Love Lifted Me.

The snowfall in the mountains near our city was heavier than usual. We also had more rain this spring than we normally do. This has caused some flooding around the creeks that run through town.

But the biggest worry is the lake. It is already overflowing docks and the engineers believe houses all around the lake will be flooded. They are doing all they can to protect the houses, but we don’t know what will happen.

18623181_1409620752433063_155916768_n

My oldest daughter lives near the lake. The water has reached the top of the cement wall and will be spilling over soon. She and her husband are moving everything out of the basement. The house is 40 years old and really shouldn’t have a basement there. The have a sump pump that keeps the basement dry under normal conditions. But conditions aren’t normal now.

18664369_1410624828984770_479642852294982536_n

18622379_1410624762318110_8322714156286922076_n

I thought about how Jesus said to build our lives on a rock – by which he meant himself.

Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”

 “But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”   Matthew 7:24-27

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Psalm 40:2, “He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.

I think of my life before I knew Jesus to be a muddy pit that I was stuck in. I raised my arms to him and he lifted me out.

He lifted me out and set my feet on a huge rock. He set my feet on solid ground – himself. I can never thank him enough for what he has done for me.

Growing Up.

me and girls

Three Granddaughters.

hope2

Granddaughter #2 – All Grown Up.

One of my granddaughters, Hope, who is now 21, has recently moved out of her parent’s home and in with a boyfriend. She got a job at a spa that gives waxes, manicures and pedicures. The people she works with are nice and her boss is great.

A few times she has said to me, “Grandma, this being an adult is really hard.”  She and her boyfriend are cooking, cleaning, paying bills, saving money, doing all the shopping. All the things grown-ups have to do.

The other day she came over to visit and said, “Grandma, being an adult is really different. I get bored now. Bored! All the years I went to school I was never bored! I was always learning something new.”

 I said, “Yes, some jobs can be boring.” Then she said, “And the weekends are crazy! I have all these errands to run. I never get any rest. I’m so pooped. No wonder Mom was always tired!”

Yes, no wonder our mothers got tired! I remember when I was married and our first daughter was 2 years old. I called my mother and told her I was sorry for being such a brat when I was a teenager. By raising my own daughter, I realized how much I loved her and how my mom must have loved me. No wonder my mom told me, “No,” when I wanted to do some things. It was love! I certainly didn’t see it that way at the time.

Paul talks about growing up as a Christian, “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand.”

“In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!”

“Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Hebrews 5:11-14

Paul is saying that these Christians were not trying to know God better or understand him more. They were not reading the Scriptures enough, if they were at all. Continual study of the Bible will make us grow up into Christ. Just as we need food every day, we need to study the Word of God every day in order to grow as a Christian.

Through constant practice Hope will get used to being an adult too. Lol

What Can We Do with Our Worry and Sadness Over Our Families?

sadness

I know I have written on this subject before. The reason is that worry and sadness are the biggest obstacles in my life. But I notice other people also struggle with this so I guess I will keep writing about it.

One of my granddaughters has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. She has had this since she was four years old. Her life has been full of fears and sadness because of this disease. She started to get better when she turned 13. Her fears were slowly ebbing away and we were all rejoicing.

She is now 20 years old and has done very well. She finished her grade 12 from an online school. She had a job in the last city the family lived in and did very well. Now they have moved to a new city. She got a job at The Body Shop. After she was hired and had worked a few days, they told her there was a quota on how much she must sell each day – $650. Well, she had already been selling that much, but the pressure of the quota and the 3 times monthly that they reviewed her work was too much for her so she quit. Apparently, her boss said no one is ever told they are meeting expectations. Everyone is told they are working below expectations so they will work harder, but it was too much for my granddaughter. She needed encouragement – not discouragement.

The Body Shop may be nice to animals, but humans are a different story.

So, she is having a set-back in her illness. She doesn’t know if she wants to try to work again. We are all feeling worried and sad for her.

This morning, as I talked with God, I said to him, “I know we are not supposed to worry or feel discouraged. But it is so hard not to feel that way.”

Then Mom and I turned on Joyce Meyer, who was speaking on trusting in God.  She used the Scripture, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”  2 Chronicles 20:12

“We don’t know what to do.” Yes, that is when fear, worry and sadness come upon us.

What can I do for my granddaughter? Nothing but be her friend.

What can God do for my granddaughter? Anything and everything.

That’s why our eyes should look towards God. He gives us hope. The hope is in how strong and wise he is. The hope is in how the Bible shows God brings good out of evil. The hope is in believing he hears our prayers and is working for us and for those we love.

“…hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and steadfast.  Hebrews 6: 18,19

Psalms 42 and 43 are great songs of hope. “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again–my Savior and my God!”  Psalm 43:5 With hope, we move beyond the present day and look upward to the “God of all hope.”

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  Romans 15:13

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  Philippians 4:6

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  1 Peter 5:7

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.”  Proverbs 3:5

Living, Breathing, Walking Miracles.

Аз_жаргал

Photo:  https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Selengee123&action=edit&redlink=1

I was thinking about someone I know. She has been an on and off Christian for at least 25 years. Like me, she gets confused about who God is and what he wants. Well, about 2 years ago, she decided she was done questioning and wavering. She was going to get with God and stay there. The change in her has been miraculous.  She is happier, more peaceful, more loving, giving and kind.

As I thought about this, I thought how every Christian is a walking miracle. Some say there are no miracles anymore. I know there are; I’ve seen them.  But it is also a miracle how God changes our thinking and feelings. Some of the things I used to love, I now feel nothing for. Some of those things are big, some are small. But it was God who changed me, not me myself.

A personal story:  30 years ago my husband and I were not happy together. I think we both thought we had made a mistake in getting married. At that time, I had a job as a janitor and my husband worked for the gas company. A man at my job slowly started to like me. I slowly began to enjoy his company. A woman at my husband’s work started flirting with him. She told him she was lonely. Eventually she asked him to leave me. The man at my job asked me to leave Dan and be with him.

At the time I prayed, “I see Lord, how this is happening to both of us at the same time. Satan wants to break up our marriage.”  I prayed earnestly for months about how I felt about this co-worker and asked for deliverance. Soon, he was given a different position and we didn’t see each other any longer. Also, God had taken the feelings I had for him away. My husband introduced the woman at his job to another man who worked there.  She dated him and they eventually got married.

I love how the Lord dealt with everything. He helped both me and my husband to remain faithful without having to quit our jobs. He ruled over our feelings because we asked him to. Without God, I’m sure we would have cheated on each other and our marriage would have been over. How God worked within our hearts was a miracle.

I’ve learned through Joyce Meyer how Satan tries to use our feelings to rule over us. I’ve learned from God that he can take my feelings and change them. This brings such freedom to my heart, because I know however bad I feel, God can come to me with good. He lifts my head and makes me see what really matters – his love for me and for the world.

“But You, O LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, and the one who lifts my head.”

Psalm 3:3

Believe God Can Save You.

Many Christians, myself included, worry about their sins. We worry we are hopeless; we worry God is mad at us; we worry we will be lost. 

I was raised in a strict religion. Sin was treated as something horrifying. We were taught if we became Christians, we wouldn’t sin. If we loved God, we wouldn’t sin. There was no excuse in heaven above or earth beneath for committing a sin. Of course I grew up thinking it was hopeless for me to even try to be a Christian. I longed to be a Christian as a teen, but I didn’t make the step until I was nineteen because I had a baby. I always tell my daughter that she brought me to Jesus.

Well, I still thought I was probably not going to be saved because I wasn’t perfect, which is what I thought I had to be. Eventually, I heard and understood God’s grace. That he doesn’t leave us when we sin; that is is patient and kind and loves us like crazy. That was wonderful.

But I still get those feelings once in awhile. I’m still smoking; I sometimes lose my cool with my husband; I feel hateful towards some politicians etc. I ask God to forgive me and change me and move on.  I still want to be perfect, but I know it isn’t possible. Christ was perfect and his righteousness covers me. That is grace, and I only need believe that and accept his sacrifice for me.

My husband always says, “Which way are you heading? Are you heading towards God? Are you trying to get to know him and love him? Or are you running from him?

Well, I am running towards God through prayer and Bible study. “Then you are saved.” my husband says, and he is right.

There are some verses in Zechariah that show the attitude of those who are running away from God. These verses always strike me because of the truly horrible sins these people were doing, and also because of their attitude towards God.

“This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’

“But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears. They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry.    Zechariah 7:9-12

Do you think the Lord had a right to be angry?

These people perverted justice, did not show mercy or compassion to people. They oppressed the widows, orphans, foreigners and the poor. They plotted evil against one another.

Yes, He had a right to be angry on behalf of those who suffered at the hands of these people. Wouldn’t we be angry at someone who treated an orphan cruelly? Wouldn’t we be angry at someone who stole from a widow?

Even if we have done these things, we can be forgiven. God forgives all sins and nothing is too awful to keep us apart from him. But the people Zechariah was talking to plugged their ears from hearing what was right. They weren’t praying for God to help them do what was right. They turned their backs to God. They cannot be forgiven as long as they do this, for asking for forgiveness means turning our faces to God and talking with him. It means asking for his mighty help in our lives.

 “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.    Acts 16:29-34

Believe. Believe God can save you. Believe he loves you. Believe he can change you. He is the only one who can.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”   Ephesians 2:8,9

How Much Should Christians Give?

6

Photo by:   http://www.flickr.com/people/14214150@N02

I used to wonder why the early church people sold their lands and possessions and divided the money. I wondered, because Christians stopped doing that. Was it because they became selfish? Why don’t we do that any longer?

Then I read about what happened to Jewish people who believed in Jesus. They were excommunicated from the church. 

“…they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. John 9:23

I went to Bible Hub to see what excommunication entailed.

Put out of the synagogue

 Among the Jews there were two grades of excommunication; the one for lighter offences, of which they mentioned 24 causes; the other for greater offences. The first excluded a man for 30 days from the privilege of entering a synagogue, and from coming nearer to his wife or friends than 4 cubits.

The other was a solemn exclusion forever from the worship of the synagogue, attended with awful maledictions and curses, and an exclusion from all contact with the people. This was called the curse, and so thoroughly excluded the person from all communion whatever with his countrymen, that they were not allowed to sell to him anything, even the necessaries of life (Buxtorf). It is probable that this latter punishment was what they intended to inflict if anyone should confess that Jesus was the Messiah: and it was the fear of this terrible punishment that deterred his parents from expressing their opinion.

Barn’s Notes on the Bible:  http://biblehub.com/commentaries/barnes/john/9.htm

So, the Jews who accepted Christ could not be with their families or friends. They couldn’t go to the Synagogue. It probably means they all lost their jobs and businesses. Their relatives would shun them. All they would have left is fellow believers. They would be destitute.

Jesus said, “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.”  Luke 12:33

John the Baptist said, “If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.”

Jesus said, “Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.”   Matthew 5:42

We Christians (the vast majority) do not do these things.

If a man had a job, could he make do with only one shirt? What would he wear when it gets dirty? This is how I get confused when I read the Bible.

I just prayed and asked God for an answer to this. What came to my mind was two true stories.

Story One:  My mother knew a man at church who started a business. He was giving 10% to the Lord. His business grew and he gave 20%. Then it grew and grew; he is now giving 90% of his money to the Lord and charities.

Story Two: A wealthy woman in India was converted to Christianity. She loved buying the most beautiful saris (dresses). She went to Mother Teresa and asked her if she should stop buying saris. Mother Teresa said, ” Buy less expensive saris, and then buy saris for poor women at the same time.” I thought that was a good answer.

I think if we own extra land, houses, cars, boats etc. we could sell them and give to the poor. I think we should make our wants few and be happy with a simpler life. But I guess we don’t have to sell everything unless the Lord asks us to. And that would mean he wants us to do something for him that is special.

 

 

 

 

 

Are You Thirsty?

spring

Mineral Water Spring in Nuskova.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:ModriDirkac

When Jesus talked with the woman at the well in Samaria, he likened himself to a spring of water: “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  John 4:14

Thirsty. What are we thirsty for? For love, fun, romance, money, children, happiness, peace? I think we all are at one time in our lives. 

Have I been thirsty for the things of this world after giving myself to Jesus? Not at first, and not for 5 years. Then my first marriage broke up. I was lonely, very lonely and raising my two daughters. I was thirsty for love and companionship. I let this rule me for a very long time.

I remarried, but my new marriage was not what I hoped it would be. There was lots of fighting, mostly about how to raise the children. He was too strict in my eyes and I was too lenient in his eyes. This almost broke us up.

So, I was lonely again, even though I was married. I didn’t feel loved and I thirsted for love. I didn’t look at other men, but I longed for a man to truly love me. Eventually, God showed me that the desire I had for love from humans, men, children and grandchildren, was more than my love for him. In fact, he showed me I loved my children more than I loved him. I didn’t know that – but then I saw it as plain as day.

I knew that I needed to turn from human love to his love. His love needed to be enough for me. I spent much more time praying, reading Christian books and the Bible. I found that Jesus’ love is more than enough; it is, “like a spring of water welling up to eternal life”

Like Joyce Meyer says, I was a Christian through all of this, but I was a sad Christian. Joyce says she was a Mad Christian. Lol  God was with me all through the years, blessing and helping me. We had a good relationship, but not the best we could have. Our relationship is much stronger now and I thirst for nothing but him. (As far as I know!)

“How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house; And You give them to drink of the river of Your delights. For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.”  Psalm 36:7-9