Saturday, January 22, 2011

Psalm 1:1-3

I have been having Internet problems, and time issue problems, so I talked with Isolino about what to do on this, and then I prayed about it, and I believe that what I need to do is every so often just write a Scripture verse, along with a photo I've taken, to go with it.  I hope that will work for you, and that you'll enjoy Scripture with a picture!  I happen to love this passage of Psalm 1.  May it minister to your spirit and soul.  God bless you.

Psalm 1:1-3

Blessed (Happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather.
But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night.
And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither:  and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity].

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Lord Is My Shepherd

Tonight I will be going over  Psalm 23, with a few added touches of what God gives me to share.  I hope you are blessed and will be touched by God's Living Word.

The Lord is my Shepherd.  He says that "His sheep know His voice, and He knows His sheep."  He leaves the ninety-nine to go find that one lost little lamb.  He is the door (the gateway) through which all men must enter in.  The door to the sheepfold.

I shall not want.  He watches over the sparrows and lilies.  He knows what we need and how to take care of us.  He is a good Father, Who gives good gifts to His children.  If your earthly father is good, how much more good is your heavenly Father.  He says that even Solomon in all his splendor, was not arrayed as fine as the flowers.  He took the children of Israel through the desert for 40 years and their clothes and shoes did not wear out, and their feet did not swell.  They had food and water each day.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He gives sleep to those He loves.  He watches over us with a hedge of protecting angels.  He gives His angels charge over us, to keep us safe.  He is a strong tower in our times of deepest need.  He covers us with His wings.  He hides us in the secret place.

He leads me beside the still waters.  I can drink in safety.  I can know that my thirst will be quenched by His Living Water, the Holy Spirit.  Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  We cannot live life to the fullest, unless He is leading us in His Way, in His Truth, and in His Life.  He is our example.  In Him, we live and move and have our being.

He restores my soul for His Names Sake.  He who Jesus sets free, is free indeed.  He refreshes me with the River of Life.  He is the Balm of Gilead, who soothes the sin sick soul.  He is the Bread of Life.  As we sup with Him, He abides in us and His Life flows through us.  Take communion.  Let His Body and His Blood wash over you with His Power and Love.  Restoring you to the relationship with God we all need.  Be washed in the Baptismal waters of His Blood.  Let the cleansing flow wash over you from head to toe, to bring you renewal in your soul.

Yeah, though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I shall fear no evil, for You are with me.  He gave us victory over the grave.  He gave us power over the enemy.  He said that "the gates of hell, shall not prevail against us".  We do not need to fear death, but to welcome the start of a new life,  within our heavenly home.  He is there, and wherever He is, nothing can stand against Him.  He said that "if I am for you, who can be against you?'  Wherever two or more are gathered together, He is there.  He said "One can put a thousand to flight, with two, ten thousand will fall."

Your Rod and Your Staff comfort me.  A shepherd's rod helps the shepherd to protect the sheep.  He uses it as a weapon against the wolves and the bears and the lions who would come to steal his sheep from him.  It is a staff to help draw the sheep from danger, and help the shepherd walk steadily along the path.  The Word of God is our rod and staff.  it helps us to fight against the enemy's lies, and take authority over our minds , souls, and spirits to bring them under the authority of Christ.  It helps us to stand strong on the Cornerstone of our faith, Jesus Christ.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You told us "that we were not of this world."  You told us "that even though we lived in this world, we were set apart from the world."  The table we eat at, is in Communion with You.  We eat Your Body.  We drink Your Blood.  We eat the Word of God, the Bible, daily.  Our daily Bread.  We drink Your Life.  We drink the Living Water of Your Spirit.  We stay in step with Your Spirit, so we will live in heavenly realms, and not be sucked into the miry clay of earthly drama.  Of the enemy's desire to cloud our minds with his lies.  We feast at an abundant table laden with good things, as we keep our minds set upon God and His goodness to us.  So, even though we live on an earthly plane, we walk in heavenly places.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.  "All things work together for good, to those who are called by God, in Christ Jesus."  If we believed this verse to be true, we would be walking in such powerful faith.  If all things truly do work together for our good, than why do we worry and fret?  Why do we feel lonely and abandoned?  Why do we groan and complain?  God is good all the time.  All the time, God is good.  He has always gone to the side of mercy in dealing with His children.  He has delayed disaster time and time again, to give people a chance to repent.  Look at Nineveh.  Look at Sodom and Gomorrah.  In both of these places, God sent someone to tell them the truth, and get them to repent.  In Nineveh, they heeded the warning, and in Sodom and Gomorrah

And I shall dwell in the House of the Lord, forever.  He goes to prepare a place for us.  We have a mansion waiting for us.  There is a city being built, as we speak.  The Lord's House is a house of prayer.  It is a House of rejoicing and praise (remember, God dwells in the praises of His people).  It is a kingdom.  Eternal life is ours, as we give Christ Lordship of our lives.  Hallelujah.  Praise His Holy Name.  Let us dwell in the peace of Christ, which passes all understanding, as we hold onto His Words of Life.  God bless you all.

A Crown Of RIghteousness

When my Aunt Gini died, I wanted to do something special to remember her by. At the time, Isolino and I were almost daily up-loaders to a site called, "Flickr". Isolino had gotten me started into photography, because of this site.

I saw all the wonderful and beautiful pictures of God's Handiwork in nature, and I was hooked on trying to capture those things myself. With Flickr, it was easy to fix your mistakes as a photographer, and get a better picture with the tools they let you use. I put frames around pictures, did special effects, and basically had fun creating more from my photos, than I had gotten with just a click and a shoot. If you go all the way to the bottom of the pages, you will see some of the photos I've taken that are on "Flickr" right now.

So, for what I wanted to do for my aunt, I needed a crown. I had gotten some for Kaylee and Jolynn, so I asked to borrow them and asked Jolynn to help me out with this special project. The results of the photos were better than I had thought they would be( due to cheap props), and it touched both Jolynn and I in a special way. She even mentioned something about the "crown" shots just a few months ago. Now, I have a visual; when I think of my aunt, I see this crown in my mind, and I am blessed with knowing she is in heaven with Jesus. She has indeed received "her crown of righteousness".

In the Bible we are called "the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus". When I read that verse, I thought, how can I be the righteousness of God? I am not clean, I am not worthy, and I certainly am not perfect. How can I bring any good thing to God in Christ, let alone righteousness? How can I gain a crown of righteousness? Is righteousness even attainable? How can I live in this world, and keep my faith and heart pure with God's righteousness?

I am reminded of a time when I was feeling very alone and useless for God. Isolino and I had just moved to the Foothills of the California Gold Country, and we had come here in faith, believing this was where God wanted us to be. We had probably been here about six months at this time, and the loneliness was very real. The feeling of uselessness was real too. I could not be as active as I wanted to be, due to my health, and where we lived at the time, I would have had to drive 10 to 15 minutes to get to anywhere that was not country. Take into account, that we were budgeting our money, so I couldn't be driving all over the place, anyway.

I was sitting at my kitchen table, having a little pity party, when I looked out my kitchen window and looked at the beauty outside. I was reading my Bible, before I had been wandering off into "pity party land", and so when I looked out that window, God got a hold of me. He began to speak to me in the way He does with me. "Laura, what makes you acceptable to Me?" I thought about that for a moment, and then I started to get excited in my spirit, because I knew God's Truth was doing something for me. I answered God with "Only the Blood of Jesus.". God said, "That's right. Now, think of the most holy person you know, that the world thinks is righteous and good." I immediately thought of Mother Theresa, who gave her life to the sick and poor and needy of India, who prayed hours each day, on top of all she did in actions of love for these people.Who kept a humble heart and drew people to Jesus. Of course God knew who I had thought of, and He said to me, "Laura, even the most righteous person's righteousness is as filthy rags to Me." Now you need to understand that when God was saying filthy rags here, He is talking of ( I am getting graphic here, but this is the true context of this passage, so you need to know how gross it is in God's sight) menstrual cloths. The "time of the month brigade". I immediately thought, "Eeww!". God said, "That is right, Laura, 'Eeww!'" "Remember, it is nothing YOU do that makes you righteous. It is only Jesus' Blood, shed on the cross for you, that makes you holy in My sight. You can do nothing to make yourself more righteous to Me. It is your obedience to what I tell you to do, that pleases Me." My friends, I got on my face before God. I felt so humbled that He cared enough about my feelings, to personally help me through this "pity party mess".

So, I encourage you to remember this lesson I learned. May it help you in your times of feeling useless and alone. May it remind you that you are never alone, and you are not useless. Only the enemy of our souls, wants us to feel that way, because when we do, we miss out on what God wants us to do. Maybe He does want you home and alone, so you'll pray more or read the Bible more, or maybe write letters or notes of encouragement to those who come to your mind. Maybe you sew, or cook, or knit or crochet. You could do something for someone else you notice is alone, too. Maybe you garden and could share your "extra'sme's" and into "I can do all things through Christ, Who strengthens me." God bless you , and remember, when we get to heaven, we, too, will have a crown of righteousness to throw at Jesus' Feet. Those Precious Feet, that were pierced for our transgressions. Hallelujah! Doesn't that just want to make you shout for joy? It sure does me. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Give Honor To Whom Honor Is Due

Yesterday I forgot to mention anything about Martin Luther King, Jr.  How he changed a nation, because he had a dream of equality for all, and especially for those of African American descent who lived under a heavy burden.

It got me thinking of how there is probably not a nationality, that has not been enslaved at one time or another.  I think of St. Patrick, who was a slave to the Celts, before he came back to bring them to the Saving Grace of Christ.  Joseph, that great patriarch of the Israelites was a slave as well.  He, too, brought delivery to not only his own people, but to the people who had enslaved him, as well.  Daniel, another great prophet of the Old Testament gained high honors and helped the nations he served, but he too, started as a slave.

Slavery is an evil that robs the person of not only  their rights, but of their individuality and gifts.  But with God's help, those chains cannot keep the submitted soul from breaking free to greater heights in the spirit.  Martin Luther King, Jr. knew that even though African Americans were considered free, they were still bound by invisible chains.  They were not allowed to go to certain places or do certain things.  They were limited by the chains of racism and bigotry.  In spite of that limitation, he spoke loudly and often for those chains to be broken and true freedom to come..  Truly he deserves the honor that has come to him.  He has led a nation and brought insight and understanding to break the yoke of indifference, suffering, and shame.  What courage he and those who stood with him, had.  What a destiny God planned for him.  To change a nation, to stand up to what was wrong, and work for change, took a definite call from God.

I see that change at work in my own family.  Our diverse backgrounds brought together in unity and love.  "Our children are a heritage of the Lord."  He gives each one a path to follow.  He knows where it will lead, and because of the courage of men and women like Martin Luther King, Jr., and Queen Esther, and those like them, that stood up to what was wrong to make changes for the good of all, we live our lives in a better place.    My hope for the children who hold the future in their destinies, is that they will have the courage and strength to stand up for what is right, to not be afraid to speak up with faith and hope in the changes they see need to happen, and to not ever forget that it is God who is the One to shake the nations, and all that they do, must be under His Covering.

Even though yesterday was the day to celebrate and honor Martin Luther King, Jr., I wish to extend that honor not only to one day, but to challenge us to remember the men and women of faith who have gone before us and made changes for the good in each generation.  There is a host of them, that we should honor and applaud.  Martin Luther King, Jr. is honored on his birthday, for the life he lived in giving of himself totally to his cause.  Let us remember him and as we remember him, let us also add our thoughts of the others who made such a difference for the good.  Let freedom ring for all people everywhere.  Let us take what we have learned from Martin Luther King, Jr, and use it to go even further in the goal of equality.

Let us remember the greatest words of equality ever, "He whom the Son has set free is free indeed."  If Jesus has set you free, than you are a victor in life.  "You are more than a conqueror."  A conqueror?  More than a conqueror?  A conqueror is the complete victor in a battle.  There is no contest.  He gains it all.  You are more than that.  So, remember your heritage of faith.  Remember the saints that have gone before you.  Read the list of "mighty men and women" in God's Word.  Let the victories God led them in encourage your hearts, souls, and spirits.  May you feel God's Power flowing through you and giving you strength.  May you find the destiny God has called you to.  Make the changes in your world.  Make the difference around you.  Be the ONE.  Be the surrendered soul to God's plans.  Believe His Word.  Put His Word to action in your life.  A very dear friend gave me a precious gift recently.  It is a book by Beth Moore, on praying Gods Word, to overcome the strongholds in your life.  She mentions the spiritual armor, and then states, "There is only one weapon we fight with, in that armor, and that is the  Sword of the Spirit.".  Then, she says, "Along side of the Sword of the Spirit, I believe that prayer is your second weapon."  It is a weapon that works in sync with the Word of God.  You pray His Word, and watch what happens.  Apply that Word in prayer.  Apply that Word to your life in acting upon it.  Take the verses that God has leap out at you, and let those words become a strong tower for you.  Jesus IS the Word of God.  He is there for you.  Let Him lead you in this journey.  Let this Word, "be a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path."  God bless you.

Busy As A Bee

Today was one of those days that got away from me.  I went to the knitting class in the morning, and found out I had done my stitches wrong, so had to learn the correct way.  I was glad of that, though, as I was getting too tight on the rows and it was hard to get the needle in the loops.  So, now, it seems that the loops are indeed looser, and that makes it much easier to knit faster.

The group of ladies are very nice, and no pressure.  We even got to see the cutest little baby come in.  Five weeks old.  She was adorable and so tiny.  Two other ladies just started learning to knit, too, so it was a good group to be in.

Next I went to get gas, as I knew I might be on the road later, so I ended up waiting quite a while for the person in front of me to fill their tank.  I could have gone to the other side, but as busy as this gas station is, I didn't want to end up being in a worse mess, so I just waited.  The person in front of me was wondering why I didn't just go to the other side, but I knew this place, and obviously she was from out of town heading to the ski slopes, so I wasn't offended, just thought it was funny.

Then I headed into work, and Isolino and I talked a bit about his website, which is on the side of this blog, if you happen to want to visit it.  The name is "Inspirational Bible Verses".  It is all done with the pictures he's taken, with Bible verses put on them.  Your church can even use them if they wanted to.  Anyway, he is in the process of changing things, and deciding what he is going to do next with this site.  He is trying to make it easier for people to access the photos and download them.  He has put so much work into this site, and it is a blessing to read the verses he's chosen with the photos.  Talk about busy.   I don't know how he does it all.  Plus, he helps me quite a bit on this blog site.  All the additional things on this site, he's done to enhance this blog site.  What a worker.

Then I had to make a few phone calls, and get busy finishing the quarterly books, so they get turned in on time.  I was so happy that my first month was all adding up right, and that meant I got started on the second month, and entered that in.  Those of you who have done this, know what a process this is, and it can be very tedious and time consuming.  If you get interrupted a lot, that adds to the challenge.  Today wasn't too bad, as far as interruptions, and I was blessed, with how well it went.

Isolino waited patiently for me to finish up, and then we headed home to pick up Kaylee and head to Riverbank and finish up some business we had there.  Isolino treated us to a nice dinner, since we wouldn't have time to make anything when we got home, and it was already after 6 o'clock, so we definitely needed to eat.  We went to Red Robin, and had yummy hamburgers.  Well, Isolino and I did, Kaylee had original mac and cheese.  Must have been good, cause she ate it up.

Then we headed for home, and all the things waiting for us there.  I did dishes, emptied out the garbage, and then helped Kaylee finish her homework, which she had needed some help on.  I finally sat down to upload some photo's to Flickr and do this blog.  It is almost midnight.  The end of a busy day, and the start of a new one.  I share all this, because as busy as my day was, I am sure most of you, experience even busier days than this.  I want to encourage you to take a deep breath, and let it out, and then do it again, a few times, maybe, and then, look around you, and count your blessings.

Today I was blessed by a group of ladies sharing kindness together.  A husband who shared his interests with me.  A job that was going smoothly.  People who stopped by and blessed me.  A safe trip in very murky foggy weather.  A quick finish to a job needing to be done.  A fun meal with some of my family.  A safe trip home, and those who prayed for that safe trip home with prayer for angels to be with us and surrounding us in safety (thank you Jill and Pastor Dave, for the prayers).  A daughter who helped carry the garbage out to the outside can (thank you, Jolynn).  A daughter who went and did what she was supposed to do (thank you, Kaylee).  And a husband who is patient to the max (thank you, Isolino).  I am truly blessed.  I would love to hear how blessed you are today.  What wonderful things did you find to be thankful for?  I love to hear the stories that these blogs bring to your minds.  This is your site, too.  You are a part of the blessings that go on here.  Your comments and viewings make this more of what it is meant to be, a place of encouragement.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Can You See Through The Mist?

I was praying about what I should share tonight, and God gave me a picture of the day Isolino and I drove back from our Anniversary Trip.

We went through Hwy 4, from Lake Tahoe, and along the way we passed Mosquito Lake.  This is how it looked on that day.  The mist was only there for a short period of time, and then it was gone.  It looked really neat and a bit like a mystery story would.

The words I kept hearing, as I remembered this trip, and this moment in time, was "Can you see through the mists?"  I pondered those words.  What did they mean?  How did they apply to these encouraging words blogs?  How could that statement be encouraging?   God tells us in His Word that "now we look through a glass darkly, but then (on the day of His return), we will see clearly".  That is encouraging.  One day we will see more clearly.

I believe that we do go through life, with a bit of a mist surrounding us, and our not being able to see things as clearly as we'd like to.  That is where prayer and listening for God's Voice, come in.  He tells us to "stay in step with the Spirit."  That we will "hear a voice telling us to go to the left or go to the right.".  I love Proverbs 3:5 and 6, which says, "Lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge God and He will direct your paths and make them straight."  That sure does help us to have more clarity through that mist that surrounds us, doesn't it?

Our Pastor gave a sermon today on angels, a continuation of 3 messages so far, on how we recognize and know God's angels, the devil's angels, and today, how angels help us and are with us, when we die.  How encouraging.  You will not die alone, if you know Jesus as your Saviour.  He sends angels to escort you to heaven.  The mist between this world and heaven are blown asunder, as these angels come and minister to the saints when they die.  These angels escort the saints quickly to heaven, which our pastor brought out, must be quite a distance from earth, so how nice to have a fast escort to take you there.  Now, not only is there one angel, but two, who come to bring you home.  Maybe even more, we don't know, but at least two.  This is one of the ways we will see clearly.  Those who die before Jesus' return get to see things sooner than we do.  How glorious.  The passage our pastor read was, "How precious in the sight of God is the death of His saints."  The death of saints is precious.  God doesn't want you to be alone, even in death.

So, if you think the future is a bit misty.  If you feel alone, and like your life is quickly passing you by.  If you are close to the end of your days and are in fear of what is on the other side.  I encourage you tonight, to trust God.  To lean on Him, and not on your knowledge.  Let Him guide you through the mist.  Let Him give you insight and help, by His Spirit telling you which way to go and what to do.  He loves to help us.  One of my most favorite passages of Scripture to quote is this:  "If God is for you, who can be against you."  You will probably hear me quote this often.  I say it to myself to remind myself that the battle is not mine, but God's.  He fights on my behalf.  He clears the mist away, so I can find the path.  He sends angels to minister to me, you, and every believer out there.  He even sends angels to help those who He is calling to Him, who don't even know Him yet.  He fights your battles too.  He helps you find the path too.

Our hearts should be filled with thanksgiving for all the ways He helps us.  David often quoted to himself, "O my soul, why are you so downcast within me?  Hope in God and praise His Name."  He knew that his soul was deceitful.  it would bring him down and surround him with the mist of depression.  He chose to use the cloak of thanksgiving to bring himself out of that mist.  He chose to hope in God.  To praise God.  To continue to remember the ways God had delivered the children of Israel from their enemies.  That is how we need to come out of the mist too.  We need to remember God's goodness to us.  The places He has delivered us or those around us.  To praise Him for being Who He Is.  The Lord God Almighty.  The Maker of heaven and earth.  The Alpha and Omega.  The Beginning and the End.  God, our God, the God of wonders and miracles, bless you wholely and completely.  May your steps be guided to your destiny and your future.  May you be encouraged with the wonder of a "Red Sea" parting before you.  May you be guided by a cloud by day and a fire by night.  May you hear God's sweet words to you, healing you, encouraging you, and bringing you to a place of firmness and stability.  I love you my dear friends.  Be encouraged.  You have the most powerful, wonderful Lord on your side.  Be encouraged.