Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us

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Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 (ESV)

The servant of the LORD spoke these words to Joshua as he commissions Joshua. Joshua was given all the lands of what we now call the Mideast. This servant told Joshua that “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you I will not leave you or forsake you.” (Verse 5)

In the first nine verses of this chapter the servant of God tells Joshua three times to be strong and courageous. I have always heard if we hear something or read something in God’s Word three times that He means it.

In our focus verse, God, through His servant asks a question, “Have I not commanded you?” That gets my attention. He then reminds us that we are to be strong and to have courage.

Life throws some very hard things at us. Major surgeries, sudden losses of loved ones through death, loss of employment, friends relocating, loss of homes. God tells us we need to be strong in all these issues.

We might face any of these scenarios and have a bit of fear; when we look to God, those fears will be replaced by strength and courage from our LORD Jesus Christ.
Have you ever had a time where you faced something and were afraid of what you had to go through? Did you find your outlook changed when you gave that circumstance over to God?

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Living for Jesus

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This is a departure from my chosen monthly topic. I heard a story that disturbed me. I found myself thinking about the person and how many people she has wronged by her actions. I found myself doing what I do when I am confronted by things I cannot understand. I wrote out my thoughts. 

Recently, I heard more of a person’s story that has caused me to think about how we live for Jesus. In hearing this latest addition to the story, I realized this individual is truly living for herself and not Jesus. This caused me to ponder what living for Jesus means.

                  He is the Lord of our lives.
                                    He sees all that we do.
                                    He hears all we say.
                                    He directs us through each day.

Our responsibility is to read His Word, take it to heart, and strive to follow it as best we can. Sometimes, we fail to live up to what The Word directs us to do. That is where His grace begins to act.

As we go through life, God’s Holy Spirit goes with us and supports us as we face trials and go through tribulations. God hears all we say during those times.

When we accept Christ and ask Him to walk with us through our lives, we need to be honest with Him and with ourselves. We shouldn’t do or say anything that Jesus would not like.

Sometimes, we have ‘head knowledge’ and not ‘heart knowledge’. We think we know Jesus and we can get by with anything we do because ‘we are saved’. When we do things disregarding Jesus, in reality, we know about Jesus, but we really don’t know Him.

A lot of us approach Jesus when we are in trouble or face something we cannot handle. This is not the relationship He wants to have with us. He wants to be the LORD of our lives.

Sometimes, we claim to be Christian and a worker for Christ because we want to impress others. Jesus would rather we didn’t do that. When we proclaim Christ and then our behavior or our attitude tells those around us otherwise, we ‘give Jesus a black eye”.

How can we continue to show the grace of God to those who seem to revert to former ways of living?

How can we pray about this?



Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us



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Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 (ESV)

The servant of the LORD spoke these words to Joshua as he commissions Joshua. Joshua was given all the lands of what we now call the Mideast. This servant told Joshua that “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you I will not leave you or forsake you. (Verse 5)

In the first nine verses of this chapter the servant of God tells Joshua three times to be strong and courageous. I have always heard if we hear something or read something in God’s Word three times that He means it.

In our focus verse, God, through His servant asks a question, “Have I not commanded you?” That gets my attention. He then reminds us that we are to be strong and to have courage.

Life throws some very hard things at us. Major surgeries, sudden losses of loved ones through death, loss of employment, friends relocating, loss of homes. God tells us we need to be strong in all these issues.

We might face any of these scenarios and have a bit of fear; when we look to God, those fears will be replaced by strength and courage from our LORD Jesus Christ.
Have you ever had a time where you faced something and were afraid of what you had to go through? Did you find your outlook changed when you gave that circumstance over to God?

Friday, August 9, 2019

Fear, Courage: God Guides Us Through Each Day

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“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
 “plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
 plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

I love this verse. I love the message. This week has been an unusual one for me.  On Monday, I accompanied my dearest friend Martha and her husband to attend the funeral of a childhood friend of Martha’s. I had graduated from high school with her.

Tuesday morning, I received a phone call from the church. A lady who was a part of our congregation had passed from this earth into the arms of Jesus. As I type this entry, I await the time for Martha and me to go pay our respects to Frieda’s family.

Wednesday, Hubby and I traveled down to the southern part of our state to see our son, who was on a ‘vacation’ from work. Hubby and Son went fishing at our friend Tom’s pond. Hubby took me over to Tom’s sister Betty’s house to see her. She is going into the hospital Sunday morning and will have surgery for colon cancer.

Late this morning, I received a phone call from the church. A woman I had met in 1985 and had worshiped with for several of those years was in the hospital and was not expected to be with us very much longer. Our new pastor and his wife were out of town. Could I go and see about her? I called Martha, who has known this lady longer than I. She wasn’t available. I called her home phone and left a message telling her the time I called. She called me while I was at the hospital with the family. I gave her my appraisal of the situation. She said she would try to get up there tomorrow. 

I had prayer with most of the family. I excused myself and returned home. We headed out to the grocery store. Did our shopping and was eating lunch when the phone rang. It was another friend to tell me that our friend in the hospital had passed.

When we turn our days over to the LORD, we never know where He will take us.
Have you had any experience where God chose to use you according to His plans?







Monday, August 5, 2019

Fear, Courage: God Will Uphold Us

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Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you; I will help you.
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)

 Fear not,

Bible scholars tell us that this phrase appears in God’s Word 365 times. God is telling us something; we should trust Him for all things. We should not fear anything that life places in our path.

for I am with you;

God constantly assures us of His presence in our day-to-day life. He brings us sunshine that perks us up. He gives us guidance through His Word. He ministers to us through friends He sends us. He stands with us when we face difficulties and trauma.  

be not dismayed,

God tells us not to lose heart. There have been times in my life that I felt defeated and even dejected. One of those times, I found this scripture. God guided me through a long time of stress for our family. 

for I am your God.

God tells Isaiah a very basic concept here. God is not some far away untouchable deity who watches mankind to see how much trouble we can get into. God claims each of us who accept Him into our hearts as His own and becomes our guide and mainstay when we live for Him.

I will strengthen you,

God promises to uphold us and make us strong. When I was in kindergarten, my teacher had a saying, “A promise is a promise and should be kept.”  

I will help you.

As I understand God’s workings, He does not stand by and watch us as we flounder our way out of difficult or traumatic events of life. I see Him as one who figuratively rolls up His sleeves and takes us by the hand and guides us through to the place where we can have renewed peace in our lives.  

I will uphold you

God makes a statement here that endears Him to me. He chooses to stand by us. He has stood by dear friends of mine during his extensive stay in a heart hospital. God stayed with a dear saintly mother who cared for her invalid son until she could no longer do it. The LORD stood with a neighbor for the ten years of his wife’s illness, nine and a half of which they did not know the name of her condition.     

These statements are basic thoughts of the Christian belief as I understand the faith. The above-stated examples are of people who are or have been dear to me in my Christian walk.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Fear, Courage:The Lord, My Light and My Salvation

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The LORD is my light and my
salvation; whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1

The LORD is my light
   David speaks with gratitude here and, yet, makes a profound statement. Light shows us the way through the darkness. God shows us the right way to navigate through this fallen world.

and my salvation
God saves us from our sins. He saves us from the guilt of those sins we unintentionally commit.

whom shall I fear?
When we trust God and have Him by our side, we have His strength to buoy us up and give us courage in the face of anything this world can throw at us.

The LORD is the stronghold of my life
Because God is with us, we can face anything that would enter our lives. The Apostle Paul tells the believers at Rome that nothing, not tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword, should separate us from God’s love. In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. (Romans 8:35,37)   

of whom shall I be afraid?
 David asks a rhetorical question here. He as told us that God is his stronghold and the one who has delivered him from peril. He was not afraid of anyone. In today’s world, a lot of distressing events happen, get reported via the media. We hear talk of war and invasions and other atrocities to innocent people. However, we have a God who is bigger than those happenings.                              

Friday, July 26, 2019

July Reflections




End of June: Trip to see Roger and some friends. Our friend Betty had, that day, finished 30 radiation and chemo treatments. She is scheduled for surgery on August 13th. Of the 30 days, she had one bad day. Jim (Hubby) and I went to Kentucky and saw Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace.
 
July

I attended a first birthday party for a friends’ granddaughter. That was a special time.

New Pastor
 Our new pastor and his wife arrived in mid -June. Their appointment was not official until July 1st. His first Sunday was July 7th. They sat in various worship services. I led prayer meeting on two Wednesday nights at the end of June. The second time, they came and sat in that service. 

Throughout July, Pastor Rick and Cheryl hosted small group fellowship meetings in their ‘home’. This was their way of getting to know the people of the church better. It was nice to get to find out more about some of the people with whom I worship as well as the pastor and his wife
.



I attended a first birthday party for a friends’ granddaughter. That was a special time. Her grandparents sit in our Sunday school class. When the little girl was dedicated, they asked members of our class to join them on the dais and stand with them for the dedication. We were honored to do so.


Class Reunion
I decided to attend my classes 55-year reunion. It took place about a quarter of a mile north of where we live. It was a very nice evening. One thing the committee did was take individual pictures as we entered. A group picture of those classmates who came. And then group pictures of us based on where we went to grade school. My grade school group had eight of us. One grade school group had twelve people.

Entry picture 
"Kids:: from my grade school.
The three women had been in Girl Scouts, back in the day.


Great Movie
I saw a movie at church this month, I Am Not Ashamed, the story of Rachel Joy Scott. She was one of the twelve students that were killed at Columbine High School.

 Special Project

A dear friend called me and asked me to work on a project for an interdenominational women’s group that she belongs to. (I just started attending this spring.) She asked me to create a bookmark for an area meeting to be held in our town. I created five samples for her to take to the president of the group so she could see what they might look like. Each sample had a picture, a topic, and five scriptures that pertained to the topic. Two of the samples had pictures I had taken.  My friend was thrilled with the samples.

  Vacation Bible School
Theme: Polar Blast: Where Jesus' Love is Cool

I oversaw pre-registration and registration.
This is the table I set up. 



On Wednesday morning before the school started four of us stayed after prayer time and painted snowflakes. Here they are used in decorations.
You have to look close to see them


                                             This is the chancel area of our sanctuary. 
The polar bear is sitting by an igloo made out of plastic gallon milk jugs. 
Our custodian did the decorations this year. Her mother found the snowflake lights at a rummage sale just a few days before our Bible school was scheduled to start.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us

scpeanutgallery.com  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...