Category Archives: the Bible

a history lesson

looking up

One of the special things most mornings bring is our reading, sharing together The Word and the Truths revealed to us as we linger over breakfast and coffee.  Some mornings though with schedules and appointments, the time is unable to be shared together, but we both know even if one of us is not physically present we are still share in this time.  Today happen to be one of those time alone mornings.  And what a sweet Truth God revealed to me in the stillness of my surroundings.  

For the last week or so, we’ve been reading through 1 Chronicles.  I know most will probably react with the same questions that have rolled through my mind.  “Why read through this book in the book in the Bible?”   Afterall, it’s nothing but long lists of genealogy and the basic recording of events from Genesis through the kings of Judah, and the exile and the people returning to Jerusalem after the exile. It reads a lot like a history book, an ongoing account of events.  In fact, much of what’s in Chronicles is repeated material from the earlier books.  So much so my mind keeps asking, “Why does all this need to be repeated over again?”  “Why do these people keep doing the same things over and over?”  “Why don’t they learn from their past?”  “Why? Why? Why?”  I know God does all this for a reason.  So the student in me wants to try to put all the facts and pieces together and figure out all the Whys.  I want to focus on the horizontal look at this panoramic picture of the Old Testament.

But today was different.  Today as the mind started to ask these same questions over again, the heart responded directly. The Lord was telling my heart to stop focusing on all the Whys and to look at the Who.  At this time was it really important for me to know who was reigning and who ruling?  Was it important to figure out who had absolute authority and why was this one overthrown, or that one dethroned?  Was it important to question why these people kept doing the same things over and over?  The Spirit told me to stop looking all across the pages – going backward and forwards . . .  from one commentary to the next . . .  and to look up.  

So for today, my answer was right there as I looked up.  Who was reigning and ruling?  – GOD.  Who has absolute authority? – GOD.  Always has and always will.  He has never been overthrown.  He has always been on his throne and always will be.   I was getting so caught up in looking at things horizontally, from the side-to-side, the back-and-forth, that I was forgetting to look up.

Today was different.  Today reminded me that recently I’ve become so caught up in all the hoopla of the worldly things going on in my life, the lives of those ones I love and care deeply for, and the conundrum of details that seem to surround me.  I’ve become caught up in all the horizontal details of life – all those nitty, gritty frustrations of the details of life that want me to take my eyes off Jesus.

Looking across, side-to-side, front-to-back is full of unknowns, of fears, what ifs, unrest, upheaval, distrust and discontent.  Looking across and around is mucky and off-center.  I can’t truly gaze if I’m looking horizontally.  He tells me to put down the hoopla of the world.  To not fret over the horizontal details of life that really do not matter – those details that want to pull me down, to pull me apart, to pull me away.  He tells me those things do not matter because He is on His throne.  He will not step down, nor will He be pushed aside.  He IS in control.

He has all my details covered because He knows my story.  Seeing all my details, He moves in His own time and at His own pace.  I need to stop looking across at all the earthly details and fretting over the earthly “kings” that change at the drop of a hat. He calls to me, “Daughter, look up to Me, your Heavenly King.  I have all the details of your life covered. Surrender them all to me and leave them at the foot of the Cross and at the foot of My throne. The one and only throne that has never or will ever change.”

Yes, today is different.  Looking up and over the page. I fix my gaze – I see the One that is unchangeable, full of grace and mercy and peace. Looking up is transformational.    

 


hold my hand

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 He knows what is in the darkness,
    and the light dwells with him.
Daniel 2:22


Fear according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary

fear

noun

: an unpleasant emotion caused by being aware of danger : a feeling of being afraid

: a feeling of respect and wonder for something very powerful


Some fears can be healthy, protecting me from something that could be potentially dangerous.  But other fears cause me to think and react irrationally, becoming imprisoned by whatever it is that is causing me such an adversion.  This kind of fear can even keep me from obeying God, from hearing the Spirit speak to me, from feeling His pricking at my heart.

Instead of running or hiding from this emotion called fear, I need to go to the words spoken in Daniel 2:22.  There is no mystery with God and he’s never surprised or caught off guard.  He never wonders how in the world is He going to deal with this thing.   I need to remember, I am not alone here.

God is with me here in this moment of darkness, this hour of adversity, this season of not knowing why.  It is not darkness to Him because He is Light.  He is in complete charge of the mysteries of my life, those things that cause me to feel fear.  He holds me, my fears, my mysteries in His hand.  And because He does, I do not need to run, or hide.  I rest in Him, my Abba Father.


light

CIty Centre

Lights are glimmering everywhere I look.  The twinkling lights on a tree, the blinking decorations on buildings, the warm, soft glow of candles.  Lights are beckoning me to remember that the Christmas season is all about light . . . His Light.  

I find myself thinking about the time when there was no light.  The earth was without form and there was no light, just darkness that covered the void of existence.  And then God spoke four simple, but all-powerful, Almighty words . . .

“Let there be light “

And there was light.  And it was good.

My mind marvels at this.  From the very beginning of creation, His light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it.  And throughout scripture Light beckons man.

So at this time of celebration of the birth of a little baby called Jesus, the light that is on my mind is the guiding light that beckoned the simple shepherds and the credentialed wise men to the Savior.  This little baby who was born in a lowly, dark manger came to be Light to this dark world.

“I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”

Yes, lights are glimmering everywhere.  Around every corner there are lights blinking and twinkling, gleaming in bright colors or shimmering like icicles.  Lights flickering from the glow of candles or warm fires burning.  The lights beckon us to get lost in the glow of the hustle and the bustle.  

But let’s not miss the Light of the World, whose birth we celebrate.
Without His Light, we walk in darkness – no matter how bright the lights of the world seem to shine around us.  

I want to be a light for Him.

G for the Gores!

 


You promised!

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First the clouds started rolling in from the west . . . then the winds picked up . . . followed by the spring rains.

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and then the sky poured out a double rainbow . . .

Our reminder of His Promise . . .

 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between Me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all future generations: I have placed My bow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.
Genesis 9:12-13

and a reminder to pray His promises. . .

Your promises build my faith and give me hope.
They help me remember your kindness and give me strength to go on.
Your Word makes it clear that Your promises can be trusted:
“God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man that He should change
 his mind.  Does He speak and then not act.  Does He promise and not fulfill?”
You keep your promises!
Because You are absolutely perfect, it is impossible for You to lie.
Your Word is filled with promises, I want to pray again and again . . .
You tell me to have faith when I pray . . . 

And the rain fell to the earth that spring day last weekend.   And just as the cleansing rains fell to saturate the ground, to nurture the earth – making it bud and bloom before cycling back to the heavens again . . .

I can rely on your Word because you are reliable.
You said about your Word,
‘It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I
desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it’ Isaiah 55:11

Thank You that I can rely on your Word because You are reliable.


not disqualified

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I look at the face staring back at me from the mirror . . . thinking “Who do you think you’re fooling?  You’re so disqualified.  What in the world do you have to offer?  You are broken . . . of absolutely no use.”  It’s those lies speaking into my heart.

His Word tells me my brokenness placed in God’s hands doesn’t disqualify me.  He redeems me from that mess of broken pieces all over life.  My brokenness actually qualifies me for His use.

God used two broken stone tablets to cause the Israelites to repent of their disobedience.

God used broken earthen vessels (pitchers that covered torches) to give the impression of an enormous army accompanying Gideon and to cause his enemies to pull back in dread.

God used a broken heart to return King David to Himself.

God used a broken roof to provide access for a cripple to be lowered by four faithful friends into the healing presence of Jesus.

God used broken loaves to feed five thousand and then some.

God used broken fishing nets to challenge the disciples to depend on Him rather on their own efforts for their needs.

God used a broken flask of nard to express the love that flows out of a relationship with Him.

God used a broken ship to steer Paul to the island of Malta to reveal the gospel to the natives there.

God used a broken body, pierced for our sins, to provide salvation for all mankind.

from M. R. DeHaan, Broken Things:  Why We Suffer


Mind-boggling

Collection of hundreds of Free Bible Verse from all over the world.

However, as it is written:

“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”
the things God has prepared for those who love him—

It’s so easy to read through these words without really thinking about the words.   Take some time . . . read each phrase . . . ponder on what each says.

What no eye has seen . . . 

What no ear has heard. . . 

What no human mind has conceived. . .

I think I have a pretty lofty imagination, but not even stretching my five senses, each to its utmost limits, my understanding falls vastly short. I can’t even begin to have an inkling of the glory, the riches, God has in store for those He calls His own.

Mind-boggling.  Inconceivable.  Unimaginable.

Rejoicing in His Promises  . . . because these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.


{Sunday renewal} the straight path

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The Straight Path

My son, pay attention to my words;
listen closely to my sayings.

Don’t lose sight of them;
keep them within your heart.

For they are life to those who find them,
and health to one’s whole body.

Guard your heart above all else,
for it is the source of life.

Don’t let your mouth speak dishonestly,
and don’t let your lips talk deviously.

Let your eyes look forward;
fix your gaze straight ahead.

Carefully consider the path for your feet,
and all your ways will be established.

Don’t turn to the right or to the left;
keep your feet away from evil.

Proverbs 4:20-27

My natural path never seems straight.  But these few words of Wisdom are the keys that keep me on the Straight Path.  From my eyes to my feet . . . but at the core of it all is my heart.  My Source of Life.


the tattered Bible

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“A tattered Bible is evidence of a life that is not.” ~ Charles Spurgeon

The early morning alarm goes off and it’s off we go.  It seems like it’s all “go and do . . . go and do . . .” with little time left for anything else. And then it’s fast drifting off to sleep as soon as the head hits the pillow. Only to wake and do it all over again. Cramming life in, only to feel tired and stressed, frustrated and even perhaps agitated.  On those days where I try to cram more into the day, it seems the less I press into God.  And life feels tattered, a complete mess.

Sitting at our dining table, which seems to be more of a working table as of late, I was all wrapped up in grading the endless stream of papers produced by my middle schoolers.  But in the background as I heard those words of Spurgeon quoted, my mind immediately visualized the picture I had taken of our dear friend’s, Joe, Bible.  His Bible is a living testament to his life and his daily walk, to his desire to know Him and to make Him known.

The tattered Bible – worn pages with scribbled notes in the margins and anywhere space can be found.  A cover that is torn and just barely clinging on to the spine.  But that tattered Bible is evidence of a life that is a deep abiding love for our Abba Father.

Oh what a treasure, the tattered Bible . . . a far greater legacy than anything on earth can buy!


forgiveness {laying down my right to be right}

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  Forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.  Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity.
Colossians 3: 13-14

But I’m in the right .  . .

He owes me the apology.  I didn’t start this . . .

She had it coming.  It’ll be a long time before I speak to her again . . .

Sound familiar?

 

When I read the following from a piece by Joe Dallas the other day, the comments started the replay button in my head.

When I’m at my most childish, I mentally line up the people who’ve hurt me, order them to face the wall, then fire off a few rounds. They had it coming. They shot their mouths off one too many times, or they broke my heart, or they didn’t return my calls. Whatever – their sins vary, from the kindergarten teacher who kept me after school to the close friend who betrayed me and never apologized. Sentencing them feels powerful; executing them feels omnipotent.

No wonder so many of us have such a hard time forgiving! Grudges endow us with a false sense of strength. We feel a surge of adrenaline when we’re self-righteously looking down at someone else’s sin, the false power of the Unforgiving lording it over the Unforgiven. But it’s crippling as well. It exempts us from God’s forgiveness, since Jesus made it clear our Heavenly Father withholds grace from those who withhold it from others, and it keeps us forever feeling like victims when we remember the wrongs others have done us, then mentally exact our revenge.

I think C.S. Lewis had it right.  Forgiveness sounds like a really good thing, the right thing to do – until I’m the one who has to do the forgiving. And then it can be a difficult thing to do, especially when the source is someone who close – at home, in the family, at church, at work.

And then I look up at the Cross. Forgiving Grace and Mercy looks down at me with His shed blood.  And I think of the words and actions that have hurt me, the BIG and the small.

I have choices to make.  Do I stuff the feelings down deep inside my heart, carrying them around only to let them fester?  Do I take it out on others around me?  Do I shut down emotionally?  Do I . . .?

~ OR ~

Do I follow in obedience . . . and forgive?

Forgiveness  – I lay down my right to be right.

Forgiveness  – I look at the other person through the lens of grace.

ForgivenessI lay down the olive branch and forgive {even if it’s just between God and me} instead of becoming the victim of my hurt.

Forgiveness –  I don’t keep an account.  I don’t keep score.  God is the Final Judge, not me.


running

Running Away

I used to be a runner, well of sorts.  Actually, it might be better described as more of my love-hate relationship with running.  I had a difficult time being committed to the regiment needed to be obedient to being successful.  Selfishness, fear of not succeeding, criticism of my effort, all put up stumbling blocks in my path.  So eventually the minor injuries, time constraints, and things like an aging body made the excuses for not running easier to accept.

Today, I can be a runner, a runner of another sort.  Actually, I fight being this runner, too.  Just like Jonah running to the sea, hiding out on a boat, I think “I’m “out of sight, out of [His] mind.

Whether it be a situation that involves confrontation [I’d rather shirk away], or something I really, really don’t want to do [sound familiar Jonah], or difficulties with work, ministry, or with family [places where I should be ok,right?], or maybe it was just good old conviction of sin [ugh, that’s never comfortable] – I’d run.  

Ashamed to say. I’d run.  Run away from God.  Run away from home and family.  Run away from church.  Run away from work.  Run away in search of something that would be easier, more comfortable [for me], and definitely less confrontational.  I’d run straight into hiding and avoidance. 

Just like in my “sport” of physically running, I could easily find excuses to not be spiritually obedient. Struggling with who I am, who I believe myself to be, makes it easy to listen to the voice that wants to defeat me.  

Sometimes pure selfishness causes me to run.  Surely, I know what’s best for me, no matter what God thinks or says.
Sometimes simple fear causes me to run.  What if I fail?  What are others going to think?  I’ve been criticized so much in the past.
Sometime lack of basic trust causes me to run.  What’s this going to cost me?  Does this mean I have to give up my plans?

No matter what my reason, I have seen and at times paid a high cost for turning away and trying to run and hide from my Creator.

Looking at the story of Jonah.  He paid dearly for his rebellion.  He suffered embarrassment, terror of being in the belly of whale for 3 days, and the heavy burden of guilt.  But his running not only affected just Jonah.  His running away from being obedient jeopardized the lives of innocent people.  There is always fallout from running.

How many people have walked away from friends and family, saying “I can do what I want to do.  It’s my life.”  What I have learned, and continue to learn even today, running away doesn’t ever truly get rid of the problem, or change the real circumstances.  Whether it be my own running, or the running away of someone close to my life a terrible price is paid and others are hurt in the process.

Yet, there can be a different ending to the story of running away.  Our Abba Father is forgiving.  Just like with Jonah, He kept after him as long as it was necessary.  And He is faithful and will keep after His Own as long as is necessary.

So why do we continue to run?  


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