Sunday, June 30, 2013

Optional Laws?

The subject of the law has been coming to mind frequently as of late.

I am deeply grateful that we, as Christians, are under grace, not the law.  
We are set free from sin and death, which was a result of not being able to keep the law. 
Praise Jesus!

However, the consequences of not keep the law are still in operation and there is evidence of this all around us for the present. 
We are a broken people in a broken world. 
That is just how it is.

 Being imperfect creatures we make mistakes, get careless; like me on my back porch stairs.

I knew they were slippery.  Actually, I was preparing to scrub them thoroughly, as all the dampness we have been experiencing had caused mold to begin to grow on them.  We were having company the following day and I didn’t want anyone falling.

You would have thought that I would have been extra careful, but it was one of those moments when Debbie was in her head making a list of all the things she needed to do.

Before I could clean those stairs I needed to trim some of the wisteria back that had started to encroach on the stairs.  That is when I was reminded of a few laws of physics.
 Friction and gravity.

My feet had no traction and as I slipped I, of course, headed down the stairs.  Feet first, thank God!
I landed hard on the seat of my pants (capris in this case) and on my elbow.

The consequence is that I feel like I have been riding a horse hard for a long distance and had gripped the reigns very tightly the whole way.  My elbow is very sore, but I am so very grateful that I didn’t break anything.  Thank You, Papa!

Now these consequences will pass. 
Hopefully, I will have learned my lesson and respect the laws that Papa put into operation at the beginning of time. 
They are not optional laws!

Speaking of optional laws I have been wondering whether they have changed the rules of the road without informing me.
Twice this past week I came close to being involved in serious accidents.
In both cases I was approaching a light that had turned green and right before I entered the intersection cross traffic drove through and not at a slow speed!

The first included a box truck and two pick up trucks that came through as if they had the green light. 
Last I knew when one has a green light the cross traffic has red!
I followed those vehicles imagining that they were all together and on some sort of mission. 
Well, each one turned onto a different road so I ceased tailing them.

Two days later it was a tractor trailer that ignored his light.

If I had been a second sooner in my travels I would have experienced the consequences of one of those drivers actions.
I would like to remind those drivers that the rules of the road are not optional anymore than the law of physics!

Oh yes, we all break one law or another. 
This brings to mind what Paul wrote in the beginning of the Seventh chapter of Romans, the Twenty-fifth verse.
“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our LORD!

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Man in the Moon

Last night I read a comment a friend had posted on Face Book, which caused me to grab my keys, jump into my car and drive down the road.

What did she share that caused such a reaction?
She and her hubby had taken a ride themselves and encountered an amazing moon on their travels.

It seems that last night, as well as the previous one, were distinguished by what is called a "super" moon.

Neither I nor my friend could see it from our homes, as we are surrounded with trees that only allowed the hint of the moon's glow because of the position it held in the sky.

I did not have to take my car very far before I came upon a clearing that allowed a full view of said moon.
There it hung in the sky and it seemed as if I was seeing beyond it into space.
Clouds here and there accompanied it and seemed to be beyond our atmosphere, wisps among the stars that glittered so faintly.

As I gazed up at the moon I remembered how excited I would become as a little girl to be able to see the "man in the moon."
I recall feeling safe and protected as the moon's friendly face looked down on me.

That same feeling came over me once more.
However, this time it was because I know the One who made that moon.

How I marvel over the beauty, order and magnitude of all He has created!
Which, of course, then leads me to marvel more so over the fact that this Magnificent Creator God, not only looks down upon me with love, but came down to this earth, reducing Himself to a mere human all because of that love!

Looking up into that vast sky that has no end brings to mind The First chapter of Colossians, the Seventeenth verse,
"And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together."
He not only holds it all together, but is actually amongst His creation.
Right alongside each one of us.

Yes, though His creation is vast and He keeps it all together, He is intimately involved with each bit of it and each one of us.

Though it seems that the "man in the moon" is looking down on us, we can be sure that Papa always has His eye on His children.
"Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, on those who hope for His loving kindness."  Psalm 33:18

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Such Grace!

Looking through the entries in my journal for this past week I see a pattern.
Much of what I have written has been related to one topic: Grace.

First let's make sure we are all on the same page as far as the definition of grace.   The dictionary uses many words to define it, but I believe two will suffice - unmerited favor.

It is a blessing when anyone extends grace to another, yet when it is God doing the extending, blessing is just not sufficient a word to describe what God's grace brings to us.

Papa brought me to the first ten verses of the Second chapter of Ephesians a number of times this week.

The first three verses state our former condition, which was not pretty.

"And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.  Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest."

That was our condition.
Living in the lusts of the flesh...
Children of wrath....

A sorry state.

Then I read two little words that seemed to jump off the page.


Grace activated!

Yes, we were lost, headed for destruction, unable to help ourselves, yet according to verses four and five....

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),"
Mercy moved His to grace, which offers us life!
Made alive together with Christ!

Such grace!

Continuing on with verse six and seven we learn His grace didn't stop with making us alive, which would have been a great enough gift...
"and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus."
In our God's economy we are already seated in heavenly places!
Don't miss the fact that it is with Him!

He intends to continue to extend that grace in its fullness to us!

By His grace, our sin is covered and forgotten, we are clean, new and able to be seated with Him!

Such grace!

Yes, grace saves us!  Read it for yourself in verse eight....
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast."
Grace stirs our hearts to have faith, we don't discover the faith to believe and receive on our own.  It is all grace.

This wonderful grace has even more....
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."  Verse ten
A plan, something we can do for Him and who wouldn't want to take part in it in view of His grace?

Yes, He not only gives us life by His grace, but position and purpose!

I would echo Paul's desire for us,
"To this end also we pray for you always that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power; in order that the name of our LORD Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the LORD Jesus Christ."
 He extends grace to us...
May we give the glory to Him!

Friday, June 14, 2013

More Than Shelter

Opening my bible to the sixth-first Psalm I discovered a date alongside its first three verses.

December 26, 2004.

Eight and a half years ago.

What was happening in my life?
Much turmoil I am sure.  Many heartaches.

On that day, in the midst of all the turmoil I found solace in the words penned by King David so many centuries before.
"Hear my cry, O God; give heed to my prayer.  From the end of the earth I call to You, when my heart is faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  For You have been a refuge for me, a tower of strength against the enemy."

This night I once again am touched by these words.

They wash over me as they pour from the true Author’s heart to mine.

A message of love.

A loving reminder.

So many times He, my dearly beloved Papa has placed me in the cleft of the Rock. 
The Rock that is, indeed, Higher than I!

When my heart barely could muster the strength to continue to beat…

When the darkness cast by the enemy threatened to overtake, He proved Himself greater…
He cast a mighty shadow…that overtook everything.
The tower of strength, where I have been hidden away many a time…

The Psalm continues...
"Let me dwell in Your tent forever; let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings."
Where else would I want to be but in His Presence forever?!
Finding refuge under His mighty wings!

There is more in verse four!
" For You have heard my vows, O God; You have given me the inheritance of those who fear Your Name"

Our gracious, loving God does not stop at sheltering us and affording us protection, but He makes us His own, part of His family!
In response to our sincere desire to honor and revere Him, He welcomes us home, our eternal home!

There we receive and enjoy our inheritance as a child of the King!

I gladly join my voice with David's...
"So I will sing praise to Your Name forever, that I may pay my vows day by day."

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Prayer Warrior?

It seems that we Christians have cultivated our own language.

On occasion I wonder where some of the terms ever were originated.
Certainly not from Scripture.

Often our lingo causes non-Christians to feel truly like outsiders.
Certainly not the way to make them feel they would be welcome in Papa's Kingdom.

To be honest,  many of the phrases do not sit well with me....
Some are used to define an individual's spirituality.  Labels of sorts.

I am not fond of labels. 
They seem to attempt to define us.
And, at times, to elevate us, set us apart from everyone else.

Many of our labels are meant to be praise, but this just makes me more uncomfortable.

Here is one that has been coming to my attention quite a bit.

"You are such a prayer warrior!"

I hear that one a lot.

First, where did that term come from?
Secondly, what does one have to do to qualify?
Thirdly, how does anyone else know whether we really fit the bill or not?

Do I pray?
Of course.

How much do I pray?
I have no idea.

Prayer for me is an ongoing conversation with my Papa.
Scripture does say,
"Pray without ceasing." 1 Thessalonians 5:17
If I tell you I will pray, I make every attempt to do so. 
However, I most often will simply pray with you right on the spot. 
Then, if the Holy Spirit brings the concern to mind later, I will pray some more.

For years I had lists upon lists of prayer concerns.  Actually, I still do have a few,  but (and that is a big but) I mostly rely on the Spirit to guide my prayers.  There are just too many requests and concerns, but He knows what needs to be focused on.  In the spiritual realm prayer is used to do battle, so I want to aim my weapon accurately.

So does this make me a prayer warrior.
No, just a Christian who takes to heart the power and need for prayer.
One who also happens to enjoy talking with her Papa!