November 07, 2015

"For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened." Romans 1:21 (NASB)

Here is a notion I've had this November,

Our Sunday night group has been involved in doing a Precepts study of Romans Chapters 1-5 since September.  We are just into chapter 3. During our slow, methodical study process - we've uncovered some true gems. Actually they were there all along but were things not previous catching our eyes. This verse was one of them.

I'd love to camp here for hours but that is for another time. What I would like to bring out of this verse, which has it's context in unbelief and it's consequences, is the phrase "they did not know Him as God or give thanks."

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out where we are going here! November is Thanksgiving time! It's time for a few days off  work and school, time for turkey and hopefully time to reflect on our blessings and give thanks. Note: Giving thanks is apparently very important to God.

And why not! Shouldn't a God, who loved the world so much that He sent His only begotten Son to give His very life (so that any and all who believe could have everlasting life), deserve our thanks? In fact, His is right in demanding our thanks? Just thought I'd ask.

Maybe you don't feel like you have a lot to be thankful for. I mean not everyone is walking around with their every need met and their blessing stocking filled to the brink! But are...you...still...walking...? Still...breathing? Still...believing? Even on the day Christ was crucified, the Scripture was still valid - This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

I have a friend whose leg had to be removed earlier this fall and afterwards part of her other foot.  Now we've discovered she's lost that foot and part of  her calf. To say it's been rough, would be insulting and a gross understatement. Yet, when I've talked to  her - while in pain - she was thankful for her family and the doctors, and to be alive. Her family is thankful that this should improve her life and health. They are thankful for way all events progressed during this time. Lesson:  Regardless, of what is going on in your life - there IS ALWAYS something to be thankful for and I mean thankful to God for!

According to the Word of God, thanksgiving brings glory to God. It is an attitude within us which produces thanksgiving to God. God deserves your thanksgiving and gratitude. And it does wonders for your heart! I encourage you to take stock of your own personal thanksgiving meter this season. I leave you with Rev 7:12 (NASB)   "saying, "Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen."
 


Love and thanksgiving!
Barbara

February 04, 2014

Don’t Miss The Resurrection!

“While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!" Matthew 17:5 (NASB)

I was wondering if I was ever going to write again. Yet, here I am, admitting there are a few things I need to “get off” the proverbial chest. Since confession is good for the soul, my soul should feel fabulous after this!

In BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) classes, we are traveling through the book of Matthew. This week, we’re walking through chapter 17 in particular. Here comes the confession: Sometimes, I stink at Bible study. Whew! What a relief! That’s a hard confession for a Bible study teacher to make!

You see, I started BSF first, because I said I’d never do it and God laughed. Second, because I am the “feeder” of sorts in other classes. I wanted to be the “feedee” for a spell. Anyone get what I am saying?

Well, because the “feeder” classes in my week takes up a fair amount of energy (no complaints at all! I love it and feel I am in God’s will in this area), the feedee class gets leftover and rushed-through time. Sorta defeats the purpose of being a feedee!

That brings me to now. In the past few days, I took some extra, slowed-down time with MY lesson. If I had not done this, I would have missed the resurrection! Are you confused yet?

Let me give you the Barbara paraphrase: At the end of Matthew 16, Peter gets high praise from the King of Kings because Peter knew exactly who Jesus was! (Matthew 16: 13-16, go read it for yourself.) However, not a few verses later, Jesus speaks of His impending suffering, death and resurrection. Well, Peter rebuked the Lord for that! What gall! He was in essence denying Christ. A preview of coming attractions, I guess!

Of course, Jesus takes him down a notch and in chapter 17 takes James, John and you guessed, Peter, to a high mountain. The Biblical term for this event is The Transfiguration. [Free background: In Luke 9:31 we are told that Jesus is also conversing with Moses and Elijah about “His departure which He was about to accomplish.” Another death, burial and resurrection conversation, if you will.] Seriousness of the event notwithstanding, this passage has some amusing moments. Like Peter talking where he should have been listening to the point that God, Himself, interrupted Peter and said, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!" [Emphasis mine] I admit I am sooooo Peter!!!

After the group returned off the mountain, Jesus once again spoke to them about His death, burial and “being raised on the third day.” The Bible says they were grieved, but didn’t argue back this time.

Then I noticed something important. In one chapter and a few extra verses, Jesus confronted the disciples with His impending death and resurrection three times. Once, Peter rebuked the Lord, the second time, he still couldn’t keep his mouth shut and the third, well, God said “Listen” and Peter did, but only half way.

How is it that they missed the part about Christ rising again on the third day? Shouldn’t that have provoked joy instead of grief? I think at the least, they would have been curious! Had they witnessed so many resurrections that it was commonplace and held no interest to them? Or had they just simply stopped at the hard part and didn’t realize that the best was yet to come?

Like bullet in the brain, I had to wonder how many times, I have stopped when the words or the walk got too hard and missed the good news that came next. How many times have I missed “but your redemption draweth nigh” or while I had to go into battle, I missed the part where the battle is the Lord’s?

This is just the tip of the iceberg of what was revealed to me today. I am keeping the other stuff to myself right now to ponder. However, I did feel compelled to put this on paper for however God chooses to use it. Plus writing it out is good therapy. I encourage you today, even if it is one of those hard days, don’t stop because of the Good News of Christ, is only one sentence away.
Trying not to miss a thing!
Barbara

July 23, 2013

What Time is it Anyways?”

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14 (NASB)

·        “Well, it’s about time!”

·        Chicago sang, “Does anybody really know what time it is?

·        It’s high time!”

·        I am having the time of my life!

·        “And there is a time for every event under heaven” Eccl. 3:1b

·        At retirement: “What are you going to do with all that time?”

·        “There’s not enough time.”

·        “Where has the time gone?”

Sound familiar? Is there an echo in here? Time, time, time, turns, turns, turns, burns, burns, burns, laid to waste. How is that for an uplifting and encouraging thought! Here is one more; too much time has gone by for me.

Here’s a question for you; when time has gotten the best of you, what do you do? Do you let more time pass by as you contemplate what time would be a good time to resume? Then as time passes by, you find yourself in a maddening circle of timelessness?

Last year, I took time off from writing. I quit my job. I volunteered less. I stopped working with Stonecroft. Why? It was time.

“Time for what?” you ask. “A change?” Some rest?” “To regroup?”

My answer stands a firm and resounding - yes! No! All the above and none of the above! UGH!

I finally concluded it was time to join the service. Therefore, God decided to make me a mini-marine. It was time to tear me down and build me back up. It’s somewhat funny, the Father doing all of this on DL. There was no visible gnashing of teeth or tearing out the hair. But if you were a fly on the wall of my soul – that would be a different perspective altogether! It was time to schedule my life around my mother’s needs rather than scheduling her needs second to mine. It was time to spend quality with my hubby, which involved more travel in one year than I thought possible. There is more, but there isn’t enough time to tell you.

Why start back today? I dunno! I guess it was just time. Sometimes to get back into an active timeline in life, you just gotta start, now! (Excuse the poor grammar!) Has God completed His work in me? No, not by a longshot. Should I have stepped back into the ring before now? Probably. Are there more things coming to vie for my time? Most definitely! Why go through what I did and quit all those things? To be honest, some days it’s crystal clear and some days – I remain clueless. But I had no doubt that was what God needed me to do, so He’d have time to do what He needed to do in me. Unfortunately, I regret to report I am a slow learner!

Maybe today is my time in taking the first step to adding things back on my plate. This “time” with renewed spirit, vigor, and commitment! God placed Esther in a certain place, at a certain time for “such a time as this.” So why not me? Why not you?

What time is it for you? Is it time to take up something or put it down? Is it time to stop being still and move forward? Is it time to forgive and move on?  Is it time to start listening to the Lord and quit making excuses? Just thought it was time to ask.

Blessings,
Barbara