Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Freedom, Liberty, Equality, and Justice...Forever

I had to buy postage stamps the other day. Again! Seems like I use them so quickly these days. I automatically asked the clerk for the "Forever" stamps since they never change in value. Assuming, of course, that someday in the future I might actually keep stamps long enough for that to pay off. ha

When she handed me the stamps, I noticed they were different than any I had seen before. I was impressed from the minute I looked at them. Our beautiful red,white, and blue stars and stripes against a white background. So crisp and clean and patriotic!  And the icing on the to speak...was the words inscribed on each stamp. There were four. Freedom. Liberty. Equality. Justice. And each of these was followed by the word "Forever".   Freedom...forever.   Liberty...forever.  Equality...forever.  Justice...forever.  I know that this "forever" was just telling me that these stamps would work forever no matter what the price of stamps go to. But to me it spoke of more.

Freedom. Liberty. Equality. Justice. All these things we have experienced here in the United States at one time. But none of them can we put "forever" on the end and expect it to be true. All four of these precious items are being chipped away from our nation little by little.

But all four of these things are found in the Bible.

Freedom/Liberty -- Galatians 5:1 "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."

Justice -- Romans 3:24  "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:"

Equality -- Isaiah 40:25 "To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One."  and... (this speaking about Jesus) Philippians 2:6  "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:"

To ALL these Scriptures we can add "forever" and will not be wrong.  So when I use these new postage stamps, I will not only think of our stately United States of America, but I will also think of the promises in the Bible concerning these four words...freedom, liberty, equality, and justice...and remember that I can trust my God's Word to be true FOREVER!

God bless you!


Monday, April 16, 2012

Prevention--the Best Cure

A few nights ago I heard our big dog Blackie start barking. Being the curious person that I am, I walked over to the front window to peer through the blinds and see if I could see what he was riled up about. Just as I was about to do just that, a sharp, stabbing pain hit the ball of my left foot! I started hollering and trying to get away from the pain but it was just going with me. I lost my balance and fell flat in the middle of the living room floor hitting my elbow/arm on a chair on the way down! Oh my! NOT a good thing to happen to someone my age! The first thing I did was start thanking the Lord that nothing was broken. I have a few bruises and am a little sore but that's all.

I guess you're wondering what in the world happened! Benny had laid a pair of his pants in the floor under the window (for some reason) and there was a belt in them. The part of the buckle that sticks through the holes in the belt must have been sticking straight up like a nail because that's what I stepped on. I had on some lightweight rubber-like shoes and when it went through the shoe it wouldn't come back out. That's why I could not get away from the pain! Benny was SO upset that he had left it there and felt so guilty. He apologized over and over! (after he had put the pants somewhere else! ha)

I began to think about how my fall could have been prevented easily. I ended up bruised and battered simply because things were not put away and taken care of as they should have been. And I thought about some of the bruised and battered people I know. Their bruises and injuries are not always the kind you can see with your eyes. Some of them are all right on the outside but it's their hearts or emotions that are bruised and scarred.

When we let our lives get "messy"....whether it's outwardly or inwardly...people can get hurt. I want to be a better housekeeper. I want to have a home that is visually relaxing and safe. But more than that I want to take better care of my spiritual life so that I will stay spiritually healthy and also so that I will not become a stumbling block that would trip others and hurt them!

The old saying is true..."An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." So today I want to work on preventing another accident or some kind of back sliding so that I don't have to pick myself...or someone else...up out of the floor or out of spiritual distress!

The best way I know to do that is to get in the Word of God on a regular basis!

Ephesians 5:26 "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word".

What kind of prevention tactics do you practice? I'd love to hear!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Back Porch Friends

Hello Blogging Friends!

Welcome to my back porch! The sun's a little bit in my eyes but that's all right. I just wanted to sit and chat with y'all for a while! I've never actually sat across the table from most of you but I can imagine just how much fun it would be! We've sent text messages. We've sent birthday cards and sympathy cards. We've emailed pictures and talked on the phone. We've laughed at each others antics and cried with each others pain and sorrow.

Friends come in many colors and sizes and I'm crazy about every one of you! What would we talk about today if we were really sitting across from each other at the table on my back porch? Our kids. Our grandkids. Our churches. Our mission. Our passion. Our Lord. Oh, we would definitely not lack for things to talk about!

I thank God for each one of you who have reached out to me in the past several years since I started this adventure called blogging. You have encouraged me. You have prodded me to stretch my limitations. You have listened to me. I hope that I have been that kind of friend to you also!

Let's keep up the visiting! Whether it's on my back porch or yours!

God bless you!


Monday, April 9, 2012

James 5...What Prayer Can Do

James chapter 5. The last chapter in this book. He talks about our spiritual lives. Our emotions, our habits, our prayer life. Mostly about prayer though I think.

James 5:1-6 Warnings to those who have gotten rich by fraudulent means.

James 5:7-8 Be patient. God's coming is nearer than we think!

James 5:10-11 Affliction can sometimes be a blessing. God has a very tender heart toward His own.

James 5:12 No need to swear-- let your yes be yes and your no be no.

James 5:13-14 Having problems? PRAY! Happy? SING! Sick? Call elders of church to PRAY and anoint with oil in Jesus' name!

James 5:15 Many have been healed through prayer.

James 5:16 Confession + prayer = healing.

James 5:17-18 Elias was simply human, yet he prayed for rain to stop and it didn't rain for three years! Then he prayed for rain to return and it began to rain. We limit our prayers by our unbelief!

James 5:19-20 We do our brothers/sisters in Christ a disservice if we do not warn them when we see them falling away from God's fellowship.

"Lord, help me to read and heed these words in the book of James so that I can be a better, more obedient, child of Yours. Amen."


Saturday, April 7, 2012

James 4... What Our Actions Say

James chapter 4. These verses reminded me of an old saying: "Does your walk match your talk?" In chapter 3, James talked a lot about our "talk". In this chapter he talks a lot about our "walk". Each should match the other in the life of a Christian.

James 4:1-3 Lust=War & fighting ; Lust= Killing & unfulfilled desires; Lust= praying for wrong things

James 4:4 Friend of the World= Enemy of God

James 4:6 He giveth more grace! (But not to the proud!)

James 4:7 SUBMIT to God -- RESIST the devil

James 4:8 Come near to God=He will come near to you. (But clean your hands and your heart before you come)

James 4:10 Bow low before the Lord and He will lift you up.

James 4:11 Don't speak evil of others. God did make us judges.

James 4:13-15 "Don't put off 'til tomorrow what you can do today." = Life is short

James 4:17 Not doing the right you know to do is as sinful as doing the wrong you know you should not do!

I pray that I will walk more often in the footsteps of our Lord than I have in the past!


Friday, April 6, 2012

James 3 ...Communicating Well

James chapter 3 has a convicting word for us all I imagine. It does for me I know! It talks about the way we talk! I find I get in trouble the quickest when I open my mouth and say things before my brain has time to tell me I better not say that! How about you?

So, with that as an introduction, here's my basic take-away from the 3rd chapter of James:

James 3:1-5 Big things are often controlled by small things. Examples: [1] horse's bit [2] ship's helm [3] person's tongue

James 3:8 So far NO ONE has been able to tame the tongue !

James 3:9-10 Blessing and cursing coming from the same mouth is a contradiction.

James 3:13 To detect wisdom and knowledge in someone, listen to what they talk about.

James 3:16 Where you find envy and conflict, there is confusion and evil work going on.

James 3:17 Wisdom from God will bring purity, peacefulness, gentleness, easiness of getting along, mercy, good fruits, no partiality, and no hypocrisy.

James 3:18 If we sow peace, we will reap the fruit of righteousness.

I tell you this hits us all right where we live doesn't it ! If I could just practice this more, I know people would enjoy being around me more! :)

God bless you for joining me today !


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Continuing In the Word

I wanted to continue talking about James for a little bit today. This is in NO way to be considered some kind of commentary on the book of James because I'm not that smart! I just wanted to share some of the thoughts I had written down as I read through the book.

James 2:9 Don't give people ratings from high to low; or from important to worthless

James 2:10 We can't possible keep the law to earn our way to heaven.

James 2:13 Judge without mercy and you will be shown no mercy.

James 2:14-16 Easy to say "bless your heart" -- Harder to get your hands dirty helping someone get out of a ditch!

James 2:26 Faith without works is dead.

And do you remember that "peace" that I have had since I did this study? Well, it brought to my mind an old song that I had not thought about in years. It's called
"He Whispers Sweet Peace to Me". (Written by William W. Ramsey) I will share a verse and the chorus with you hoping it might bless you as it has me!

"Sometime when misgivings darken the day,
And faith's light I can not see;
I ask my dear Lord to brighten the way,
He whispers sweet peace to me."

"He whispers sweet peace to me.
He whispers sweet peace to me.
When I am cast down in spirit and soul,
He whispers sweet peace to me."

So thankful for sweet peace and for the availability of God's Word and His Holy Spirit to put that peace in my heart.

Praying you have a peaceful day in the Lord today!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

In the Word

Yesterday morning when I checked my email, I found this message from my friend Elaine in response to an earlier prayer request I had sent to her

"Wanted you to know I prayed for you this are God's words from me to you: Be in the Word today! He's going to supply you with His peace that surpasses all understanding. Be in the Word today!"

I can't explain how that message consisting of four sentences affected me but it was on a "large" scale! I knew that Elaine was right. God had indeed given her a word to pass on to me!

Immediately I opened my Bible and asked God to direct me to exactly what words in His Word I needed to read and meditate on yesterday. I felt very impressed that I was to go to James and read the entire book. It spoke volumes to me and I needed every word!

As I read, I began to jot down little scraps of words when something would really stir my spirit. I want to share some of those with you today. Maybe just from chapter one.

My Thoughts:

James 1:8 A two-faced person can not be trusted in ANY thing

James 1:15 lust conceived births sin

James 1:18 we were begotten with the word of TRUTH

James 1:19 the three S's....Swift to hear, Slow to speak, Slow to get angry

James 1:21 lay apart -- then receive

James 1:22 DO something! Don't just listen to God's Word and then just sit around and do nothing!

James 1:27 Pure Religion -- visit orphans & widows....and don't let the attractions of the world mess you up!

I have not yet done Beth Moore's newest Bible study on James but this has certainly whetted my appetite for it!

And Elaine was right! God has given me a peace today that I have not felt in quite a long time! I am so in awe of what God is doing and what He is going to do!

God bless you!