I've lost some every single week. I am determined, by the grace of God, to continue losing the excess of me that was witness to the bondage of the food sin I practiced for so many years. To God be the glory, for He is doing great things in this earthen vessel !!

    Scriptures: Psalm 37; Matthew 5; John 6:35; 1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV)
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    Saturday, April 9, 2005
    GOD'S GARDEN
    (a purrsonal attachment)

    I'm in the garden of life with my Lord today. He is the Vine, and I am a clinging branch (John 15:1-11), and the fruit I am to bear is the fruit of His Spirit, that is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

    One of the promises of Jesus for my clinging to Him is that I'll receive what I ask for. WOW!! The reason for this is that when His word fills me, I speak it. He fills me with His life, His love, His affections, and I speak His words. This happens, yes it does, but the condition is clinging. See also Matthew 6, where Jesus teaches us how to pray.

    What a beautiful garden of life. Clinging to Jesus, the true Vine, in the garden of life, I can't go wrong. He is the altogether lovely One, the Rose of Sharon (Song of Solomon 2:1).

    Scriptures: Song of Solomon 2:1; Matthew 6; John 15:1-11; Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
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    Friday, April 8, 2005
    GOD'S ETERNAL SPRING
    (a purrsonal renewal)

    Spring pictures regeneration, because it IS regeneration. Let's have an English lesson today, from Merriam Webster.

    generate: to bring into existence.
    regenerate: to generate or produce anew; to produce again; to restore to original strength or properties.

    What happens in the springtime? Leaves blossom on the trees, the grass turns green, and the flowers bloom. Spring is my favorite season, because it represents new life. Jesus spoke to His disciples of the regeneration as being the new world in Matthew 19.28, wherein He said: "Truly, I say to you, in the new world [in the regeneration], when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."

    Paul told Titus (Titus 3:5) that the Lord "saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit". When the Lord saved me, He made all things new and washed me clean from sin.

    Every spring I am reminded of God's promise to make all things new. He will. John saw this in Revelation 21:1, saying: "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more." I look forward to this :)

    Scriptures: Matthew 19:28; Titus 3:5; Revelation 21:1 (ESV)
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    Thursday, April 7, 2005
    GOD HATES SIN
    (a purrsonal definition)

    When I grew up, I learned some activities were sin and to be avoided so as to avoid the very appearance of evil. Those "Baptist-church-defined" sins were playing cards, playing dice, sipping any alcoholic beverage, smoking, dancing, lying, gossip, cheating, stealing, gambling (including lotteries and Las Vegas hehe), ouija boards, horriblescopes--er horoscopes, tarot cards and other para-normal psychology and witchcraft and occultic activities, gay sex, masturbation, straight sex unless married, divorce except for adultery, and oaths.

    Well, I've grown up from that just a bit. Jesus turned water into wine, Timothy drank wine, David danced, and Gideon gambled. Lying, gossip, cheating, stealing, gay sex, straight sex unless married, and witchcraft and relatives, these things can be found in Scripture as sins, but what I'm learning is that anything that is not done with a believing heart of love toward God and love toward our fellas is sin. Let's face it, sin is with us in this day. If it weren't, we wouldn't have so much to say about it :) When everyone is purrfect--er perfect, the "sin" word won't need to be uttered, because it will become a distant "forgotten" from our minds :)

    Hmm, I'm learning that gluttony is also a sin mentioned in Scripture--nothing against the jolly ol' fat St.Nick-type Baptist preachers, but aint it funny how they never included overeating in their sin lists?

    As an aside, BTW peoples, I've lost 30 pounds in the last 11 weeks. Yah, I'm working on losing the "glutton" evidences of my past by eating properly for the first time in my life, i.e. (1 Corinthians 10:31) for the glory of God :) Feels good to be free in this area, and I'm praising the Lord for this, for He has delivered and continues to deliver me as I learn to delight in Him and take my comfort in Him instead of in "comfort foods". :)

    Let's end this with a summary from Romans 14:23, which states "anything that is not done in faith is sin."

    Scriptures: Exodus 20:14-15; Leviticus 18; Leviticus 19; Deuteronomy 5:18; Deuteronomy 18:10-11; Matthew 5:27-28; John 8:44; Romans 1:26; Romans 14:23; 1 Timothy 5:13 (ESV)
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    Monday, April 4, 2005
    GOD IS WORTHY!!
    (a purrsonal acknowledgment)

    Many days I wake up singing. These are are songs I woke up singing this morning.

    "I will call upon the Lord, Who is worthy to be praised..." (2 Samuel 22:4; Psalm 18:3)
    "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power..." (Revelation 4:11 KJV)
    "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power,..." (Revelation 5:12 KJV)

    Upon looking for the Scriptures alluded to in the above songs, I found other Scripture references to God's "worthiness", as follows:

    Hebrews 3:3: Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses.
    Revelation 5:8-10: Jesus is worthy to open the scroll because He ransomed people for God.

    Most definitely He is worthy of my praises and a whole lot more. His worthiness is infinite!

    Scriptures: 2 Samuel 22:4; Psalm 18:3; Hebrews 3:3; Revelation 4:11; Revelation 5:8-10; Revelation 5:12 (ESV)
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    Saturday, April 1, 2005
    GOD IS PATIENT
    (a purrsonal fact--I WILL be patient!!)

    I WILL be patient! God said so! Here is the word of the Lord:

    Psalm 103:8: The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

    =^..^= Patience is not a command, but rather, it is a product of faith; therefore, I WILL be patient!

    Romans 5:1-5: Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

    Romans 8:29: For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

    =^..^= I can be patient, because God is working patience in me through the events in my life day by day.

    1 Corinthians 4:13-18: Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, "I believed, and so I spoke," we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

    Galatians 5:19-24: Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, murder, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

    Philippians 1:6: And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

    James 1:2-4: Count it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

    =^..^= God works patience in me; I rest in Him.

    Scriptures: Psalm 103:8; Romans 5:1-5; Romans 8:29; 1 Corinthians 4:13-18; Galatians 5:19-24; Philippians 1:6; James 1:2-4 (ESV)
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    Tuesday, March 29, 2005
    GOD IS THE JUDGE
    (a purrsonal "news" flash--He will judge the judges!!)

    Okay, here's the news article that appeared in my email from a Yahoo group member:

    Death Penalty Tossed Over Bible Verses
    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20050328/ap_on_re_us/death_penalty_bible

    ---------------------------------
    All RSS Feeds
    U.S. National - APDeath
    Penalty Tossed Over Bible Verses

    Mon Mar 28, 6:08 PM ET
    U.S. National - AP

    DENVER - The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday threw out the death penalty in a rape-and-murder case because jurors had studied Bible verses such as "eye for eye, tooth for tooth" during deliberations.

    On a 3-2 vote, justices ordered Robert Harlan to serve life in prison without parole for kidnapping 25-year-old cocktail waitress Rhonda Maloney in 1994 and raping her at gunpoint for two hours.

    The jurors in Harlan's 1995 trial sentenced him to die, but defense lawyers discovered five of them had looked up Bible verses, copied them down and talked about them while deliberating a sentence behind closed doors.

    The Supreme Court said that "at least one juror in this case could have been influenced by these authoritative passages to vote for the death penalty when he or she may otherwise have voted for a life sentence."

    Assistant District Attorney Michael Goodbee said prosecutors were reviewing the ruling and could ask the state Supreme Court to reconsider or could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    During oral arguments before the Supreme Court last month, defense attorney Kathleen Lord said the jurors had gone outside the law. "They went to the Bible to find out God's position on capital punishment," she said.

    Prosecutors had argued that jurors should be allowed to refer to the Bible or other religious texts during deliberations.
    ----- End of Article -----

    Now, I don't claim the gift of prophecy, but I see in that article a nation crumbling because of the misuse of its own legal system, and I see "dispair" written all over this impending calamity, but I am not discouraged, because God is sovereign! He will deal with each and every one according to their deeds (Jeremiah 25:15). He is a righteous Judge and a God who feels indignation every day (Psalm 7:11).

    John saw a vision as recorded in The Revelation that speaks to what is happening. Here is a part of that vision (Revelation 6:9-11): "When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, 'O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?' Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been."

    This is why I have hope. The Lord WILL right ALL wrongs and avenge His enemies, for He said in Deuteronomy 32:39-42: "See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand. For I lift up my hand to heaven and swear, As I live forever, if I sharpen my flashing sword and my hand takes hold on judgment, I will take vengeance on my adversaries and will repay those who hate me. I will make my arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh--with the blood of the slain and the captives, from the long-haired heads of the enemy."

    I'm close to the legal system, working in a law office, but I know that the supreme Lawgiver will not forever allow abuse of His law. He is the Judge of judges.

    Scriptures: Deuteronomy 32:39-42; Psalm 7:11; Jeremiah 25:15; Revelation 6:9-11 (ESV)
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    Monday, March 28, 2005
    GREAT IS THE LORD!
    (a personal song of praise to God)

    Psalm 96:4 says "For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods." Verses 1 and 2 say "Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the LORD, bless His name; tell of His salvation from day to day."

    Two songs fill my heart today. One is from verse 4, "Great is the Lord, He is holy and just, by His power we trust in His word..." and the other is "I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever, I will sing..."

    Truly He is pleased when we bless His name. He has been so good to me, that when I woke up, I had a song in my heart and on my lips. In fact, most days I sing. Today, though, I don't know, I'm extremely happy and blessed, because He is so loving, gracious, and kind to me.

    I am blessed with loving friends. I am blessed with family. I am blessed with a comfortable home. I am blessed with my pet cat and a job (or two but the church work is a "fun" job) :)

    More of the song is "Great is the Lord! He faithful and true, by His mercy He proves He is love."

    Amen! I will sing of the mercies of the Lord!

    Scriptures: Psalm 96 (ESV)
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    Saturday, March 26, 2005
    GOD'S WAY IS BEST
    (a purrsonal reminder--It's NOT ABOUT me!!)

    In Luke 6:31 Jesus said, "And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them." This is commonly referred to as the "Golden Rule".

    Everyone knows the "Golden Rule" but somehow, in our daily lives this rule for living just doesn't play out more often than it does. I know that I need constant reminders, and this morning was no exception. If I could just "get this" then living like a believer would be easy! As a Christian, my aim is to please Christ Jesus my Lord, above all else. I know that when I live in the way He taught us to live, He will be pleased, for He said "'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." Matthew 25:40

    It's easier to follow the Golden Rule, to act like a believer, when things are going well, but when they aren't it's not so easy, yet both Jesus and his apostle Peter gave great advice for how to behave in wicked circumstances. In Matthew 5:16 Jesus says "In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." In 1 Peter 2:12, Peter says "Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation."

    I have always been sensitive to what people think and say about me, but I need to focus my attention away from myself, to consider rather my attitude toward others, treating them with honor and respect, even when they disrespect me or talk behind my back. If I behave in this way, their words will have no value, and the Lord will be pleased with me. After all, it is Him Whose opinion matters, not the opinions of those who gossip, who are "out to get me", etc. I need to remember that "it's not about me." (Thank you, Rick Warren--"Purpose Driven Life")

    I'll share a little song and a little prayer

    I have decided,
    I’m gonna live like a believer,
    Turn my back on the deceiver,
    I’m gonna live what I believe.

    "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight,O LORD, my rock and my redeemer." Psalm 19:14

    Scriptures: Psalm 19:14, Matthew 5:16, Matthew 25:40, Luke 6:31, 1 Peter 2:12 (ESV)
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    Wednesday, March 23, 2005
    GOD'S WORD IS TRUTH
    (a purrsonal liberation)

    Acts 13:51 says "But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium."

    Finally, I'm free! For the first time since my separation from my now ex-husband, I finally realize that the guilt I've been carrying is not true. While we were still married, I forgave, forgave, forgave, and forgave again, only to see the same things happen over and over and over again. It was never ending. The women. The addictions. The money going toward the addictions. Not willing to get help. The cat had to be put down due to suffering, in part because of no air, in part because of medicine not being administered in my forced absence. I left 10 months ago today. I could no longer handle the yelling and the isolation from my family and friends and being one of many women. The only "church" I was allowed to go to was a Jewish synagogue. I have nothing against Jewish believers, but I was not comfortable going by myself (that is not my style of worship); I went because that was the only kind he would attend, but after two visits, he would no longer go with me, and since I couldn't go anywhere but there, I stopped going but never gave up my faith; I merely continued fellowship with believers on the Internet.

    After many apologies and forgivenesses too numerous to count, I left. I finally realized that my forgiveness was being trampled. It was not appreciated, for the behavior continued unrepentant, but I was still trying to help, I guess cuz I felt guilty for leaving.

    In the context of Acts 13, Paul and Barnabas were preaching the word of the Lord and the Gentiles were saved under this preaching, and because of this the Jews rose up to persecute them, but "they shook off the dust from their feet againt them and" left.

    In my case, even after separation, I tried my best to help him get re-established, and directed him to helpful sources. Some sources he dismissed, others he minimally "tried". He is nearing destitution as I write this, and I kept saying to myself, "he would not be in such poor condition if I had not left." The truth that my family and friends and counselors kept trying to tell me is that if I did not leave, I would be in such poor condition now right along with him, and we'd both be going down to the pit. One very special friend kept preaching to me that his wasting his money, and not my leaving, is responsible for his impending destitution.

    Well, for the first time today I finally GOT that message, and I'm experiencing freedom from that guilt trip now as a result thereof. I saw with my own eyes what this man is doing to waste his money despite the fact he will need it to live alone in a matter of days. I had nothing to do with this.

    Now I know beyond any shadow of doubt that the help I was giving while with him was not real help. It was enabling an addiction. I'm not doing that any more. The man needs help, yes. Professional help, not hand-outs. If asked, I will continue to refer him to professional help. Besides pray, the referrals is all I'm in a position to do.

    Scriptures: Acts 13, esp. verse 51 (ESV)
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    Saturday, March 19, 2005
    GOD IS THE LORD
    (a purrsonal lesson--He is MY Lord!!)

    This morning I was reading through the first six of the "minor prophets" and came upon a reading in Amos 2 that took me to 1 Peter 2:18-19. Amos is prophesying in verses 6 and the first part of 7, saying: 6 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because they sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals-- 7 those who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth and turn aside the way of the afflicted;

    1 Peter 2:18-19 says: 18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. 19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.

    The verses following in the Peter passage remind me that Christ is our example, for when He was accused before the crucifixion, He didn't defend Himself but endured, having His trust in His Father, the One Who judges justly, and He (Christ) bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, because by His wounds we have been healed. (paraphrasing 1 Peter 2:23-24; cp. Isaiah 53:6.)

    This hit me like a bolt of lightening. One of my boss's complaints to me concerning my work performance was "insubordination." I didn't see it, still don't for the most part, but apparently my boss remembers the bad stuff and not the good stuff. Still in all, I am reminded that, at least in this respect, I have not been like my Lord Jesus, and after reading the Peter passage herein referenced, I will be more mindful to do the Word of God here, for this exhortation is explicit and quite clear to me now.

    Lord, I am soooo sorry. I have sinned against You and Your Word, in that I have been disrespectful to my bosses at work. On Monday, I will go to my bosses and apologize to them for my insubordinate behavior and promise, with Your grace, to respect their authority over me from here on out. Please Lord keep this Word before my face when I am tempted, and empower me to overcome the temptation to resist authority.

    Scriptures: Isaiah 53:6, Amos 2:6-7a, 1 Peter 2:18-24 (esp.18-19) (ESV)
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    Friday, March 18, 2005
    GOD'S RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT
    (a purrsonal challenge)

    In John 7:24 Jesus said "Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment." In context, the people saw Him doing great things for the good of people and the glory of God on the Sabbath Day, and He was teaching them concerning the things of God, but they would not hear. Instead, they judged Him to have a demon for healing someone on the Sabbath Day. He countered them, reminding them that in order to keep the law they even circumcised on the Sabbath Day if it happened to be the 8th day for someone needing circumcision.

    In Matthew 7:1 Jesus said "Judge not, that you be not judged." He continued to explain this, saying that we will be judged by the standards we use to judge others, so before we go judging someone else who has a little fault, we need to look in the mirror at our bigger fault before we go looking to correct another's fault.

    The above two passages seem to contradict each other, but taken together, we see that there is a right way and a wrong way to judge, and that we must judge rightly, which requires spiritual discernment that truly belongs to God. In the church (the John 7 setting) God equips us for spiritual discernment just as He equips us for any and all other types of ministry to each other.

    Clearly, unless I am living right before our Holy God and have the spiritual gift of discernment, I should keep my mouth shut concerning what I believe to be another's sin. When I'm not directly in the restoration ministry concering sin in the church and yet talking about such sin, I am doing what the Psalmist said in Psalm 50:20: "You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother's son." The Proverbs remind us in 11:13 that "Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered."

    Therefore, unless I know beyond the shadow of a doubt and am led of God to be part of the restoration team, I will keep my mouth shut about someone else's apparent wrongdoing, because certainly I'm not above such temptations. Galations 6:1 says "Brothers and sisters, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted."

    May God grant me discernment to know when and what to speak and when to keep silent.

    Scriptures: Psalm 50:20, Proverbs 11:13, Matthew 7:1, John 7:24, Galations 6:1 (ESV)
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    Thursday, March 17, 2005
    GOD'S CORRECTING WORD
    (a purrsonal conviction)

    Matthew 7:12: "So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets."

    This verse is commonly known as the "Golden Rule", and while I was driving to work, I was challenged by this verse. I'm tempted to "road rage" while driving. I very often do not give into such temptation, but the thought is still there. In Matthew 7:1-5, the Lord says: 1 "Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." Needless to say, I'm as prone to judging, especially on the road, as the next guy, because I know what I would do in any given driving situation, and not all of it is good.

    I was challenged by this Matthew 7 stuff. I need to change my attitude while on the road, so that I'm not thinking about how the next guy may be trying to get ahead. I need to remember that I don't always have to "get there first"; if I remember that, purr-haps I'll be able some day to stop taking them blood pressure pills I've been taking all these years!

    Scriptures: Matthew 7:1-5, Matthew 7:12 (ESV)
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    Wednesday, March 16, 2005
    GOD IS SOVEREIGN
    (a purrsonal experience)

    This morning was "D Day" in the court system, but before going there, let me just share a fact about our sovereign Lord from Scripture.

    Romans 13:1-7 says: 1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

    Now for the hard facts. I owed a debt to a creditor. I was unable to pay what I owed. Over time, the creditor balance was purchased by a debt collection company. The balance was jacked up by the debt collector through the years to more than double the original debt amount. The debt collector sued me for the higher amount. My attorney (whom I work for) answered the complaint and, on the appointed day (today), went to court for me, hoping to settle, though he advised me that if no mercy, I do owe it. I said "I know."

    Hmm, this sounds similar to the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant, eh? Matthew 18:21-35 says: 21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventyseven times. 23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 26 “The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. 28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii.[h] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. 29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ 30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”

    The outcome of the lawsuit against me is that the case was dismissed, with prejudice. This means the case can never be started again. The only condition was that a much smaller amount, even a token amount which is less than even the original amount owed to the original creditor, was due to the Plaintiff within 10 days. Because I had most of that money for the settlement amount from an income tax refund and a gracious friend who gave me enough to complete this payment, my boss was able to send a check this afternoon to the Plaintiff, in full settlement of NOT ONLY THIS account, but ALSO OF ANOTHER account with the same Plaintiff but which account has not been taken to court. The result of this settlement, then, is that NEITHER of these accounts can be brought to the court system again, because they are settled in full.

    Now for the spiritual reality: As my boss advised me before he went to court for me, I owe, so if no settlement, then payment arrangements, which I would not be able to keep. The Lord knew this was on my mind. I was in prayer continually about it, but I was not really sure just HOW to pray. This is where Romans 8:26-27 comes in, for "26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." Indeed I needed God's help in my prayers, because I just didn't know how to pray, but when the boss left the office to go to court for me, I went to active prayer, the Spirit leading me to pray for mercy. I continued in prayer until it was time for me to begin my workday, by which time I was able to work with confidence and full assurance that my prayer was heard by my loving merciful Lord and Savior. I can say with the Psalmist, "Blessed be the LORD! for he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy." Psalm 28:6

    When my boss returned to the office, he told me that the Plaintiff attorney in court was not the Plaintiff's usual collections litigator. He said that the Plaintiff attorney in court on my case told him that on his way to court he was listening to a mass that his priest was doing (he's Roman Catholic) on the radio. Masses include sermons. The attorney said that after hearing the priest's message, and then hearing my boss's plea in my behalf, he took the opportunity to be merciful to me, so while I did pay a token, both debts are forever forgiven, and mercy was granted to me in accordance with God's will.

    Every single Sunday since I started going to the church I currently serve as member, we pray from Matthew 6:9-13 (KJV) "Our Father Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever. Amen." In verses 14 and 15 after teaching that prayer, Jesus continued, saying that if we do not forgive those who sin against us, our heavenly Father will not forgive our sins either. Now, I have no idea what that priest preached on the radio, but I do know that Roman Catholics also recite the "Lord's prayer". In any case, God gave a mercy message to the attorney and used the attorney's priest as a messenger. Further, my boss, also being Roman Catholic, used to go to church with that attorney, so upon meeting in court this morning, they hit it off really well, and my boss found favor with him.

    God changes hearts. God moves people. God makes us willing to do His will, in such a way that our own wills are not violated, but changed. God is sovereign, and He changed me. May God continue to conform me to do His will. Amen.

    Scriptures: Matthew 6:9-15, Matthew 18:21-35, Romans 8:26-27, Romans 13:1-7 (ESV)
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    Tuesday, March 15, 2005
    GOD'S LOVE IS PASSIONATE
    (a purrsonal illumination)

    I touched on this yesterday when I said God knows me intimately. Adam knew his wife Eve, and she conceived. As the Lord said to Jeremiah, so He said to me "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you..." so that it is evident to me that He (the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ) chose us (believers, including me) in Him (Christ) before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved (Jesus)." He knew me before He formed me. He loved me from eternity past. He chose me, for "those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He (the Son Jesus) might be the firstborn among many brothers" (and sisters) :)

    Thus, I "came to God" and later found that "God drew me". Jeremiah 31:3 is my favorite verse, for it says: The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: "Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you."

    That is the very first Bible verse I memorized following my introduction to the doctrines of grace, and it was this verse God used to show me the truth of what my pastor then was teaching.

    God's foreknowledge of me is His love for me from eternity past. In the Bible many times "knowing" is "loving", i.e. "Adam knew Eve his wife" (Gen.4:1,25). God created us to be loving beings, and the best human expression of intimate loving knowledge is sex. See Song of Solomon, Hosea (in which Hosea's marital relationship pictures God's relationship with His people Israel), and Paul's exhorting husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church. This is not agape love--it is much more intimate and special than agape love. To know that the Sovereign Lord God loves His chosen people this much makes me cry tears of joy every time I think of this, and I can't help but to fall on my knees (on padding!) to thank Him for loving me so much that He gave His Son to die in my place because of my sins. WOW!

    When I first learned from that special pastor, I felt like the Berean Jews, who "were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so." Yes! These things were, and ARE, so!!

    Notice that even physical procreation/reproduction is a picture of the Great Commission. "We are called to take His light to a world where wrong seems right" --from song "People Need The Lord". When God gives spiritual life to those with whom we share, this is bringing forth children for God. See where I'm going with this! The whole thing about God's love, and the divine command to Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply is the same command Jesus gave to the apostles and to us to bear fruit for His kingdom and multiply saints. I can't think of a better way to say this than the Bible already said it. WOW! We are to love as we are loved. Sharing God's love for us with others is both a privilege and a command. What an awesome God! What a loving God! WOW! I'm speechless now.

    I certainly don't mean to confuse sex with intimacy. What I am stressing is the fact that God's love for us is beyond any mere acquaintance--it's much more intimate than that. Certainly I do not mean to imply that God has sex with us! By no means! The fact is, however, that God knows me better than I know myself, and certainly He loves me better than I love myself, and His love is above and beyond what ANY earthly love can represent.

    Scriptures: Genesis 4:1,25; Jeremiah 1:4-5; Jeremiah 31:3; Hosea; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 17:11; Romans 8:29; Ephesians 1:4-6; Ephesians 5:25 (ESV)
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    Monday, March 14, 2005
    GOD GOT MY ATTENTION
    (a purrsonal reflection)

    "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so!" I sang this song in church as a child, but it wasn't till many years later when I was 30 years old, that the light went on concerning God's love for me. Now I know that Jesus loves me, He prayed for me (John 17:20-21) and continues to intercede for me. His love for me is both personal and covenantal, and is unconditional--not conditioned on anything that I do or don't do. God's love for me is everlasting. He loved me from eternity past. His love is steadfast. His love is special. He knows me intimately. The Lord's relationship with me is profound. He is my Sovereign Lord, Savior, God, Father, Maker, and so much more. He introduced me to several other members of the Family, some of whom I have come to know and love as the individual Body members that they are.

    John 3:7 is the first Bible verse that I heard from God: "You must be born again." Interesting. I always thought this was a command, because it was preached to me through the years as a command by preachers of "hell, fire and brimstone" who were determined to put the fear of God into everyone in their hearing. Compare this with the context of John 3, where Jesus is telling the Pharisee, Nicodemus, that unless one is born of the Spirit, that is God's Spirit, that person will never see the kingdom of God. Jesus was both equating and contrasting physical life and spiritual life. He was not commanding Nicodemus to be born again; rather, He was telling Nicodemus a simple logical fact--that only those who are born of God, i.e. born from above, will see heaven. He says the same thing a different way later in the chapter at verse 16, where it is written that those who believe in Him will have eternal life.

    Now, let's think logically for a bit here. Did anyone tell you to be born into this world? Were that so, would you be able to obey such a command? Certainly an infant is without ability to birth himself or herself. We had nothing to do with our physical birth.

    The same is true of our spiritual re-birth. We have absolutely nothing to do with it. Stay with me now. I grew up knowing and singing "Jesus Loves Me", but it wasn't till I heard those words "You must be born again" that I knew God got my attention. I knew somehow that He did something, but I wasn't sure just what it was. I only knew that He saved me, but just how much of what He saved me from, I did not yet know.

    I started "going to church" and doing all those things "good Christians" do because I didn't want to "lose my salvation" for the Bible says "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling"--I didn't realize through my "working" that it really was God working in me.

    A few years later, I changed churches, and this second church taught me a whole lot more about this God that got my attention. I learned that He loved me from eternity past and therefore He drew me to Himself. I know that certainly I had nothing to do with this, but God did this because He wanted to. My response to this everlasting lovingkindness is humble praise and thanksgiving to the God of the universe for His special saving love. As I read Jeremiah 31:3 "the Lord appeared to me ... saying 'I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore with lovingkindness I drew you'." I have not forgotten this.

    Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.

    Amen.

    Scriptures: Jeremiah 31:3, John 3:7, 16, John 10:27, John 17:20-21, Philippians 2:12-13, 2 Timothy 2:19 (ESV)
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