Friday, July 31, 2015

Temple of the Holy Spirit


Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

kit:  Live Free by Digital Design Essentials, template by Digital Design Essentials

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Faithfulness


All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.  Isaiah 40:8

kit: Baby's First Year papers by Biograffiti, template by Biograffiti (retired designer)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

He Will Appear


Let us acknowledge the Lord;
let us press on to acknowledge Him.
As surely as the sun rises,
He will appear;
He will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth.
Hosea 6:3

kit: On a Sunny Day add on by Kristin Aagard

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

All That I Am


Let all that I am praise the Lord;
with my whole heart, I will praise His holy name.
Let all that I am praise the Lord;
may I never forget the good things He does for me.
He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
Psalm 103:1-3

kit: Fresh as Spring by Lindsay Jane
alpha: Brad's Paisley by Kristmess Designs
template by Lindsay Jane

Monday, July 27, 2015

Abides Forever


My days are like a lengthened shadow,
And I wither away like grass.
But You, O Lord, abide forever,
And Your name to all generations.
Psalm 102:11-12

kit: Lemon Squeezy by Kristmess Designs; template by Cindy Schneider

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Serve and Follow Jesus


"If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him."   John 12:26

kit: January Daze by Kristmess Designs

Saturday, July 25, 2015

His Love Remains Forever


For He knows how weak we are;
He remembers we are only dust.
Our days on earth are like grass;
like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
The wind blows, and we are gone—
as though we had never been here.
But the love of the Lord remains forever
with those who fear Him.
Psalm 103:14-17

kits by Pixelily Designs: Soft and Simple Alpha; Free Spirit; Best in Love

Friday, July 24, 2015

Grafted In


Now if some of the branches were broken off, and you, though a wild olive branch, were grafted in among them and have come to share in the rich root of the cultivated olive tree, do not brag that you are better than those branches. But if you do brag—you do not sustain the root, but the root sustains you.  Romans 11:17-18

Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” True enough; they were broken off by unbelief, but you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you either.

Therefore, consider God’s kindness and severity: severity toward those who have fallen but God’s kindness toward you—if you remain in His kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. And even they, if they do not remain in unbelief, will be grafted in, because God has the power to graft them in again. For if you were cut off from your native wild olive and against nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these—the natural branches—be grafted into their own olive tree?  Romans 11:19-24

If we graft a branch into a tree, the original tree does not become the kind of tree the new branch is.  It's still the same kind as it was before.  The new branch becomes part of the ORIGINAL tree.  In our case, members of the Church are the wild olive branch grafted into the cultivated olive tree of Israel.

Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, reminded us that all of the branches are nourished by the same root.  That root is Jesus.

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.  Isaiah 11:1

And again, Isaiah says, "The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope."  Romans 15:12

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.  Colossians 2:6-7

"I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star."  Revelation 22:16

Paul cautions us not to be arrogant, because if the natural branches were not spared due to unbelief, neither will the grafted in branches.  He said to remain in kindness.  (The Greek word used here is defined as goodness, uprightness, kindness, gentleness.)

Another way to view this is through the practice of adoption.  We are adopted into God's family when we receive the gift of faith.

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”  Romans 8:15

And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  Romans 8:23

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Galatians 4:4-5

God shows us how to parent in the way that He parents us.  When we adopt a child, do we replace our current children (if we have any) with the new child?  No, we don't.  Neither does God.  His ways are higher than ours, not lower.

They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises.  Romans 9:4

For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.  Romans 11:29

Paul reveals to us a mystery in order to help us understand why we have no right to be conceited (if we need a reason to be humble and not boast against our family members).

So that you will not be conceited, brothers, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery: A partial hardening [or blinding] has come to Israel until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.  Romans 11:25

Israel's temporary hardening of heart or blindness of sight has been for our blessing.  God says that likewise, He will bless them in the future due to His blessing us now.

As you once disobeyed God, but now have received mercy through their disobedience, so they too have now disobeyed, resulting in mercy to you, so that they also may receive mercy.  Romans 11:30-31

We didn't do anything to deserve God's blessings and gifts, so we shouldn't be prideful about them but rather humble.  God will deal with each branch in His family as He pleases, according to His own perfect timing and will. 

kit: Italy by Kristmess Designs (color adjusted on flowers and ribbon)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Firstfruits of the Spirit


And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  Romans 8:23

kit by Lori Davidson

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Lord Commends


So the one who boasts must boast in the Lord. For it is not the one commending himself who is approved, but the one the Lord commends.  2 Corinthians 10:17-18

template and kits by Crisdam Designs

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Keep Your Eyes Open


My eyes are always on the LORD, for He will pull my feet out of the net.  Psalm 25:15

If you're in the being carried along rapids of life, barely able to lift your head up above the raging current for a gasp of air, try to keep your eyes open so that: 1) you can see the Light and tell which way is Up, and 2) if Someone throws you a lifeline, you can see it coming and grab a hold of it.

scene paper: Miss Behaving Workshop; water: Marta van Eck; stones, heart, net: Kristmess Designs; cross: Flergs

Monday, July 20, 2015

Deep Water


Counsel in a man's heart is deep water; but a man of understanding draws it out. Proverbs 20:5

kit: About a Fish by Marta van Eck

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Be Careful What You Ask For


Thus says the LORD: “Stand in the ways and see,
And ask for the old paths, where the good way is,
And walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’" Jeremiah 6:16

Watch out what you ask for.  You might just get it, but if it's not in the will of God, you won't like it. In the following passage, the Israelites insisted that they wanted a king over them even though God warned them that they wouldn't end up liking it in the end.  If the wisdom in the minds of people and the desires in their hearts were good and perfect, then this world would look a lot different than it does now.  People say God is love and He understands.  What does He understand?  That our ways are higher than His ways?  Definitely not.  Does He appreciate the fact that we don't want to obey Him, but would rather go our own way?  No, He doesn't.  Love does not mean getting your own way all of the time, or "never having to say you're sorry."  That is not in the Bible.  What does it actually say?  It says to do the will of God if you want to be happy and live a long, prosperous life.  Trust Him and He will guide you.  It says the way of men is wicked to the core and we need a Savior if we want to be allowed to go live with God when our time here is up.

So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him. He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”  1 Samuel 8:11-18

There is an evil I have seen under the sun, the sort of error that arises from a ruler:  Fools are put in many high positions, while the rich occupy the low ones. Ecclesiastes 10:5-6

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”  Jeremiah 17:9-10

The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. Genesis 6:5-6

How foolish can you be? He is the Potter, and he is certainly greater than you, the clay!  Should the created thing say of the one who made it, “He didn’t make me”?  Does a jar ever say, “The potter who made me is stupid”?  Isaiah 29:16

Behold, God is exalted in His power;
Who is a teacher like Him?
“Who has appointed Him His way,
And who has said, ‘You have done wrong’?
Job 36:22-23

“Who is this who darkens counsel
By words without knowledge?
Now prepare yourself like a man;
I will question you, and you shall answer Me.
“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements?
Surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
To what were its foundations fastened?
Or who laid its cornerstone,
When the morning stars sang together,
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?"
Job 38:1-7

Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. Ecclesiastes 5:2

Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1 Corinthians 1:25

"You simple people, use good judgment.  You foolish people, show some understanding.  Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you.  Everything I say is right, for I speak the truth and detest every kind of deception.  My advice is wholesome.  There is nothing devious or crooked in it.  My words are plain to anyone with understanding, clear to those with knowledge."  Proverbs 8:5-9

"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

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans. Proverbs 16:3

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

Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.  Proverbs 16:20

Meanwhile His disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”
But He said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
Then His disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought Him food?”
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work.”  John 4:31-34

kit: Desperate Green by Marta van Eck; page overlay by BekahE

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Ten Lies of Satan


10 Lies of Satan:

1.  Your life is meaningless.  You have no purpose.

2.  God could love everyone except you.  You are not lovable.  God hates you.

3.  God doesn't even know you exist.  He doesn't have time to be concerned about you.

4.  You are worthless.  The world would be better off without you.

5.  God expects you to manage your own life and not bother Him with your problems.

6.  God is mean.  He waits for you to mess up so He can punish you.

7.  God is either dead or has given up on humanity.

8.  God can't be good and still allow bad things to happen.

9.  There is nothing after this life, so you may as well have fun and do whatever you please while you can.

10. There is no God and there never was.  Somehow order was created from chaos and statistically impossible events occurred at random to make everything in the universe, including us.  This is one of Satan's best lies because everything God made shows us something about what God is like.  Nature shows us God's nature (character).  We don't even need to be able to read to understand it.  (Romans 1:20)  Each of us can see His attributes by looking at what He created (keeping in mind that the entire world is corrupted by sin and so nothing is perfect as He made it anymore, including animals, etc.)

Whatever nature reminds you of when you look at it shows an aspect of God's nature. Mountains remind us of greatness, strength, power, never-ending existence, majesty, beauty...  The sun, moon and stars remind us of similar things as mountains, but in a different way.  More vast, more numerous, even more amazing.  Babies, both human and animal, remind us of gentleness, tenderness, sweetness, delicate beauty, promise of the future...  Flowers, trees and the like remind us of an absolutely unlimited amount of creativity in the variety, beauty, ingenuity...  Wildlife, including animals, birds, fish and so on remind us of similar things as flowers except they have "personalities" because they have intelligence and behaviors.  Wind, snow, hail, rain, floods, waves, volcanoes and earthquakes remind us of great power and our lack of it--how fragile we are.  People who don't believe in God think that the preservation of the planet is entirely in their hands and their responsibility.  They don't realize that the One who created it all is perfectly able to handle it.  It is impossible to believe in the Big Bang Theory and still believe God.  Is God a liar and at what point does He start telling the truth? Think about it! That's absolutely ridiculous!  We can trust Him because He never lies!

I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this, because it is so absolutely obvious that anyone who claims not to be able to see it is deceiving themselves.  God made nature in such a way to demonstrate the concept of male and female, marriage, reproduction and families according to His plan.  If we really understood the utter and absolute control God holds, we would not mess with Him by lying, arguing and rebelling against His ways in general.  One day everyone will experience His power first hand, but I pray that each one will be on the positive side of it and not the wrath.  He's slow to anger and rich in love.  He loves those who belong to Him, and the offer to become His children is open to everyone.  We need to soften our stubborn hearts and submit to Him now while we still have time.  Those who seek Him diligently will find Him.

Some people love what they see in nature so much that they start worshiping nature itself.  They think that nature (both animals and plants, water, etc.) is more important than people.  "For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen."  Romans 1:25  If nature worshipers believe in a god at all, they think that it's in everything, everywhere.  Or some believe that if there is such a thing as "the image of god," that animals were also made in that way.  They don't realize that people are special because God said so.  Just because an animal does something (like homosexuality), that doesn't mean it's natural and we should do it also--God gave us morals, intellect and a conscience to know better.

ALL of God's creation is affected by sin, including animals.  There was no violence, illness or death in the Garden of Eden.  Those are all a result of sin.  God is going to re-make the heavens and earth.  Those who put their trust in Him alone will find out how much more amazing what He created was before it was ruined by sin.  It's amazing how beautiful so much of it still is after thousands of years.  People build things, but they don't last.  They break down and disappear eventually.  The passage of great lengths of time results in less order, not more.  A really wonderful Designer made all of creation and He is maintaining it all.

Because we were designed by a loving Creator, we automatically have value.  Something that is just a random coincidence does not.  The idea that there is no Designer is a tool Satan uses to convince people they are worthless because they evolved from slime.  That did not happen and it is statistically impossible.  Furthermore, we each have an unbelievably great value because God sent His only begotten Son to pay the penalty for our sins so that we could live with Him in eternity.  If you were not aware of this, humble yourself and admit that you are far from perfect or holy (as God is perfect and holy).  (You can read many helpful Bible verses here.) Ask Him to forgive you of your sins, repent of (turn from) them, and accept Jesus' amazing sacrifice of LOVE on your behalf.  Believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and He rose from the dead, and you will be saved.  We are saved by faith, not by deserving it or trying to earn it.

Jesus said we should also be baptized with water (to represent the death of our old self and the resurrection into new life in, with and through Him) and was baptized Himself (by immersion) even though He never sinned.  (Jesus' baptism fulfilled the requirements of beginning His ministry as our High Priest.)  Read your Bible and ask God to help you know Him and to live in a way that pleases Him.  When you truly believe in your heart, God sends His Holy Spirit to live inside of you and guide you so that you can become more and more like Jesus--humble, obedient, loving, compassionate, steadfast, faithful, perfect, holy, and the list of His beautiful attributes could go on and on.

God loves you.  He has a plan for your life.  There has never been anyone else on the earth exactly like you.  You are special.  Whose report will you believe?  The one submitted by the father of lies or the one from the Author of the universe, Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life - the report written by the One Who IS Love?

kit: Now Showing Scrap Orchard collab

Friday, July 17, 2015

Pharaoh


“I am the Lord; that is my name!  I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols."  Isaiah 42:8

I've been thinking about the soldiers who were chasing the Israelites across the desert under the command of Pharaoh. (Ex. 14:9) They saw all of the amazingly powerful and awe-inspiring miracles that God did just prior to that point through the plagues. (Ex. 7-12) If they stopped for a moment to think about it, they might want to change teams. They might want to serve and obey the one true God instead of the man-made "god," Pharaoh. (Is. 45:5) But they didn't. They mindlessly kept serving the ruler of their little world instead of the Ruler of the universe. Some of them might have had their doubts that this was the right thing to do, but they went along with the crowd. They charged right into the dry bed of the Red Sea to their death.  (Ex. 15:4)  All because a false god told them to and they didn't even stop to question it, or they were too afraid of him. 

So what's my point?  It's this:  Who is the ruler of OUR little world?  Are we serving the one true God or a fake? Is the way of life that we call "the American Dream" honoring God or someone else?  Have we ever stopped to think of whether we really need all of this stuff that we work ourselves to death trying to afford? Did people in the Bible need treatment for anxiety and hypertension?  Not that I can tell... and yet we could consider their lives "hard" compared to ours. Pursuit of this "dream" has resulted in enslavement, to the detriment of our health.

Did Jesus set an example of living in comfort and affluence?  What did He say to people who put their wordly worries or anything else ahead of Him?  He said they were not worthy of Him.  (Matt. 10:37-38, Matt. 22:5)  Harsh, but true. Jesus said seek FIRST the kingdom of God and all these things will be given to you as well (Matt. 6:33). He wasn't talking about second homes here--He was talking about needs like food and clothing. He didn't even have a place to lay his head (Matt. 8:20).  The example He set for us was not one of living in luxury. If we're content with what we have and doing our best to help those who have needs, then we're doing well.  However, that is a big stretch from the current "American Dream" that we're all bombarded with ads every day to pursue.  True freedom is reliance on God, not ourselves.

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.  Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?"  Matthew 6:24-5

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  Philippians 4:11-12

Jesus also said the greatest command is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:29). Is that what we're doing?  Does God come first? We may not have wooden or stone idols that we worship, but whatever or whoever we love most and put first IS our God, or our god, whichever the case may be. Something to stop and think about before going along with any crowd, no matter how big it is:  Where does this lead?  The path to eternal life is narrow (Matt. 7:13-14). If everyone around you is headed in the same direction, you might want to question whether the road ends up where you think it does (Rom. 12:2). God never changes. The Word does not need "updating."  We need to know what the Bible says and care about that.

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life John 14:6.

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

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love Galatians 5:13.

Those soldiers at the Red Sea may have lost their lives at Pharaoh's hand if they had disobeyed him.  The price is not nearly so high for us today when we choose to follow God.  But according to the Bible, there is a day coming when the price to choose for yourself will be much higher. Today's world uses freedom and every other gift from God to please self instead of God (James 1:17, Gal. 5:13, Col. 3:5-6).

God-given freedoms are given up in the name of safety that is only found by obeying God. (Prov. 18;10, Gal. 3:22)  More and more control will be given away. Eventually it will reach the level where people are required to worship "pharaoh" (the "beast" in Revelation 13:11-18) and take a mark that allows those bearing it to buy and sell (and thus, obtain food and shelter, etc.) The Bible teaches that that many will lose their lives for refusing to worship the beast (Rev. 13:9-10).  However, anyone who takes the mark will suffer the wrath of God and forfeit His forgiveness FOREVER (Rev. 14:8-11).  If it's too hard to trust Him to provide for us when times are good, how much harder will it be during desperate times?

The evil people who drowned in the flood didn't come back up alive out of that water. (Gen. 6:5) The soldiers who drowned chasing the Israelites into the Red Sea didn't come back up alive out of that water.  (Ex. 15:4)  They are all lost in their unbelief in God forever.  But when we're baptized into Christ, we do rise again, symbolizing the washing away of our sins (Acts 22:16), the drowning of our sinful nature and the resurrection into eternal life awaiting those who believe in Jesus. (Rom. 6:4, Col. 2:12)  However, it is not the baptism that saves, but the belief.

Yet it does go further, whether it's popular to talk about or not.  The Bible teaches that once we truly believe, we will be indwelled by the Holy Spirit.  He will give us the desire to please God, wisdom to know God's will, power to overcome sin and selfishness and everything else we need to live out our lives as a new creation and member of God's family.  All we have to do is yield to Him, moment by moment, every day.  If there are no fruits of the Spirit, we need to examine ourselves to see if we are truly born again and have Christ in us or not.  He knows who belongs to Him and he expects them to act like it. (2 TIm. 2:19)  He provides us with strength, as well as wisdom through the Word and His Spirit.

It says, “The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.” And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Romans 10:8-11

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

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

Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is in you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.  2 Corinthians 13:5

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that Jesus appeared in order to take away sins, and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen Him or known Him.  1 John 3:4-6

And so the Lord says, “These people say they are Mine.  They honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.  And their worship of Me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.”  Isaiah 29:13

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

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  1 John 2:15

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8

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

These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.  Isaiah 66:2b

It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.  Psalm 127:2 (NLT)

So as always, we need to check and make sure that the message here is not about earning salvation.  That is not possible.  We do not work for it, it's a gift.  This message is about what we do with this gift AFTER we receive it.  We are here to honor and glorify God, not ourselves or anyone or anything else.  God is not a magic genie and grace is not to be abused as a license to sin.  God said we can't serve both Him and the world.  So we need to choose one--hopefully, the right One.

Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.  John 5:23

If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there will My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.  John 12:26

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

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.  To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.  Philippians 4:19-20

kit: The Wild Side by Kristmess Designs, eyelets by Hummie's World, photos from Morgue File

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Lord is His Name


He who made the Pleiades and Orion
And changes deep darkness into morning,
Who also darkens day into night,
Who calls for the waters of the sea
And pours them out on the surface of the earth,
The Lord is His name.
Amos 5:8

kit: About a Fish by Marta van Eck

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Come As You Are


Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.  Psalm 97:10

Come as you are does not mean "stay" as you are.  God does love you just as you are, but we are to be transformed into the likeness of Jesus.  It is not "loving" to tell people only the first part of the message and leave off the rest because we want to seem "nice" to them.  It's easier to go with the flow, but that is not what we were called to do.  Jesus said the world would hate us for following Him, because they hated Him first.  “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

We are not trying to "earn our way to heaven" by obeying God after we come to faith in Jesus.  We are loving Him by obeying Him.  "Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him."  John 14:21  He said the most important thing is to love God first and the second is to love your brother.  Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”  Matthew 22:37-40  Nowhere did He say that the truth equals hate and lies (or partial truths) equal love.  We are to speak the truth in love.  This does not mean refraining from speaking.  It means staying calm, sticking to what God's word says on the matter and caring for the soul of the person.

Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, and don’t give the Devil an opportunity. The thief must no longer steal. Instead, he must do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need. No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear.  Ephesians 4:26-29

The Bible is very clear that there is a difference between stumbling or slipping and deliberately, willfully practicing sin.  One is unintentional due to our weak, sinful nature and the other is what God called "trodding on" His Son.  (Hebrews 10:26-31)  Don't trample the Son of God underfoot.  Don't abuse grace.  If we are truly born again, the Holy Spirit who dwells within us will help us overcome the sinful nature as we daily take up our cross and follow Jesus.

Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Matthew 10:38

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?  Luke 6:46

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

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2:15-17

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.  Ephesians 4:22-24

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

For we too were once foolish, disobedient, misled, enslaved to various passions and desires, spending our lives in evil and envy, hateful and hating one another. But “when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us in full measure through Jesus Christ our Savior.  Titus 3:4-6

So put to death whatever in your nature belongs to the earth: sexual immorality, impurity, shameful passion, evil desire, and greed which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience.  You also lived your lives in this way at one time, when you used to live among them.  But now, put off all such things as anger, rage, malice, slander, abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another since you have put off the old man with its practices and have been clothed with the new man that is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the one who created it.  Colossians 3:5-10

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8

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. 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. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 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.  They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.  But that isn’t what you learned about Christ.  Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.  Put on your new nature, created to be like God—-truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.  Ephesians 4:14-25

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

So to re-cap: God loves people, but He hates sin.  Whoever loves God should turn from sin.  If they slip, they should confess it to God and repent of it.  He is faithful to forgive.  Ask Him to help you live in a way that pleases Him.  He's worthy of all of our praise, thanks, worship and love.  This life is short and then you get to meet Him (and be with Him forever if you have placed your trust in Jesus as your Savior).  Don't trade heavenly, eternal treasures for worldly, temporary garbage.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Don't Get Lost


Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105

Every year so many people get lost in the wilderness while camping.  They either don't have a map and compass, or they don't know how to use those tools.  Many people are the same way when it comes to navigating life.  God gave us the Bible to show the way, but too often people either don't own one or they don't even open it to find out what it says.  Every situation that could possibly come up has been covered.  Don't be too proud or too busy to ask God for directions.  All paths do NOT lead to God--at least not the one, true God.

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

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. And now we believe and know that you are the Holy One who has come from God.”  John 6:68-69

Whatever is, has already been, and whatever will be, already is. God repeats what has passed.  Ecclesiastes 3:15

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.  Proverbs 16:18

Thus says the LORD: “Stand in the ways and see,
And ask for the old paths, where the good way is,
And walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’" Jeremiah 6:16

Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. Proverbs 4:26-27

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.  Matthew 7:13

But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. For you happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.  2 Corinthians 11:3-4

kit: Happy Camper by Kristin Aagard (lightning bugs from Camp Out)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Only One Teacher


And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah.  Matthew 23:10

kit: Jane by Stolen Moments Designs; chalkboard: Shabby Miss Jenn, squiggle: Jennifer Labre, chalk overlay on paper: Kristmess Designs; paper: Happy Birthday Collab by Shabby Pickle (retired)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Trust Your Father


"Satan was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."  John 8:44

Recently, there was a video on Facebook where a man conducted a social experiment.  With the permission of parents at a playground, he attempted to lure children away from the park.  He had a puppy with him and asked each one if they wanted to come with him to see more puppies.  Each parent confidently predicted that their child would not go with him and each parent was clearly shocked as they were proven wrong. Not one child passed the test.

I have an even more shocking thought for you to consider:  We adults are just like those children!  We believe the "god" of this world when he offers us enticing things and experiences.  He tells us that we need them, we have them coming and that they are so valuable that we can't be happy without them.  He's a liar!  Our Father knows what we need and what is good for us. Matthew 6:32 He will always give us what's best, but we put our trust in the enemy instead.  And Satan does NOT love us.  He does not have our best interests at heart any more than someone who steals a child from a playground.  His promises lead to destruction, not life.  John 10:10

It's up to you to decide whether the little girl in this picture is trusting her father or if this is a stranger who has lured her with false promises of candy, toys or a puppy.  (I prefer to think and hope that is her Daddy.)  God knows we want those things. In addition to the "yes" we all want, He has three possible answers when we ask: No, it's not good for you; yes, but you have to wait and it could seem like a long time to you but you have to be patient; or no, because I have something so much better in mind for you and you'll be utterly amazed at how I could love you that much and be that good to you--trust Me. Unlike us, He knows everything from beginning to end, and beyond the end of this life on earth as we know it.  He's a good Father, not Santa (or Satan, if you scramble the letters just a bit).  As parents, we should be modeling God's example--seeking only blessings from God, and giving our children what is good in due time--withholding whatever is harmful (according to God's definition, not ours).

"For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."  Matthew 6:32-33

"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"  Matthew 7:11

Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.  John 10:7-15

kit: Oh Snap collab by Scrap Orchard Designers; template by Anita Designs

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Prosperity Gospel


Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.  1 Timothy 6:9

This has been on my heart lately because of all of the messages we are constantly bombarded with that we need to have a lot of money and "stuff" to be successful and partake of the "American Dream."  I even heard a sermon that the Bible doesn't speak against riches, because Abraham was rich--but what we need to keep in mind is that he was a "type" of God the Father! Of course he was rich--God owns the earth and everything in it!  Some other positive examples of wealth in the Old Testament also involved "types" of Jesus, such as Isaac (Abraham's son) and Joseph (rejected by his brethren, but saved them).  However, Jesus didn't even have a place to lay His head during His earthly ministry.  Matthew 8:20  If we're supposed to be transforming into His likeness, then how do riches fit in?

So what else does the Bible have to say on the subject?  Some of the New Testament references to riches include the Parable of the Rich Young Ruler (Mark 10:17-22) and the Parable of the Rich Man (Luke 12:15-21) and they do NOT portray wealth in a positive light. In the Parable of the Minas (Luke 19:11-27) and Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), investing money is used as an example but it's about more than money--it's also about serving God in faith, making the most of the opportunities given.  The reward for pleasing the Lord in the parable included increased responsibility (and thus, honor, not only for oneself but opportunities to bring the Lord more honor) in the Kingdom.

Why would God say not to love money and warn against accumulating too many possessions and then tell us money is the most important thing?  He didn't--He used a parable about money to illustrate a deeper truth.  God expects us to use everything He blesses us with wisely and to invest generously of our finances, time and talent in building His Kingdom.  He wants us to acknowledge that everything we have we got from Him and He is the giver of all good gifts.  He knows what we need and promises to take good care of us IF we put Him first.  He doesn't begrudge us wanting to have our needs met, but He is not a genie giving us unlimited wishes.  If we truly love Him, we will recognize that He is the only true value in the universe and everything else will appear as worthless to us.

Parable of the Rich Young Ruler 21 Then, looking at him, Jesus loved him and said to him, “You lack one thing: Go, sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.” 22 But he was stunned at this demand, and he went away grieving, because he had many possessions.  Mark 10:21-22

Parable of the Rich Man 15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”  16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’  18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’  20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’  21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”  Luke 12:15-21

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  Matthew 6:19-21

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.  Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?"  Matthew 6:24-5

For the pagans eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:32-34

"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  Luke 6:38

"I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings."  Luke 16:9

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?  Matthew 16:26

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.  Philippians 3:7-11

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  Philippians 4:11-12

This is not meant to convict anyone of anything--that's the job of the Holy Spirit; nor is it meant to judge anyone--that's the job of the Son.  It's meant to warn people about false teachers and get the focus back on God where it belongs.  Jesus told us that the Father would provide for all of our NEEDS.  The one who offered riches was Satan.

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Matthew 6:25

The devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Matthew 4:8-10

kits: Love Bugs by Connie Prince and My Everything by Mandy King

Friday, July 10, 2015

Honor and Glory Forever


To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.  Amen.  1 Timothy 1:17

kit: The Kiss Bundle by Valentina Creations

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Gold Refined by Fire


I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.  Revelation 3:18

What currency does God accept as payment for this gold refined by fire?  The only kind you have that is yours to offer, but you received it from Him:  your free will.  Lay it down and take up His instead.  Do good instead of evil.  Persevere through trials, doing His will instead of your own, even when it gets hard.  Pick up your cross daily and carry it.  Suffer with Him, for Him.  Trust Him and His ways.  No one who puts their trust in the Lord will ever be put to shame.  This is not only for when it's easy or convenient.  Value what is important to God, not men.  This life is short and then you meet God in person, and He holds eternity in His hands.  God desires a broken and contrite spirit, mercy, kindness, generosity, steadfast love, justice, righteousness, praise, thankfulness.  He expects and deserves to be loved, honored and respected.  Take delight in the Lord and He will take delight in you. (see scriptures farther below) 

How do you get white garments?  You clothe yourself in Christ's righteousness by believing in Him.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Isaiah 1:18a  Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  Psalm 32:1; Romans 4:7

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.  Ephesians 1:7-8

I answered, "Sir, you know." And he said, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.  Revelation 7:14

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.  Revelation 22:14

What is meant by eye salve?  It means to open our spiritual eyes to see the sad state of our souls.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If then your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!  Matthew 6:22-23

39 “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”  40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”  41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.  John 9:39-41

I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’  Acts 26:17-18

But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing, 4 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

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.  Ephesians 1:18-19

Gold refined by fire scriptures are below:

11 For no one can lay any foundation other than what is being laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, 13 each builder’s work will be plainly seen, for the Day will make it clear, because it will be revealed by fire. And the fire will test what kind of work each has done. 14 If what someone has built survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If someone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss. He himself will be saved, but only as through fire.  1 Corinthians 3:11-15

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.  Romans 5:3-4

The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.  Romans 8:16-17

For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake.  Philippians 1:29

Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  2 Timothy 2:3

For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 1 Peter 2:20-21

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

Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.  1 Peter 4:19

Then I will bring the remaining third into the fire;
I will refine them like silver is refined
and will test them like gold is tested.
They will call on my name and I will answer;
I will say, ‘These are my people,’
and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”
Zechariah 13:9

These who are wise among the people will teach the masses. However, they will fall by the sword and by the flame, and they will be imprisoned and plundered for some time. 34 When they stumble, they will be granted some help. But many will unite with them deceitfully. 35 Even some of the wise will stumble, resulting in their refinement, purification, and cleansing until the time of the end, for it is still for the appointed time.  Daniel 9:33-35

Many will be purified, cleansed, and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; none of the wicked will understand, but the wise will understand.  Daniel 12:10

For the godless are full of resentment.  Even when he punishes them, they refuse to cry out to him for help.  They die when they are young, after wasting their lives in immoral living.  But by means of their suffering, he rescues those who suffer.  For he gets their attention through adversity.  Job 36:13-15

See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.  Isaiah 48:10

Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22b

For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6

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

Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.  Isaiah 1:16-17

These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.  Isaiah 66:2b

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. Psalm 51:16-17

Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.  And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.  Hebrews 13:15-16

I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hooves. Psalm 68:30-31

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

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7

kit: Chevalier et Dragon by Marta van Eck

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Rest My Soul


Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.  Psalm 116:7

kit: Watermelon Kisses by Kristmess Designs; template by Eudora; stock photo

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Well-Watered Garden


They will come and shout for joy on Mount Zion. They will be radiant with joy over the good things the LORD provides, the grain, the fresh wine, the olive oil, the young sheep and calves he has given to them. They will be like a well-watered garden and will not grow faint or weary any more.   Jeremiah 31:12

kit: Merkeley Designs Get Together Add on, photos by me

Monday, July 6, 2015

Rainbow


I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.  Genesis 9:13, 15b

They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.  But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Ephesians 4:19-20, 24

What does a rainbow mean to you?  Does it stand for God's beautiful promise to never flood the earth again or does it stand for rebellion against God?  The rainbow has been hijacked and this is by design.  This rebellion against God is very deliberate and well-orchestrated by an evil one who has hated God since the very beginning.  As with every issue that comes up in life, you need to choose a side--either good or evil.  That is not the same as being on the side of love or hate.  God loves all people and hates all sin.  Hatred against any person for any reason is not of God, it's of the devil.  The loving thing to do with regard to willful sin is to tell the truth about what God said rather than letting people think God doesn't mind if we go our own way and ignore His instructions.  Wise people do not make the mistake of thinking that God doesn't see the evil that goes on or that He doesn't care.  He keeps His promises.  He withholds His wrath according to His own timing, not ours.  He is patient and long-suffering, but everything He said will come to pass.  Don't be deceived.  All paths do not lead to God.  He made ONE way and that is Way is Jesus.

When someone continues to purposely sin after becoming a believer, the Father considers it as trampling His Son underfoot.  How could anyone suggest that anyone who loves God should do that?  (Again, this applies to ALL of us--we're to strive for holiness through the power of the Holy Spirit.)  Anyone who thinks that the Father approves of willfully sinning after accepting His Son as Savior is suffering from delusion.  People who deceive you are not being loving.  If you notice, there is a difference between stumbling and making a practice of sinning with no repentance whatsoever. No one is perfect, but deliberately sinning is not the same as slipping.  How many verses would we have to remove from the Bible in order to somehow arrive at the conclusion that God approves of sin?  I would be rich if I had a penny for all of the time that people quote the passage where Jesus said not to cast the first stone and left off the end: Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."  John 8:11b  Don't gamble with eternity by waiting until it's too late to wake up and live for God.  This is a WAKE UP call, and not just for one particular group of people.  If you thought Jesus may return at any moment, would you do anything differently?   God does not change.  We seriously need to take His word on this.  He means what He said.  The Bible basically says that if we continue sinning deliberately after we claim to believe, that there is something wrong.  The Holy Spirit indwells believers and helps them to put the old sinful self to death.  Jesus said that those who love Him will obey.

God has not exempted any sins as being special and approved of, nor does He have a list of any people who He will not wash clean if they repent. One kind of sin is particularly being addressed at this time because those who advocate it have chosen to flaunt it in God's face and try to force everyone who disagrees with them to accept it.  There are no "causes" that stand for and defend the other sins in the Bible such as lying, stealing or being greedy.  The charities that deal with sins that lead to addictions such as drugs and alcohol abuse are there to help people escape the grip those sins have on their lives, not to encourage them to continue in them.  Many charities are there to help people who are victims of the sin of others, such as shelters for abused women and children.  There have been many victims throughout history and they all have one thing in common.  They were sinned against and God hates sin.  He doesn't have more compassion for one victim than for another--it doesn't depend on which sin was committed against them or why.  He loves all people equally.  All sins are ultimately committed against Him.  They're His rules and they're there for our good because He knows best and He loves us!  He loves us too much to let us go our own way for too long.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.  2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. Psalm 103:8

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Matthew 24:35

Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.  Joshua 24:15

Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. Matthew 12:30

“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

"Did God actually say?"  Genesis 3:1

Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as Jesus is righteous.  Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:7-8

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

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that Jesus appeared in order to take away sins, and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen Him or known Him.  1 John 3:4-6

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.  Matthew 7:13

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?  Luke 6:46

He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”  Luke 11:28

For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil dwells with You.  Psalm 5:4

Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.  Psalm 97:10

For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.  Hebrews 10:26-31

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?  Roman 6:1-2

For the godless are full of resentment.
Even when he punishes them,
they refuse to cry out to him for help.
They die when they are young,
after wasting their lives in immoral living.
But by means of their suffering, he rescues those who suffer.
For he gets their attention through adversity.
Job 36:13-15

Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.  Galatians 6:7-8

He replied, "Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand. Daniel 12:9-10

But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.  1 Corinthians 2:14

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1:21

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love Galatians 5:13.

With regard to the Gentiles who have believed, we have written a letter containing our decision that they should keep themselves from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from what is strangled, and from sexual immorality.  Acts 21:25

"But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea."  Matthew 18:6

"Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!  If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire. If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell."  Matthew 18:7-9

For we too were once foolish, disobedient, misled, enslaved to various passions and desires, spending our lives in evil and envy, hateful and hating one another.  Titus 3:4

So put to death whatever in your nature belongs to the earth: sexual immorality, impurity, shameful passion, evil desire, and greed which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience.  You also lived your lives in this way at one time, when you used to live among them.  But now, put off all such things as anger, rage, malice, slander, abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another since you have put off the old man with its practices and have been clothed with the new man that is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the one who created it.  Colossians 3:5-10

With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 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.  Ephesians 4:17-18

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

Just so we're clear, once again--God loves EVERYONE and wants ALL people to be saved.  No one is perfect, but the Holy Spirit is our Helper.  We can be over-comers when we let Him run our lives.  God is faithful to forgive when we slip and admit it.  Truly repent and ask for His help to live for Him.  He keeps His promises.  I am telling you this IN LOVE.  It's not looking like you will hear it from some of the very sources who should love you the most and want you to know this for the sake of your soul.  I love you enough to tell you the truth.  This is a free message.  I am not taking donations, writing a book or going on a speaking circuit.  People who want to make money off of telling you what you want to hear will adjust their message to maximize their profits.  I'm telling you because I want to see you on the other side.  I love you because I love God and He loves you.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

False Freedom


Although these false teachers promise such people freedom, they themselves are enslaved to immorality. For whatever a person succumbs to, to that he is enslaved.  2 Peter 2:19

kit: The End of the Beanstalk by Marta van Eck

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Freedom


A little math problem:  
Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  
So Jesus = Truth.  
The truth will set you free.  If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.  
So Jesus = Freedom.  
Therefore "freedom" from God = freedom minus freedom = 0 freedom.  
I'll take Jesus and keep my freedom.  :)

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. ... So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."  John 8:31-32, 36

kit: Fireworks by Chelle's Creations

Friday, July 3, 2015

Yield Fruit


Thus says the Lord,
“Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind
And makes flesh his strength,
And whose heart turns away from the Lord.
“For he will be like a bush in the desert
And will not see when prosperity comes,
But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness,
A land of salt without inhabitant.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord
And whose trust is the Lord.
“For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit. 
Jeremiah 17:5-8

kits by Kristmess Designs, wave photo blended at bottom from Morgue File

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Days are Evil


Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. For this reason do not be foolish, but be wise by understanding what the Lord’s will is.  Ephesians 5:15-17 

kits by Kristin Aagard, paper & swirl: Happy Birthday collab by Shabby Pickle (retired)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Grow Up


When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I grew up, I did away with childish things.  1 Corinthians 13:11

There was the cutest video on Facebook of a little girl opening a HUGE birthday present on her porch a little while back.  Inside was her father who had returned from military service abroad.  She was SO excited when she realized what (or who) was in that big box. Even though she was so young, she realized what a precious gift he was--she didn't ask him what he brought her.  ;)

Often when you're a young child, you just want your parents to provide everything you need and everything you want.  When you grow more mature, you begin to appreciate your parents for themselves.  If this doesn't happen, it's a sign of immaturity and/or selfishness.  So it should be in our relationship with God.  We should grow to love Him for Himself, not only for what He does for us and gives us.

kit: Happy Birthday Collab by Shabby Pickle (retired)