Thursday, December 31, 2015

Man's Way


There is a road that seems right to a man to travel, but in the end it leads to death.  Proverbs 16:25

paper by Marta van Eck, road shape from Diggin Dirt by Kristmess Designs, compass by MDesigns (retired)

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

From the East to the West


So, if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  Matthew 24:26-27

paper & lightning by Marta van Eck

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Cherubim of Glory


Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. Hebrews 9:5

The cherubim had their wings spread upward, covering the mercy seat with their wings, with their faces toward each other; the faces of the cherubim were toward the mercy seat.  Exodus 37:9

For the cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubim made a covering over the ark and its poles from above.  1 Kings 8:7

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet.  John 20:11-12

paper by Marta van Eck, wings by Createwings Designs (blended with paper by Optic Impressions)

Monday, December 28, 2015

Your People Will Volunteer


This is the declaration of the Lord
to my Lord:
“Sit at My right hand
until I make Your enemies Your footstool.”
The Lord will extend Your mighty scepter from Zion.
Rule over Your surrounding enemies.
Your people will volunteer
on Your day of battle.
In holy splendor, from the womb of the dawn,
the dew of Your youth belongs to You.
The Lord has sworn an oath and will not take it back:
“Forever, You are a priest
like Melchizedek.”
Psalm 110:1-4

paper by Eena's Creation blended with my texture, cloud elements and page overlay by Marta van Eck

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Hidden


Seek the Lord,
All you humble of the earth
Who have carried out His ordinances;
Seek righteousness, seek humility.
Perhaps you will be hidden
In the day of the Lord’s anger.
Zephaniah 2:3

The name Zephaniah means "Hidden Of Yahweh (God)."

paper by Holliewood Studios, elements: A Timeless Romance by Alexis Design Studio

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Enter Your Chambers


Come, My people, enter your chambers,
and shut your doors behind you;
hide yourselves for a little while
until the fury has passed by.
For behold, the Lord is coming out from His place
to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity,
and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it,
and will no more cover its slain.
Isaiah 26:20-21

paper by Holliewood Studios, cream foliage: Creative Victorian Designs, elements: A Timeless Romance by Alexis Design Studio

Friday, December 25, 2015

Keep Your Vows


Make vows to the LORD your God, and keep them. Let everyone bring tribute to the Awesome One.  Psalm 76:11

paper by Miss Behaving Workshop, textures by me

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Obey the King


Obey the king since you vowed to God that you would. Don’t try to avoid doing your duty, and don’t stand with those who plot evil, for the king can do whatever he wants. His command is backed by great power. No one can resist or question it. Those who obey him will not be punished. Those who are wise will find a time and a way to do what is right, for there is a time and a way for everything, even when a person is in trouble.  Ecclesiastes 8:2-6 NLT

papers (blended) by Krysty Designs, foliage by Creative Victorian Designs, ribbon by Alexis Design Studio, texture by me

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Word Gives Light


The teaching of your word gives light,
so even the simple can understand.
Psalm 119:130

papers (blended) by Marta van Eck and Optic Impressions, texture by me

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Way of Holiness


And a highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it.
It shall belong to those who walk on the Way;
even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.
Isaiah 35:8

paper by Marta van Eck, texture by me, elements: No Crow Zone by Kristmess Designs

Monday, December 21, 2015

One God


Let all the world look to Me for salvation!
For I am God; there is no other.
Isaiah 45:22

kit: Winter Fantasy by MDesigns Creations

Sunday, December 20, 2015

A Noble Theme


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

paper by Marta van Eck; elements: Brad's Paisley stacked papers by Kristmess Designs; Holiday Crush Picks by Creative Victorian Designs

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Perfect Through Suffering


But we see Him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.  For it was fitting that He, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the Founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. Hebrews 2:9-10

paper by Marta van Eck, elements: Aunt Lily stacked papers by Kristmess Designs

Friday, December 18, 2015

Son of the Most High


And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end." Luke 1:30-33

papers (blended): Noel Bokeh by Helly Designs, elements: Sweet Evasions by Valentina Creations

Thursday, December 17, 2015

God of Hope


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13

paper by Marta Designs, elements by Creative Victorian Designs, Optic Impressions, Juno Designs and Mandy King

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Covenant for the People


Thus says God, the Lord,
who created the heavens mand stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people on it
and spirit to those who walk in it:
“I am the Lord; I have called You in righteousness;
I will take You by the hand and keep You;
I will give You as a Covenant for the people,
a Light for the nations,
to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness.
Isaiah 42:5-7

papers by Saskia Designs and Kristmess Designs (blended with color texture),

elements: Regal Elegance by Kristmess Designs

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Who Has Known?


Oh, the depth of the riches
both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God!
How unsearchable His judgments
and untraceable His ways!
For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been His counselor?
Or who has ever first given to Him,
and has to be repaid?
For from Him and through Him
and to Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
Romans 11:33-36

paper and mist by Marta van Eck, photo corners and borders by Kristmess Designs

Monday, December 14, 2015

Rejoice in Hope


Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  Romans 5:1-2

paper by Marta van Eck, page border by BekahE, texture by me

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Maker of Heaven and Earth


This is what the Lord says:
“Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
Could you build me a temple as good as that?
Could you build me such a resting place?
My hands have made both heaven and earth;
they and everything in them are mine.
I, the Lord, have spoken!
Isaiah 66:1-2a

papers (blended) by Marta van Eck, swirls: Get Your Skate On by Kristmess Designs

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Chosen One

Behold My Servant, whom I uphold,
My Chosen, in whom My soul delights;
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the nations.
Isaiah 42:1

Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on Him."  John 1:32

kit: Indigo Sunrise by Mscraps Designers, papers (blended) by NBK Designs

Friday, December 11, 2015

Precious Blood

If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your sojourning; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.  1 Peter 1:17-19

paper: Noel by Helly Designs, elements: Attimo by Valentina Creations (some colors adjusted)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Lord's Glory

I am the Lord; that is My name;
My glory I give to no other,
nor My praise to carved idols.
Isaiah 42:8

paper by Saskia Designs blended with my texture, elements by Creative Victorian Designs, BekahE Designs and Laitha's Designs (colors adjusted)

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Fullness of God

For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross.  Colossians 1:19-20

kit: Kristmess Cardinals by Kristmess Designs

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Salvation to the Ends of the Earth

“And now the Lord says, Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, So that Israel is gathered to Him (For I shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, And My God shall be My strength), Indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a Light to the Gentiles, That You should be My Salvation to the ends of the earth.’”  Isaiah 49:5-6

paper & elements by Optic Impressions

Monday, December 7, 2015

A Light for the Gentiles


Simeon took Him in his arms and praised God, saying:
“Sovereign Lord, as You have promised,
You may now dismiss Your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen Your Salvation,
which You have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a Light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of Your people Israel.”
Luke 2:28-32

paper: Noel Bokeh by Helly Designs, elements: Vintage Charm by Optic Impressions

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Shine as Lights


Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.  Philippians 2:14-15

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Humility Before Honor


Before destruction a man's heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.  Proverbs 18:12

kit: Chocolate Kisses by Kristmess Designs; template by Eudora Designs; chocoloate photo from Morgue File

Friday, December 4, 2015

Do So to Them


Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.  Luke 6:30-31

kit: Gingerbread Kisses, including borders by Kristmess Designs

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Contentment


But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  1 Timothy 6:6-7

kit: Gingerbread Kisses, including borders by Kristmess Designs

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Turns Away from Evil


By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.  Proverbs 16:6

kit: Gingerbread Kisses, including Stacked Papers by Kristmess Designs

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Pure and Undefiled


Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.  James 1:27

kit: Gingerbread Kisses, including Stacked Papers by Kristmess Designs

Monday, November 30, 2015

A People Yet Unborn


Posterity shall serve Him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; they shall come and proclaim His righteousness to a people yet unborn, that He has done it.  Psalm 22:30-31

kit: Gingerbread Kisses, including Stacked Papers by Kristmess Designs

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Word Saves


Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.  James 1:21

kit: Gingerbread Kisses by Kristmess Designs (some colors modified)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Crucified with Christ


For through the law I have died to the law, so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.  Galatians 2:19-20

kit: Chocolate Kisses by Kristmess Designs, template by Little Green Frog Designs (retired)

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Exchange

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” John 14:27

Do you ever worry?  I think that if we’re honest, we all have to answer ‘yes’ to that question.  Things happen every day that we have no control over.  Just watching the news could strike us with fear some days.  Even if we feel safe from major disasters, personal tragedies are common.  No one escapes completely–concerns about health, finances and other daily burdens weigh us down. 

How do we deal with it?  We trust.  Whom do we trust?  God.  He’s the only One who is able to handle it all and keep us in His perfect peace.  When Jesus died on the cross almost 2,000 years ago, He conquered the world.  When we place our trust in Him, we have become conquerors as well.

[Jesus said] "I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33  Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4   And who is the one who conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?  1 John 5:5

Jesus came to give us rest from our burdens.  He was not talking about taking away every problem we might ever face, but that He will take us home to be with Him when this life is over–and while we’re here, He promises to help us through whatever happens.  So we can know that in the end, all is well, because we know that He is in control.  If we know that He is good and all powerful, then we also know that we don’t need to fear anything that happens to us, because He loves us.  The wisest thing we could ever do is to believe in and trust Jesus.  Let Him handle it.  He is able.  “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30  Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.  1 Peter 5:6-7

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17b-19

The Bible is our instruction manual on how to live in this world that is our temporary home.  We know what to do because the word of God says to pray continually.  We don’t even need to know exactly what or how to pray if we are truly born again, because God has adopted us as His dear children and given us His Spirit to help us.  It’s an unbelievably favorable exchange for us–we give something we need to get rid of (our worries) and He gives us what we desperately want and need (His peace).

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7  And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  Romans 8:27

The best part is that God is pleased with this exchange!  We are not annoying Him in any way to ask Him to work on our behalf and even expect Him to.  That is exactly what He wants us to do–to acknowledge our helplessness and that only He knows what is best.  To submit our will to His, because He is perfectly capable and we are not.  To recognize that everything He does or allows is for our good, out of His love for us.  His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor His delight in the legs of the warrior; the Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love. Psalm 147:10-11

But in my distress I cried out to the LORD; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from His sanctuary; my cry to Him reached His ears.  Psalm 18:6  The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. Proverbs 18:10  You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in You.  Isaiah 26:3

And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in My name, and I will do it. John 14:13-14  Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for.  1 John 5:14-15

Sadly, most of us at one time or another have asked things from God without a single thought about what His will is on the matter.  We ask for what we want according to our own desires, then wonder if God hears or cares about us when we don’t receive our request.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  He cares too much to give us what we asked according to our faulty understanding and knowledge when He has perfect knowledge and understanding, and His will is always best.  Our greatest desire should be to please Him, so what we ask for should reflect that.  Our goal in making our requests should be to receive something we need to serve Him better, not to presume to know better than He does what is good for us.  You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your evil desires.  James 4:3

It pleases God to lavish His love on us.  When we acknowledged our sinful state and need for a Savior, placing our trust in His Son, He made us His children.  But to all who believed him and accepted him, Jesus gave the right to become children of God.  John 1:12  Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. And we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know Him.  1 John 3:1

We could never do anything to earn God’s love or even deserve it.  It’s a gift.  However, we can show our appreciation by doing what He said He expected of us in the Bible.  Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do what pleases Him.  1 John 3:21-22 The first and most important thing He expects is to believe.  And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. Hebrews 11:6 

In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.  1 John 5:3-5

We want peace, right?  We want to feel safe and secure, cared for and loved.  We have all of that if we have Jesus.  So what will be our response?  God tells us in His word what it should be.  Flee from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.  2 Timothy 2:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such things there is no law.  Galatians 5:22-23

This dying world says that God changes with the times, and that much of the Bible is irrelevant for today.  That is simply not true.  We should continue seeking to do good and behave as a child of God until He takes us to be with Him.  This is not always popular, but we each have a choice to make–the one that affects honors our eternal Creator and Savior, or the one that pleases our sinful self and this temporary world.  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8  For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.  1 Peter 3:17  Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.  James 1:27

God values peace as well, and we are meant to reflect His beautiful nature–He will reward us richly if we do.  Anyone who says that God doesn’t expect anything of us is horribly mistaken.  Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness—without it no one will see the Lord.  Hebrews 12:14  So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.  Matthew 5:23-24  And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. 1 John 4:21 

When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, He causes their enemies to make peace with them.  Proverbs 16:7  In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.  But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.  Psalm 37:10-11

Want to stay in God’s on “good side?”  We can, by His power inside of us.  Relying on His strength the only way to overcome our sinful nature and live in a way pleasing to Him.  Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.” Philippians 2:12b-13

If we love God, we should love what He loves.  Most importantly, we would never reject the Father’s unimaginably great gift of His Son to pay the penalty for our sin so that we can receive eternal life.  If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame.” Romans 10:9-11  Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.  John 3:18

Then we will want to read the Bible (not a “special” version or supplemental material claiming to be from God) to find out what is important to God and put ALL of our trust in Him.  That is the ONLY way to have true peace.  Wait and rest in the assurance that He loves you and knows what is best, and when is best, if ever.  Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.  Psalm 119:165  Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD. Psalms 27:14 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

If it seems as though our prayers are not being answered, then we might question whether the requests we made were within God’s will.  Or we may need to examine ourselves and see if we are honoring God with our lives.  He is more concerned with our right relationship with Him and the big picture than with temporary concerns.  If we always put Him first in all ways, in everything, we can be assured that we are in His will and He is working it all out for the best.  And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28

If we stray from His truth or get distracted from loving Him wholeheartedly, then we can expect Him to deal with us in whatever way He needs to in order to do accomplish His good purpose in our life.  In fact, it should trouble us deeply if we “get away” with anything for very long.  If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.  No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it.  Hebrews 12:8, 11 However, there is nothing He will not forgive except rejecting His Son.  We need only ask, and turn from our sin.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:9  Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."  John 8:11b  Jesus never approved of deliberate sin–an effort is expected.  

Those who are born of God do not desire to dishonor God by making a habit of sin.  We may think our sin is not as bad as someone else’s, but actually all sin is against God and we are each individually answerable to Him.  God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, and He will provide a way out so that you can endure it.  1 Corinthians 10:13  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  James 4:7  No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for His seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.  1 John 3:9-10

For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.  1 Peter 4:3-5

God knows what He is doing.  He is perfect in every possible way, including His timing.  If we honestly know Him, then we should have no doubts, questions, criticisms or concerns about His ways.  Those very ways are the ones we should strive to make our ways.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts."  Isaiah 55:9  But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.  James 3:17 

He values peace just as much, no more, than we do.  His wisdom results in everything we should want, if we would just have the sense to accept and follow His way.  He loves us.  We can trust Him.  Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.  And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.  Isaiah 32:16-17  There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because He first loved us.  1 John 4:18-19

He doesn’t leave us to try to reach His high standards on our own.  It’s impossible.  He is the only One who can enable us to succeed and help us to overcome our selfish nature.  For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him.  Romans 8:6-9   “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.  John 14:15-17

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.  1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus—the great Shepherd of the sheep—with the blood of the everlasting covenant, equip you with all that is good to do His will, working in us what is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ. Glory belongs to Him forever and ever. Amen.  Hebrews 13:20-21

Jesus concisely summarized His commandments to us.  If we do what He said, we will have obeyed all of them by doing two simple things.  We do them not to save ourselves, but out of obedience because of our love for Him for who He is and everything He’s done, including saving us (if we have believed and confessed in Him, surrendering our will and making Him as Lord of our life).  He finished it–we’re free from being enslaved from sin, from the punishment we deserve, from trying to earn God’s love and acceptance.  Our walk in this life, carrying our cross, is to meant to be a walk in His footsteps.  We are to be changed on the inside to be like Him, because that is the will of our Father.  For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.  Romans 8:29 This is exactly what we should want more than anything–because we love Him and belong to Him–He is our all in all.

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”  Mark 12:29-31

By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.  1 John 2:3-6

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”  John 8:31-32

Is there anything that could be considered too much for God to ask of us?  The One who made the entire universe and everything in it loves us!  He provided the means of peace between us and Himself, all of His own doing–an unfathomably precious gift to us.  And yet, He asks nothing more than that we love, serve, honor and obey Him.  We are here to glorify His great and holy name with our lives by showing our love for Him and shining his light of truth on the world.  What a privilege!

For a child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over His kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.  Isaiah 9:6-7

Lovingkindness and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Psalm 85:10  Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.  Romans 5:1

Good news!  We don’t have to worry!  Isn’t that a relief?  I sure think it is.  Such a relief that I want to share this Good News with everyone!  I’m so thankful, aren’t you?  This is true freedom.  “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  John 14:6   If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.  Colossians 3:15

Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11

The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.  Numbers 6:24-26

Available as pdf download on side bar.
Credits: stained glass photo from Morgue File (edited), hands w/frames by Hummie's World

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Make Known His Deeds


With joy you will draw water 
from the wells of salvation.  
And you will say in that day:
“Give thanks to the Lord,
call upon His name,
make known His deeds among the peoples,
proclaim that His name is exalted.”
Isaiah 12:3-4

kit: October Daze Stacked Papers by Kristmess Designs

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Sing Praises


I will sing of lovingkindness and justice,
To You, O Lord, I will sing praises.
Psalm 101:1

kit: Autumn Tweethearts, including stacked papers by Kristmess Designs

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Triumphal Procession


But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now He uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.  2 Corinthians 2:14

kit: Autumn Tweethearts, including stacked papers by Kristmess Designs

Monday, November 23, 2015

Blameless Way


My eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me; He who walks in a blameless way is the one who will minister to me.  Psalm 101:6

kit: Autumn Tweethearts, including stacked papers by Kristmess Designs

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Blameless Heart


I will conduct the affairs of my house
with a blameless heart.
I will not look with approval
on anything that is vile.
I hate what faithless people do;
I will have no part in it.
The perverse of heart shall be far from me;
I will have nothing to do with what is evil.
Psalm 101:2b-4

kit: Autumn Tweethearts, including borders by Kristmess Designs

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Never Weary


Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
Isaiah 40:28

kit: Autumn Tweethearts by Kristmess Designs; template by Little Green Frog Designs (retired)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Pay My Vows


What shall I render to the Lord
for all his benefits to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord,
I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.
Psalm 116:12-14

kit: Autumn Tweethearts by Kristmess Designs; template by Little Green Frog Designs (retired)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Be Separate


What agreement has the temple of God with idols? 
For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

“I will make My dwelling among them 
and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be My people.

Therefore go out from their midst,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
then I will welcome you,

and I will be a Father to you,
and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,
says the Lord Almighty.”

2 Corinthians 6:16-18

kit: November Daze stacked papers by Kristmess Designs

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Race


[God’s reply to Jeremiah's plea for the wicked people who are persecuting him to be judged.]  “If you have raced with runners and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in a peaceful land, what will you do in the thickets of the Jordan?” Jeremiah 12:5

This verse has amazing relevance to our times, which is not surprising, since God's word is timeless just as He is.  I think if we were to re-phrase Jeremiah 12:5 for today, it might look something like this:

My people who are called by My Name - if you are already weary from fighting in My army during easy times when the battle has just begun, if (unlike Jeremiah was) you are not strong enough to withstand the pressure from this fallen world to deny Me when the "punishment" is to be "unliked" in social media for having an unpopular but biblical opinion or stance, then how will you stand up for Me when there is a REAL consequence - whether catastrophic financial ruin, imprisonment, physical pain or even death?  If you remain quiet while My Holy Name and My Truth are attacked by the "wisdom" of men even though you have freedom to defend them, how will you suddenly become courageous and speak up during a time when you are no longer permitted by law to do so?

This world we live in does not equate truth with love anymore.  Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.  Ephesians 4:14-15  They're in rebellion against God and prefer to embrace their own version of "truth".  For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4

The moment a viewpoint is expressed by anyone that clashes with theirs, that is the end of their "tolerance" as well as your freedom of speech and religion in their selfish, unenlightened minds.  The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.  1 Corinthians 2:14  For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them.  Romans 1:18-19

They think that believers are ignorant and stupid, but God says otherwise.  Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”  1 Corinthians 3:18-20 He says that the beginning of wisdom begins with knowing Him.  Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:23-24

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:  “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” 20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.  26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  1 Corinthians 1:18-27

God desires a humble and penitent heart trusting only in Him.  He detests pride.  Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.  Psalm 40:4  My son, if you will receive my words and treasure my commandments within you, make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding; for if you cry for discernment, lift your voice for understanding; if you seek her as silver and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will discern the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God.  Proverbs 2:1-5 Don’t make the mistake of thinking that people who are considered wise by this world’s standards know better than what you learned from the Word as a follower of Christ.  But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing, among whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God.  2 Corinthians 4:3-4

Do we want to be popular or do we want people to hear about and receive salvation?  If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 1 Peter 4:14-16 God says that to be friends with the world is to be His enemy.  You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.  James 4:4 He forewarns us to expect that the world will not accept us or our message.  “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you."  John 15:18-19  I have given them your word, and the world has hated them, because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.  John 17:14

Shall we obey the world when they tell us that our message is not welcome and to keep it to ourselves?  What did Jeremiah choose to do?  He willingly suffered persecution for the Lord.  Peter and the other apostles refused to remain silent even after being jailed for it.  “We gave you clear orders not to teach in Jesus’ name,” he said. “But you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching...”  Peter and the other apostles replied, “We must obey God instead of men!”  Acts 5:28-29

This life is not about us.  We are here to glorify God by serving Him faithfully the entire time we have.  This life is short.  Do we keep in mind that the gospel is about eternity?!  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.  John 3:36 The world wants “freedom” from God, not realizing that He is the only Way to have true, everlasting freedom:

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.  Romans 6:20-22

There can be no higher goal than making sure that we all know God and what He wants–how to please Him–because He is the only One worthy of being our top priority.  The earth and everything in it, including everyone, belongs to Him.  He made it.  He maintains it.  He has a good, perfect plan for it.  He will not fail.  He never has.  His success does not depend upon us in any way.  He gave us free will to decide whether we will choose to please Him or ourselves.  It is our privilege and honor to lay down the free will He gifted us with and take up His instead, serving Him alone with everything we have to offer.  Only by doing so can we bring Him honor and glory, for which He will reward us.

No man ever won a race on foot against a horse at all, let alone during troubled times and over rough terrain.  What is God talking about in that verse at the top?  I believe it's this: Just as with everything, God is not deterred at all by the opposition to His will.  Nothing ever takes Him by surprise.  He wants those of us who are His to be prepared to stand firm, relying on His strength in this race.  His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior; the Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love. Psalm 147:10-11 

It’s a fight against evil that we are unable to see.  The Holy Spirit is not visible to our eye, but we can see the beautiful fruits of His life-giving work in and through us.  "The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit."  John 3:8 The power of the evil "ruler of this world" is also invisible to us, but we can see the effects of it.  God tells us the only way to walk in the victory He has already won: 

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.  Ephesians 6:10-20

We can usually tell a lot about what is in a person's heart, and therefore who they belong to, by their actions and attitudes.  By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.  1 John 3:10  The children of God are told not to behave the same as wordly people do:  With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against Him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from Him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. 25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.  Ephesians 4:17-25

Satan always tries to impersonate God, but he has no good in him whatsoever, so his fruits are rotten to the core.  Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of My own accord, but He sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”  John 8:42-47

Satan’s goal is to destroy us in order to hurt God, because we were made in God's image.  (Genesis 1, 2)  He does it by encouraging us to doubt what God really said and by tempting us to sin (Genesis 3), by twisting scriptures and even calling into question God’s existence.  Satan knows he can’t win against God, but he knows how much God loves us–so he tries to bring us low so that we'll dishonor God, our loving Maker and Redeemer. Satan lost the war almost 2,000 years ago.  And having disarmed the powers and authorities, Jesus made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.  Colossians 2:15  Yet, he persists in fighting these battles in order to do as much damage as possible before his time is up.

“How you are fallen from heaven,
O shining star, son of the morning!
You have been thrown down to the earth,
you who destroyed the nations of the world.
For you said to yourself,
‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars.
I will preside on the mountain of the gods
far away in the north.
I will climb to the highest heavens
and be like the Most High.’
Instead, you will be brought down to the place of the dead,
down to its lowest depths.
Everyone there will stare at you and ask,
‘Can this be the one who shook the earth
and made the kingdoms of the world tremble?
Is this the one who destroyed the world
and made it into a wasteland?
Is this the king who demolished the world’s greatest cities
and had no mercy on his prisoners?’"
Isaiah 14:12-17

The very thought of evil, invisible forces sounds pretty scary, but remember this battle is not to be won by our efforts and strength, but by our Lord's almighty power.  My victory and honor come from God alone.  He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.  Psalm 62:7

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand ... that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hand.”  1 Samuel 17:45-47

When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.  2 Kings 6:15-17

And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: This is what the LORD says: ‘Do not be afraid! Don't be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God's.  You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed.”  2 Chronicles 20:15, 17

We are meant to love our neighbors as ourselves, but be careful who you link arms with in this race.  Are they going to lift you up closer to God, or are they going to bring you down, drawing you away from God and His perfect will?  A scoffer seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge is easy to one who has understanding. Leave the presence of a fool, or you will not discern words of knowledge.  Proverbs 14:6-7  Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?  2 Corinthians 6:14-15

God has equipped us with all of the tools we need to win this race.  All we have to do is remember to make use of them.  Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

This old hymn sums it up very nicely as well (see my post here for the layout I did for it):

"How goes the battle?" O, watchman, tell! Look from yon heights, where the pilgrims dwell! Are they walking humbly where Jesus trod, And faithfully keeping the truths of God? Trav'ler, behold the pilgrim band!  See! They are nearing the heav'nly strand; Some fall out by the way, but the host presses on; In Jesus' strength they conquer, When the victory is won.

(Available in pdf download on side bar.)