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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

THE ONE THING THAT NEVER CHANGES

I get very frustrated when something I've done dozens of times no longer works, at least not in the same way. I have added photos to my blog so many times but now I must  use a different system to download and store pictures I've taken on my phone. I must learn the new way and it's a struggle. This verse comes to mind. . . 

" Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."
Hebrews 13:8

Praise God something is the same! I appreciate modern technology and see the value in trying my best to 'keep up'. I take issue with constant change however - how are we supposed to have a sense of calm and peace when we can't count on stability in our life? When things are in a constant state of flux - I lack confidence. Do you? And this is exactly the time we need to cling to the One who is stable - Jesus Christ.

"The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock in whom I take refuge. . .my stronghold."
Psalm 18:2

I find great comfort in knowing that I worship the God who never changes, the alpha and omega - beginning and the end. Our human relationships are based on behavior - if someone does all the right things, behaves in the way we want and shows us love, we love them back, if not, we don't. God's love never fails. Sometimes we don't judge His acts as loving but we know ultimately, they will be for the best. This is when we walk in faith and trust in the character of God. In  I John 4, we are told "God is love" - by faith, we can believe this - always.

There are some things about me, and you, that will never change in God's view and the way He sees us, His beloved child.

I AM ACCEPTED. . .

I have been justified - Romans 5:1
I have been bought with a price. I belong to God - I Cor. 6:19-20
I am a saint - Ephesians 1:1
I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins - Colossians 1:14
I am complete in Christ - Colossians 2:10

I AM SECURE

I am free forever from condemnation - Romans 8:1-2
I am assured that all things will work together for good - Rom 8:28
I cannot be separated from the love of God - Romans 8:35
I am confident that the good work that God has begun in me will be perfected - Philippians 1:6
I can find grace and mercy in time of need. - Hebrews 4:16

I AM SIGNIFICANT

I am the salt and light of the earth - Matthew 5:13,14
I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm - Ephesians 2:6
I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit - John 15:16
I am God's workmanship - Ephesians 2:10
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me - Phil.4:13

What you believe about yourself and your relationship to God determines your behavior, joy and peace.

Lord, when I get super frustrated please remind me that I am your child and you are my rock and protection - the same today, yesterday and forever.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

THE SHEEP OF HIS PASTURE

I looked out the window to the scene below as the plane landed at the airport in Glasgow, Scotland. I saw beautiful rolling shamrock green hills dotted with sheep and couldn't help but think of this verse in Psalm 100:3. . .

"Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture."

Psalm 100 is very short - the shortest psalm in fact. You might want to read the whole thing, all five verses. You'll be glad you did.

Sheep without a shepherd are usually in trouble - sort of like us humans. We're often in turmoil and forget that we have our very own shepherd who loves us and is able to lead us out of our present dilemma so we can leave the mess behind and enjoy greener pastures.

At the Glasgow airport, our group of writers were met by smiling  Peter Murphy. Peter, founder of 'Murphy Writing of Stockton University' in New Jersey would lead our workshop for the next several days assisted by his helpful, efficient daughter, Amanda. We all boarded a bus and headed for Dundee. I enjoyed the beautiful scenery along the way. This would be our home for the following week - the University of Dundee. Dundee is a lovely place spread along the River Tay. The University sits atop a hill and flows into a small town with plenty of all you need, pubs, restaurants, shopping, and a very nice museum. We stayed in the dorms - they call them 'flats' - and had the choice of walking up a very steep hill, or climbing 105 steps everyday to our classroom at the university. It crossed my mind that I might be getting too old for this kind of strenuous activity, but I did it and no doubt am better off for it!

We were a varied bunch - varied in age, where we came from, careers, faith, politics, writing experiences, etc. But somehow with all the differences we were able to meld into one group, supportive of one another, complimenting one another. We were also blessed with a 'faculty' of talented, capable and caring people who assisted the class. This we had in common - the love of writing. I'll always remember my classmates and wish there had been more time to hear their stories.

I am a wanderer at heart and was so happy for the opportunity to do some sightseeing, together as a group and independently. What a thrill to visit beautiful Edinburgh and explore the 11th century castle which was used as a fortress and involved in many historical conflicts. If you are a fan of the TV 'Outlander' series, the story of the Jacobite Rising in 1745, you'd be interested to know the involvement of this historic castle/fortress in this event. I could  picture Jamie and Claire there! Even though I've never been a Harry Potter fan, I must admit that I enjoyed visiting the Elephant House Coffee Shop where J.K. Rowling wrote her first Harry Potter book. Edinburgh is absolutely a charming place.

St. Andrews was another thrill. This famous school of royalty was birthed in 1413. The prized golf course, home of so many distinguished tournaments, is like an oasis on the sea, sandy beach and all. It's simply stunning. The buildings spread through a rambling campus. Prince William and Princess Kate of England attended this school together. I so wish my late husband could have been here with me - being a golfer, he would have loved it.

I spent a couple of days in Glasgow, then flew to Dublin, Ireland - another place I've never been and home to many famous writers - George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, and William Butler Yeats. I saw a big sign in the airport which said. . .

"We don't travel to escape life; we travel so life doesn't escape us."

Amen to that! Travel is so very enriching and I thank the Lord profusely every time He sends me on a trip. In fact, I have a favorite travel verse that I find very comforting.

"My presence will go with you and I will give you rest."
Exodus 33:14

I feel safe anyplace in the world because I know the Lord is always with me, wherever I am. I've discovered that the best and least expensive way to see a city is to get a 'Hop-On, Hop-Off' bus. It'll take you to all the sights and places of interest and there will be someone on board, or a tape, that will give a running commentary of information. I was in Dublin three days and spent two of them hopping on and off buses.

I was so excited to be on the campus of Trinity College established in 1592 during the reign of Queen Elizabeth the First in order to provide a 'Protestant' influence. It's so beautiful. I stood in line a very long time along with a constant growing group of people, hundreds I'd say, to see the 'Book of Kells' exhibit. This is a precious book written around 800 A.D that contains the four gospels, written by hand in Latin by monks and beautifully illustrated with amazing vivid colors, and perfectly preserved. The fact that all these people, day after day, stand in line for hours to see a copy of the gospels from the Bible in a language that most cannot read, does not escape my notice. Sometimes we're led to believe that there isn't much interest in the God of the Bible anymore - I've witnessed  much evidence that this is not true.  

After viewing the Book of Kells exhibit, I found my way to the old original library into what they call the 'Long Room'. It took my breath away! The room is 65 meters long, contains over 200,000 of the library's oldest books stacked two stories high with a beautiful barrel-vaulted ceiling and marble busts lined up on both sides - Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Homer, - we know these guys! I stood there, enthralled.

I made a stop to an interesting museum in a park-like setting outside of the downtown area and saw the original painting by Spanish artist Salvador Dali - 'Christ of St John of the Cross' painted in 1951. This oil on canvas has become quite famous because of the unusual perspective; looking down from above at Christ on the cross.

I visited St. Patrick's Cathedral. St. Patrick wasn't buried there; his grave is in Northern Ireland. Guinness, the man who started the brewery and supplies thousands (or is it millions?)of gallons of beer to the world every day, paid to restore this old cathedral which was built around 1220 A.D. Within these walls is the large stone that was found under the well where it's been said St. Patrick baptized people. The guide on the bus said that there were both Catholic and Protestant churches in the Dublin area and also the church of the 'Born-Agains'. He said this was the most active and attended church in this part of Ireland. This is true in the U.S. also.  Praise the Lord, we are moving away from 'religion' and seeking a 'relationship' with Jesus!  This is exactly why I write this blog, to encourage this transformation of thinking. 

On my last day in Dublin - I stayed at a B&B in Donnybrook a few miles from city center - I was getting a little tired, so much walking, mostly on uneven surfaces. It started to rain, about 5 PM. I was in an area of pubs and ducked into 'The Bank on College Green'. Again, it almost took my breath away! Such an exquisite  building; at one time a bank. I sat down and looked at the menu. There was a list of whiskey's, yup, Irish whiskey! I had to chuckle when I saw 'Writer's Tears' and would love to know the genesis of the name. I had a bowl of steaming hot seafood chowder, super delicious...ahh, kismet! This was a great way to end my short stay in Dublin.

I need to end where I begin, Psalm 100. . .

"For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations." Vs. 5

Thank you Lord for allowing me to go on this wonderful trip, meet such interesting people, be inspired to be a better writer and see more of this lovely world you have made for us - the sheep of your pasture.



Sunday, July 24, 2016

ONE WAY ONLY - GOD'S WAY

I'm in the midst of gathering together things I need to take on my trip to Scotland. I'm also trying to gather my wits and focus on what must be done before I leave. I'm not a detailed oriented person, so I depend on the Lord - a lot.

Even though I'm a bit frantic at the moment, I've learned something the last few years since I started writing a Bible blog - when the Lord makes known that He has something for me to say, I'd better drop everything and sit down and write.

"My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer."  Psalm 45:1

Well, I don't always feel that "my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer" so the purpose of this trip to Scotland is to attend a writer's work shop at the University of Dundee which is close to the North Sea, not far from the famous St. Andrews and Edinburgh. I've never been to this country and am so grateful for this opportunity.

We live in a dangerous world. Actually, one way or another, this world has always been dangerous. Sometimes I resist turning the radio on in the morning, afraid I might hear there has been another terrorist attack or that more American policemen have been killed.

Many turn to a 'higher power' during times of stress and worry and search for enlightenment. You won't often hear a Christian talk of being 'enlightened' even though we have come out of the dark and into the light. John wrote in I John 1:5 - 8.

"God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. . .if we walk in the light, as he is the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." 

If you're like me, you need to read these verses many times to grasp the significance of what God is teaching us. God is the light and if we walk in His light, the blood Jesus shed on the cross will purify us from all sin. Not just some sin, all sin. I realize to an unbeliever, this sounds a bit bizarre, foolish even - see I Corinthians 1; you won't feel alone. True 'enlightenment' comes from Jesus, just Him, He made it easy for us!

After we die, and we all will die at some point unless we're caught up in the rapture, we will be judged. What is God going to judge? Just one thing, if we believe in Jesus as our Savior. Those who don't believe will be judged by the law and their good works and none will stand. Christ fulfilled the law for those who believe - Scripture says "Christ is the end of the law". . .Romans 10:4. Paul wrote to the Galatians - "Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law." . . .Galatians 3:24 We are saved by God's grace - Ephesians 2:8 - 9.

We also need to be aware that Satan is real and always looking for those he can deceive - from the beginning he's been a liar who steals or distorts the truth. He is also clever and doesn't show his real colors. If he did, we'd recognize the devil and flee from him. So he comes in disguise.

"And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light."  2 Corinthians 11:14

"An angel of light" looks good, appears to be good, but is wicked and full of lies.

This might be a good time to mention a book I've been reading. It was written by a grandson of Billy Graham, Tullian Tchividjian, JESUS + NOTHING = EVERYTHING. If we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we will have eternal life with God. This is the only way we attain eternal life. Jesus is all we need.

It's all about Jesus and what He did on the cross for those who believe. But we want to make it about us and what we do. As Paul wrote in Romans 11:5 - 6, addressing the Jews to clarify that it isn't their 'religious' works that please God and will usher them into heaven, but rather God's grace toward them. Furthermore, grace and works don't mix; it's one or the other - one way, God's way!

"So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would not no longer be grace."

Take note of this verse; you won't hear it recited very often. You will hear that you must accept Jesus and go to church, study the Bible, tithe, work in the Sunday school or help pass out food to the needy - or any number of other things. You probably will do many of these things because God has put His Holy Spirit in you and this will be your natural desire - to help others and shine God's light wherever, and whenever you can. God has a purpose for each of us, but these works can never 'save'.

I want to mention a great movie - a history of American Politics - the good, bad and ugly! If possible, go see 'Hillary's America' in a theater near you. You can also buy the book, same title as movie, written by a Christian, Denish D'Souza. It's a great re-cap of American history told with honesty and reveals truth that many don't know, but certainly should know. Also, check out my books on Amazon, available very inexpensively as e- books too. . .

BLOGGING GOD'S WORD
Seeing Ourselves Through God's Eyes

THE GOD WHO SEES ME
A Collection of Blogs

HOW IS THE DAY?
A Mission to Africa

Lord thank you for the opportunity to write in Your Name - the 'I Am', the 'Alpha and Omega',  - beginning and the end, Almighty God. Thank you for all You will teach me and show me on this trip to Scotland and Ireland. In Jesus name. . .the only way to You.






Tuesday, July 5, 2016

WHY IS AMERICA UNIQUE?



"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance."  Psalm 33:12

Happy 240th birthday America! Surely the heart of America's success as a nation is that God has blessed this country. We've had our problems and heartbreaks, but have always prevailed in our determination to seek personal freedom and be grateful for God's blessings. What started as a gradual shift toward progressive thinking in the 1960's has begun to steamroll across the country. Life is changing here in America, and not for the good.

I've posted a photo of a large quilt that my husband, using his engineering skills, designed. I sewed it together a few months after our 9/11 tragic event in 2001. I made it to take to the beach but somehow can't bring myself to spread it out on the sand. It's a tribute to my country and deserves more respect.

Many things make America a unique country. For one, everyone came here from someplace else. The American Indians are the only ones who can claim this to be their native land, the rest of us have our roots elsewhere in the world. The Pilgrims were from England and came in search of freedom of religion and freedom from being taxed without representation. They arrived in 1620, not to seek fortunes of gold and silver or to conquer and enslave another people. Some of this occurred throughout our history, but their main agenda was freedom.

As a nation of immigrants we willingly assimilated into the fabric of what was American. People arrived here not knowing one word of English. All of my forefathers arrived from Sweden. They sent their children to school, quickly learned the English language and helped to build a new country using their skills and hard work. It wasn't easy, they missed their homeland but fought through every hardship that came their way. Good people still continue to come and work their way toward a better future where they can enjoy life, liberty and pursue happiness without fear of a government taking it all away from them.

We as a country are unique because we have unique documents that govern us. Our Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights were designed to limit government's authority. Our three branches of government, Executive, Legislative and Judicial were designed to keep a balance of power. Right from the start we clung to the principles of Capitalism and Free Enterprise and most important, honored God.  Our colleges and universities were established on God's Word - yes, even Harvard and Yale!

Many of our customs have been eroded, or are eroding. All evidence of a Christian nation has been attacked in one way or another. We witness injustice; not everyone is always treated the same. But we are a determined people and so many of us worship the Sovereign Lord who is our refuge - Psalm 73:28. We know His hand is on our country, and we trust His guidance. 

I love going to baseball games. It's such an American thing to do! At Petco Park here in San Diego the Padres invite our local servicemen to come to a free ballgame. The service men and women who are present are always given a standing ovation. We sing our anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. The words, "the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air" remind us that we enjoy freedom and liberty because every generation has produced those who have been willing to pay the price, from the American Revolution to Iraq and Afghanistan.  We thank you!

Most of all, I love when we sing 'God Bless America' at the ball park - ". . .land that I love, from the mountains to the prairies to the oceans white with foam, God bless America my home sweet home" - I usually cry.

"Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among nations what he has done. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. . .seek his face always.
I Chronicles 16:8 - 11

David, who wrote the Psalms, the little shepherd boy who became a King, the one who killed a giant with a slingshot wrote those words. He also wrote these words. . .

"Yours O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty. . .for everything in heaven and earth is yours. . . Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things."  I Chronicles 29:10 - 12

Nations rise up and fall into oblivion, kings and queens come and go - so do presidents and congressman - here today, gone tomorrow
but one thing will always stand forever, God's Word.

"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever."   Isaiah 40:8


 HAPPY 4TH OF JULY AMERICA - GOD BLESS US EVERYONE!



Saturday, June 18, 2016

YOU ARE TREASURED




"When someone you love becomes a memory. . .The memory becomes a treasure."  Olson

There are so many memories entwined with the forty-three years my husband and I shared. They are good memories because God blessed us immeasurably. I was not taken by surprise when the angels took my husband home one evening in December, 2015. We knew his heart was failing and that God would chose the moment of death just as He had chosen the moment of life.

"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage."  Loazi

People often speak of the courage shown by someone who has lost a loved one. I don't feel courageous as much as I feel deeply loved and treasured by God Himself. It's by His grace that I know that He has counted our steps and numbered our days - Job 14. David was equally clear when he wrote in Psalm 139:16 "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." God alone is in charge of life and death.

This may be a very difficult concept for the families and friends of those who were brutally killed in the early morning hours on Sunday, June 12th in Orlando, Florida. Sometimes we can anticipate death, sometimes we are simply shocked, confused, and unbearably heartsick. If God is in charge of life and death, shouldn't we be terribly angry with Him? What could possibly be loving about this? What good will come of it? Those who were not mortally wounded but severely injured will never be the same. They will have physical and psychological scars for the rest of their life. It hurts to think of the pain they will suffer. No one can answer these questions now. We humans living in a fallen world.

Don't be angry with God, love Him abundantly in faith believing that He is a loving faithful Father who treasures His children.

If someone isn't a believer in the midst of a tragedy like this, now probably isn't the time to share much more than your love and support. We probably should not say, "I know how you feel." Unless it's happened to you, you don't know.

"Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted."
Matthew 5:4

God comforts us individually according to our needs. He knows all about loving and treasuring someone. It may not seem like it to us, but trust that He has a plan and His will, will be done!

It is said the first year after losing someone you loved is the hardest. I lost my parents many years ago and I think of them so often. I still have vivid memories of my grandparents. In fact no one that has been related to me, family or friends, memory has been lost. I lost a grandson before he was even born, but somehow I knew him and loved him with a passion. We never got to hold that baby, but he's tucked safely in our hearts, loved and remembered. God has given me a great peace that I will join him in heaven and we'll spend eternity together. I wanted to enjoy life with him here on earth; the Lord had a different plan and I trust Him.

Whether it's my husband or all the others that have passed on, I have peace and the memories aren't sad. There is a warm comfort in these memories. Not all will be in heaven to greet me, I know that, but the day will come that the Lamb of God, Jesus, will explain why, and then I'll know. There can be joy in the midst of sorrow. If you haven't experienced this, ask God for it and in His time and way, it will come. He treasures you, His perfect child. Hold fast to this verse in Deuteronomy which concerned God's chosen people, the Jews. All through history God has 'set apart' a group of people who would be destined to live with Him in an eternal home called heaven.

"The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession."
Deut. 7:6

People may think you are a little 'nutty', but if you ask the Lord to lead you into His living Word, the Bible, you will be lifted up and experience a joy like none other. Really, you will! Have some patience and know that God's timing often isn't our own. But, stick with it and you will be greatly rewarded. In Isaiah 43: 1-3 tells us that the Lord who created and formed you has. . ."summoned you by name; you are mine"! God has called you by name, you are His forever treasure. Believing this by faith should put a big smile on your face.

Most of us have heard the 'Foot Prints' story. A man had a dream about his life. He and God were walking down a sandy beach, leaving two sets of foot prints along the way. The man looked back over his life and noticed that during his hardest, most painful times there was just one set of foot prints in the sand. He asked the Lord where He was during his greatest time of need. The Lord told him that these were the times that He carried him. God picked him up and carried him through the hard stuff so there was only one set of prints, and they belonged to Jesus!

The Lord never says 'NO' to someone who comes to Him, not ever! You wouldn't come unless He'd called you out by name - He searches for every one of His sheep until all have come into the fold - John 10, Matthew 18:10-14. He is not willing that any be lost and if God is not willing, none of His sheep set apart from "creation of the world", Ephesians 1:4, will be lost.

Tomorrow we celebrate Father's Day here in the United States. Also, a son's birthday whom the Lord picked up and carried when he most needed it. It's been a year of hard work and determination and I know that he has felt the Lord with him doing what he couldn't do on his own. We praise God for this!

The man who has been by my side for over forty years as the 'father' of the family is gone; our first Father's Day without him. I couldn't have handled these five kids of ours on my own. God sent the perfect help-mate and I'm grateful for all the years we had together. I'm even grateful for all I've had to learn to do on my own these past few months; I've been challenged and am stronger for it.

To God be the glory! Thank you Jesus for being such an awesome personal God. Touch those who need to be comforted and treasured, carry them through all the tragedy of this world and give them hope and joy that You are always in control.
 

Monday, May 23, 2016

ARE CHRISTIANS REQUIRED TO TITHE?

"Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law." Galatians 3:23 - 24

I'm going to do my best to explain this passage of Scripture because it is so essential to the lives of those who believe and call themselves 'Christians'.

First, the 'law' being referred to is the covenant in the Old Testament between God and His people, the Jews. God gave the Ten Commandments, see Exodus, chapter 20. He knew it would be impossible for anyone to keep the law perfectly as required to be righteous in His eyes. Notice that God put the law in charge to lead us to Christ. The intent was not to keep the law but to bring us into a relationship with Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

In many respects, it's easier to live by the law than it is by faith. The law is something concrete you can point to; faith is believing in something you can't see, touch or feel. But, when the Lord gives it to you, it's very real. Take note of the word 'revealed'. This is how we come to believe, by revelation. The apostle Paul wrote this,
speaking of the gospel he preached...

"I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ."  Galatians 1:12

It's only when the Lord reveals truth to us that we come to know it. We can never be freed by the law; it imprisons us. Freedom and righteousness comes by grace through faith, which is a gift from God. Ephesians 2: 8 - 9 teaches this truth so clearly.

I am aware that many believers struggle to 'be good' rather than believing they stand righteous before God. Right now here on earth, we Christians are righteous in God's eyes! The Bible is full of exhortations so the fear of not being good enough to please God is understandable given the many verses to substantiate this thinking. Many pastors focus on the exhortations rather than leading us to the truth of the Savior. In other words, they don't finish the story or get to the bottom line! Which is??

"But now, a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known. . .This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. . .all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  Romans 3:21 - 24

God exhorts us to act like who we are - a child of His. We exhort our own children because we want them to live a good life. God wants His children to have a good life and He gives us a pattern to do so. This is different than giving the law.

I am going to get to the subject of tithing. Sometimes to create a clear, complete picture, we need to 'set the stage'. The more we know about the Bible and the better our understanding, the less likely we are to be led astray or manipulated.

I remember a young couple telling me that they didn't go to church because they couldn't afford it. Instead, they watched various televised services. A good church has more to offer than the message the pastor gives. Being a part of 'the body' and bonding with other believers is usually a positive, uplifting experience. Belonging and sharing are important so it's sad to think some feel like they can't 'afford' to go to church.

In the Old Testament, the temple and synagogues were actual physical buildings where people went to worship God, i.e., the 'church'. In the New Testament, the church is the 'body of believers'. At first, there were no buildings; people met in homes. Low overhead! There are now glorious church buildings all over the world. They require a staff of people, maintenance, utilities, etc. In other words, it takes money to support the church. I think most people understand that churches are dependent on those who attend to pay for all this. It also takes money to do the work of the church - share the gospel and help the poor and needy in our communities.

In the Old Testament, tithe meant 10% of your earnings and was designed to meet the needs of the religious, economic and political system of ancient Israel. Each of the 12 tribes, except for the Levites, received an allotment in the promised land of Canaan. The Levite tribe assisted Israel's priests and were supported by the tithes from the other 11 tribes who gave 10% of the produce they grew, and the animals they raised. In turn, the Levites gave 10% to support the priests. This was the law, see Leviticus 27: 30 - 33, and Numbers 18:21 - 28.

In the New Testament mentions of tithing refer to the Old Testament system and no specific rules about tithing are given for the New Testament church.  The Jews expanded the Ten Commandments in Leviticus and Numbers. The first five books of the Bible are called 'The Law'. Do these laws apply to Christians who are under the covenant of grace? No, they don't. Jesus came to fulfill the law therefore if you are "in Him", you are not under the law.

We do however have the opportunity and pleasure to see where God is working and join Him by sharing what we have for the good of His Kingdom. It also makes us feel better to be a part of something that is doing good. But know this, God is totally self-sufficient and doesn't need anything from those He has created. I love this verse!

"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else."  Acts 17: 24 - 25

When the Lord has purposed a 'work' He will always provide the means to do this work. If our plan to do 'this or that' fails, it simply wasn't God's plan. Our churches and various ministries often imply that they should get all of the 10% when we'd like to give to several organizations. Many of us will give much more than 10% overall. There are numerous groups worthy of our support, even non-Christian ones like wounded veterans or helpless, abused animals.

Ask the Lord to direct your giving just as you ask Him to keep you and your family healthy and safe. Follow your heart, not the law, because you are filled with the Holy Spirit - that's God's Spirit in you - and His Spirit will direct you according to His will, Ephesians 1:11. Sad to see people leave the church, or change churches because of money issues. Be guided by the Lord and His Word alone.

Thank you Lord that you make us aware that all we have is a gift from you and you are the One in charge. Give us clear direction so we feel comfortable and know we are walking according to Your plan.





Monday, April 18, 2016

SEVEN TRUTHS CHRISTIANS SHOULD NEVER FORGET


Happy spring! This is such a great time of year when we witness the coming alive, in glorious colors, all that seemed dead just a few weeks ago. I think I enjoy watching the birds as much as all the flora. They are so busy choosing their mates and looking for just the right place to build their nest. I saw a baby hawk this morning circling above our yard crying and screeching. I think he lost his mother and is too young to know how to hunt for food on his own. He was probably hungry and scared. I felt sorry for him so asked Jesus to help the little guy.


It appears that the roses are in competition with the bougainvillea, and the azaleas are vying for attention among the begonia and bird of paradise plants. Lilacs are gently swaying in the breeze in the midst of pink geraniums. And we get to sit back and watch it all unfold. Only God can direct and produce a show like this!

Despite the beauty surrounding us, we sometimes lack enthusiasm for our daily life. At times I say to myself, "All I do is work!" The Lord took my husband home the end of last December, and I'm doing a lot of things I never did before. Like sorting through mail, paying bills and attending to the patio and yard. Some mornings I get up and think that I need just a little bit of coffee, and a whole lot of Jesus!

I have a great family and lots of friends and meaningful activities to keep me focused on what is 'good'. But there are times that I must re-connect with who I am 'in Christ'. And when I do, stress drains away, joy returns, and I am thrilled to be who I am, and where I am, doing whatever the Lord has determined is perfect for me. 

I am reminded that I'm always loved. . .Romans 8: 37-39
"No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loves us...Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I remember that in God's eyes, I am always righteous. . . Philippians 3:9
"Not having a righteousness of my own, but that which is through Christ - the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith."

I recall that the Bible says I am 'perfect' in God's eyes . . . Hebrews 10:14
"Because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy."
"Being made hold" is a process and not an instantaneous event. Knowing this brings peace to my sometimes ruffled feathers.

I am totally and completely forgiven. . .Colossians 2: 13-14
"He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with all its regulations, he took it away, nailing it to the cross."
Jesus fulfilled the law, the Ten Commandments, paid the penalty for every sin I have committed or will commit in the future, died on a cross, and rose again so I will be presented to God the Father  ". . .without fault and with great joy." Jude 24

I don't want to forget that the Bible teaches that I can be without fear. . .John 4:18
"There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear."

And the Word of God says I, as a believer, am without shame. . .
Romans 10:1
"Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
Psalm 34:5 "Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame."

Best of all - I am continually and always in His will! Romans 8:27
"The Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.".

Ephesians 1:11
". . .according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will."

When it comes to spiritual truth, we are dependent on the Lord. We are unable to recall at will these truths unless prompted by the Holy Spirit. I'll stop here, even though I could go on listing what we believers shouldn't forget for pages and pages! In Scripture, the number 'seven' means completion. More about that interesting fact later.

I was thrilled last week to see that someone in Japan had bought one of my books on Amazon. Most of my readers are in the United States, but I now have hundreds from other countries who seem to enjoy this blog.

Books - 'How Is The Day?' and 'The God Who Sees Me' can be bought on-line at Amazon, either a paper copy or digital book.

Thank you Lord for faithfully helping us to remember your truth and apply it to our life.