Friday, December 15, 2017

HOPE

moretobe.com

To them, God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  Colossians 1:27 (NRSV)

Christ in us? Yes, when we seek Jesus and ask Him to forgive us of our sins, we also ask Him into our hearts. Some sects have believed that God created the world and then sat back to see what man would do with it. However, God, through Jesus, lives in each believer who surrenders his or her heart to Him.

Hope of Glory? Yes, just realizing that Jesus is in me has, more than once, given me hope when I have faced trying circumstances. This hope has given me the courage to proceed on toward a goal or the ability to stay the course and wait for the resultant ending of God’s planning. (I must say that I did not always realize why I ‘stayed the course’, not giving up in certain situations.)

Due to our humanity, we might not always, at that time, recognize the hope God gives us. However, when we reflect on those difficult, issue-laden times, we begin to see that God was with us.  


Lord God:  Please help us to remember that You are in us and that you give us hope when the world gives us harm. Help us to communicate Your hope to those who are facing life-changing issues. Allow us to truly present Your presence in our lives at all times in order that those around us may see You and Your hope in us.                             

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. . . .

I have had this old standard Christmas song on my mind several times so far this season.  I have done some decorating that I haven't really done in quite some time. I hope you enjoy these pictures.


This is on our front door. I used to make wreaths and had a nice wreath hanger. When we refurbished our enclosed front porch, it went by the wayside. I found this hanger at Dollar Tree. I got the idea for this from fellow blogger Pam Steiner.



This is my version of an advent wreath. The greenery is part of a garland I purchased at Walmart. I used the rest of it to make the front door wreath. The major expense I had with this was the four colored candles. 



Back in the summer, we went to an antique store in southern Indiana. I found this unusual glass basket with a movable handle on it. I have had it sitting on our coffee table empty most of the time I have had it.  The ornaments are gold with a cardboard peace dove sitting in the middle. Please excuse the cardboard behind it. I had no other place to keep it, it is my display board for book signings. This sits on my grandmother's cedar chest. The doily was made by my great aunt, one of her sisters.


Above our couch, we had a piano window that had a replacement insert. Hubby thought the gold balls would look nice up there. It took us three different times trying to get them hung on the wire. The gold balls are new but the thing in the middle is a leaf-shaped red ornament from my childhood. IT also has gold glitter on it to show the veins.



This is a picture from last year of my little Christmas tree. It measures about  18" tall. And is easy to store, I put it away each time I use it and leave the ornaments on.  I haven't got it out yet. I have to decide what to do with the items that are on the table. BTW, the table is believed to be a Duncan Phyfe library table that was originally my dad's grandmother's.  It was in my childhood home and came to me when we had to place Dad in a nursing home.



Monday, December 11, 2017

A Guest Post from James Watkins

jameswatkins.com/asaph/




James Watkins is an author and speaker I have heard speak several times. He lives in a town not too far from where I live. He has been a help to all who have heard him. I hope you enjoy reading his post.

Why? Why? Why?

Guest post by James N. Watkins

If you have children, 
nieces, and nephews, or younger siblings, you know that a three-year-old’s favorite word is why.

“Johnny, hold my hand while we cross the street.”

“Why?”

“Because I don’t want you to run out in front of a car.”

“Why?”

“Because if a car hits you, you’ll be hurt or killed.”

“Why?”

“Because if it’s a contest between a thirty-five-pound boy and a three-ton SUV, the truck is going to win every time.”

“Why?”

“Because the laws of physics state that mass plus momentum equals . . . Just take my hand!”

And on it 
goes-right into adulthood!

“Why didn’t God heal my friend?”

“Why do bad things happen to good people?”

“Why do I still have acne at 50?”

I’ve worked up way too much spiritual perspiration trying to answer why my second-grade Sunday school teacher committed suicide, why I was laid off from the perfect job in publishing—twice—or why bad things happen to such good people as you and me.

I have learned that while why is often a futile question, God is more than willing to answer other questions. But, like the popular game show, Jeopardy, the answers are in the form of a question.

What can I know?

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:5-8).

So, while I’ve struggled with hundreds—probably thousands—of questions about God’s workings, I have grown in my knowledge of who he is. While agonizing about an estranged relationship, I burst into tears—for God. I had described to a friend my pain: “It feels like my heart has been cut out with a chainsaw, run over by a logging truck, and then fed through a wood chipper.” If I was feeling this excruciating pain for one broken relationship, how was God feeling about billions of heartaches? It was one of the few times I actually felt I understood God.

I can also find the answer to . . .

How can I grow?

I’ve always leaned into Romans 8:28:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (NIV).

But what is that “purpose”? The very next verse answers: “To be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). So do other verses:

“And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image (2 Corinthians 3:18b).
 
"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God" (Ephesians 5:1).
 
That’s our purpose! So ask, how can I grow more like Christ through this difficult time.
 

Who can I show?

Second Corinthians 1:3-6 has become one of my favorite passages in encouraging me while I’m going through terrible times:

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our 
troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer” (NLT).

The Greek word translated comfort is 
paraklesisIt is a calling near, summons for help; a prayer, a plea; exhortation, admonition, encouragement; consolation, comfort, solace, refreshment; or a persuasive speech, motivational talk, instruction. And it’s feminine case. No one comforts like a mother.

We offer our best comfort to those experiencing what we have personally gone through.

So, sorry, we can’t always answer the why questions, but we can answer these three.

Condensed from The Psalms of Asaph: Struggling with Unanswered Prayer, Unfulfilled Promises, and Unpunished Evil by James N. Watkins. Browse and buy at jameswatkins.com/asaph/

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 ...