Aug 28

FOR FAITH: Psalm 27:4

Psalm 27 4 cp

 

Please feel free to re-post this image and share it with your friends any place you’d like. No permission needed. Enjoy.

Aug 24

FOR FAITH; FOR READERS: Immovable by Dr. Tim Riordan

Immovable

Whether Christians are sure the end days are just around the corner or far into the future, the fact is that we are surrounded by an enemy determined to attack our faith however possible. Our task is to remain strong in our faith—immovable, as Riordan says. In this book, Riordan focuses on the armor of God, in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians to help us stand firm.

Part I of Immovable explains the last days as set out in Scripture and what life might look like for modern folk. Then, in Part II, Riordan discusses each piece of armor in detail, focusing on how together they can help us stand firm in our faith. Summaries and questions for further thought at the end of the book help readers take the next step in applying Riordan’s points in tangible ways.

Although the depth of Riordan’s teaching will appeal to mature Christians, his ability to explain Scripture makes this book one that seekers and new Christians should also be able to understand and embrace.

I highly recommend this book both for those interested in prophecy concerning the end times and also because it will encourage a desire to deepen an understanding of Scripture and God’s plan for us.

♦♦♦

Immovable is available here at Amazon.com in Kindle and print

Dr. Riordan’s Amazon author page

My review of Dr. Riordan’s Songs of the Heart

My review of Stedman’s Praying the Armor of God, also based on Ephesians 6:10-18

Aug 21

OZ AND I: Grace and Obedience

OZ AND I image copy

 

Oswald Chambers’ upside the head whacking for today relates to obedience. Oz said:

If our Lord insisted on our obedience, He would simply become a taskmaster and cease to have any real authority. He never insists on obedience, but when we truly see Him we will instantly obey Him. Then He is easily Lord of our life, and we live in adoration of Him from morning till night. 

Christians spend a lot of time discussing obedience—especially as it relates to good works. James tells us, “faith without works is dead” (James 2:17). We know we can’t work our way to heaven. We know God doesn’t even give out brownie points when we do something good. God desires our obedience. But here’s Oswald Chambers reminding us that God is such a gentlemen that He will not demand it.

Jesus’ sacrifice has made us who call upon His name holy. Not because of what we have done, are doing or will do. But simply because of what He did and by how He sees us through His holy eyes.

That said and done, Peter reminds us: now that Jesus has made us holy, we are to (continue to) “be holy, because I (God) am holy” (1 Peter 1:16, quoting Leviticus 20:26 and Leviticus 11:44 to “live holy lives.”)

Because God does not insist on our obedience, it’s easy for us to slide through life, not focusing on living holy lives. Oz summed things up for me this morning, saying

The level of my growth in grace is revealed by the way I look at obedience. 

Am I still looking at obedience as a “have to” thing? Or has it become a “want to” because of my love for Jesus and my appreciation for His amazing grace and mercy?

Thanks, Oz for the reminder and the nudge.

♦♦♦

From the July 19 devotional, My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

Aug 17

GEOLOGY AND JESUS: Geodes—Seeing the Beauty Within

Photo from Crystal Allies Specimen which sells geodes like this lovely amethyst piece.

 

When I was eight, our family packed up our 1960 Chevy Impala and moved from Illinois to San Francisco. Dad had made room in the trunk for my brother’s one-eyed box turtle, Maynard T. Soup and for his collection of enormous diamonds.

The diamonds were actually geodes. But to an 8-year old girl, 50 pounds of quartz crystals were nearly as good as diamonds. Certainly as beautiful.

After that trip, poor Maynard went to rest on the big hot rock in the sky. But I began a love affair with gemstones.

In fact, my first science report after we moved to San Francisco was on geodes. Geodes look like overly plain, dull and lifeless rocks. But when cracked open, they contain extraordinary beauty. Sometimes the beauty appears as waves of color, like an agate and are known to non-geological folks as “thunder eggs.” But my favorite geodes contain brilliant crystals of clear or colored quartz like the photo above.

And they always remind me of Jesus.

  1. Our humanity is often dull and plain on the outside. But Jesus sees our hearts. He sees the beauty of a heart that loves Him. He sees the beauty of His creation. He sees the beautiful person He desires us to become.
  2.  Without Jesus, we feel hollow inside as if our soul is just a big empty hole. But when Jesus enters our hearts, that hole is inhabited by His Spirit. It is no longer an empty cavern but is now a place where light and beauty reside.

You have to break a geode to discover the beauty. God sometimes uses tragedy to forge our spirits and turn us to Him, but not always. Sometimes, we simply have to allow God to break our willful spirit. When we surrender our broken will to Him, the beauty inside can be revealed.

As for “thunder eggs”? That is the topic for a future post. Until then, here are a few verses from Scripture relating God and thunder:

He set a limit for the rain and a course for the thunderbolt (Job 28:26).

When He utters His voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, And He causes the clouds to ascend from the end of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain, And brings out the wind from His storehouses (Jeremiah 10:13). 

So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled (Exodus 19:16). 

“Is it not the wheat harvest today? I will call to the LORD, that He may send thunder and rain Then you will know and see that your wickedness is great which you have done in the sight of the LORD by asking for yourselves a king.” So Samuel called to the LORD, and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel (1 Samuel 12:17-18). 

“Behold, these are the fringes of His ways; And how faint a word we hear of Him! But His mighty thunder, who can understand?” (Job 26:14) 

“After it, a voice roars; He thunders with His majestic voice, And He does not restrain the lightnings when His voice is heard. “God thunders with His voice wondrously, Doing great things which we cannot comprehend (Job 37:4-5). 

“You called in trouble and I rescued you; I answered you in the hiding place of thunder; I proved you at the waters of Meribah. Selah (Psalms 81:7).

 

 

 

Aug 14

MOVING MOM

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Jim and I moved to Idaho three months ago. Today, we’re driving back to California to pack up Mom and move her to Idaho, too.

Mom will live in a lovely facility less than one mile down the street from us. She’s excited. We’re excited.

Mom’s moving to Idaho!

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No formal post today. Just a “thinking of you” and praising God for allowing things to work out so nicely.

Aug 10

FOR FAITH: More Praying Names – Carmen and Jay

Name

 

The Book of Revelation tells us that the names of Jesus’ followers are written in the Book of Life. Those names are important. And they have meaning.

I love to pray that people will live the meaning of their names. Periodically I post prayers based on meanings of names here on this site.

If you would like me to include a name of someone you are praying for, you can contact me by clicking on “COMMENT” at the end of the most recent blog post. I will research the name and create a prayer based on the name’s meaning. Check back here for new additions.
I pray you will be blessed by this endeavor.

 

∞∞∞

 

CARMEN: poem; song girl

Dear Jesus, I pray that Carmen would live the meaning of her name. I pray that she will live with a song always in her heart and a song of praise on her lips for you. Amen.

 

JAY: bird in the crow family

Dear Jesus, I pray that Jay will live the meaning of his name. I pray that he will remember Scripture that while you love the birds of the air, you love him even more. I pray also that when he remembers the meaning of his name it will encourage him to soar on wings like eagles through your power and rest in the protective shadow of your wings. Amen.

 

 

Aug 07

FOR FAITH: Trust

Do not worry

No, the rabbit didn’t die. He’s just sleeping. Right there. On the 4-H table at the Canyon County Fair. While a few hundred people stroll by with squealing babies, goats on leashes and red balloons bobbing above his head.

Which reminds me of Jesus.

In keeping with the farm animal metaphor, Jesus was the sacrificial lamb, slain so His blood covers our sin. His resurrection proved His victory over death on Easter Sunday. Hence, the rabbit. As in Easter. But that’s not the real reason he reminds me of Jesus.

Rabbits don’t have razor claws. Their big teeth don’t shred skin. In fact, the only damage rabbits can do if they decide to attack us humans would be to whack us with their big fluffy feet.  But this one is showing his soft, tender underbelly while we snap photos of him for Facebook. He has no worries. He has only trust.

Which I should have when I remember that Jesus has it all covered. My sins are forgiven. He provides for my needs. He keeps me safe from evil.

Life is good.

Aug 03

FOR FAITH: Heading Home

highway 80

We’re on our way home today. Home to Idaho. Home from our former home in California. Our daughter and son-in-law and many dear friends and family members still live in California. So part of our hearts remain there with them.

This trip however, is our third trip back to California since we moved at the end of April. That’s three trips in three months.

An 8-hour trip across 4 states, while disrupting schedules and requiring tanks-ful of gasoline, is still very do-able. It makes me realize how small the world really is.

And reminds me of Jesus.

Jesus spoke the universe into existence. He created the heavens and sprinkled the stars and planets and suns about. He created this amazing earth and designed everything on it. Then He gave us life here and placed people and circumstances in our paths—pointing us out into our community that we might be a light of His love to others.

And then, sometimes expanding our community, as He did, when He led us to Idaho.

Bruce Wilkinson, wrote an entire book (The Prayer of Jabez: Breaking Through to the Blessed Life) based on a short prayer recorded in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10. Part of that prayer is:

Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory…

Jim and my move to Idaho, while maintaining our ties to California has indeed enlarged our territory. We continue to pray that our presence in both locations will help us be a witness to Jesus’ love so that we may be part of His plan to also enlarge His territory spiritually.

Thank you, Jesus for this world and the people in it whom you love.

Jul 31

FOR FAITH: Jesus at the Rodeo

Steer Wrestling at Snake River Stampede

We recently went to our first rodeo.

It began with the pre-rodeo events. The first was a competition of individual 6-year olds wrestling an adult goat to the ground—the first step in learning to tie the legs of fully grown cattle. Next 7 year olds, all wearing helmets, face plates and Kevlar vests, rode bareback on fully grown sheep—in preparation for learning to tame horses, ride horses, ride bulls. You’d think riding sheep wouldn’t be scary, but when they weigh 4 times as much as you do and all you have to hang on to is a rope…Let’s just say, I’d want a helmet and face plate, too.

The actual rodeo began with bareback bronc riding. Just watching made me mentally pencil a note to call the chiropractor. I learned a whole lot about riding and scoring, noting that half the score was owed to the horse itself. The more it kicked and twisted about, the better the score and the more dangerous the ride.

Then came steer wrestling, team roping of cattle, and saddle bronc riding. A lighted drill team awed us with the horse and riders’ ability to maintain formation in the dark. An exhibition of hands-free riding by one-armed John Payne and his team of real live (enormous) buffalo was fascinating.

We then went back to tense-filled moments with steer roping and exciting cowgirl barrel racing, followed by the main event (i.e., most dangerous) bareback bull riding. I’m still shrieking as I recall those brave cowboys being tossed and nearly trampled by enormous bulls.

The part of the rodeo that stood out most however had nothing to do with the competitions. It began with the depth of the opening prayer. The MC spoke with passion as he asked Jesus to be present during the events. As he expressed our gratitude for Jesus’ salvation, the audience loudly echoed his “amen.” The love of Christ was then book-ended at the close of the rodeo when a beautiful albino colt pranced about the arena to the music playing: I Can Only Imagine (what heaven will be like).

Rodeos are all about the cattle industry—showcasing the skills and courage needed to handle those large animals. Although I respect my vegetarian friends’ choice, I do not apologize for eating meat. Rather, I keep in mind the Apostle Peter’s vision:

He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat” (Acts 10:11-13).

Many people may express concern about treatment of animals at rodeos. I am not ready to debate that issue. There are laws that protect the animals in the arena. A rodeo is not about harming animals. It is about a recognition of an industry which feeds our country. And it is about the dedication, courage and strength of the people who work in that industry.

Because of my first rodeo attendance, I have greater respect for those cowboys and cowgirls who work with animals so that meat can be placed on the tables of those of us who eat it.

But something else happened in my consciousness during that rodeo. I was also overcome by the show of heart-felt love for Jesus by the people who call Idaho home and the cowboys and visitors who have come from across the country to attend the rodeo in this important agricultural community.

In fact, because of the love for Jesus that I saw that night, I have since begun to wonder: might there be rodeos in heaven, after all? I Can Only Imagine…

 

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 Click to enjoy Mercy Me’s music video of I Can Only Imagine.

Jul 27

FOR FAITH: It’s Harvest Time

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Before I lived in an agricultural community, I thought harvest meant autumn. Sure, summer is the time for tomatoes and other fruit, but autumn is harvest time. After all, that’s when we have Thanksgiving and see cornucopias filled with plastic veggies in store windows, right?

But now that I’m living amid fields of every possible variety of food, I’ve discovered that harvest is happening now. And it’s happening fast!

On Wednesday, I drove past the field of yellow wheat drying on the stalks. Thursday at mid-day the combine machines started grinding their way through the field. By Thursday evening, the harvest had been packed into giant trucks and hauled away. Before long those fields may be burned and made ready for the next crop.

If I had locked myself in my house on Thursday I would have missed the whole thing.

Which reminds me of Jesus.

Scripture tells us that there is a harvest of souls coming—when Jesus returns to earth to bring His children home with Him.

Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together (John 4:35-36).

 Scripture also tells us that we will not know when that day will come.

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father (Matthew 24:36).

 Scripture further tells us that our job is to be ready when He comes.

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him (Matthew 24:42-44). 

Then Jesus tells us one more thing to prepare for the harvest. It is our job is to tell others about Jesus, to make disciples of them, to go out into the world and tell everyone Jesus’ good news.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:19-20).

 In other words:

  • I shouldn’t lock myself in my house.
  • I should actively go out into the world and tell the news so that Jesus’ harvest can be even greater.
  • There is urgency. The good will be gathered and the rest will be burned.

Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn” (Matthew 13:30)

…telling His disciples: “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” (Matthew 9:13).

Nope, I don’t want to be sitting in my house when Jesus comes, asking why I wasn’t out in the fields, being one of those workers. And I certainly don’t want to hear him say to me:

“See ya; wouldn’t want to be ya!”

Ouch. Thanks for the reminder, Jesus.

 

 

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