The Full Meal Deal of God’s wonderful Favor!

“The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man…” (Gen.39:2)

“…and the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands.” (Gen. 39:3)

I would guess that with the title of today’s blog and these first two verses there would be some dear Jesus’ believers that have red flags going up in their hearts and minds, “she said those unacceptable words, ‘God’s favor’ “, “O no! She must be a ‘one of those’ !”

If the title of today’s blog was one that included the words “suffering”, “trial”, “hardship”, “darkness” or “sin” with appropriate scriptures for the reader, than most would probably think nothing.

My heart began to pound this morning as I read through Genesis 39! These thoughts emerge as I reflect upon the Bride of Christ as a whole and our tendency to take extremes in our belief systems. It is as though we look for the furthest boundary line of far out thinking and gravitate to it like magnets; I think we are all guilty of this in some areas of our lives. Perhaps it’s a form of laziness, revealing our lack of mental discipline to both learn and remember the truth of God’s word as a whole and not just in pieces!

It takes work to discipline the mind to study, hold to its teaching in any and every circumstance. We want to be spoon fed, we want to hold to what others have fed to us and not what we have discovered as a result of sitting at the feet of Jesus in dependence upon the Divine teacher, (the Holy Spirit) to reveal the hidden secrets of God to our own hearts and minds.

Listen to  2 Timothy 3:6 (in reference to godlessness in the last days), “For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, ALWAYS LEARNING and NEVER ABLE to ARRIVE at a KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH.”

We all love to learn in some form or another, but of what use is learning ABOUT the Word of God if you never arrive at accepting the knowledge given?

Do we know why we believe what we believe? Do we take our cues from world culture and even more dangerously, “church culture”? If one church preaches a prosperity gospel we get all up in arms and reject, or run, from the part of it that IS TRUE because we see the extreme behavior from its teaching. The result? We end up rejecting all of it without understanding the full truth as it is preached in the Word of God.  And if we hear of another church appealing repeatedly to our sin and brokenness and need for healing, wholeness and freedom (and we are currently in such a season), then we gravitate to this obsessive teaching without an understanding of the whole of God’s word, our life then remains in repetitive cycles of brokenness.

We have churches criticizing churches for what is taught or not taught while we sit like lazy,  pew potatoes who hold the Word of God in our hands but do not do what it says.  

The Word of God is accessible, we can read it in freedom and yet we STILL refuse to read faithfully and diligently for ourselves!!!

Do not misunderstand me, God has called men and women to teach the Word, and we need this gifting in the body of Christ, but this great gift was never intended to replace what God desires from us…. our own eating at the banquet table.

Joseph was a  man with a heart for His Maker; God knew this and saw this. God’s blessings were not random upon this man. We all know that Joseph was about to walk through YEARS of great trial, but the Word tells us that : “… the Lord was with Joseph and showed him STEADFAST love and favor in the sight of the keeper of the PRISON.” (Gen. 39;21) Even in Joseph’s trial God’s mighty hand was upon him. There were both extremes happening in Joseph’s life at the same time. Joseph remained steadfast himself because his heart and mind lived from a place of trust in his Maker.

If you haven’t caught my point today it is simply this: God IS a God who delights in showing and showering favor upon us, He IS a blessing God! And from His hand there is also great suffering allowed and given. Don’t be a believer that bounces back and forth between these two life extremes; a believer who lives from one teacher to another without ever really studying and knowing the Word of God for oneself; And not only reading  pieces of scripture that apply to your extreme situations, but the whole of scripture, as it applies to you in EVERY day and in EVERY way.

Determine today to stop being a boomerang believer, storm tossed by right and left thinking and teaching. Determine to study to ” Do YOUR BEST to present YOURSELF to God as one approved, a WORKER who has no need to be ashamed, RIGHTLY HANDLING THE WORD OF TRUTH.” (2 Tim. 2;15)

My heart bleeds for the Bride of Christ, that she would rise up and no longer be found sleeping. That she would KNOW the POWER that lies in her hand given her by Jesus Christ Himself, the Word of God! 

The Bride of Christ is the church…. that would be YOU AND ME, each one of us studying to KNOW the Word of God on our own, then gathering together to study together……O MAN!!!!!! CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT GOD WOULD DO THROUGH THE CHURCH TODAY IF WE ALL REALLY LIVED LIKE THIS? My heart beats wildly with all the impossibilities that would become possibilities!

I wonder what everyone is waiting for?

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The March of the Clock

WHAM!

Music, food, laughter, gifts, family!!

WHAM!

Silence, leftovers, memories, and just two “old” people shuffling around in their bathrobes! (Well, I should clarify, our dear son is  still home for a bit yet).

Where did everyone go? For days I planned and prepared and anticipated; then with the stroke of the clock everyone had to say good-bye and life returned to pre-Christmas!

Time is a strange thing, it really is like a march that never stops, it cannot stop; the clock will continue to move on to another second, minute, hour, day, week, month, year……in just a few days we start a new year all over again!

What will it bring? Do you wonder?

This is just a short little thought today, but I wanted to couch it in these verses from Psalm 5 verses 11-12,

“..Let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.

For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield.”

Whatever the march of the clock brings, the unknown of each second awaiting for me, I CAN KNOW that as I take REFUGE in God, I can rejoice and sing with joy; I can LOVE my God and exult in Him. I can know that I live under the protection of God and that I can be covered with favor “as with a shield”.

Tick, tick, tick, I have no fear of this march of time and its unknown recipe of days. There is too much that I DO  know.

I know the Creator of this march and as I put my trust in Him I can change the march to dancing and sing for joy…..and yes….this is a choice, no one will do this for me!

Wherever this day finds you do you think you could do just one simple thing and choose to trust the One who has you “covered”? After all His concept of time is eternal, He sees FOREVER, and not only sees it, He is already there waiting for us!!

“O Lord, ‘Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom….SATISFY us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may REJOICE and BE glad ALL our days.” (Psalm 90:12, 14)

Prayer and Wrestling…Strong Opponents or Friends?

I have been studying in the book of Genesis. This morning I read chapters 26-32…….how very interesting. Besides the run around circus of two sisters desiring off spring from the same husband, I read of Jacob’s interesting night of wrestling with God.

The verses that spiked my study and curiosity were 25-26 (of chapter 32); “When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint AS HE wrestled with him. Then he said, “let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” I also read another reference of this account in Hosea 12:3-4, “In the womb he (Jacob) took his brother (Esau) by the heel, and in his manhood he strove with God. He strove with the angel and prevailed; he wept and sought his favor.”

I am not a biblical scholar nor am I a theologian, but from a childhood faith and understanding that scripture interprets scripture, I read this morning from the Genesis account that Jacob was a wrestl’n man. He wanted what was not his from the very beginning and somehow managed to get it. I think he was a fighter, he was clever, maybe even calculated, and on top of that persistent. Just trace his life from the womb of his mother; he came out holding his brother’s heel ( Gen. 25:22-26); He strategically persuaded his brother Esau to sell him his birthright (Gen. 25:29-34); and then with the help of his mother, he deceived his own father into giving him the family blessing (Gen. 2). And it didn’t end there, he was willing to work seven years for the woman he loved, but ended up working 14 years as a result of the deceptive hand of his father-in-law, who had placed the wrong daughter in bed with him (seriously, did the guy not know who he was making love to? ) this account is in Genesis 29. On and on it goes; as Jacob decides to leave his father-in-law’s land, more clever business tactics are taken (Genesis 30-31)…..wow! This guy  has a mind and a half!

So now to the point of today’s thought….Jacob wrestled with God in prayer! He would not give up until he received an answer, a blessing. Here are Jacob’s word’s again, “But Jacob said, I will NOT let you go UNLESS you bless me.”

Now Jacob paid a physical price for his wrestling; With one touch his hip was knocked out of the field. Matthew Henry’s commentary puts it this way, “The angel put out Jacob’s thigh, to show him what he could do, and that it was with God he was wrestling with, for no man could disjoint his thigh with a touch.” God will always be God, great and powerful, and we must remember that as we approach the holy threshold of communion with God.

We are taught in scripture to pray without ceasing, (1Thess. 5:1), and that the prayer of a righteous person has GREAT POWER as it is working.” (Jas. 5:17) and in Romans 12:12, “BE CONSTANT in prayer.”

When is the last time you remained in prayer until you received an answer? You have heard the old saying that too often the saints give up praying before they receive an answer? When is the last time you were awake into the night as you poured out your heart to God, persistent in prayer?

Psalm 62:8, “Trust in Him at all times, O people; POUR OUT YOUR HEART BEFORE HIM; God is a refuge for us!”

Though Jacob KNEW he was heard, he needed the tangible reminder of Who he was wrestling with.

Do you think he knew he would receive?

Is that why he was so persistent? 

If God is for us, if His ear is inclined to us, if we are taught through HIS WORD to POUR OUT, and pray CONSTANTLY does that not then give us hope of  receiving answers?

Today if the Spirit of God is speaking to you…LISTEN!! Stop being a pansy, sucky, prayer warrior and start praying like you actually believe you are being heard.

DO NOT GIVE UP! His love is STEADFAST remember? He is FAITHFUL, remember?

He will answer your prayers, He IS GOD, and He will NEVER cease to be otherwise.

Will you trust Him?

 

Christmas morning……

I awoke this morning excited for a new day, for a cup of coffee and a warm, homemade muffin…..O the simple delights of a quiet morning at home!!

I put on my Percy Faith Christmas c.d, watered the Christmas tree, and opened my window blinds. Snow-capped mountains greeted my eyes with a post card-like picture.

My mind  began to wander down memory lane to Christmas morning in my home of origin.

Mom and Dad could be found in the kitchen at the crack of dawn, sautéing butter, onions, garlic and celery for the stuffing of the big bird. As much as the smell delighted me as a child, I knew it meant we had to wait a painful extra half hour before we could go down to see the Christmas tree.

Mom would put on the coffee, and dad (after the bird was stuffed and in the oven) would proceed downstairs to our cozy, cottage-like family room to light the fire in the hearth of the wall to wall rock fireplace, he would turn on the Christmas tree lights, while us kids would put on our favorite Christmas ‘record’ on the stereo upstairs….Percy Faith’s, “Christmas Is”; we would then sit and wait at the top of the stairs for dad to call up and tell us Santa had arrived! Wahoo! All lights green to run down and discover the room of ‘magic’ and childhood wonder!

Oh how I loved entering that room! Everything about it was beautiful! Color was everywhere, and the smells of the wood fire, coffee and chocolate would awaken all my senses! I remember my hands being clasped with excitement and I could never hold back my verbal “ohhh’s!”

Home.

Even now I get tears in my eyes as I remember all these special traditions and routines; and the scripture that is on my mind and running through my heart in response is Psalm 34:8, ” O TASTE and SEE that the Lord is GOOD, BLESSED is the man that TRUSTS in Him.”

My thoughts this morning are of simple reflection chosen to share for the purpose of encouragement.

 Often the sweetest memories have nothing to do with money. What price can be placed on a sweet childhood memory? Memories within the heart and minds of children who grow up to become adults, who eventually  give birth to children, are powerful tools that cultivate and craft soft soil for scripture to live and breathe and live within the heart,

Christmas morning (or maybe it is Christmas Eve for you) a morning of anticipation, hope and joy, memories of “home”, and best of all, the celebration of remembering the birth of our Savior Jesus.

Do you have any traditions? Do you have plans for your family or friends that will become life giving memories for generations to come?

Memories are free, but their value holds great power either for freedom or bondage. Perhaps this Christmas should be a beginning for you; a beginning of new and different values of “home” for the sake of your husband and children and all others who come to your door. Values that represent LIVING a life of trust in the One who came to save you, Jesus.

Perhaps this Christmas should be a “re-start” of  a relationship gone sideways? Or simply a Christmas to be still, rest, read, listen, pray and enjoy the gift of life you have been given?  Maybe it is a Christmas you should take courage to ask the Lord to teach you how to taste and see how good He is!

“O TASTE and SEE that the LORD IS GOOD!!!! “

Night as Bright as Day?

Psalm 139:11-12

‘If I say, “surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” EVEN the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright like the day, for darkness IS AS light to you.’

How many, many times I have read psalm 139! Today verses 11-12 speak afresh as I realize the further implication of its truth.

Daniel 2:22: “He reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells WITH Him. “

Under the blanket of either literal darkness or the darkness of  heart secrets we think that we can  coast through life as though every thought, intention or action could slip by unnoticed.

Hebrews 4:13; “And NO creature is hidden from His sight, but all are NAKED and EXPOSED to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

Hmmmm……so why do we run around as though our lives were hidden under a cloak of concealment? Do we understand what the Word of God says? Do we care? THERE IS NO DARKNESS! EVERYTHING is in light, EVERYTHING!! Everything is seen, everything exposed.

Our inclination is to hide; our flesh instinctively produces a flight path of fear; fear calls out for a hiding place, a place to run to, but away from whatever is producing the fear.

As I ponder this in light of the Word of God this morning I realize that if the the Word says this,(see above scripture) then there is great need for us to understand its full implication. So without reading more into scripture than what was inteneded for us, I simply embrace this truth this a.m as my earthly father taught me…read the word literally.

Are you hiding from God today? What is there in your life that you think your Maker is turning a blind eye to? What secret sin do you need to see through the Word today, a sin that is already naked and exposed to God? How much of your emotional energy are you spending every day trying to conceal what the Word of God says stands in the light anyway?

Darkness is as light to God….this truth does not bring fear to me, it brings  great comfort, and a great sigh of relief. It delivers another wing of freedom! What it means is that my life is an OPEN book, open to the One whose “STEADFAST LOVE STANDS FIRM FOREVER.”

THERE IS NOTHING TO FEAR! 1John 1:9 says, “IF we confess our sins, HE IS FAITHFUL, and WILL forgive us our sins AND cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness!” ; Romans 8:1 says, “There is NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus!”

This is GREAT and awesome news, we can dance in full daylight, because of Jesus, because of what He did, the darkness is not darkness at all, we are plain stupid if we live thinking this and become slaves to its stronghold because truth says otherwise…

So dear soul, come clean, come into the light, choose it and lay down with full repentance whatever your cloak of darkness is and CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS….we have a SAVIOR! WAHOO !!!!! He came to reveal the light to us!!!

I close with this; 1 John 1:5-7, ‘THIS is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, “that God is light, and in Him is NO DARKNESS AT ALL. If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, WE LIE and do not PRACTISE the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His son cleanses us from ALL sin.”

THIS is great news….just think about it….

 

Home Sweet Home

I’m home!!!

My blog has remained silent as my hubby and I have unpacked mountains of boxes!!! I had thought we had downsized, apparently I had forgotten how much junk we still had!! If anyone ever hears the word “move” come from my lips again, pack me up and ship me off to an island somewhere to gain perspective! I am getting too old for this! ARGH!!

I am also finally hooked up to the internet! So many services to call to restart a home again; details, details, details!! BUT in a little over a week the house is up and running and awaiting the arrival of family for Christmas.

Home sweet home… this little phrase has described my view of home all my married years. Home has been a place of great sweeetness, rest, security, peace, joy and sometimes great pain. Home has been the place I and our family have hung our hats so to speak, where we have loved and hated, laughed and cried. It has been a place of knowing, of purity and simplicity. And it has also been a place of great feasting and playing.

All these treasures I have had to let go of in the last while as I had to live a life of trust in the only One I knew would not change on me. Jesus peeled my onion again and stripped me of my most treasured earthly thing; my home. The place that represented the venue for all my loving and purpose. And though we had a loving place to live with our dear family, I was living in their home, their space, their rountine, eating and sleeping and doing life in their home sweet home, not mine. 

I had days during this time where I awoke to an overwhelming longing to just “go home”; like when you reach the end of your vacation and you can’t wait to get home, only I didn’t have a home. I was in a season of waiting for God to lead and move on our behalf.

I have discovered something beautiful in this place. Christ alone is my home. He has taken up permanent residence in my life and He will never leave. He enables me, carries me, joys me, strengthens me, moves me, changes me, teaches me and LOVES me…HE IS always present, and He is in my tomorrow already waiting for me. I have learned this apart from any tangible evidence surrounding me, and it has brought a new depth of joy, peace and freedom that no one or anything can touch, ever.

Yesterday I was reading Psalm 136…WOW!! There are 26 verses, and in all 26 verses it says, “”for His steadfast love endures forever.”

I read through the Psalm twice, then the third time I read the second half of each verse for all 26 verses…….I was overwhelmed BECAUSE of the journey I have just come through.

Then I read the psalm again, this time I read the first half of all 26 verses, WOW! The first half of each verse carries a descriptive truth of who God is, and then the packed punch….”The STEADFAST    LOVE    OF THE LORD   ENDURES    FOREVER.!”

Through every home sweet home, through every loss, through every gift, through every family ordeal, through ANYTHING God does for me, gives to me, removes from me, changes around me, I can KNOW BECAUSE HIS WORD SAYS SO, that His love is steadfast and it endures, it endures….FOREVER….

And here I thought that “forever” was a word that was only used in fairy tales…..