Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Bible

We went to church on Sunday. As usual, I fought the anxiety. One of the symptoms, unfortunately, is needing to use the bathroom, sometimes more than just once during the service. So I made my way through the crowd and entered the bathroom, carrying my Bible and my purse. I exited with my purse, and took my seat next to my husband.
I had just commented earlier to a friend, how there was an extra pew in the back added to the side where we always sit, this pew prevents anyone from being able to easily escape exit on that side. (you are quite enclosed in) Now, the other side is always very full, and so is the inside aisle. Isn’t it good to see a full church!  So, anyway…. being seated, I realized that I had left my Bible in the bathroom. So looking around, I had to plan carefully whose toes I would need to step on in order to get out from the pew. Of course, I could have always used one of the Bibles that are placed in the pew, and wait until the conclusion of the service to find my mine…
But, I could not stand the thought that my Bible, my most precious possession was not near! I felt like a mother whose child had gone missing, and no matter how caged in and anxious I felt, I had to find it!
I planned my escape during a hymn when everyone was standing. I headed straight for the ladies room. It was not there. I opened the adjacent nursery door and asked the women in there if they had seen a purple Bible. They had not. I proceeded into the Sunday school area…not there. As I made my way back towards the sanctuary, I noticed my Bible had been placed near the entry door of the fellowship hall! I was flooded with relief.
So why am I writing about this seemingly ordinary occurrence? After all, everyone has lost a Bible, right?
Wrong…not me. Since I have been a Christian now for over 27 years, I have only used two personal Bibles, replacing the first one about 4 years ago when it started to really fall apart,   It was a hard-cover KJV that I had bought well over 20 years ago at a yard sale for $1.00! It was like brand new then, it’s pages unmarked. It lies in a drawer today, the dog eared pages marked with highlights and footnotes, yellowed with age.

CIMG1092An old friend..My compass and Light ..this old Bible has seen me through many years, carried me through many trials, and grief…rebellious teenagers, death, lost friendships, job loss, illness, and pain, etc.. As well as many joys and triumphs.
(As you can see in the first photo above, it looks like I have really taken a bite out of it!)
So when I bought the new Bible, also a KJV. I was thrilled with it’s soft leather cover, a deep purple…purple is my favorite color. I also like how the lettering is enlarged, as it is easier for my aging eyes to read .

I meticulously went through this new Bible, repeating all the highlights and footnotes, and of course, adding many new ones in the last four years. Also, I transferred many little things that were lovingly stored within the old Bible, A candy wrapper, given to me from a sweet little disabled girl whose parents were missionaries in the Ukraine, A note from a dear friend to encourage me through a tough time. Prayer requests…many of them, written on everything from ripped pieces of paper, to offering envelopes taken from the pew. Recently I shared a picture of a small dried violet given from a friend. The inside of this new Bible contains stickers, placed there from a couple of little children who were having some trouble staying quiet, and occupied during service at one of the churches I attended. Then there are the usual, bookmarks from various people, one hand-made, and some bulletins from different churches, with notes written on them as well. (although these get cleaned out regularly)
So, this Bible not only contains the living Word of God, but also serves as a type of journal and roadmap of my life as a child of God. So when it went missing, I felt, for the first time, just how important my personal Bible really is to me.
I have been thinking about this all week now. I realize there are places in the world where it is considered a crime to possess a Bible. I wonder, how many times we who are free to have a Bible, quote from that Bible, and attend a church, take for granted these freedoms?
At what cost would you continue to carry your Bible, talk about the Lord with others, and worship and study about the Lord in a church building or other public place? I would hope that if ever faced with a situation like that, we would all react like a mother or father in pursuit of a lost child…risking anything and everything to be with that precious one.
God, is not a lost child, that would be us, when we stray from His presence.
Yes, I do understand that God’s Word is hidden in our hearts, (Psalm 119:11) and I know that Jesus is the LIVING WORD, and the Holy Spirit dwells within each believer. We are truly, Never Forsaken. Therefore if we did not have our Bibles available to us, Jesus would still be to us, the living fountain of life, imparting knowledge and instruction to us. As His grace is sufficient! 
(2 Corinthians 12:9) 
So, I am wondering, What does the Bible mean to you? Is it a valued possession that would send you seeking it out if it went missing from your hand? Would you be willing to step on a few toes in pursuit of it? Is there anything that is trying to cage you in, away from the Bible lately?
Maybe now is the time to plan your escape away from where you are kept from pursuing a closer relationship with the Lord…He is right there, waiting for you, at the entrance door of your heart! 


Most assuredly I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there, ’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. (Matthew 17:20)

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (Hebrews 13:5)

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Rev. 3:20)

 



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

God Is Able


And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry…And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 1:12-14)

So, you might ask, where have I been? I know I said I would try to post once a week. Well, the close of summer is  usually pretty busy around here, with family and friends visiting.
But now you get, not one…but TWO posts from me!
(Please try to contain your excitement, LOL!)
Well, now, if I said I wasn’t slightly tempted to give up the blog, I would be lying. I have had a real crisis of faith when the reality of not having the internet at my fingertips hit me when the plug was pulled! (so to speak)
I realized that I had grown quite lazy accustomed to the ease of looking up scripture that was relevant to whatever the topic I was posting on. And now I have to actually Gasp!…READ the Bible in order to ferret out those scriptures that where once only a googled keyword away!
You see, I have always been a random, seat of her pants kinda' writer. That is the way the Lord made me. I do not think too long about what I want to say when it comes to the Bible, or my faith, or lack thereof, which is what I am going to write about today…
So when I was forced to think a bit longer, and read a bit more for those nuggets of wisdom, in God’s Word..At first I walked around telling my husband (and anyone else who would listen..or pretend to) that I needed two things…a good ‘Strongs’ Concordance, and a Webster’s Dictionary, if I were going to continue to blog.
I am still looking for those two books, but as I am cheap thrifty…I am looking for a deal, and need my son in law to help me find them online. (I just haven’t asked him yet). I know, I know…not good at asking for help.
Okay, so I picked up the laptop a couple of times intending to work on the blog, and soon became daunted as I now needed to work harder, and it took longer, as I could no longer peruse the internet for inspiration such as great images, and Bible commentaries, song lyrics, poems, famous quotes, etc..
However, today after crying over many things, such as my worries about my family…I just decided to lay it all at the feet of Jesus. But, when I wrote them down, one by one and told the Lord I would release it all over to Him to take care of…He asked me to lay down my own will there as well.

 “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

So I handed over the burden of “How will I?”, and took up the yoke of “My grace is sufficient for thee.”

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matt.11:28-30)

And the post ‘My Bible’ just poured out…smoothly, and effortlessly…I even enjoyed writing it!
I hope you enjoy reading it as well.
God is able…and we must always remember, that we are…
Never Forsaken

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sunset

 

 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 5:16








Just Beyond The Sunset

Just beyond the sunset
Someone waits for me
Just beyond the sunset
Lies my destiny
Where the purple mountains
Lie in deep tranquillity
There I’ll find the treasure
Of love eternally

Just beyond the sunset
Waits someone so fair
Just beyond the sunset
All alone they wait there
Their hair is golden
The colour of the sand
Their eyes sparkle in the night
Like diamonds in your hand

Just beyond the sunset
Lies a home for me
Where the world is peaceful
Like a paradise should be
Just beyond the sunset
Someday is where you’ll find me

Written - July or Aug 1966     
David Harris

As of this Sunday, August 12th, we will no longer have high speed internet in our home.  I posted something about this a couple months ago. In the forest where we live, there are few options available for dependable, and affordable high-speed internet.  I will only have dial up, (which is pretty much only good for emailing).

I am not sure how often I will have access to the internet. I am planning to visit the library after Bible study each week, so I will try to publish an update to the blog each thursday. I will also be visiting your lovely blogs then as well.

 So, although you may not get a comment from me right away, I promise to pop in, and say "hi", whenever I can!

 I chose a sunset theme for this post, because I didn't want anyone to think  'My Heart's Home' has disappeared for good...so, this is not a good-bye!

...or in the words of a famous American actor-turned-governor:

"I'll be b`ack!" * (best said with an Austrian accent)

~God Bless~
& always remember, we are...

Never Forsaken
********************
 Don't forget to send me an email, if you feel so inclined, so that we can keep in touch in between blog posts!* nvr4skn@gmail.com



 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have.
 For He Himself has said,
 “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5



Tuesday, August 7, 2012

God's lesson on the wall

Buddy speckled with drywall dust
We finished the drywall in our hallway over the weekend, taking a break only for church on Sunday.
As I've mentioned in previous posts; our dog Buddy has to be in the middle of whatever I am doing..he is a true' mama's boy' that's what my husband calls him. I was worried about him getting dust in his eyes and tried to keep him away, to no avail!
At one point, I was sitting on the floor to sand a low area when he walked up and proceeded to try and lick the drywall dust from my face...his was just as covered.

For anyone out there who has experience with drywall, you know just how tedious this job can be. The sanding in particular.
So while I was sanding, the Lord was speaking to me, and I was listening...Here is what I learned from sanding drywall:

God is working on me. I am like this wall. There are places where there is damage and imperfection. The Lord is working on fixing those areas.

Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it." (Jeremiah 18:3-4)

 God closely inspects me, He surveys the damaged areas and then very gently applies a covering over these areas. It feels good.

16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. (psalm139:16)

The first layer of patching clay goes on very thick and covers some of the healthy and smooth areas surrounding the damaged ones. God uses a lot of clay first, and really packs it in there...this can feel sort of weird, but I know He is doing this for my good, and I must be still and trust Him. I can already feel the difference in my form, but I feel a bit strange, as theres all this extra clay on me...It's sorta heavy and uncomfortable.

 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: (1 Peter 4:12)

Before this clay dries, God continues to smooth out this first layer, applying pressure to insure an even finish, I am impatient for this pressure to stop.

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:7-11)

But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. (1 Peter 4:13)

Once the new clay is packed over the damage and smoothed out evenly, I am left alone while the clay dries. Although I have a short rest, I realize that without the Father's hand working  on me, the  clay is soon becoming cold and hardened. I feel alone and it is rough.

For God alone my soul in silence waits;
Truly, my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold, so that I shall not be shaken.
In God is my safety and my honor;
God is my strong rock and my refuge.
Put your trust in him always, O People,
Pour out your hearts before him, for God is our refuge.”

Psalm 62:1, 2, 8, 9

While the clay dried, I may have felt alone, but the Lord was always there close by to keep an eye on my progress. It was a relief as I felt His hand gently glide over the rough patches of clay...I thought He was going to leave me this way.
When I felt the first swipe of the course sandpaper over the clay, I thought I might just die!

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
 (2 Cor. 4:16)

 But little by little as He sanded away the rough clay, the discomfort turned to joy as I realized with each steady strong swipe, I was getting smoother and smoother. Things were beginning to get better.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

As I watched the dust fall, I worried about how so much dust might make such a mess on everything and everyone around me, but the Father assured me that He had covered everything, and to quit worrying, He knew what He was doing, and had everything in control. He would wash away all the dust when the job was done.

 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
  A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
Psalm 91:4-7


 I was growing weary, and just when I thought I was finished...smooth enough...God began to apply another coat to some smaller areas that I did not even know existed...I began to protest, but He only smiled and said, I want you to be perfect and whole, this will only take a little more time, you will see. This time, the Lord only applied a small amount of clay, it did not take long for it to dry.
The next phase of sanding required a much finer grade of sandpaper, and was not so unpleasant this time!

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.(2 Cor. 4:17-18) 



 The Master Creator worked diligently on every corner, leaving nothing untouched until I was smooth and even. You could not even tell where the cracks and holes had been!

 "Matt 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." 

So, I am thinking, I am a work in progress, and just like that damaged hallway wall, it is going to be so worthwhile once the Lord is done working on me...I realize that I will never be a perfectly smooth, finished project, until I leave this earth and cross over into Heaven...But just the fact that God is starting this work on me now, shows how much He loves me, and how much he wants to use me.
And I am safe and secure in the Master's hands!

Next project is to paint the walls, and then lay the flooring...I wonder what else God will teach me?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Tides of Forgiveness



10-16-2011_077


The above picture shows footprints in the sand on a shoreline. Forgiveness is like what the tide does when it rolls in and washes the footprints away...The footprints are marks left in the sand, much like the hurts impressed upon our lives by others.

Have you ever built a sandcastle, only to have it stomped down by someone? I have.

Sometimes, instead of just footprints in our peaceful sand, there comes a solid stomp from the foot of one who seeks to destroy what we have so diligently built in our sand.


We are first shocked, then saddened...How could they? we might ask as we sit amongst the ruins. Then we become angry and may even seek vengence...You just wait until YOU build a sandcastle, I will stomp on it with BOTH feet... Ha...ha! ( I have an older brother can't you tell?)

The problem in the first place, is that I should not expect something that I built in the sand to last for more than a minute anyway; and I should never treasure whatever was built in sand.


“Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:26)


Our lives are touched by the wind, the rains, the storms of life. With the passage of time comes change. These are all to be expected.

We have weathered the changes of the seasons, and have learned to adapt to the effects of the elements upon our lives; But footprints are an intrusion into the sand; they can have a devastating impact upon it.

Unlike the steady force of the wind shifting the sand from side to side, or the constant pattering from rain, drenching the sand and pulling it away, and spreading it thinner...a footprint is sudden, unexpected, and forceful; it can run deep and wide, crushing the sand beneath it's brutal weight, and kicking it aside, leaving behind the evidence of it's trespass!

What we need to remember, is that just as footprints in sand are temporary, so can be the effects from hurt inflicted upon us by others.

...And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us...(
from
The Lord's Prayer)

We must make a choice to either become angry and stay that way even after the footprints have long faded, or we can be angry for a short season, and then allow the tide of forgiveness to forever wash away the footprints from our hearts and minds.


"If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Matthew 5:7, 39-46)

 

The tides of forgiveness will wash them away, and we will be restored to a peaceful shore once again.

 He will again have compassion on us;
he will tread our iniquities underfoot.
  He will cast all our sins
into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:19)

I am still learning how to forgive, and forget. I have learned that I can not do it by my own power, just as I can not save my own soul. I know now that Jesus has already taken all the punishment, not only for my sins, but for those who hurt me with their sins as well. And I must never forget what He said from the cross:

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)

Therefore, if our Lord forgave those who crucified Him (while He still suffered), when they did not even acknowledge any wrongdoing, and had not asked Him for forgiveness for it... then who am I to withold forgiveness for wrongs that were done to or against me!

I believe we must learn from our life experiences, both good and bad, but we must move on, beyond the past, into whatever the Lord has for us...This is a foundation laid for us by Jesus Himself. He overcame death, and took our sins away, so that when the storms came, we would not fall. Even death can not harm our soul! Anything that we build on anything else but that foundation, will crumble and fall.
He remains steadfast and holds us in place when we have built our faith upon the Rock. We will not lose hope, when we place our future in His hands.

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. (Jeremiah 29:11)

There is freedom, peace, and comfort there.

So do not fear,  for I am with you;      do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen  you and help  you;      I will uphold ...