October Days

Everything about the October day is filled with fire. The trees are blazing red, yellow and orange. The light slants from a summer-tired sun, illuminating the world in pumpkin-orange, wind whipping crisp, burnt-leaf air into miniature cyclones.

The trees go out in glory. A final burst of beauty before a winter of loneliness. A final blaze of fire before the bitter cold. Do the trees drink in warmth before the cold? Do they soak it all in as an internal furnace for later use?

And I wonder…where in the seasons of life am I? Am I in a winter of despair? Am I desperate for the warmth of the Son? Frozen beyond feeling? Brittle and ready to break?

Am I thawing in a frozen world, with the tiniest bit of hope, branches bursting forth with budding beginnings?

Am I thriving in summer sun, and gentle rains? Bringing forth the fruit of the season?

Am I bulging with glorious bounty, both of beauty and baskets full of harvest?

Wherever I am, I am not alone. For He is with me. My Shepherd.

He is there in the green pastures.

He is there is the Thanksgiving table of plenty.

He is there in the Valley of the Shadow. of Death.

I will fear no evil.

His Word will comfort me.

Sharing with Michelle:

 

Giving thanks with Ann:

#33 – That God would save a chief sinner like me.

#34 – That my son’s art was featured in the showcase at school… (His is the swirly one)

#35 – One last Indian Summer day…

#36 – Doorbells ringing revealing little girl visitors with pink tutu basket presents

#37 – For the successful launch of my new blog What In The World R U Doing 4 Christ’s Sake?

#38 – Finding the coolest bookstore ever on the greatest field trip of the year!

#39 – God sending messages while playing Words With Friends…

#40 – A daughter who has a heart for the lost, bringing two girls from work to church

The Blogger’s Bible Study – Temptation – Genesis 3:1-12

Icebreaker: Have you ever had a bad habit that you just couldn’t break? What is that habit, and if you are free from it, how did you break it?

Read: Gen 3:1-12

1. Scripture doesn’t say that God said not to touch the tree. Either God spoke with Adam alone, and Adam exaggerated what God said in order to keep Eve away, or Eve exaggerated to the serpent.

Question:  Have you ever exaggerated in order to keep someone away from evil? What might be the danger in this?

2. In verse 5, the serpent says that God knew that if Adam and Eve ate the fruit that they would be like God, but we’ve already learned that Adam and Eve were already like God, they were made in His image.  Satan tempted them to believe that God hadn’t done enough for them, that He was withholding something good from them.  He sowed a seed of ingratitude.

In the book 1000 Gifts, Ann Voskamp says, “Our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren’t satisfied in God and what He gives. We hunger for something more, something other.”

The temptation Satan gave Eve was to believe that God hadn’t given her enough, that God is not good and does not have our best in mind. Isn’t that our temptation today? To believe that God is not good. That He doesn’t care about us or our worries and fears, our problems and temptations?

Question:  In what area have you been tempted to think that God hasn’t done enough, doesn’t care or doesn’t understand?

3. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).

How did Jesus resist temptation?
Luke 4:1-12

Jesus was tempted in his body, mind and spirit.
a) Body – food, lust, hunger, fulfillment
b) Mind – riches, power
c) Spirit – Whom will you worship, God, Satan, self?

At each point Jesus used Scripture to fight temptation. Satan used Scripture as well, so not only did Jesus have to know Scripture, but He had to understand it’s intent.

When Jesus was tempted at Gethsemane, how did He resist?

He gave up His right and His will. He trusted that God’s plan had His best in mind…Mankind’s best in mind.

So then, as our example, Jesus shows us that the key to overcoming temptation is to know what God said and to submit to His will.

Eve knew what God said, but she added more to it. When confronted with the fact she wasn’t good enough, she didn’t submit to the fact that God had given her all that she had need of and she didn’t submit to fact that God is good, but instead believed that perhaps God was holding back goodness. She knew what God said, but didn’t trust Him (Jesus successfully resisted this in the Wilderness).   She didn’t submit to His Will (Jesus successfully resisted this temptation in Garden of Gethsemane).

Dr. Robb Thompson says that we must be careful to apply our life to the Word, not the Word to our life.

Question:  What is the difference between these two thoughts, and how can they help us in the area of temptation?

4) When confronted with their sin, Adam blamed Eve and ultimately God, and Eve blamed the Devil. Adams said, “It was this woman, and YOU gave her to me. It’s not my fault.” Eve said, “The Devil made me do it!”

Question: Do you tend to blame others, God or the Devil when you are confronted with wrong choices?

5) “Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2:18

No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; He’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; He’ll ALWAYS be there to help you come through it. I Cor 10:13 Message Bible

When we find ourselves overwhelmed by temptation, we can ask Jesus to help us. He was tempted in every way, He can sympathize with us. He understands.

Application:  This week find Scripture to help you in any temptation you are facing and practice humbling yourself to submit to God’s will concerning that area of your life.

Woman, the Glory of Man… Genesis 2:15-25

Icebreaker:  How did you meet your spouse?

Read:  Genesis 2:15-25

Genesis 2:15-25

American Standard Version (ASV)

 15 And Jehovah God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

16 And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

18 And Jehovah God said, It is not good that the man should be alone **; I will make him a help meet for him ***.

19 And out of the ground Jehovah God formed every beast of the field, and every bird of the heavens; and brought them unto the man to see what he would call them: and whatsoever the man called every living creature, that was the name thereof.  *

20 And the man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the heavens, and to every beast of the field; but for man there was not found a help meet for him.

21 And Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof:

22 and the rib, which Jehovah God had taken from the man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

23 And the man said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.****

25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

*1)  It almost sounds as though, God tried the animals as a helper to man first, but decided that the animals were not up to the  task.  Since God knows the beginning from the end, we know that God foreknew that He would make woman.  Perhaps He demonstrated this first option so that Adam would be aware of his need for a companion. So He had to make a helper that measured up to man, could think and communicate on the same level, and could bear fruit from their relationship.

2)God created woman

a) so that man would not be alone **

b) to be a suitable helper for man ***

c) for family and companionship ****

3) Woman is the only creation made from used parts.

Q:  Why do you think God chose to use Adam’s rib to create Eve?

Possible answers:

  • So that Adam would remember his emptiness before he had Eve
  • To remember that Eve was his partner, to be beside him, not underneath him as with the rest of creation.
  • To create a sense of connectedness.

4)  The word helper – to help, to aid.  It means to give support, to give material or non material encouragement to a person.  It describes helping each other to accomplish goals.

At this point Adam had the huge job of naming the animals.  Eve was called to help him in the endeavor, whether by taking care of his other needs, (gathering food etc.) or in the actual naming of the animals.  Naming all of the animals was a very creative job.  They were literally creating language.

Q:  What are some ways you help your husband?

Read I Corinthians 11:8-12

7For a man indeed ought not to have his head veiled, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory *of the man.

8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man:

9 for neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man:

10 for this cause ought the woman to have a sign of authority on her head, because of the angels.

11 Nevertheless, neither is the woman without the man, nor the man without the woman, in the Lord.

12 For as the woman is of the man, so is the man also by the woman; but all things are of God.

*Glory from Strong’s Concordance:

1) opinion, judgment, view

2) opinion, estimate, whether good or bad concerning someone

a) in the NT always a good opinion concerning one, resulting in praise, honour, and glory

3) splendour, brightness

a) of the moon, sun, stars

b) magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, grace

c) majesty

4) First of all this passage again shows are interconnectedness.  Although the first woman came from man, every man since then has come from woman.  We need each other for our very existence.

Secondly, I found it interesting that one of the meanings of the word glory is opinion of.

If you’ve ever seen the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, you’ll remember this scene:

Women are influencers, all of us, whether for good and for bad.  That’s the way God made us.  Eve ended up being a bad influence on Adam.  Be careful what you are influencing your husband toward.  Is your influence encouraging him upward and onward, or away from God?

One last thought about the part about the word glory.  One of the definitions is being opinion of.

I think an application could very well be that when people see us as wives, they form an opinion of our husbands from our behavior.  This interpretation seems viable since this passage is speaking of what the current behaviors expected in order to bring honor to the husband.

Q:  How does your behavior bring glory to your husband?  What kind of opinions about your husband can be formed based on your behavior?  In other words, how well do you represent him?

Proverbs 31:23 Her husband is known in the gates, When he sitteth among the elders of the land.

One of the ways we please God is to be the glory of our husbands.  We shine the light of His glory when we do this.

We should be the moon, the sun and the stars to our husbands…

Do you see yourself as here to help your husband fulfill his agenda here on earth, or to fulfill yours?

God doesn’t have things in this order because we are less than man, but because he wants us to depend on one another.  If we are always off doing our own thing, we have lost the “oneness” God desires.

Jesus did this.  He put aside His agenda, for God’s.  This is seen in the Lord’s prayer and in Philippians.

Philippians 2:5-8

5Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

6 who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped,

7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men;

8 and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross.

Jesus brought much glory to God by letting go of what seemed good for Him, and doing what seemed good for the Father.  We are all called to let go of ourselves and to become servants.

Q:  How are you doing at helping your husband fulfill his task from God?

Belief Undefined

Believe.
Definition vague.
Ambiguous.
Full of empty, meaningless words.
I’m certain this word once had substance,
but I’m unsure of its current resting place.

I say that I Believe.
but..Do I?
How can I do something which I can not define?
After all, what does it mean,
this “believe”?

Just believe!  A popular slogan demands.
You got to have faith! Even the most ungodly suggests.
Believe Whom?
Have faith in what?
How carelessly we toss around
the very words that save our lives.

Trust.
Have confidence in.

Do I trust You, God?
On rare occasions, perhaps.
Do I have confidence not only in Your ability,
But also in Your yes answer?
…and Your no answer?

There are plenty of days I don’t “feel” like I believe.
or Have faith.
Does belief have a feeling?

Faith without works is dead.
Does faith and belief prove itself in action?
Is it works to think faith can be proved at all?
James didn’t think so.

I move small mountains,
Is this proof that I have faith?
Or is this only evidence of His mercy?
Is it His roar coming from behind this lion cub that I am?
and I am foolish enough to think my ferocity has scared away the enemy.
I bring a cake to a neighbor
because I want her to know Jesus.
Do I know Him?
I make it my determined purpose.
Knowing Him, that is.

Whatever belief, or faith is
I hope that I have it.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for.
I hope for faith. It is the anchor of my soul.
Faith now has substance;
Substance in small mountains,
Moved by His roar, and my trust in Him
as I hide my tear wet face in His mane.
Substance in frosted, sprinkled cupcakes
given to freckled crinkled noses.
I believe.

“I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.” ~C.S. Lewis

Thanks to my new friend Rachel for reminding me of this wonderful quote!

and to Holly Wagner for the inspiration about lions!

Perfect and Complete Rest – Bible Study 2 – Gen. 2:1-2

Icebreaker – What is your ultimate restful activity?

Genesis 2:1-2
1Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

2And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

This Hebrew word for rest is essentially the same as the word seven, and the word complete. So basically, God was saying, it is the seventh day and I have completed my task, there is nothing more to do.

I find this interesting because God has done this twice. He did it the first time, creating everything for man that they needed to be sublimely happy. But, because of their ingratitude they delivered their authority (Gen. 1:28) over to the devil (Gen. 3).

God did this a second time by having Jesus come here on earth.

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:(II Pe. 1:3)

He pronounced, tetelestai It is finished. He provided relationship with the Father through His death on the cross. The Sabbath which came from the law was a type and shadow of the rest that comes from right relationship with Him.

What keeps us from the rest of God?

The Jews even made resting a set of regulations and rules. It became “work” to rest. But our rest is in Christ. God always meant for our rest to be complete in Him, because of the work He’s completed in and for us.

10And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: Col. 2:10

6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; Phil. 1:6 NKJV

Remember, the idea of rest is equal with the idea of completion.

Adam and Eve were unable to enter into perfect rest because of their unbelief and disobedience.

What does Hebrews say kept the children of Israel from the rest of God? Unbelief

Hebrews 4:2 (Amp)

2For indeed we have had the glad tidings [Gospel of God] proclaimed to us just as truly as they [the Israelites of old did when the good news of deliverance from bondage came to them]; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith (with [c]the leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) by those who heard it; [d]neither were they united in faith with the ones [Joshua and Caleb] who heard (did believe).

Can we enter into perfect rest today?

Hebrews 4:1 (Amp)

1THEREFORE, WHILE the promise of entering His rest still holds and is offered [today], let us be afraid [[a]to distrust it], lest any of you should [b]think he has come too late and has come short of [reaching] it.

They were unwilling to mix the message of deliverance with faith.

What is our message of deliverance?

How do you see people not mixing the Good News with faith?

Even though, through Jesus our rest is complete we still have to receive this rest by faith.

Hebrews 4:4-11

4For in a certain place He has said this about the seventh day: And God rested on the seventh day from all His works.

    5And [they forfeited their part in it, for] in this [passage] He said, They shall not enter My rest.

    6Seeing then that the promise remains over [from past times] for some to enter that rest, and that those who formerly were given the good news about it and the opportunity, failed to appropriate it and did not enter because of disobedience,

    7Again He sets a definite day, [a new] Today, [and gives another opportunity of securing that rest] saying through David after so long a time in the words already quoted, Today, if you would hear His voice and when you hear it, do not harden your hearts.

    8[This mention of a rest was not a reference to their entering into Canaan.] For if Joshua had given them rest, He [God] would not speak afterward about another day.

    9So then, there is still awaiting a full and complete Sabbath-rest reserved for the [true] people of God;

    10For he who has once entered [God’s] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labors [a]peculiarly His own.

    11Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell].

How do we enter this rest? Hebrews 4:7 7Again He sets a definite day, [a new] Today, [and gives another opportunity of securing that rest] saying through David after so long a time in the words already quoted, Today, if you would hear His voice and when you hear it, do not harden your hearts.
1) Today, hear His voice
2) Don’t harden your heart

God’s rest is to cease from the weariness and pain of human labors in order to be right with God.

Have you tried to labor in order to be right with God?

Blogging Neighborhood Bible Study – The Importance of Words – Genesis 1:1-25

I’ve recently started a ladies’ Bible Study in my neighborhood.  So…I thought, “Maybe we should have a blogging neighborhood Bible Study!”  Won’t you join us each Tuesday?

Reading textGenesis 1:1-25

Meditation Verse: Psalm 19:14 May the words from my mouth and the thoughts from my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my defender.

How in the world do I get that verse from reading about the Creation story, you wonder?  I’m glad you’ve asked!  Genesis 1  is full of clues about the importance of words.  After all, it was because of the power of God’s Word that He was able to create everything from nothing.

Hebrews 11:1-3 (MSG) 1-2The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.  3By faith, we see the world called into existence by God’s word, what we see created by what we don’t see.

Psalms 33:6-9 (GNT) 6 The Lord created the heavens by his command,
the sun, moon, and stars by his spoken word.
7 He gathered all the seas into one place;
he shut up the ocean depths in storerooms.

8 Worship the Lord, all the earth!
Honor him, all peoples of the world!
9 When he spoke, the world was created;
at his command everything appeared.

God’s Word is powerful!  Hebrews 4:12 & 13 (Mess) – God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.

Proverbs 18:21 – 21 Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.

The question I must ask myself is, “Whose words will I put in my mouth today?  Mine?  The world’s? or God’s?”

The Spoken See-Saw

God spoke His Word.

The world became.

He said.

He saw what He said.

He named it.

And called it good.

Light.  Dark.

Water. Land.

Sun. Moon.

Air. Flora.

Sea creatures.

Land creatures.

By His Word.

Spoken.

He made them.

Made us.

In His image.

Like Him.

Do we dare think we look like Him?

We know we do not think like Him.

His thoughts are higher than ours.

But we can speak like Him.

We can create

with our words.

Or destroy.

Our choice.

We can bring life

or death

by our tongue.

Kind words heal,

Angry words cut.

Patient words encapsule

faith

in the waiting.

We speak.

We see.

What do we see?

Do we see children growing

strong in Him,

with confidence in who He’s made them?

All because of our words of life?

Do we see a man knowing

he is honored

and respected as the high priest

and leader of his home?

Because we’ve chosen His thoughts,

His Words?

May the words of our lips,

and the meditation of our hearts

be acceptable

to You

Our Lord.

What kind of world are you creating with your words today?

Prayer and Practice:  This week ask God to put a watch at the door of your lips (Ps. 141:3) and commit to speak the Word only. Say God’s Words over your life, your family’s life, your home, your health.  Apply your life to God’s Word.   Mark 8:8

 

Linking with lovely Jen at Soli Deo Gloria

 

 

Communion – A Matter of the Heart

THIS POST IS NOT MEANT TO BE ADVICE FOR MEDICAL TREATMENT.  IT IS ONLY EXPLORING THE SPIRITUAL DYNAMICS TO SOME MEDICAL INFORMATION.

A friend of mine had a tubal pregnancy years ago.  A few days ago, she was explaining the recovery process she went through, as she had lost a lot of blood.  One of the things she mentioned is that the doctor recommended for blood health was Concord grape juice.

Now we’ve all heard about the health benefits to a glass of red wine, but did you know that grape juice provides exactly the same health benefits?  But that’s not what this post is about.  I’ve been meditating on communion quite a bit.

The first thing I’ve thought about, is that the bread is most often compared to the Word of God, so when we are receiving the bread, we are receiving the God’s Word in food form. As I am fasting from bread for Lent (other than during communion) I’ve been thinking ALOT about bread…I previously posted about my thoughts on bread here The Bread of Life.

But back to the grape juice, after talking to my friend at church, I came home and was laying in bed when I sat straight up with a thought!  So, Jesus asked us to take communion with something that is good for our heart and for our blood.  I trudged back downstairs pulling my robe on as I almost tripped.  After doing some internet research, I found that not only is Concord grape juice good for your blood, but some nutritionists and doctors believe that combined with some other natural substances, it is the closest thing a patient can have to a blood transfusion! You can read about it here.  By now, I was very excited.  Not because I’m in need of a transfusion in the natural, but because I realized that because I was bought and purchased with His blood into the family of God, that I have had a spiritual blood transfusion of sorts.  It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me.  When I take communion, I am receiving a spiritual blood transfusion.  It’s now His Life in me, not my own. His blood runs through my veins!  Wow!  God is so cool.

Not only that, but it is proven that Concord grape juice helps with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and general heart health.  Well, we’ve known for sometime that being in Communion with Him helps with our hearts!  It changes our heart from stone to flesh!

Like I said, whether this has been proven scientifically or not doesn’t matter to me, as it was  a journey towards epiphany for me regarding the elements involved in communion.  I love it when science confirms God.