After the sin in the Garden, God made clothes for Adam and Eve, made of skins. It doesn’t go into detail regarding the animal used to make the skins. I heard one guy share his guess, that it may have been the skin of a lamb. That would make sense. I too have walked with guilt and shame, but have since been clothed in Christ, the perfect Lamb of God.
God is so good and I am thankful for Jesus.
for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
I remember in art class I was forming a clay cup with my hands. About half way through it jumped back about 6 inches, looked up at me and said, “are you sure you know what you are doing? I think I should stay looking like this”. I replied, “no, I’m not finished…you don’t even have a handle and your top is uneven…trust me.” But the half finished clay coffee cup said, “nahhh, im good” and journeyed off the table. I still love my coffee cup, even though it’s not quite finished…
Just kidding. Actually, after thinking about it, I did finish that coffee cup, and I’m glad to know it never lost faith in me – and it’s awesome! Last time I checked it was on display at my mom’s house. 😀
Lord, I am yours to form and to mold. As long as I am breathing, I know you are doing a work in me. May I never get in the way of that, and always trust you.
Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
In anything we do for another, may our love for God, and his love which lives in us, be the driving force behind our actions. May the love we give always be genuine (his love) – for fellow believers both young and old in the faith, and for those who have yet to believe; so they may come to Jesus when they experience the love of He who lives in you.
And He will be with you always to the very end of the age.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
1 Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
I just want to be living and growing in this truth, right here, right now…
To God be the glory forever and ever amen.
1 And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
1 Corinthians 14:1 Let love be your highest goal!…
The other day I told one of my kids I’d rather have her put all her heart into what she does and get Ds in school, then have her work with little to no heart and get Cs. Chances are if she puts all her heart into her work, c’s and d’s will be a thing of the past. But for me, it’s not about the grade as much as it’s about my kids working with all their heart in whatever they do.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
With this, I consider our part as Christians. Being saved by Grace through faith, I believe our God wants to run this race with passion and heart. It’s good to look at the details of how we can run with greater passion and grow, but we must not lose sight of the big picture – and that is Jesus. His love, how he is our redeemer who is the only way to having a right relationship with our Heavenly Father.
So if we get too concerned with our “grade” we missed it. May our passion, our heart, always be driven by the love of our God and our Lord Jesus Christ. With Jesus as my savior, there is no test I must pass and no final I must stress over. My “diploma” has already been served and sealed through what happened on the Cross that day. Do I deserve it? No. I’ve accepted Jesus, and now am called by him a child of God. I’ve been adopted and he loves me. I have been freed and I am forever thankful.
And now as his love dwells within me, I want to run this race with all my heart.
John and Nicole were a couple who, with the Lord, did fairly well in life. John was a doctor and Nicole worked in real estate. They were both in love with the Lord and lived each day with the hope to walk more like Jesus. They lived out on a piece of property where the weather was nice and the ocean appeared light blue. It was like a paradise.
Through much work and sacrifice they were able to retire and move forward with one of their lifelong dreams, to adopt a group of orphans from a village torn by evil. A place where kids live in fear and hunger has become the norm. So when the time was right, they took a private jet and set out for this small village. The village was severely reduced in number so they agreed between each other that they would take as many of the remaining orphan kids as they possibly could from this village to come live with them.
So they depart toward this island. As their plane makes an approach, they land on a small dirt strip and get off with the intent of staying for a few days before returning home. So as they begin to settle in they meet with a young vibrant 8 year old child named Vivaan. They couldn’t help but to love this child so much and told him the full purpose of their visit. The child lit up with hope and joy. At about that time the pilot interrupts, “got word on the tele, we have to go now!” From a distance they see forces speeding toward them, and all the kids are running into the jungle. Quickly Nicole bends down to her knee and tells the boy, “Come with us!”, “I can’t my sister”, he replies. We will be back in 3 days, tell whoever would like to come to be ready! And then the child with the conflicting expression of joy and fear nods quickly and bolts into the jungle.
Now as you may have assumed, this is just a story to illustrate reality. You are Vivaan, through Christ the work is done and the sacrifice was made to provide you a safe passage into eternity, to be with our Heavenly Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus.
John 3:16 (NKJV)
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
1. The first question, Do you believe God’s message?
2. Second, have you accepted the invitation and put your faith in Jesus?
3. Lastly, like Vivaan, who are you going share this good news with?
Consider these three questions carefully, and know that no matter where you are in this life, God loves you so much more than you may realize.
Our Lord neither faints or grows tired, and gives power to the weak. Those suffering captivity in Babylon had to wait, and put their hope in the Lord. And upon waiting, a time came where God renewed their strength. If you are reading this, chances are you are not held captive in the same way they were, however sometimes we are made captive by the enemy. Whether we’re dealing with regret, depression, anger or some other emotion, it’s possible to be taken captive from the joy God has for us. Put your hope in the Lord and he will renew your strength and you will mount up with wings like eagles, running and not be weary, walking and you won’t grow faint.
I like how it says we can run and not be weary, walk and not grow faint. I notice, there’s no idle position. With God giving us power and strength, with our hope always in the Lord, we can keep moving forward in our faith.
28 Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
I remember back in my earlier years, age 20-21, I was about as lost as I could be. I knew of Jesus but didn’t know him, and I definitely wasn’t following him at that time in my life. There was an evening when I just wasn’t getting along with anyone. I was living at my parents. I remember arguing and fighting with them, I remember one night storming out, “I don’t need this”, I thought.
So I start driving up this road, Magee road. I continue east outside the city toward the mountain. At the top of Magee there is a small parking lot at the base of the hill where people park when they want to go for a hike. I thought I’d go hang out up there for awhile. It was already getting late and I remember approaching the parking lot. As I drove toward it I remember taking the wrong road into the parking lot – boom boom, two tires flattened. I entered through the exit and the spikes got me. I hit the brakes to avoid blowing out my back tires, I then threw it in reverse and backed up out of the entrance, then I just sat there for a moment, “what now”. I remember no other cars were out there, except for a single car just sitting there parked. I approach the car and the guy in the car rolls down his window. I go on to tell him what happened using the language I used to use. There was a calmness about this person, a peace. He offers me a ride home and I accept. All the way back home this guy begins to share with me the love of Jesus and how he’s learned that Jesus is the way. This person seemed to have just so much joy and peace, as he shared his testimony. We get to my house and I thank him for the ride. I walk in the house and tell my mom I think I met an angel or something. She was still frustrated with me as is the rest of the family, more than likely for good reason. Quickly I let go of the experience I had on that ride home and went back on the defense. This day, I wouldn’t fully realize what just happened. But I know today that God was reaching out to me through this Christian man, in the midst of this difficult time.
So many times God has been there for me without me even knowing it. I am so grateful he’s never given up on me, and he never will. Today I believe this man wasn’t an angel, but a Believer who answered the call, and poured out God’s love toward this stranger who was lost. Thank you Jesus, today I am found.
So driving back to work from the project site I came up to a car that was driving really slow. I just wanted to get around him and get to work. I noticed the handicap license plate and I began to let up a bit from my frustration, but still wanted to get to work. “Eghhh, mooove, please don’t turn right at the light”, I said. This was followed by the turning on of his right side blinker. “AHHHH!, okay I’ll just jet around him after the turn, I thought”. So he made his right, and it turns out I had to wait another 10 seconds for traffic before making my right. Finally, I make my right and I’m off and running, FREEEEEEDOM! About 2 miles down the road I see that same car breaking down. Bummer, then there was that familiar nudging in my soul. I pass him up and get to the next light to make my left. That nudging of the spirit began to grow , “Okay”, I’ll answer the call, so I made a u-turn. I start driving back and I see him slowly driving along the shoulder, “oh good”, I thought, “he’s not fully broke down, he’s getting somewhere”, so I pass him up again – off to work. Then I look in my rearview, he pulls to the side again. Okay, I thought – so I made the u-turn again. People waiting for the bus notice me drive by for the second time in this old black truck. We’re doing circles now.
So I continue about a mile and make another u-turn and pull up on the shoulder behind this guy. I get out and begin walking up to his window, there in the backseat is his walker, and there he is, by himself, in his mid-70s with a front fender-bender and apparently an empty radiator. I asked him how he was doing and if there is anything I can get for him. He told me his story about the minor wreck he was in. He just dropped to liability a couple days ago because he hadn’t been in an accident for 40 years. The guy in front of him just slammed on his breaks, he rear-ended that guy and now the car is overheating. He shared a few times how he was just feeling really upset. I just tried to be an ear for him. I offered to get water but he mentioned the hood doesn’t come up. I offered him a ride but he wasn’t ready to leave his car. So we just talked awhile longer. After we talked for a few minutes I told him one moment, and walked to my truck wrote down my name and number on a piece of paper and gave it to him. Told him if you change your mind about the ride home just give me a call and I’ll come back. I looked down the road and saw the Walmart market and said, “if you don’t want to leave the car here you may be able to make it to that market and park it there temporarily.” He was up for it so I jumped back in my truck and followed with my hazards on. He passed the market and stopped on the shoulder again, then he waved me over. So I got out and walked over. He said, “you know I don’t have too far, I think I’m going to try to just coax it back home.” I asked, “you sure?” He responded, “yea it should be okay”. I said, okay and then he thanked me and shook my hand. But I felt a call to pray. Then that dumb spirit of fear started talking, so I just had to do something so I cut the fear off and asked the guy, “What was your name again?” Even though he never gave it to me. He replied, “Oliver and yours?” I told him my name and we shook hands again and then I said, Oliver, would you mind if I prayed for you? He looked up at me and said, wait for it……. He said…….”yea” in a more lifted calm voice. That spirit of fear was way off. And with my hand on top of the car roof I just leaned forward a bit and said, “Lord, thank you for Oliver, thank you for the opportunity to meet a new friend. “Lord please help Oliver get home safe. Thank you God, In Jesus name I pray, amen.” After the prayer, he looked lifted and with his hand he raised the paper with my number and said, “now I have a good friend to reach out to”, I said, “definitely, call me if you need help”. He said, “I’m just a good guy too” I smiled and nodded my head in agreement and then we said our goodbyes. I believe in that last moment the Lord just poured out an amazing blessing on both of us. And I know he’ll make it home just fine.
God brought me so much joy in this experience. God is so good. My way was to ignore the situation, and I was being very impatient. His way is to love others, love is patient, love is kind. Thank you God for helping me be more loving, an area for me that can always use some improvement. May you continue guiding me to live less for me and more for you Lord, with love always. Thank you. ~ Amen
Today brings me to day 6 of this journey of writing about faith mentions in the book of Matthew. In the prior post I talked about the woman who was bleeding for 12 years, who came up behind Jesus and touched the edge of his cloak, then was healed. Jesus tells her that her faith had healed her. And then Jesus continues; Matthew 9:
27 As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!”
28 After Jesus had entered the house, the blind men came to Him. “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” He asked.
“Yes, Lord,” they answered.
29 Then He touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you.” 30 And their eyes were opened. Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one finds out about this!” 31 But they went out and spread the news about Him throughout the land.
Isn’t it True?
I imagine it was very difficult keeping news like this quiet. Isn’t it true that when touched by Jesus, these are the times when we want to share our faith the most? These men just reveived sight, literally, from the touch of Jesus. When we feel the touch of Jesus, his almight hand in our small individual lives, it’s like our faith is ignited. That’s all it takes, a single touch. His touch.
Our choice in this is to believe. To have ears that hear and eyes that see. Interestingly, these blind men were seeing clearly before they were healed. Through all the distractions, they could see the truth.
Faith, Where does it come from?
So where does faith come from, yourself or the one who restores sight? Where did it come from for these Men? I’m guessing they probably heard something about Jesus along the way, and their faith grew. In my own walk I experience a growing faith as I live by his word and see the results speak for Jesus. Sometimes living by his word doesn’t even seem to make sense. “Seriously Jesus, you want me to pray for that person” or “really? I should give even on this budget?” and in those moments I hear the Lord says to us through Proverbs 3:5, and I paraphrase, “Trust Me”.
This is one of my favorite lines stated by the Pixar character Dory, the friendly little blue fish from Finding Nemo. She makes for a great example of one who just continues taking steps forward.
Let’s imagine for a moment you are sitting in your dining room. As you look toward your kitchen you see dishes in the sink a dirty pot on the stove, and a floor that really needs to be mopped.
Out of the blue your child comes into the kitchen and spends the next two hours deep cleaning. Amazed and proud you ask , “do you love cleaning?” The response; “ugh I dunno, but I do love you.”
Do you feel at times you are simply waiting for your calling, yet in the mean time you’re sitting in neutral and going nowhere? Consider you favorite athlete, is there a chance he or she tried a couple other sports before finding the sport that best fit them? God knows his plan for you, and it’s a good one. And if you feel like you haven’t found that true calling, trust in the Lord, continue walking in obedience, and he will lead you there. And we must always be willing to be lead. I believe being lead works better if I continually taking steps forward. I know there is a time to be still, but not stagnant. So as Dory puts it, Just Keep Swimming.
May the Lord bless you and lead you in your continued walk.
In Matthew 9, Jesus heals a woman who was subject to bleeding for 12 years. This is a great example of faith put into action. This story goes into further detail in Mark 5:24-34 and Luke 8:42–48.
9:20 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 9:21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”
9:22 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.
In faith we need to be ready and willing to reach out to our Lord for healing. This woman’s sickness was very obvious to her, but not all sickness is. I believe we all have something in us that holds us back from growing in our faith. Have you asked yourself whether or not there is something holding you back? The answer may be obvious to you. Or perhaps the answer is buried deep, and there is no obvious issue that you’re aware of. I believe there are always steps we can take to take our faith walk to the next level. But this walk isn’t designed to be walked alone. We must reach out in faith and ask the Lord what holds us back. It’s amazing what he will reveal when you bring it to him.
Its interesting to me, the direction a post will take me as I begin to freely comment regarding a scripture. As I continued writing this post I had a couple things I knew of that were possibly holding me back. By the end of writing this post, I’ve realized the great slew of things that I must turn to the Lord for help with.
May the Lord lift each and every one of us up, and build our faith, as we maneuver and work through things in this life that may be holding us back.
In another story Jesus heals a paralytic man who was brought to him. I think its interesting how Jesus first takes care of what’s most important.
9:2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
As I watched my elderly loved ones grow older there was one thing they all had in common. They had to pay close attention to their health. These bodies we have are only built for a season, but to have a right relationship with God; the results are eternal.
We are continuing the course into day 3. Over the next week or two, I’m sharing thoughts in connection with instances throughout the book of Matthew where faith is mentioned.
I’ve recently experienced a storm in my life. A storm that lead me to think there is no way out, this ship is going down. In these storms you continue thinking to yourself this is beyond my control, this feels like checkmate. There is no clear solution to the problem. Have you been there? In these situations do you go straight to God for help? I have to be honest, my first reaction is to fix it, followed by an ounce of fear, a pint of anger and a gallon of frustration. This ultimately leads to a feeling of little hope.
Then finally in faith I cry out, “Jesus, save me!” You would think as a follower of Christ I’d get a gold star response for reaching out to God. However, I’ve been walking this walk for awhile now. I personally think, I should know better then to feed into the deception of my own sinful nature. At my cry out for him to help, I bet his response was much like the response he gave his disciples, as they were all on their boat through that violent storm.
Matthew 8:25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. 8:26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
So after feeding into my own desires, my own sinful nature, and trying everything my way – I remembered this one thing. His ways have always been better than my ways. I can always put my trust and faith in the Lord and his word. And in that moment when I cried out to God for help and put it all into prayer, can you guess what came soon after?
He rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
Thank you Jesus, may we always be quick to put our faith in you. Amen.
Contining the course, over the next couple weeks I’m sharing thoughts in connection with instances throughout the book of Matthew where faith is mentioned. In the 1st instance we see Jesus lead us to putting our faith in him during those times of concern and worry. The next mention of faith I found was within the story of the Centurion.
The Faith of the Centurion
5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6“Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”
7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”
8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.
As a follower of Jesus, I want to continue growing in my faith. I want to have faith that is considered amazing to Jesus. As I take a look at the Centurion I see how he understands that only through the power of Jesus can his servant be healed, and it can be healed in that very minute. The Centurion knows he personally doesn’t have to witness it in person for Jesus to answer his prayer. This is just a personal thought but I imagine that at the time Jesus takes notice of this great faith, he considers the faith of the the World. I’m sure he wants to see this amazing faith in more of us. After making that statement about this Centurion’s great faith he begins talking about heaven and those who will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And then he mentions the unsettling news, those who will be thrown outside – into the darkness.
May the Lord continue helping us grow in our faith.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God
Over the course of the next couple weeks I will be sharing thoughts in connection with instances throughout the book of Matthew where faith is mentioned.
Have you ever worried about having the money to get through the week, or even how you’re going to get dinner on the table that same night? I can honestly say, “been there and worried about that”. However, the Lord has always been there for me and my family, as he is always there and will continue to be there for all of us. He is a good Father, which means he’s a good provider. Jesus brings us a lesson on faith, or perhaps our lack there of, in the 6th chapter of Matthew.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
May we always put our trust in the Lord with full serenity. He is in control, always has been and always will be. Our Heavenly Father, He’s a good Father, a trustworthy Provider and loves his children.
The other day I got into a conversation with someone regarding the writers of the Bible. Who wrote it, who compiled it, etc. I felt like the question we were coming to was this, is the Bible reliable? Later that day I decided to take a refresher on the date of writings and the compiling process. As I was doing my research I came across a cool little video about the reliability of the Bible and how it has stood the test of time.
I hope you enjoy
How and when was the Bible put together? Learn more
Where do they come from? It seems as if these days, science has an answer for everything. Science often meets theory and we then see a lot of assumptions being made, often by those who do not believe in a Creator. Many scientists today can quickly give you their answers in regards to questions relating to life, evolution, and the beginning. But when it comes to things like instincts, the data gets vague. I’ve found that every piece of “science”, or should I say “false science” that contradicts scripture, happens to have a lot of assumptions or should we say guessing built into it.
I remember back in my early 20s, I became a father for the first time. I remember at this time I was living back at home. At that stage in my life I was pretty care free. However, one evening she (my daughter) and I went out the front door looking for my dad. She was 6. “He must be in the back yard”, I told her. So we started walking around to the back. She started walking out ahead and I remember feeling red flags, an overwhelming sense of caution. “WAIT!”, I yell. She stops in her tracks. “Come walk behind me”, I said. She does, and we continue walking to the back porch. Almost to the other side I hear a rattle. Another step and I would of been on top of a rattle snake. Quickly I stepped back, picking her up in the process. I’m not one to worry about something like this. In all the years I grew up in this place, I never came across a snake this close to the house. Of all the times we played, day or night, our yard always seemed to be a safe place. I’m sorry Professor, but I just don’t see how any type of adaptation over the course of time could be the cause for me receiving the bright red flag at that very moment. I can think of many other times my kids have ran out in front of me while playing around the house or some park somewhere. No red flags, except for this time in a place where I felt safest, my home. There was no noise, no rattle, not until I almost stepped on the thing of course. I had no idea. As people, we love to take credit for having “good instincts”. And that day, I thought that’s exactly what I had – awesome dad instincts. But the more I learn about God, the more I see how involved he is in our lives. It’s not us evolving, it’s him involving himself in our lives. I believe the only one who can bring a gut feeling, that quickly, at the precise moment is our loving heavenly Father.
I think there are times where natural instincts do live within us based on past experiences. These can yield both good or bad results. But then there are those times when we receive a gut feeling, a nudging. Nudging can often come from the Holy Spirit. Angels are also sent to care for people who will inherit salvation (Hebrews 1:14). I believe it is by God’s grace and love that I received the jolt that day.
No matter what has happened in our past, or as we stumble along our path – his love remains.
No matter where you are in life, he still loves you. And here’s the good news, if you haven’t yet accepted Jesus he invites you to do so. When you make the decision to accept Christ as your Lord and Savior you can now be forgiven and saved. For he already paid the price for your sins; and His love will never fail, it will never give up, and it will never run out on you.
His love is like no other, and by accepting Christ, his love becomes everlasting.
Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
I love God for a number of reasons, and my love for Him grew when I noticed his presence in my life in the midst of marital issues and little hope. I began to seek him in a real way, and that’s when I first got to know God in a real way.
As time continues on, so does life, whether it be a child sick, or things not going so well at work. But then you look to Jesus for direction, and when you follow Him, he makes it as clear as day that he is with you, has been with you, and will not leave your side. He shows you the way through it all, and you find that turning to him worked out better than if you would have done it alone. It always will. I can say, this I’ve experienced time and time again. His ways are better than my own, always.
Sometimes, during those times of disconnect or confusion, I desperately want to feel that feeling, the one you receive in that moment when he makes it clear to you he is with you.
So how do we stay close to Him? What does the Bible say?
James 4:8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts you double-minded.
Psalms 145:18: The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
Collossians 3:16: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
So what can we take from these three scriptures? We must always be seeking him and following his ways. Draw near to Him, call on him (pray to him), be in the word. I found one verse where He will come close to you without you doing any of these things. Want to know what it says? Psalms 34:18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. And this happens to be the place where most of us meet him for the first time. Let this not be the only time we feel closest to Him.
So what can we do today, or even in this moment, to draw near to Him?
Spend some time with him. Pray, get into the word, and may we go out with the love of God in our hearts. Commit today to loving Him and loving others, as these are his greatest commandments for us. What better way to draw near to Jesus than to put into action his greatest commandments for you and me. Love is verb, love is an action word. In John 14:15 He says, “if you love me you will keep my commandments. In John 15:17 he says, “This is my command, Love others.”
What can we do today to show love to another? Not sure where to start? Start with those around you this very moment. Also, ask God to give you direction with this and I believe he will. What better way to end this post, then with God’s word; 1 Peter 4:8: Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
I really enjoyed this sermon by Pastor Mark from New Life Christian Fellowship in Tooele, Utah. Talks about some of the things happening in the World today and where we as Christian’s should place our focus during these times. This sermon hit me in so many ways and gave me the encouragement I needed, as I was feeling a little stuck in my faith, trying to push forward.
I recently listened to a sermon where, during his message, the Pastor quickly added an intriguing fact surrounding the way Solomon referred to the worker ant as a “her” in Proverbs 6:6. The Pastor went on to say, “science has proven all worker ants are female, how would Solomon know this back in his time? I think God had something to do with that.” And, that’s where he ended it. Hearing this sparked my interest to dig in a little deeper.
To begin, here’s a little background on the Proverbs writer, Solomon. Solomon was the third king of Israel, following King Saul and King David. When he ascended to the throne, he sought after God and God gave him the opportunity to ask for whatever he wanted. Solomon humbly acknowledged his inability to rule well and unselfishly asked God for the wisdom he would need to rule God’s people justly. God gave him wisdom and also gave him wealth. Solomon had a great connection with our Heavenly Father. And now Solomon has this great wisdom, not wisdom by human standard, but by God’s. Think about that! Then He goes on to write most of the Proverbs found in the Old Testament. [more on Solomon]
Although he had great wisdom for writing Proverbs, did God just let him run with it solo? I don’t believe so. God maintains supreme authority over every single word used in scripture. This is made pretty clear to us through scripture.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
Hebrews 4:12 ESV
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
And so lets take a look at the verse, Proverbs 6:6-8
6:6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
6:7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
6:8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
So why doesn’t this verse refer to this particular ant as a he? Because that would be a lie, and you will only find truth in the bible, for the scripture says its impossible for God to lie [Hebrews 6:18 ESV]. All worker ants are truly female. Yes, each and every one. Which means, next time you see an ant carrying a crumb you can tell those with you, “Hey look at Ms. Ant over there carrying that huge morsel all by herself! Then your friend may say, how do you know its not a Mr. Ant? That could make for a great conversation starter!
So who first discovered this through scientific observation. I found out they actually have a word they use for the study of ants, myrmecology. The word myrmecology was coined by William Morton Wheeler (1865–1937), although human interest in the life of ants goes back further, with numerous ancient folk references. The earliest scientific thinking based on observation of ant life was that of Auguste Forel (1848–1931), a Swiss psychologist who initially was interested in ideas of instinct, learning, and society. ~ wikipedia.org
To be honest, I couldn’t find anything that specifically discussed the date the all female workforce was discovered. However, everything I was able to find and research take place between the late 1600s to the mid 1800s.
Here are some comments from this time frame on the study of both ants and bees (includes bees for purposes of discussion)
William Gould (1715–1799), is described by Horace Donisthorpe (British Myrmecologist) as “the father of British myrmecology”.
“For the generative process which takes place in these last two kinds [n.b.: ants and bees] we are almost entirely indebted to the nice and persevering labours of the elder and the younger Hüber; who have decidely proved that what have hitherto been called neuters are females with undeveloped female organs. ”
~ The Study of Medicine – John Mason Good (1825)
(Elder and the Younger Hüber, 17th Century)
“Swammerdam had announced in his Historia Inecorum Generalis (1669) that the queen, hitherto commonly called the “King of the Bees,” is the only effective female in the hive; that the drones are the males and the workers neuters. This identification rested upon his careful and detailed anatomical examination of each sex. He is positive that the workers have no reproductive organs, though it is now known that they occasionally lay eggs. He remarks that both the queen and the workers possess a sting, while the drones have none, and that in structure and disposition the workers resemble the queen rather than the drones.”
So, based on this research it appears that these scientifically observed contributions were just barely beginning to surface post 16th century. Solomon’s proverbs were penned around 900 B.C., a staggering 2500 years prior, during his reign as king when microscopes were non-existent. So how did he know? Well seeing that scripture is God breathed through the writers of the Old and New Testament, and God created the ant, it would only be natural for scripture to refer to these worker ants as female. Could you find a bricklayer who builds walls but calls them chainlink? It just wouldn’t happen.
Now lets not just end there. God knew this would be talked about and you’ll find a lot about this verse online. So why? He had a purpose for this as he does with all scripture.
Let’s read it again:
6:6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
6:7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
6:8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
While you let that process and swish around in the brain for a moment, I want to share a cool video that shows how people today, possibly with or without knowledge of this scripture, are doing just that – going to the ant and considering her ways.
Three words, God is Amazing! So lets go back to verse, now that its had some time to settle in. Some of us may read this verse and initially begin pointing the finger toward all the lazy people they know or don’t know. But the truth is, that will accomplish nothing. Instead we should always be asking ourselves, what can I take from this to grow in my faith as a Christian. I know there have been times where I’ve been a “sluggard” or “lazy” in my faith walk. But that doesn’t change the fact that there’s work to be done and a harvest is coming. Are you satisfied with the work you put into it? Personally, I want to do more and I know I can do more. I already know I’m saved, but I want to do more. I want to make my loving Savior, my God proud of me. Just the other day I prayed for God to start a fire in my soul, and that prayer is being answered. I pray for the Church, for all of us Christ Followers throughout the World to be moved to rise and take our faith to that next level, to go out on a limb, to be always changing and growing in our relationship with Jesus.
I hope you found this encouraging and may God bless you in your walk with him.
The other day I was talking to one of my kids about Peter. God had a plan for Peter and I believe one of the first steps Peter took was the same step we all must first take, a step and decision to follow Jesus.
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
At this point I can only assume Peter didn’t yet love Jesus, but he was intrigued. I think this is the first step for new believers; to begin following Jesus and building a relationship with him. From here Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. At this time Jesus was also healing every kind of illness. Many lessons were taught and miracles performed, and then there came a time when Peter decides to take a step of faith.
Matthew 14:22-30 (Jesus Walks on the Water)
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Here Peter has seen what he’s seen through his journey of walking with Jesus. He now trusts Jesus enough to go walking on water with him. But then he began to doubt. If Jesus called you out on the water, could you walk along that unpredictable surface with full boldness, any better than Peter did that day?
In fact, I believe we are all called to walk on the water each and every day. I love how this shows how quickly Jesus reached out at the cry of Peter, “immediately Jesus reached out his hand”. I believe through this occurrence, Peter’s trust and love for Jesus only grew in large proportions.
Some time later in his journey, Peter’s faith was put to a major test and his own fear brought failure. Peter denied Jesus three times. After this Peter felt an incredible amount of guilt. After the crucifixion Jesus begins appearing to his disciples and the third time he appears to them he gives Peter the opportunity to express his love.
John 21:15-19 (Jesus Reinstates Peter)
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
Peter definitely went through his ups and downs throughout his walk with Jesus. We see his relationship grow through the gospels and it doesn’t stop there. But at the start of it all it began with one step, the step to follow Jesus. Isn’t it true that in our own relationships with friends and family we naturally begin with first getting to know that person. That first step must be taken. And then another. Eventually you begin to trust them, and you too begin to make personal sacrifices for them as well. I believe it works much the same way with Jesus. And one thing to know wholeheartedly is Jesus is one who can always be trusted, for he paid the penalty for our sins. And the penalty was so mind boggling that many of us avoid the thought of it. Then Easter service comes around. And even though he went through it and we choose not to think about that too often, he still loves us anyways. He is always there even when we are not. We are so undeserving yet there he is at this very moment with open arms, no matter where we are in life.
No matter how many times I make a good choice or a poor choice, I know I have a loving Heavenly Father who has been there every day of my life and invites me to continue growing in my relationship with him. And he wants the same for everyone. It all begins with one step. Get to know him, then begin to trust him and finally, love him with all your heart, soul, strength and mind. Believe me, loving him comes easy once you get to know him and once you find him. And this will happen and here’s why I can say this, because the Bible says it. Jeremiah 29:13 says this, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” And this truth is found again and again throughout scripture. Learn more about what the Bible says about seeking God.
And whether you have already found him or are barely beginning to seek him, I hope you can find comfort knowing He will be with you every step of the way. And when you experience his love, his grace, you will also experience an inexpressible joy. And if it happens to be a first time for you, chances are your life will be forever changed.
I love how God is completely truthful with us. He never lies. In fact, there are verses in the Bible that would lead you to believe that not only does he choose not to lie – he cannot lie.
My first response to that is “But wait, my God can do anything he wants. He is God, right?”
Titus 1:2 says this:
“This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God–who does not lie–promised them before the world began.”
To take it a step further check out Hebrews 6:17-18
17 In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.
Impossible for God to lie? Really?
Actually it makes a lot of sense when you think about who we are talking about. This is God, perfect in all ways.
I remember one of my kids asking me why in the Old Testament God kills so many people, even children. I replied to the best of my ability while always relying on the holy spirit to help me through the teaching of my children.
As their teacher, I’ve learned that if I’m unsure of something I need to answer with, “that’s a very good question, let me see what the Bible says about that and we’ll talk about it together over lunch!”
On this particular question I think its important to always know that we as people only see a small fragment of the story. Our God is an all knowing God. What we see as death may be more like a beautiful awakening, like Jesus nudging your shoulder during a long sleep – waking you from a dream. As people all we see is what we’re allowed to see, on this side of Heaven. We don’t get to see the continuation of one’s life.
So in reference to my kid’s question, here are a couple instances in history when God made a decision that, for some, can be hard to understand the why or the how.
In the case of the great flood, God still made a way for Noah to escape it. But for the rest of the people there, Genesis 6:5 puts it like this:
5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.
Yes, only evil all the time. I wonder how Noah felt being the only one who loved God while every other human heart was only evil all the time. I’m sure Noah trusted God, but how hard would it be to build an ark without the temptation to look over ones shoulder with knowledge that anyone who passes by is having an evil thought? I could only imagine the thought of hiding came to Noah from time to time, living in a world with so much evil.
Then you have the passover:
12 For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments– I am the LORD. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
From a human perspective this is very sad. They’re children. Why? – we ask. But once again, we do not see the continuation. But God is an all knowing God, an awesome God. And he loves us more than any person has ever loved you or me.
One may question – why would he include all these things that we tend to see as sad, in the Bible? This brings me back to the start of this article. God is always true, honest, and does not lie. He’s not one to sugar coat the truth. You want the truth, its in there. Through the words in the Bible, God doesn’t back peddle or side step in the description of anything that has happened. It’s all in there.
And the true answer of why one story or another is in the Bible can be found in 2 timothy 3:16-17.
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
So, in conclusion, I love that we have a God who does not lie and is completely honest with us through the instruction he left us, the Bible. This God of ours declares his absolute love for us, John 3:16. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. This is his complete and honest truth. And he left us with the Bible because he is our Heavenly Father and he has a plan for you and me.
Jeremiah 29:11-12 (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Peter put it perfectly – Inexpressible and Glorious Joy,
Trusting God doesn’t come natural. If trusting Him was easy, I could only assume more people would be doing it. I know, during times of stress, that it is our God who I can trust, although my first reaction is to fix it.
Although we can trust Him, making the decision to do so does not mean we no longer have a part. We are to continue living out the purpose he has for us.
Memory triggered. This brings back a nice memory I had with my Grandma. She and my Grandpa were moving to Minnesota and I went to see them one last time before they left. The last thing she told me that day was “well… just keep on keepin on“. We hugged and that was our goodbye.
And I believe that’s what we as Christians are to do, especially through the storm, just keep on keepin on. And trust that God will handle the things that we come to feel unsure about. I have no idea how God brings everything together for the better – all I know is he does. I’ve seen this happen over and over. Months later I find myself replaying the events in an attempt to answering the question, “how did I get through that”. And as I try putting all the pieces together I get to a point where I just have to sigh and say, “wow God, you are in control“.
I’d like to close this post with Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
June 2015 is almost over, and it will never return. How will you take advantage of these final days in June? I want to give myself a June challenge, and I’d like to invite you to come aboard.
Before this month is over, I’ m going to keep my eyes open, looking and searching for any opportunity to share the message of Christ and the truth with someone else. Seeking opportunity can be done right now in this very moment from where you sit, regardless of whether you are around others or by yourself.
There are so many people in this World who needs to learn about the truth and who may be waiting for someone to share the truth with them. Jesus, without sin in every way, died for our sins so we may be right with God. I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and in Christ I have been made new. My old self is gone, the new has begun.
Now Lord, I seek your will, Please Lord use me, I am ready.
You said it, Jesus, long ago and I know the statement still stands to this day, “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 commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
Who will you put in front of me Lord? I’m excited to learn your answer. I know you are here, living within us. And you are with me always, to the very end of the age. You’ve once again cleared my lens, even more crystal clear than before, and I see you as well as everything that is around us. Like giving me a thick pair of bifocals, you’ve brought everything into focus. And I know the time to act is now. Help me to continue living with a clear lens, and guide me to see what you want me to see. Put my tasks in front of me, as well as my other Christian brothers and sisters. Continue guiding us and challenging us. If in any moment there is something you would like me to do, make it obvious to me, I have faith you will.
Help me make that decision every day to put you and others before myself. I am yours.
I love the story of Saul, later known as the Apostle Paul.
Saul was one who had a hate for Christianity. As a young man he witnessed the stoning of Stephen and he grew to be one who would make it his mission to persecute the Christian Church. When I think of Paul, I think of some ISIS leader. One with very evil intentions, who has a motivation to imprison and kill Christians. What would it take for an ISIS leader to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior, quit their ways, and begin preaching the good news with the risk of being imprisoned or killed? Do any of us Christians feel like we want to be on the first ride out, in hopes of meeting an ISIS militant leader and preaching the good news? I don’t see anyone taking that trip now, and I doubt anybody felt like taking that risk with Saul in those days. So what would it take for a person of this character to find Jesus. A miracle? The touch of God? This is more in line with what happened with Saul. Saul didn’t learn about and accept Christ over a cup of coffee. Something incredible happened.
Saul was on the road to Damascus, a light from heaven flashed around him and he fell to the ground. He heard a voice say, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Saul replied, “Who are you, Lord?”. The voice responded, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting”. Saul could no longer see. Jesus gave him instructions to go into the city, and more instructions came after. He met with a man by the name of Ananias who also was instructed by the Lord to meet Saul through a vision. Upon their meeting Ananias placed his hands on Saul and let him know Jesus sent him so that Saul can see again and be filled with the holy spirit. Something like scales fell off his eyes, Saul was baptized and then after this he took some food and regained his strength. [Check out the book of Acts Ch 7-9]
As time went on Saul was more and more referred to as Paul and now we know him as the Apostle Paul. He dedicated his life to serving Christ, and wrote much of the New Testament. God had a purpose with Saul.
The following is a breakdown of the letters Paul wrote and the possible time-frames he wrote them:
Galatians (AD 47)
1 and 2 Thessalonians (AD 59—51)
1 and 2 Corinthians and Romans (AD 52—56)
Ephesians, Philemon, Colossians, and Philippians (AD 60—62, during Paul’s first Roman imprisonment)
1 Timothy and Titus (AD 62)
2 Timothy (AD 63—64, during Paul’s second Roman imprisonment)
It is debated whether Paul wrote the book of Hebrews or not, if so that would make 14 books total out of 27 in the New Testament.
Here’s a question you may take your time with and consider. Why do you think Jesus would guide someone like Saul, a persecutor of the Church, to come to believe in Him and write so much of the New Testament?
Here are some thoughts.
For myself, the story of Saul described an amazing transition. Saul wasn’t just somebody – he hated the faith. Have you ever known someone who truly hates something? What would it take for that person to love that same thing with all their heart? Something truly amazing must have happened. I think Paul was the last person any of us, both at that time and now, would expect to end up following Christ. Not only do we receive great instruction from our Father in Heaven through the Apostle Paul. This is a reminder to me that our Lord and Savior wants everyone to come to Christ, and he has no favorites. God has the power to soften the hearts of absolutely anyone. I wonder if any followers of that time every prayed for Saul prior to Saul coming to find Christ? Just a thought. Perhaps something we should continue doing for those living far from Christ, and for those many of us consider to be enemies of the faith.
Once upon a time I heard someone question the validity of the Bible due to it’s number of authors. For me, it helps knowing that more than one person wrote the bible. One thing to remember is that all scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16). Yes there were multiple writers of the New Testament. But don’t stop there; who were they? The writers of the Gospels were Matthew, Mark, Luke and John who all lived in the time of Jesus, two of which were Jesus chosen disciples. They were eye witnesses. Then you have the Apostle Paul. The one we’ve been talking about. The last person anyone would expect to follow Christ, where his earlier mission was to stamp out the Christian Church, followed by an amazing transition to living for Christ.
Have you ever fell into the belief, or should I say the lie, that someone you know of will never find God because of who they are, or who you believe them to be? Guilty. But with Faith, all things are possible, and our God is an all powerful God full of Grace, Forgiveness and Love. Just like with Paul, God can make the impossible possible.
So where do we go from here? I think we need to continue to remind ourselves of our own role in this. In all walks of life our role is to remain faithful and obedient, as we continue our walk with Jesus, following his ways and growing in our relationship with him. Where would we be if the Apostle Paul chose not to be faithful and obedient? I’m very thankful that Paul made that daily decision to follow Christ. Just like with Paul and many others, God had a purpose and a plan for him, just as he does with you and me.
Making that decision to follow Christ daily brings a life full of joy as well as challenges. Life will still have it’s ups and downs. But with living a life for Christ, one thing you cannot call it is boring. It’s the adventure of all adventures.
Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.
Do you know of a little one that looks up to you? Maybe a niece, nephew or your own kids? Don’t you just love it when they run up to you after a time of separation? I enjoy it when I get home from work and my 3 year old runs to me at full sprint. I believe this verse is an invitation to do just that, as a child of God.
In this chapter Paul describes God’s plan for both Gentiles and Jews. Paul also prays for spiritual growth, which happens to be a great thing to pray for. Paul prays that we as believers may come to understand the great love God has for us.