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Archive for April, 2008

Isaiah 30:18

Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore He exalts Himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of Justice; blessed are all those who will wait for Him.

 

This morning I was in another mind frame completely that what this verse provides… however, this verse jumped out of the side of my bible and warmed my heart.

I love the truth of God waiting to be gracious to me, and He does this by exalting Himself in my life! When my focus is all on Him, when my heart runs after Him, He continues to exalt Himself in my mind and my heart, and THIS is being gracious to me!

 This past two months I have been hit with many things, many trials, many blessings, and yet, as I have striven to keep Him exalted and first in my heart and mind, I have watched Him take care of every day’s needs and desires.

He is truly waiting, but not waiting with apathy but rather with excitement to bless His children with not just momentary gifts but with HIMSELF! His presence is to be treasured above all else! His name to proclaimed above all else! His glory to be seen above all else! This is His grace, this is His mercy in my life and the lives of all those who put their focus on His face.

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Desiring God Letter

I recieve these letter’s each month from Desiring God Ministries. This one came yesterday and was so good, I just felt like I HAD to share it! My prayer is that Grace and Peace trulybe multiplied to you todayas you read!

 

How Grace and Peace Is Multiplied to You

April 2008

Every morning at 8:45 the Desiring God staff gathers for a 15-minute devotional. We read a small portion of Scripture, apply it to God’s call on us, and then pray for various outreach efforts, needs, and prayer requests. It’s our daily reminder that apart from Jesus we can do nothing.

We’ve been reading through Second Peter. And two things in Peter’s opening greeting blew us away.

First, he addressed his letter

To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

“Equal standing” with Peter? Think about that. Peter was a capital “A” Apostle. Jesus had handpicked him as a disciple. He was the first to confess Jesus to be the Christ. He saw Jesus transfigured on the mountain. He was the first Apostle to see the resurrected Jesus. He preached the first evangelistic sermon at Pentecost. He boldly confronted the Sanhedrin when they questioned him about healing the lame man. He was the first to preach to the Gentiles. Sick people used to line the streets where Peter walked, hoping that his shadow might fall on them and heal them. Peter actually wrote Scripture.

And we ordinary Christians have obtained a faith of equal standing with Peter’s? Absolutely yes! There is nothing ordinary about the faith we’ve received. It has been given to us as a gift from the Lord Jesus, the same Lord who gave Peter his faith.

Peter had no illusion about who he was. He was an ordinary man chosen by an extraordinary Savior to fulfill an extraordinary calling through the power of an extraordinary Spirit. All that had made Peter extraordinary had come to him as a gift of grace from God. Apart from Jesus he was nothing. That’s why when Cornelius fell at his feet and worshiped him, Peter quickly pulled him up and said, “Stand up; I too am a man” (Acts 10:26).

If you are a Christian, the same amazing Savior has chosen you, cleansed you from all your sin, given you his perfect righteousness, and filled you with his Holy Spirit. “What the Lord has made clean, do not call common” (Acts 10:15). Jesus has made you extraordinary, more than you know. Jesus has called you by name, appointed you to faithfully steward a particular calling, has a unique name for you that only he knows, and has prepared a place in his eternal kingdom especially for you. Peter considers you a peer, his sibling in God’s family.

Secondly, Peter pronounced this blessing on his readers:

May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

Doesn’t the thought of grace and peace being multiplied to you sound refreshing? Isn’t it just what you need right now, a bath in God’s grace and peace?

It’s available to you. The more you know of God, the more familiar you are with his promises, the more your thinking is shaped and saturated by the words of the Lord Jesus, and the more grace and peace will be multiplied to you. Your Bible contains the source of the grace and peace you need. Jesus intends for his words to abide in you, because they are the words of life.

Peter, who had experienced unprecedented signs and wonders and empowerments of the Holy Spirit, knew that people experienced the grace of God through the message of the gospel. It’s the truth that sets us free. And he knew that peace didn’t come from merely witnessing phenomena, but from believing what Jesus said. He remembered Jesus’ words:

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).

That’s why Desiring God is a teaching ministry. Jesus intends for his gospel to be preached. In his Great Commission he instructed his disciples to go to the nations and teach them to observe all that he had commanded them (Matthew 28:20). So the apostles first filled Jerusalem (Acts 5:28) and then turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6) with their teaching. Now we want to be a part of turning the world upside down in our generation. So we’re going to continue to press to find new ways to spread this teaching freely to as many people in as many nations as possible.

One way we would like to encourage you personally this month is to point you to a message by John Piper titled, “Liberating Promises,” a sermon on 2 Peter 1:1-4. Because it is through God’s precious and very great promises that you are becoming a partaker of the divine nature. This message and over a thousand others are available free on our website because friends of DG financially support us.

We want you to be encouraged, my friend. You have obtained from the Lord a faith of equal standing with the greatest apostles. And you have been given the very same promises by the Lord Jesus. So keep “grow[ing] in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). And may grace and peace be multiplied to you.

That the earth may be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,

Jon Bloom
Executive Director

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Where Is Wisdom?

Job 28  

28:1 “Surely there is a mine for silver,
and a place for gold that they refine.
Iron is taken out of the earth,
and copper is smelted from the ore.
Man puts an end to darkness
and searches out to the farthest limit
the ore in gloom and deep darkness.
He opens shafts in a valley away from where anyone lives;
they are forgotten by travelers;
they hang in the air, far away from mankind; they swing to and fro.
As for the earth, out of it comes bread,
but underneath it is turned up as by fire.
Its stones are the place of sapphires, and it has dust of gold.

“That path no bird of prey knows,
and the falcon’s eye has not seen it.
The proud beasts have not trodden it;
the lion has not passed over it.

“Man puts his hand to the flinty rock
and overturns mountains by the roots.
10 He cuts out channels in the rocks,
and his eye sees every precious thing.
11 He dams up the streams so that they do not trickle,
and the thing that is hidden he brings out to light.

12 “But where shall wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?
13 Man does not know its worth,
and it is not found in the land of the living.
14 The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’
and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
15 It cannot be bought for gold,
and silver cannot be weighed as its price.
16 It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,
in precious onyx or sapphire.
17 Gold and glass cannot equal it,
nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.
18 No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal;
the price of wisdom is above pearls.
19 The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it,
nor can it be valued in pure gold.

20 “From where, then, does wisdom come?
And where is the place of understanding?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of all living
and concealed from the birds of the air.
22 Abaddon and Death say,
‘We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.’

23 “God understands the way to it,
and he knows its place.
24 For he looks to the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When he gave to the wind its weight
and apportioned the waters by measure,
26 when he made a decree for the rain
and a way for the lightning of the thunder,
27 then he saw it and declared it;
he established it, and searched it out.
28 And he said to man,
‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
and to turn away from evil is understanding.’”

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Psalms 3:3 But you, O Lord are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.

Psalms 4:8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Psalms 5:12 For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield.

 

Man, it seems like God is pounding this truth in my head! He surrounds us! This should bring us so much peace, hope, joy, and the ability to love others freely! But I am not sure we, fully get this truth.

This year has been a year where I have seen and felt God and his faithfulness over and over again! Even through much pain and turmoil, He covers me with a shield that brings so much peace, hope, and joy, that I tend to forget that there are hard issues right now in my life!

We are only in the middle of April and yet, I can see how God was there in January and how HE will be there in December! He truly does not just surround one facet of our lives but all! He alone can take this glory! No human can even come close to claiming this kind of protective power!

When I think of Him putting favor around me like a shield, I know this is true! I see it. I should not even have the joy of His presence, the hope of His calling, nor the peace of His spirit and yet… yet I do! This IS favor! This is where you know , that you know, that had God not been there, you would have surely vanished, had He not been there you would have surely lost your mind, BUT GOD, He is always there, we are surrounded, therefore we can raise our hands and worship the King!

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Not Using The Power Given

2 Peter 1:3-4

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,  by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

 

Tonight I had one of those practical teaching moments that God uses in me a lot, I don’t know if it is because He knows I can’t hang with big theologians and their gigantic words and descriptions that give me a headache just to try to understand, or maybe He just likes to speak to me in ways that are sweetly easy to comprehend. Whatever the reason, I had one of those moments.

I came home from small group and decided after the children were in bed I would go run. I came back from running and did the normal things I do like panting for water and so on… 🙂 Then I came upstairs to shower and get ready for bed. I noticed that one of the cordless phones was laying on my nightstand and out of curiosity I picked it up and hit the last calls menu. It made me laugh because the phone was as dead as could get. You may ask why I laughed…. well, because right beside it was the phone charger, you know the big black thing that gives it power to work and do amazing things like connect us to people who really just want to sell you something you absolutely don’t need! HA! Anyway, one of my children thought that it would be easier to just lay the phone on the nightstand instead of stretching over and setting the phone into its power source. Now, surely you know where I am headed with this! You know, the whole thing God has been speaking to me about abiding and bearing fruit, you know…. anyway, it started me thinking about how a simple thing like “recharging” so often gets pushed to the side because honestly, nothing more than spiritual laziness! Then when we really need this power we are as dead as my phone!

May we take the time to sit in His “base” and recharge so that we may have the power that we so desperately need!

 

 

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Luke 8:11-15

Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. 14 And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. 15 As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.

Ps 126:5-6

Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy!
6
He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him.

John 15:4-9

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.

Hebrews 5:11-6:3

About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 and of instruction about washings, [ the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits.

God has spoken this very clearly to my heart the last two days! Deanna, you must plant the word I give you as you would plant a seed in the ground, you must be patient with it and depend on me to make it sprout, grow and bear fruit….. So I would like to dig in and discover this with all of you!

First thing, read the above Luke passage…

I am going to attempt to break this up as I believe God has broken it up for me and hopefully we will all be blessed by it.

Verse 11 states that the seed is the word of God.

I was raised in church. In fact, in a pastors home so the word was implanted in me at a very early age…however, you can take a seed and plant it, and not see real growth for some time….

Verse12 The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.

It took me, even being raised this way, until I was 13 to experience salvation. The word, was taken away over and over from my heart…. But I believe this passage also talks of much more than a salvation experience. Many times over the past 18 years that I have known the Lord, there has been much Word given me that the enemy has come and stolen so that I may not believe the Lord and be saved from whatever situation I was in! Looking back over the years, I can see many times that unbelief hindered my spiritual growth.

Verse 13 And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away.

This one really hurts me! I know of MANY times that I have heard, and received it with much joy because I could feel and know the truth that was there, but when this word was tested, which by the way, it always is, it had no root so it fell away!

Verse 14 And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.

Every time I read this, I cannot help but think of John Piper saying that we must break away from the Disney Land of America and be who we are called to be! In my life, I am not pulled by the last two in this but, I have felt the cares of the world in my life a lot and let them overtake me, therefore choking out what healthy fruit God wanted to bear in my life, and having some pretty sick looking fruit on my vines.

BUT, here is hope!

Verse 15 As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.

Wow! Lets look at what it is that makes this seed bear healthy fruit!

Fist off, how can I have good soil? Well I believe it comes from abiding in Christ! Abiding in Him, daily, trusting Him, but also, constantly cultivating this soil, with the Word, putting it in, letting others speak into our lives but most of all meeting with Christ daily and letting HIM speak into our lives and even though it hurts to have the soil of our hearts broken up, yet learning by trusting His heart.

Then, during this time of suffering, holding fast to the Word as it is our very life, our very HOPE!

The next has become SO important to me! To be honest with God about everything! You know this if you have read my blog for very long! I am pretty much very raw with my Lord and He has built so much trust in Him, because of this!

Then, we look at this “good heart” thing….. Let me tell you, unless the power of the cross is active in my life this is impossible! My heart is completely wicked without the blood of Jesus covering and the Spirit sanctifying it!

I love how this closes! Bearing fruit in patience…. Let me say that “WAIT” is not my favorite word! Patience is a virtue that Deanna lacks in! but, this is the ONLY way that we can sprout a young plant. watch it grow and most excitedly bear fruit! Healthy fruit that not only feeds us but the body!

May we bear MUCH fruit!

 

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Laughter Is Heard Again

Psalms 126

 1When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
   we were like those who dream.
2Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
   and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
    “The LORD has done great things for them.”
3The LORD has done great things for us;
   we are glad.

 4Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
   like streams in the Negeb!
5 Those who sow in tears
   shall reap with shouts of joy!
6He who goes out weeping,
   bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
   bringing his sheaves with him.

OH How my soul loves to laugh!

 Last night the kids and I went with a friend to eat dinner. I had a particularly hard day just being so tired of the things that are going on in my life…. Not all things, but the overwhelming things that seem to flood you all at the same time!

Anyway, we were sitting at dinner and we laughed freely, according to Abbie maybe a little too loud, but freely! I then had a conversation on the phone and laughter came up not only in the reality of it but the importance of it…..

Because I am studying these amazing Psalms it was God ordained that this Psalm would be what I would read this morning, and I became so excited about this psalm!

When we are going through hard times, laughter sometimes disappears and this is when we need it so desperately!

But the scripture in this passage I love the most is the end of verse two and the beginning of three. Why? Because others, saw what God was doing! And it reminds us that, yes, He has done great things! This is where God gets the glory He so deserves and is only His to gain!

This is my hearts cry! May I bring glory to the One who created me to glorify Him! May others hear the laughter and it be contagious! May they ask, and may I tell the GREAT AND AWESOME things that He has done and is currently doing!

I love you, Lindsay, keep laughing and watch what God does with your Joy that is Him!

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