Tuesday, October 22, 2013

We like to complain

While I am still reading Revelation, this post comes from something I read in a devotional called Jesus Calling.  It was from October 9th and it has been resonating with me since then as I have been battling first one cold followed without reprieve by another. 

"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe..." Philippians 2:14-15

We like to complain.  It is part of our humanness.  It is part of our fallen world.  But in this verse God is telling us not to complain to each other.  As Sarah Young says, "Whenever you are tempted to grumble, come to Me {God} and talk it out."  This is something I struggle with.  I want someone to commiserate with me, someone that knows how it feels to have a sore throat, a stuffy head and a nasty cough.  For some reason, although in my brain I know that Jesus was human in every way, I have trouble completely understanding His humanness.  He was tempted to complain just as we are.  He was tempted to sin just as we are.  But instead of giving in, he took it to His heavenly Father. 

I pray that I can increasingly do this also.  And that in taking it to my Heavenly Father, I will feel His compassion, His commiseration and His healing hand. 

In His Grace...

God's Forgiveness

How can we refuse to repent?  Why do we feel that we know better than the creator of the earth?  Why do we think we can control our time here on earth when time and time again, we find that we are not in control? 

Revelation 16 describes the "Seven Bowls of God's Wrath" that will be poured out on "the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image" otherwise known as the devil.  And yet, even then, even as the earth is coming to a close, God would be willing to forgive.  Even after someone has chosen to follow Satan, God is willing to forgive.  This is what it says in verses 8-11:

"The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire.  They were seared by the intense heat...but they refused to repent and glorify him.  The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness...but they refused to repent of what they had done."

The imagery in these verses is frightening.  I don't know if it is literal or figurative of something else but what stood out to me this morning is that God is willing to forgive.  If people "refused to repent" that means that repentance was possible.  Which means that repentance is always possible.  God is always willing to forgive, as long as we come to him with a repentant heart. 

I pray I can share this message of hope and forgiveness with my friends and loved ones so that they will not experience separation from God's glorious love.

In His Grace....

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Leads the World Astray

I am still working my way through Revelation and find that it is a difficult book of the Bible to me. Chapter 12 seems to be summarizing all of Biblical history with imagery and verse 9 says:

"The great dragon was hurled down - that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.  He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him."

And thus Satan is here even today, leading the whole world astray.

It is a difficult concept for many people to grasp.  That Satan is real.  That he exists and there is a spiritual battle raging every day on earth.  The way I like to think about it is from one of Frank Peretti's novels in which Satan and his demons meddle with the characters' daily lives.  While the characters cannot see them, there are times when they are aware of a dark presence.

I know a novel is fiction, and so the book is Mr. Peretti's idea of how the spiritual battle works.  But for me it is a good image to keep in mind when I am going through my daily plans.  Satan's goal is to keep me from focusing my thoughts, actions and behaviors on God.  He wants to keep me from my goal of trying to be more like Jesus.  So when my little man is having a crying fit while brushing his teeth and there are only a couple minutes left before we need to leave for school, I have to focus hard on being like Jesus instead of just yelling at my little man.  I have to confess, I often do not succeed but with God's grace, I can keep trying.

Satan is scheming, every day, every hour, every minute to "lead the whole world astray" and from the looks of it, he is succeeding with so many people.  When I look around just at American society, it is amazing how far we have fallen from Scripture and from the precepts that our founding fathers founded our country on.

I pray that God will use me to spread His good news, His love, His kindness, His grace to our hurting country.

In His Grace...

Friday, October 11, 2013


I have to admit, when I have read Revelation in the past, it has not meant a lot to me.  I found the imagery difficult to interpret and I got lost in what John describes.  So while I had read the book of Revelation several times, I just didn't get it.  I still may not be getting it, but by choosing a verse each day and meditating on that verse, I have been able to decipher more meaning than ever before.  And I have found it very encouraging (I am only in chapter 5 so it may not continue to be encouraging) but so far it has brought me hope.  Like the verse I chose today:

"Then one one of the elders said to me, 'Do not weep!  See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has triumphed.  He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.'" Revelation 5:5

While in the past, I tended to get bogged down in the imagery - what does it mean by "Lion of the tribe of Judah", and what is it talking about a "scroll and seven seals"?  I would allow these things to confuse me and I wouldn't see the big picture.

But today, I can see the big picture.  Perhaps it is from reading the Bible from cover to cover last year and this, or maybe I am further along in my walk with God but for whatever reason, today was different.

I can see that the "Lion of the tribe of Judah" is referring to Jesus and the lion symbolizes His power.  "The root of David" is referring to Jesus being from David's family line.  And the verse is saying that Jesus has triumphed - he has overcome Satan and is able to lead us, His followers, to triumph over the information contained in the scroll.  Dictionary.com defines triumph as "the act, fact, or condition of being victorious."  While I still do not know what information is in the scroll, I can be encouraged because this verse is telling us that through Jesus, we will be victorious over the evil one, which is fantastic news.

I pray that I can continue to increase my faith in Jesus so I can be a part of His triumph.

In His Grace...

Thursday, October 10, 2013


"You are worthy our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being." Revelation 4:11

The vastness of God's creation was emphasized the other night as my husband and I watched an Imax movie "The Deep" about the ocean and its' creatures.  As we watched the film with seas of translucent jelly fish, brightly colored coral, many legged brightly colored sea stars, fantastic Hermissenda looking remarkably like an underwater slug but with beautifully colored soft spines on their backs, gigantic and gentle Blue whales which are the largest known mammal alive, it became overwhelmingly amazing to me to think that it was all created by one being.  I was in awe!

How could anyone think of all these creatures?  How could He breathe them into being?  How could He have even thought of how all their bodies could function?  It is truly unfathomable by my tiny brain, the detail that each organism required in being created.  The imagination that was involved to bring so many creatures to life.  It is truly amazing!

It also definitely brings to light the true meaning behind this verse today.  He is WORTHY of our praise.  He created "all things" and we, and everything around us, only exist because it is His will.  We "have our being" because that is His will.  In Revelation 4, everyone in heaven and on earth will praise and honor our heavenly Father, because he created everything.  He is our God, our Father, the Alpha and Omega, the great I Am.

I reverently praise and worship Him.

In His Grace...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I wish you were either one or the other!  So, because you are lukewarm - neither not nor cold - I am about to spit you out of my mouth."  Revelation 3:15-16

In reading the notes at the bottom of the page in my study bible, Laodicea was a wealthy city with a water supply problem.  At one point, they built an aqueduct to bring water to the city from hot springs but when the water reached the city, it was only lukewarm.  Lukewarm water feels fine if you are washing hands or feet, but it is not very nice for much else.

But this isn't really what this verse is referring to.  Upon further reading, Jesus is really talking about the church and how the believers didn't stand up for anything - they had become indifferent.

I remember this verse from reading the book "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan a couple of years ago.  I did not remember where the verse was or what it contained until I read it early this morning.  And it had the same effect on me now as it did then.  I remember reading this part of "Crazy Love" and feeling upset.  Is this what I was, a "lukewarm" believer?  Not taking a stand for anything of importance and being indifferent and idle. How alarming that by being indifferent, by not fighting for my beliefs, I could be "spit" out of the mouth of God.  I knew then that this is not what I wanted.  I still know today that this is not what I want.

I want to proclaim God's goodness.  I want to proclaim God's love, grace, mercy, compassion, gentleness, kindness and strength.  But how do we do this on a regular basis?  I think it can be difficult in our world of selfishness, hurry and lack of caring.

But we can do it, through our actions to the broken people around us, through our speech, through our selfless deeds and directly, by witnessing to those around us.  I have found it difficult, but I find that as I practice (as I tell my little man, practice makes perfect) it gets easier and easier.  I cannot say that I am preaching the word wherever I go, but I can insert God's wisdom and love for unbelievers in my daily life.  And I pray that He will give me words to continue and to be on fire for him, not lukewarm.

In His Grace...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

To him who overcomes...

"To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God...He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death...To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna...To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations...just as I have received authority from my Father."  Revelation 2:7,11, 17, 26-27

As I started reading the letters to each of the churches in the second chapter of Revelation, I noticed a phrase that was repeated at the end of each of the letters, "to him who overcomes" or "he who overcomes". I have written a previous post on the importance of the word overcome and this jumped out at me.

Dictionary.com defines overcome as "to get the better of in a struggle or conflict; conquer; defeat; to prevail over."  This is an important concept throughout the pages of the bible, not just physically but mentally prevailing over the enemy.  There are many examples such as David and Goliath, or Joshua and Jericho.

But even in the current day when we are not generally physically fighting a giant, or trying to attack a walled city, there are plenty of opportunities that require that we overcome.  Overcoming an addiction, be it food, alcohol or drugs; overcoming negative self-talk that can lead to depression; overcoming what others think of you or how  you let that affect you; overcoming criticism of your actions or behaviors.  There are so many examples of ways that we, as Christians, must overcome in order to wholeheartedly follow Jesus.

It can be a daily, hourly struggle, but I found myself encouraged by what I found in Revelation, a chapter of the Bible that has always intimidated me.  Jesus lists all the ways that overcomers will be rewarded - in heaven for eternity, with hidden manna, with authority over nations and unhurt by the second death.  I confess, I don't understand completely what is meant by all of these things, but I know that it is a promise from God, and I know that God is Good.

In His Grace...

Monday, October 7, 2013

Love and obedience

"And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands.  As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love."  2 John 6

Eye opening, isn't it?  How is love defined in this passage?  Isn't it defined as obedience?  Is that how we usually think of love?  I know it isn't how I usually defined love.  Caring, compassion, kindness, gentleness...those seem like good ways to show love.  But obedience...I really hadn't ever reached that conclusion.

But in thinking of parenting my own little man, it is what I expect from him.  I expect him to obey me out of love for me.  And it doesn't always go smoothly.  Teaching a 5 year old boy to obey is a challenging prospect.  However, it is what we are trying to teach.  And how fitting that this is exactly what God is telling us in his Word.  That when we are obeying his commands, we are showing Him our love.

I pray that I can show God my love by being obedient to His commands, especially when they are things that I am unsure about doing.

In His Grace...

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Building Confidence

We have started praying for confidence for our little man.  He struggles with extreme shyness, especially when meeting a number of people for the first time.  It became very apparent that it was something that we needed to give to God on Wednesday when he and I visited my  husband's new workplace.  It was our first visit there and so we walked around to meet everyone.  Our little man spent the entire time clinging to Daddy and hiding his face from everyone we met.

While I know this is not uncommon or unusual in children, it is something we would like him to work on.  From past experience we also know that no matter what we say, it will not change.  I can give him the words to say, I can provide him with tips on how to behave. But after doing this without success, the best thing I can do, and the first thing I should have done, was give it to God.  My verse today ties into this fairly well:

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him." 1 John 5:14-15

Isn't that wonderful news?  As long as what we are praying for falls within the will of God, we can be confident that he will give it to us.  So we will pray for confidence for our little man, to be confident in who he is in Christ, a beloved Son of God Most High, a child of the King, just the way he is, the way God knitted him in my womb.

In His Grace...