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With regards to Ps 44:3 "They did not conquer the land with their swords; it was not their own strength that gave them victory. It was by your mighty power that they succeeded; it was because you favored them and smiled on them."

It is so good to remember to look to the Lord for His smile and His favor in life. This Psalm shows the fulfillment of the Aaronic blessing said over the people time and time again. Remember that these were the same people called hard hearted and rebellious. In the midst of all of their rebellion and sin, God told Aaron to bless them with this blessing from Numbers 6:22 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Instruct Aaron and his sons to bless the people of Israel with this special blessing: May the LORD bless you and protect you.May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you.May the LORD show you his favor and give you his peace.'

27This is how Aaron and his sons will designate the Israelites as my people,and I myself will bless them."

I am thinking this morning about how important it is for us to pray for blessing for our families and communities. Even though those around us may seem hard hearted and rebellious, will you take up the challenge to pray this blessing over them daily as I am committed now to do? For I want to see victory in my family and my community. I want very much to see the changes manifested when God shows them favor and smiles upon them.

I believe in the relationship of prayer and living. For years I thought that I was the master of my own destiny and that all that happened to me was...well because of me. Is that not how we are trained these days? Take control of your life! I got so distorted in my thinking that I blamed all the bad in my life at the foot of my Lord. "How could you allow this to happen! Just leave me alone!" It was at this time I noticed that through his grace he granted me this request. He left me alone... My life was a mess and mistakes were many. All my low points in life were the result of answered prayers. He let me walk alone and man did I fall! Needless to say, even when bad things happen I no longer ask Him to leave me alone, but beg him to pick me up! Human pride is sometimes unavoidable when interacting with other humans...but it has no place in a relationship with Christ Jesus.

Your in Christ

I can totally see that God has made things work good for me, where I had no power at all in them. Even recently, I was walking in a way that could have really hurt me and made bad things happen to myself and people I love. But when I repented, immediately the Lord turned things around, and the same negative things have turned into a blessing and God is being glorified.
Like your question, "God is absolutely there" and is taking care. I know I'm talking a little bit it circles...(some things just don't need to be shared...:) ).... but I want to give praise and glory to Jesus for His love, faithfulness, mercy and grace!
...not their own strength that gave them victory. It was by your mighty power that they succeeded; it was because you favored them and smiled on them...Psalm 44:3b

amen, hallelujah!

Lev 22:32 stood out for me this morning...."Do not profane my holy name. I must be acknowledged as holy by the Israelites. I am the LORD, who makes you holy." - Sometimes we can get carried away with our use of God's name...it's so "normal" in today's socitety to say "Oh my God" and not even bat an eye! But really, to me, that is using God's name flippantly...with total disregard and disrespect for who He is and His holiness.

Seeing the disciples argue just makes me realize that they were just men also. Sometimes I tend to want to put the 12 on a sort of pedistal...like Jesus chose them because they were all spiritual and sutff...but so many times we see them acting just like we do! Yet Jesus chose them anyway! That's grace!

Looking back on my life, I know, without a doubt that God had His hand all over it! There are so many things that can only be explained by the power and grace of God especially when my husband and I were separated for 2 years. All the "roadblocks" that kept delaying our divorce were definitely from God! And I praise Him now for that because we got to tear up our divorce papers before it happened!! God brought us back together and made us one flesh again - those verses in Mark about divorce are special to me because when I was beginning my search for God, it was the same time we were separated. I knew after reading those verses and some others that God was saying NO to divorce and YES to getting back with my husband!! God worked it all out perfectly! We are better than we ever were - Praise be to God!

The verse in Proverbs is very true! The sin of exageration!! It's so easy to take a little story and make it much bigger either to make yourself look better or someone else look bad!! Gossip - this reminds me of gossip also! Ooooo it can be so easy to want to share something we know is not edifying - and we can try to justify it by saying "well it's the truth!" I always try to ask myself "would I say this exact thing in the same tone of voice or manner if all people involved were standing here with me??" Most likely the answer is NO! So it's better to just keep my mouth shut!!! :0)

as for me, i'm trying very hard to slow down on my swearing and using gods name in vain. but with having worked in a factory for over 11 years, i have a factory mouth. and i've realized, its not only disrespectful to god, but to myself. what kind of person am i showing to people when i say F word all the time? not a very classy one for that matter. i know when i get really angry, i throw out the F word quite frequently. like the other day, i wrote to a very dear friend of mine and said it quite often cuz i was so angry, (and had every right to be over my stepson and husband), but never, EVER, have i went back and apologized for all the swearing i did. until the other night. and she told me she really appreciated it. just little things like that i'm noticing about myself and the changes. i still swear, i always have. even my first word was sh...(you fill in the last two letters). but i'm trying to change that. and its hard. but instead of saying god (in vain), i'm trying to say, gosh instead, or oh my goodness. i'm still working on it. and where i work at now, i really have to be careful of the choice words i say to the customers since i no longer work in a factory. i'm dealing with the public now. so i am trying to say, gosh, or darn, and that kind of thing. or keep it to myself!!!!!!!! lol!

i know what you mean gina by when you say that god had a hand in everything that happens. my dad tells me, god has a plan for all of us, we just follow it. he gives us the directions and we follow. that all things happen for a reason and we learn from it all. sometimes we don't get the answers we want right away or we say, why didnt' we think of that before and why did i have to struggle with it then and not now? cuz i feel that god wanted us to think for ourselves then he helped us when we went to him. the more i let him in, the more he helps me it seems like. sometimes i still wonder why he let the things happend that has happened and maybe i'll never know. me and my husband almost got a divorce also almost 6 years ago. but it never came about. now, we're doing better with our marriage. its still not the greatest but its better. i'm happier than i was 6 years ago thats for sure!!!!! and just everything in general too, all the rotten things that have happened, happened for a reason. talking in circles i think here, but i'm starting to understand a few things now and make better sense out of it all. and i look back now and realize what a blessing it is to have god in my life and know that i am very lucky and fortunate person. sometimes i think my life is crap and i start to look around or i hear things about other people who have it much worst than i do and start realizing how lucky i am. and i can't just pick one or two instances because all of them have been a blessing. and all of them have been from god.
proverbs stuck out to me today. i'm learning to keep my mouth shut, (very hard for me to do when i'm so opinionated and a big mouth) but i'm learning to listen more. to people around me and also god. so far, its working but i still need a lot of work!!!!

Mark 9:50 "Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? You must have the qualities of salt among yourselves and live in peace with each other.” ~ I had to read this verse a couple of times before I really realized what it was about. Thought it was a headscratcher LOL Basicly it sais I have to flavor my relationships, so it won't loose it's flavor. Keeping the relationships flavored, means I have to maintain my relationships, in order to live in peace with everybody. If I stop maintaining, I stop the relationship ... Just like the relationship I have with God. Without maintanance (going to 3 services a week, joining the coffeehouse on Saturdaynight, having my biblestudies, preaching the Gospel on the streets) I will drift away from God. I need to stay awake in this, especially with the attacks from the enemy. I need to feel God's power, I need to feel the Holy Spirit, that makes me strong! It brings me to another verse that stood out for me Psalm 44:6 "Only by your power can we push back our enemies; only in your name can we trample our foes". I love to feel His power! It makes me strong! I can feel eternity in myself, it's just so awesome to have a strong relationship with the Lord!!!!

God has absolutely been there all of my life. Jesus Christ knocked on my door plenty of times before I finally let Him save me. Ever since I became a Christian I can feel He has a plan for me. I can see clearly He has something special in mind for me and my family. And this plan was always there! When I look back on my life I can see God's work, but also satan who kept me away from Him. My sins stood in the way from God. The good things in my life were defenitly not only my work, God really blessed my life through all of those good things. Satan still attacks me a lot, but my faith in God makes me strong, and that's my power working, if I hadn't been that strong, satan would pull me away from God. God makes me strong, my faith in Him makes me feel I can overcome anything! I'm not afraid anymore!!!

Jesus' analogy of salt is awesome. salt is used for flavoring and as a preservative alot in those days. we who are His are called to be the salt of the world. we are to full of life and zest for his name's sake. we are also called to be called to be godly and be a preservative in our society. some ppl just hate christians, we are supposedly a bunch of hypocrites and haters, so they think. but look at the world, Christians built most the hospitals, orphanages, christians step up and care when people are in need (not all, but in general). of course then are many kind non-christians who do have godly characteristics, bcos we were all made in His likeness.
Jesus was the ultimate servant! he was lowly, a many of many sorrows. He was our example! he took pity on the poor, He loved to heal (still does, but referring to His life on earth) and He was humble. Like that picture of Him washing the disciples feet the night before His crucifixion. He even washed judas iscariot's feet knowing he was about to betray Him. When he did betray Him, Jesus still called Judas His friend.
I've never been married so i cant comment too much on the divorce issue. marriage sounds like its very hard, maybe the single life is for me =)
Regarding Prov. I've never regretted biting my tongue!! i can talk alot and sometimes i wish i could muzzle myself, lol. But i love to listen to others more, if my friend calls and walks to talk non stop for an hour, i love to listen. I'm happy to sit back and let others talk, and when you give them that chance, they do. some ppl are terribly shy so i feel like i gotta keep talking, but I much rather hear what others say. i think my favorite thing in the world is to overhear people talking about the Lord. like if i'm at a restaurant and the ppl next to me are talking about the Lord, i just want to sit and listen. It delights God's heart so much when he overhears us talking about Him!
God has always had His hand on my life, like everyone else commented about. even the bad things, God was preparing me, for divine appointment and then to grow me. it may have been VERY painful at the time...in fact I've had more pain in my life then good, not that i'm a sad person (some of you know i had a very tough week) but i think we learn from the pain. There's poem i love, not sure who its by:

"I walked a mile with Pleasure, she chattered all the way; But left me none the wiser, for all she had to say......
I walked a mile with Sorrow, and ne'er a word said she; But, oh, the things I learned from her, when Sorrow walked with me!"

Its so true, we learn though our pain. But i long for the rivers of joy...I love The Valley Song by Jars of Clay, "I will sing of your mercy that leads me through valleys of sorrow to rivers of joy".
thats a GREAT song to listen to when your hurting.

I love Psalms, it is NEVER our strength, our faith, its HIS strength, His power. After we come to Him, we need to empty ourselves. We have nothing to boast of in ourselves, not our faith, not our strength, no way. My family who knows the hard life i had often say: your so strong, you overcame so much. your so full of perseverance!
NOOOO! wrong! I am NOT strong, i am weak and only by god's love and mercy does he see me through! To be blunt, without Christ, I wouldnt pulled the trigger on myself by now! I'm fragile, weak...once about 8 yrs ago i was clutching a bottle of prescription pills, should i down them? I just prayed GOD, HELP ME! I CANT DO THIS. DONT LET ME GO, PLEASE, I CANT HOLD ON ANYMORE, SO DONT LET GO OF ME! He told me, I will never let you go! Its not MY grip on Christ that saves me, its His grip on me! When i let go, He doesnt!

I never understood this piece of scripture until my church had its 3 yr anniversary last year. My pastor asked me to be the Armor Bearer of the Bishop of our Sister & Brother church out of state. I was a nervous wreck. I read I Timothy I believe, and then did a search. Then I met with my pastor and she explained what I needed to do for the Bishops. At first I thought is this all she thinks of me? Why can't I do something important. So many analogies ran through my head. "In order to be first the next time around I had to be last, this time". Our Bishops were entrusted to me this was important. I realized the honor in being an armor bearer. So if I need to take last place I am fine with that.
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God hand has definitely been ALL over my life. I would not be alive had it not been for my Lord. I would not have been able to say this in 1990, I was too busy running the streets. Now I know all those time without my knowledge, I could have dodged a bullet, an argument, or oncoming traffic, but I know God was saving me even when I was too stupid to save myself. My constant prayer in this life is that I can make it as LONG as God continues to head my life and keep His hands on me. Ang, Mae and Jenny I love your prayers and I agree...
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The verse that stood out the most to me today was Mark 9:
" 30They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, 31because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise." 32But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it"
- The disciples in this scene remind me of me. Many times in my conversations with Jesus I am afraid to ask, so I don't. It's not that I fear the answer or that I fear my Lord, its because I am afraid to have & the thing, and like the disciples afterwards I am sorry.

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