Category Archives: Christianity

Benefits of the Righteous

Read Psalm 92:6-15

[The righteous] will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”- Psalm 92:12, 14-15 (NIV)

I have many questions that stream through my mind about many things. I visited a home recently that specializes in dementia. I left with questions. I still have questions. ❓❓❓

I would like to share a story about a man in his late 80’s still in his home named; Archie. I was told  he was diagnosed with Alzheimers. I spoke with him a few times and he did seem rather confused. His wife a younger woman being his caretaker became ill and died shortly thereafter. Later in conversation he was driving again and going out on his own. He has minimum care in his home as he continues to live there and enjoy his family, friends and church.

I asked him, what happened? He said; “I prayed 🙏🏻to be better and God heard.”

I still have many questions as I ponder how to pray for those older and suffering with dementia. But, if I pause and meditate on this scripture I read, “the righteous.”

Integrity

A Psalm of David. (101 ESV)
”A I will sing of steadfast love and justice;
to you, O LORD, I will make music.
I will ponder the way that is blameless.
Oh when will you come to me?
I will walk with integrity of heart
within my house;
I will not set before my eyes
anything that is worthless.
I hate the work of those who fall away;
it shall not cling to me.
A perverse heart shall be far from me;
I will know nothing of evil.
Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly
I will destroy.
Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart
I will not endure.
I will look with favor on the faithful in the land,
that they may dwell with me;
he who walks in the way that is blameless
shall minister to me.
No one who practices deceit
shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes.
Morning by morning I will destroy
all the wicked in the land,
cutting off all the evildoers
from the city of the LORD.”

As my Nation, USA, traverse through a stinging political presidential cycle my reading,  “no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes” gives me a lot of thought. I hear some calling one of our candidates “a liar”.  May be true, I don’t know. But, I do know that at times some at my social table setting that so pridefully proclaimed this theory lies themselves many times before the meal is over. Therefore, my question is if this Psalm applies to us today and we have a candidate lying and their opponents being the average voter while accusing  the candidate join in by lying  about their basic activities of the day,  have we built our house on the sand?

 

Mystery of Holy Spirit

The other night I read a chapter in a book called Tozer: Mystery of the Holy Spirit by A.W. Tozer. This book is a collection of his sermons preached over 60 years ago. I think they are very relevant for today and particularly food for thought for this Easter season. The chapter I read and would like to share thoughts from is entitled, “The Dove of Noah’s Ark”. In it he contrast the hearts of the two different birds that Noah sent out of the ark at different times to illustrate to the church he was apparently preaching the sermon to why they were not filled with the Holy Spirit.🕊

Tozer writes that God in His kindness had to judge mankind because of their total depravity. So he sent a flood on the earth in Noah’s day to destroy, sparing only a few so that all the human race would not perish. In describing the scene of this judgement, Tozer paints a picture of the ‘devastation’ of this judgement that the raven that Noah sent out when the ark finally came to rest on Ararat, encountered. This desolation was not something I had really thought on before, a vast sea filled with floating, rotting corpses of all kinds of creatures. The raven, Tozer says, had a ‘dark heart’ and “felt at home there for he was a flesh eater”. What should or would have repulsed others did not have the same effect on the raven. The raven was very happy to go out into this sea of horror, loving it as he feasted on the dead flesh because that was who he was. Tozer writes, “Something in his dark heart loved it because he lived on it.” That raven never even wanted to come back to the ark. As I read on in the chapter, I saw that Tozer compared this illustration of the raven with man’s love of and comfortableness with sin. God has sent His judgement on humanity but man isn’t affected by it …man is right at home in this world just like the raven, loving it. He warns that “unless we repent, we shall all perish and all the nations of the world shall be turned into hell.”

Then Tozer contrasts the illustration of the raven with the dove that Noah sent out, a type of the Holy Spirit. This pure dove hated what she saw and did not even want to look at the filth, so she came back to Noah and the ark. She did not want to put her feet on anything dirty. What a vivid contrast of two types of birds, two types of loves and two types of hearts. Much to think on. 💜

As I understood it, Tozer sums it by referring to the Holy Spirit and indicating how He wants to come down into men’s hearts and lives but because of “plain sins which nobody can deny…” (and that God hates)…”the dove will not come down”.🕊

Jealousy and Envy

Have you ever experienced envy and jealousy either from yourself to others or others to you? In reading these (7) seven Bibical scriptures, if be true, it seems to be war!  What should one do if they find themselves a victim of another(s) envy and jealousy? Or, if you find yourself trying to harm others because of your envy and jealousy? It seems to be one harms them selves greatly when they are jealous and envious of others.

Please help me break down these verses one by one into life changing for individuals, and groups of people.

“Song of Solomon 8:6 – Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD.

1 Corinthians 13:4 – Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant.

Philippians 2:3 – Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

James 3:14-15 – But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.

Psalm 37:1-3 – Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.

James 3:16 – For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

Proverbs 14:30 – A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.”

 

Information in conflict

FullSizeRender“The Lord says, “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.” – Isaiah 66:13 (NRSV)

It seems each day brings a basketful of decision making chores. Things that one thinks should be so simple seems like a load to heavy to carry when placed in a mind. My brother as he looked near death in the face would so often say to me, “too much information.” I began to label all information, both incoming and outgoing, either TMI (too much information) or NEI (not enough information).

Granted, I, hopefully, knew and know the difference between withholding valuable information. Timely information. Wrong information. But, there seems to be a lot of information I’m not sure what to do with and why I even have it. As well as information others withhold and handle so untimely and even giving untruthful and/or distorted information. This information gig has fighting red horns! This brings me to the reason I choose for my meditative thoughts this scripture found in Isaiah, the Lord will comfort me and you just like a loving Mother comforts her child.

Let us think about the many times in our lives when God has comforted us with love and grace in moments of hurt and uncertainty. These memories bring us comfort and peace as well as gratitude and humility that God would intervene in our life on this intimate personal level. Each day may bring, TMI or NEI and information may feel like an emotional whip but loving arms are always open to hug away our tears.

My summary on why I think dealing with information to be so difficult; “lack of love.” What info do you have to offer?

Throne of God Revelation 4

It seems to me lately that when I am talking to church folks I hear lots of lies about things that are not even important to say, let alone lie about. I am thinking have they (us) lied so much that we are a lie. Really, no truth can come from them (us)?

Psalms 24:3-5 “Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood. And has not sworn deceitfully. He shall receive a blessing from the LORD And righteousness from the God of his salvation.…”

Pulpit Commentary says on this…”Verse 4. – He that hath clean hands. He whose hands are free from acts of sin (comp. Psalm 15:2-5), and not only so, but he who hath also a pure heart, since the heart is the source of all evil (Matthew 15:19, 20), and wrongful words and wicked acts are the necessary results of the heart being impure.”

Look and think on these and others passages as you research lies and liars from the Bible; Psalm 101:7 “I will not allow deceivers to serve in my house, and liars will not stay in my presence.”

Revelation 21:26-27 The New Jerusalem “…and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

I want to be part of The New Jerusalem, don’t you? Hopefully, we will do as much about dieting our lies as our calories. Let’s help one another to be truthful! We have a warning to do this from; Hebrews 3:13 (NLT) “You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.”

Let’s make 2015 our best as we enter into “The Throne Room of God” while it is open season.

Illumination

“Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light 🌠 is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness 🌑overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” John 12:35-36

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,🌏 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” Titus 2:11-14

Prayer Growth

I would like to hear about how groups you are a part of take prayer request and handle the request. As many of us look for ways to grow and learn in prayer we look for ways to connect with others in caring and sharing.

Rebecca Dwight Bruff shares “…it’s not about us. It’s about what God is doing in the world. What if all of Jesus’ apprentices imagined a world made whole and holy by the love and grace of God?” She also shares her thoughts of the what if’s by saying, “I BELIEVE THAT asking “What if?” is a worthwhile spiritual practice. It keeps our eyes and minds open to what God is doing in the world, and it keeps us grounded as well.”

I sat in church this past Sunday celebrating “Homecoming” a practice some churches still celebrate to acknowledge their history. The history of the church was given on a digital overhead overview of just shy of 150 years. I took notice that my father’s family were ‘steel magnolias’ in that little corner of God’s earth. Before, I entered the doors I felt a little proud to acknowledge my heritage when I heard words from my heart echo,    “… The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it…” Psalm 24

Gary and I greeted our church bulletin with neon joy as we gazed upon the drawing of  the church building on its cover.  Inside was overflowing with pleasures for the day. The back cover was laden with name after name of suffering and pain.  My heart of pride turned to dust and I begin to imagine Jesus taking His finger and writing truths in my dust, all loved, accepted, healed, and gifted as mercy drops fall on each life given by grace as I prayed.

Moses asked to see God’s Glory, And God said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, ‘The LORD’; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” Exodus 33: 18,19,  Romans 9:15

Today, I hear God say, “Sara, it’s not about you and what you will and the way you run your race BUT about God who shows MERCY!” Romans 9:16 Just pray!

Job Study

Patricia Woolard Woodley writes:
I’ve been studying Job this morning…and I tell you, it just brings tears to my eyes….Oh that we would be so faithful….tho not understanding what has happened….why, tho righteous, all these things are happening….the depths of his agony, his wishing he was never even born…..tho I have known this story all my life and read it….I just was drawn to study it this morning….It so teaches us the meaning of this life is to be faithful to God……not to place our happiness in material or even in the people in our lives…..tho He gives us all those things…..and He intends for us to enjoy them…..but if the point comes when they are all vanished from our lives….if we are all alone, seemingly….we still have our faith…we still have our eternal life…our promised peace after we leave this earth….our eternal happiness….if only we remain faithful and still give Him the glory…….Oh I pray that I can always be as faithful as Job……if only we all could….Lord, I pray this in my prayer…..for faithfulness and understanding…..to place you Lord as my centerpiece on my table of importance….for in reality, you, Lord, are our sustenance, the very source of our lives…..please Lord make us thankful….make us truly aware of your greatness….this I pray this morning that you have blessed us with….In Jesus name….Amen…

Balaam by Rena Oynes

This morning I was listening to a lecture on BBN Bible Institute on Balaam/Special Bible Characters. As a Sunday School teacher (of young children) I had remembered God’s warning to Balaam and the donkey speaking. In other words I did not remember much. I learned that Balaam was a preacher/a fine one who was a Gentile prophet. Balaam had two major problems that he clung onto and that was a LOVE of MONEY and a HEART of LUST. These were his two LOVES. (The two seem to be with us even today.) The Moab King , Balak, asked him to come preach and forbade him to speak of Israelites or future of the Israelite Nation. He would be given a large sum of MONEY. OMG was Balaam excited. He was determined to adhere to Balak’s demands of what not to preach BUT God would not allow Balaam’s tongue to say anything but what HE wanted to the KING to hear. Balaam felt OMG I’m going to lose the MONEY from Balak because I spoke what he forbade me not too. He thought I can not curse Israel because God forbade it. Balak at this point was madder than hell. Balaam instead of walking away and saying forget the money, I will walk with the Lord, he thought I know how to get the King to corrupt the nation. Balaam didn’t love God or God’s people. He loved the wages of unrighteousness. He did something that was totally against God and showed where his heart was. He suggested to the king if you cannot curse a nation which is blessed by God, then may I suggest they be judged. Sir he said, entangle the men with the women of Moab. Balaam picked up his money. He had sinned willfully after preaching the WORD of God because of his LOVE for the unrighteous. Balaam’s choice led to grave, grave peril – death – eternal life without God – hell.

When we think on this we can ask ourselves are we Balaam’s in the church. Do we speak one thing to others and yet cling to the unrighteousness in our lives LOVE OF MONEY, HEART of Lust, addictions, etc. Is Jesus first in our lives and his way of living first? Is our Father God or is our Father Satan – one or the other. Balaam made his choice long ago. What is our choice today? We still have time.  Your friend, Rena