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Archive for July, 2008

Job 17:9

Yet the righteous holds to his way, and he who has clean hands grows stronger and stronger.

Acts 28:27

For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’

Eph 4:13

until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,

Eph 4:15,16

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

2 Thess 1:3

We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.

1 Peter 2:2

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation.

2Peter 3:18

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

I just finished the book of Hebrews yesterday! It was amazingly challenging and in your face with truth.

The end of Chapter 5 stayed with me as I see a common thread in the body of Christ today.

11 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.

Yesterday the thought of “grow up into truth” kept coming into my mind over and over again. I started thinking about when we are baby Christians and are so hungry for any truth we can get and digest, and even if we can’t seem to digest it, we will keep on after it until we completely get it!

This is what I see happening though, Because truth is absolute and it does not move, we tend to water it down and attempt to bring to the babies level instead of challenging the baby to grow UP into it! So, when it is digested, it is not truth at all.  We see this with many teachers today “acceptance of everyone and everything”. Should we accept? YES! We love people as they are and where they are but heaven forbid we encourage them to stay there!

Not too long ago, a young couple  which I am friends with had quite a scare with their little baby girl: they had gone to the doctor, I believe for a regular visit and were met with the concerns from the doctor that their baby was not gaining weight. Now, they had noticed that she was small, but didn’t realize they danger that she could be in from not growing properly. The baby was hospitalized and all kinds of tests were run on her to find out why her growth seemed to be stunted. Turns out that she was not eating enough. Very simple problem to fix, and  very quickly we all saw dramatic growth and change in the happiness of the lil one once she was challenged in her eating habits.

Now, I am sure, I am not sharing with a bunch of spiritually dull people and you can identify this truth with us in our spiritual minds,hearts and souls.

But, I have to wonder, why is it, that we can see people around us, or even ourselves in need of growing and yet we are unwilling to evaluate why this is, and then challenge our “eating habits”?

Would we see dramatic change in our growth and even our joy?

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1 Chron 28:9 “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.

Psalms 139:1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!

Ecc 7:25 I turned my heart to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the scheme of things, and to know the wickedness of folly and the foolishness that is madness

Jeremiah 17:10 “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind,[1] to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”

Psalms 24:4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.

Prov 20:9 Who can say, “I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin”?

Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

1Tim 1:5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

2Tim 2:22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

Heb 10:22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

1Peter 3:3-4 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear, but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

I have been very burdened by this issue of working on outward appearance rather than the inner man a lot lately. I have thought of writing this entry many times knowing full well that is likely to anger some in its confrontational manner. This is not my desire, but rather that the truth be proclaimed loud and clear! Hence, I have given more scriptures above than what I usually use.

I want you to know that this is not an easy pill to swallow, and that I believe is because we have become more and more like the world and care more and more about what the world thinks of us. Also, some believers have gone into this teaching with a dogmatic approach that is harsh and legalistic. I just want us, you and me to examine our hearts. Why we seem to spend hours even days on working on our external being and we are starving our spirits?? When my second son was a baby, he had a hard time sleeping, as he had many, many ear infections. when he was a little under one, I was laying with him on the couch trying to get him to go to sleep, it was the middle of the day and I turned on the TV. Now, most of you know that this time is Soap Opera city, so I turn quickly to a certain show that was not considered to be one… however, I became enthralled very shortly with the immoral lives of these people and the drama that existed because of it! Jeremiah went to sleep, and I decided after the show was over to catch up on some much needed rest myself. As I started to drift off to sleep, I heard the sweet voice of the Spirit, say ” Deanna, if you feed the flesh, the flesh will grow, if you feed the spirit man, the spirit man will grow.” I was immediately WIDE awake and Romans 8 came to mind. I turned quickly in my bible to this passage and here is what jumped off the page,

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God….. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

 

I realized that I was feeding the flesh, and not only that, but in my worn down time because of lack of sleep, I had very little discernment! I wanted and now want with even more desire to walk in the Spirit, however the world and its passions are constantly pulling at me!

I see this in women more, perhaps because this is what I am around more, but we have such a worldly mindset on what beauty is!!! We desire to have the latest styles, the latest looks, and see very little to nothing of what God calls precious and beautiful! We wonder why we have no joy, peace, or even love for our husbands/ families and yet we have done exactly what Jeremiah 2:5 says Thus says the Lord: “What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless?

We run after worthlessness and become ABSOLUTELY worthless to the kingdom, and our families!

This is NOT what God wants. And yet, I fear that we are so caught into this trap that we think we cannot be free, if we even see that we need to be free!

I desire to see my christian sisters rise up, quit denying the power with in them ( 2Tim 3:5) and kick this enemy back to the pit where it belongs!

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I ask that you read this out loud if you can.

Hebrews 9

 Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness. For a tent was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence.  It is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a second section called the Most Holy Place, having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.

These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties, but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people. By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing (which is symbolic for the present age).  According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, 10 but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation.

11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify  for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.  16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

 

As I start to type this, I know that there are many great articles, and much better authors with more knowledge than I will ever have on this subject, however, I read this chapter this morning and was moved to tears over all that Christ has done for us, for me!

I have been reading through Hebrews along with some other passages daily, and have been so stirred up by what the author of Hebrews says and the passion that this man had for the Lord and His work!

Chapter 8 talks about Christ coming and being the High Priest of a Better Covenant, And then Chapter 9 blew my socks off this morning as I read it out loud in my room!

Verse 9b According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper. 

Ok! I don’t know if that moves anyone the way that it moved me, but let me tell you, I need my Conscience PERFECTED!  Before I moved on, I made note that only the blood of Christ can perfect my conscience and I am so grateful that He does this, daily His mercy is new to continue this work!

Then, I come down to verse 14 and literally shouted!

14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God!

Hallelujah!  Once and for all, the Work to perfect my life/conscience was done on the cross! According to this and the next chapters, it is not required for Christ to keep on making sacrifices, His was the FINISHED work, that cleanses away all my sin, past, present and future and not only that but He is coming again  “not to deal with sin but to save those who are EAGERLY waiting for HIM! “

Amen, Thank you Jesus for the Beautiful finished work!

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Wow! I am in such desperate need to have the LORD teach and instruct me, in everything, I do! Not, just the things I think he wants to handle, but those that are so chaotic in my life, I feel like I may just lose my mind altogether. I have a few of these situations that come up and if I am not careful, I can become overwhelmed with them and forget to take them to the Lord, so quickly!

This morning, a friend sent me a text that reminded me of the scripture in Phil 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.!!

I read it out loud in my room several times before I delved into my quiet time! But rather than going directly into my daily reading I read the whole chapter four of Philippians…. this is what I found before the previous verse…

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

WOW! So, Deanna, DO NOT be anxious about anything! WHAT???? Is this possible??? Paul, come ON!!! Surely, you don’t know the things I go through in my mind!!! Hmmm… Look at the middle of this amazing chapter! 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

The “secret” is in  all the above verses. What I think on, what I do, and WHO it is that gives me strength!!

OK! Paul, maybe you do know, maybe, I need to learn to take one burden at a time to the Lord till all of them rest at His feet, trusting Him to take them, and work them for His glory and thus giving me guarding peace that passes all my human mind can comprehend! “Maybe”?? Nah… Herein lies truth!

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Proverbs 16:32

Whoever is slow to anger is better, than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

Recently I went with my husband and children to see the new superhero movie “The Incredible Hulk”.

Now, I will say this was totally my husbands idea, the superhero world holds little to none interest for me.. 🙂 but, I do enjoy spending time with them, so I willingly went to see the “big green man”.

Honestly, most of the movie was humorous to me, because it is so extremely the exact picture of whom most  real men I believe, desire to be. ” Strong and Impenetrable” for the safety of their wives and children… but I also saw a lot of spiritual truth to the movie. Maybe this is just because I see the fight against “self/flesh” in the hulk and can identify with it so strongly. One of my favorite parts was when Bruce was trying to speak Portuguese and trying to tell a “bad guy” that he would not like him if he made him angry… instead of “angry”, he said, “hungry”… needless to say this had no effect on the “bad guy”.. and the fight got ugly and green 🙂 But, I know this, people truly do not like us when we are spiritually hungry, we starve for the strength only God can give through His word and the Joy of His Presence ( Psalms 21:6)

This morning the above scripture was of course in my Proverb of the day and it struck me as humorous thinking once again of the Hulk movie. However, I also read the following passage today and would like to share with you how Strong and Mighty our Savior, our Rock is,  He truly is where we should gain our strength and our salvation to not only fight against the enemies without but also the enemy of our flesh. May He lead us to Himself, “the Rock that is higher than us” (Psalms 61:2)

Psalms 18:1 I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.

The cords of death encompassed me;
the torrents of destruction assailed me; the cords of Sheol entangled me;
the snares of death confronted me.

In my distress I called upon the Lord;
to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.

Then the earth reeled and rocked;
the foundations also of the mountains trembled
and quaked, because he was angry.
Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth;
glowing coals flamed forth from him.
He bowed the heavens and came down;
thick darkness was under his feet.
10 He rode on a cherub and flew;
he came swiftly on the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him,
thick clouds dark with water.
12 Out of the brightness before him
hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds.

13 The Lord also thundered in the heavens,
and the Most High uttered his voice,
hailstones and coals of fire.
14 And he sent out his arrows and scattered them;
he flashed forth lightnings and routed them.
15 Then the channels of the sea were seen,
and the foundations of the world were laid bare
at your rebuke, O Lord,
at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.

16 He sent from on high, he took me;
he drew me out of many waters.
17 He rescued me from my strong enemy
and from those who hated me,
for they were too mighty for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a broad place;
he rescued me, because he delighted in me.

20 The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
and have not wickedly departed from my God.
22 For all his rules  were before me,
and his statutes I did not put away from me.
23 I was blameless before him,
and I kept myself from my guilt.
24 So the Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

25 With the merciful you show yourself merciful;
with the blameless man you show yourself blameless;
26 with the purified you show yourself pure;
and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous.
27 For you save a humble people,
but the haughty eyes you bring down.
28 For it is you who light my lamp;
the Lord my God lightens my darkness.
29 For by you I can run against a troop,
and by my God I can leap over a wall.
30 This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

31 For who is God, but the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God?—
32 the God who equipped me with strength
and made my way blameless.
33 He made my feet like the feet of a deer
and set me secure on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for war,
so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You have given me the shield of your salvation,
and your right hand supported me,
and your gentleness made me great.
36 You gave a wide place for my steps under me,
and my feet did not slip.
37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them,
and did not turn back till they were consumed.
38 I thrust them through, so that they were not able to rise;
they fell under my feet.
39 For you equipped me with strength for the battle;
you made those who rise against me sink under me.
40 You made my enemies turn their backs to me, and those who hated me I destroyed.
41 They cried for help, but there was none to save;
they cried to the Lord, but he did not answer them.
42 I beat them fine as dust before the wind;
I cast them out like the mire of the streets.

43 You delivered me from strife with the people;
you made me the head of the nations;
people whom I had not known served me.
44 As soon as they heard of me they obeyed me;
foreigners came cringing to me.
45 Foreigners lost heart
and came trembling out of their fortresses.

46 The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock,
and exalted be the God of my salvation—
47 the God who gave me vengeance
and subdued peoples under me,
48 who delivered me from my enemies;
yes, you exalted me above those who rose against me;
you rescued me from the man of violence.

49 For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations,
and sing to your name.
50 Great salvation he brings to his king,
and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
to David and his offspring forever.

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Proverbs 14:9

Fools mock at the guilt offering, but the upright enjoy acceptance.

I was reading this proverb today and was drawn into this particular verse… In my bible it has a little number beside the last part of it which directed me to the bottom of the page where a note says.. “but among the upright is acceptance.”

I started thinking about how we as believers should be the most accepting of people that exist, let me clarify, not accepting of their sin, but accepting of them. Why? Because, we have been so graciously accepted by Christ by whose blood we are made upright! For a few years now, every time I read any scripture that talks about the righteousness of man, I am reminded that this is ONLY through the blood of Christ.

Psalms 7:8b judge me according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me.

Makes me shudder to think of God judging me without the covering of Christ’ blood!

So this is what works in my mind, the reason I can love and accept people as Christ did as He walked this earth and does even now at the right hand of the Father, is because I know that I have been accepted by Him and through Him! This causes me to reach out and touch those who are caught in the trap of sin, and let them know that there is a Redeemer, a Savior, a Forgiver of sins who has reached down into the slimy trap I was in and rescued me!

Let this be ever on the forefront of my mind!

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Hebrews 1:3

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

Jeremiah 1: 8

Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 1:19

They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the Lord, to deliver you.

This morning I was directed I felt by the Lord to read in Jeremiah after  reading the first chapter of Hebrews. You ever feel as if the world kind of shrinks and God comes into the room where you are at, sits down with you, holds your hand, and tells you something of His character? Well, I felt that way this morning.

I have been thinking a lot of the teaching that goes around so rampantly that God does not want His children to suffer and yet, every child of God that I know of, with any depth to their relationship with God, has suffered. Some more than others, some longer than others, but suffering none the less.

When I think of the above verse in Hebrews, it is such a beautiful thought to know that if I study the Son of God, and His ministry here on earth, I am actually studying the EXACT imprint of the nature of God! But then, I think about the suffering that Christ endured, more than any other human before or after, and I am humbled by the reality, that to be as He is, I too must suffer.

As I read in Jeremiah, I noticed that God did not promise that there would be no fight, no suffering in Jeremiah’s life, in fact, just as in the book of John, he promised there would be! But, then He promised that  the enemy would not prevail and He would be there to deliver.

There have been times in my life that I truly believed that the enemy was prevailing! And yet, according to this along with countless other scriptures, and able to look back at the situations now, I know that he was NOT, instead Romans 5:3-5 was happening…

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character and character produces hope and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

When I think over these times and even now, I realize the greatest gift ever given is the presence of HIM in my life! Regardless of joy or pain, if I have Him than I have everything!

Thank you father for your steadfast love!

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