Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Gracious to the Needy


The one who increases his wealth by charging interest gathers it for someone who is gracious to the needy. Proverbs 28:8

stacked borders, kit: You GnoMe by Kristmess Designs

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Sows Injustice


Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of his fury will fail. Proverbs 22:8

In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. Proverbs 14:26

An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship. Proverbs 24:26

The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. Proverbs 22:7

kit: You GnoMe by Kristmess Designs, template by Aprilisa

Monday, May 29, 2017

Way of the Crooked


Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked; whoever guards his soul will keep far from them. Proverbs 22:5

The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. Proverbs 15:3

The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools. Proverbs 15:7

A fool despises his father’s instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is prudent. Proverbs 15:5

kit: You GnoMe by Kristmess Designs, template by Aprilisa

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sown in Peace


And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.  James 3:18

kit: You GnoMe by Kristmess Designs

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Worthless Physicians


You, however, smear me with lies; you are worthless physicians, all of you! If only you would be silent! For you, that would be wisdom. Job 13:4-5

Note: This passage immediately preceded the one from May 24: Job 13:6-12. Remember, Job was under trial because God was pleased with him and so Satan wanted to push him to the limits to try to get him to abandon his devotion to God and His ways. Job's friends (his worthless physicians) were reprimanded by God at the end. (Job 42:7-10)

There is a very important lesson in this for us. Coming under persecution, trial and tribulations does not necessarily mean we have done anything wrong. It may only be a test through which we must hold fast to the truth (Luke 6:22-23, Matt. 5:10-13, James 1:12-16). We need to hold our ground, remembering how good our God is, even when our friends and family tell us that we are suffering because He is displeased with us. Job's wife advised him to "curse God and die" so that he could avoid his suffering. (Job 2:9) Job knew that he would "come forth as gold" when tried, even though he didn't realize how difficult the trial by fire would be. (Job 23:10) (Isa. 48:10, 1Pet. 5:6-11, Psalm 17, 1Pet. 4:12-19)

We are in that position more frequently than we may realize. Every time we cave in to the wicked ways of the world and go along with the flow (whether we "have no choice" or we actually just prefer it), we have failed a little test. (Rom. 12:9-21, 1John 2:15-17) If we glide along through life and no one ever persecutes us for our faith, then maybe we have hidden our light under a bushel. (Matt. 5:14-16, Luke 11:33-36) Jesus, John, Paul and Peter all warned us to expect difficulty when we follow Jesus. (John 15:18-21, 1John 3:12-13, 2Tim. 3:12-13, Philip. 1:27-30)

Today, it seems to be just as likely to be persecuted from WITHIN the [self-professed] church as from without. People love to take snippets of scripture out of context and use them against anyone who challenges the culture. Passages about not tearing one another apart and the unity of the body of Christ are made into one-sided missiles--anyone who stands up for the truth is accused of being divisive. (Ga. 5:13-26, 2Cor. 6:14-18) They fling pieces of Bible verses at people like darts. "Judge not" and "beware of practicing righteousness before men to be seen" are stripped of their context. (Matt. 7:3-5, John 7:24, Matt. 6:1-14) "Forgiving" sins now means condoning sins. (Rom. 1:18-32, Eph. 4:17-5:20, 1Pet. 4:1-5) "Rebuke your brother when he sins" apparently never was uttered by Jesus. (Luke 17:3-4) He only came to heal and never mentioned repentance from sins? (John 5:14, John 8:11) Love has been redefined as "anything goes" except judging--but the ones trying to stifle "intolerance" have already judged everyone who disagrees with them. And they haven't done so according to the full counsel of scripture, but according to their own version of it with many edits per their own preferences. (Acts 20:26-31, 2Tim. 3:1-4:5)

Just know this. Everyone will give an account of himself to Jesus. (Matt. 12:36-37, Matt. 25:31-46, Romans 14 in context, Heb. 4:12-13) Would you go and visit someone in prison for preaching the gospel if it were illegal? Or would you distance yourself from them and maybe even join the world in condemning them in order to avoid drawing attention to yourself? (2Tim. 1:16-18, Mark 8:38, Matt. 13:18-23, 1John 2:19, John 6:66-69) Jesus said He came to bring division. He separates the wheat from the chaff through tests such as these. (Matt. 3:12, Matt. 10:34-42, Luke 14:25-35, 1Pet. 1:6-7, Heb. 12:3-29) He will vindicate and reward those who held fast despite persecution, whether from unbelievers or professed "believers" who think they can live with one foot in the world and one in the kingdom of God. (Rev. 2:8-11, Rev. 3:7-13, Rev. 22:10-14)

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. 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. But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. Hebrews 10:23-39

Job was an overcomer (not through positive "self-talk" but by knowing and trusting in God) and He was richly rewarded for his faithfulness. Those who abandoned him or gave him poor advice during his suffering witnessed his redemption and restoration by the hand of God. (Job 42:11-17)

“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 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. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” Revelation 3:14-22

paper: Createwings (retired); elements: Kate Hadfield

Friday, May 26, 2017

Fountain of Life


The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.

kit: Mum's the Word by Kristmess Designs

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Reward for Humility


The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honor and life. Proverbs 22:4

kit: Mum's the Word by Kristmess Designs

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Proverbs of Ashes


Hear now my argument; listen to the pleas of my lips.  Will you speak wickedly on God’s behalf? Will you speak deceitfully for Him?  Will you show Him partiality? Will you argue the case for God?  Would it turn out well if He examined you? Could you deceive Him as you might deceive a mortal?  He would surely call you to account if you secretly showed partiality.  Would not His splendor terrify you? Would not the dread of Him fall on you?  Your maxims are proverbs of ashes; your defenses are defenses of clay. Job 13:6-12

kit: Let's Face It by Kristmess Designs

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

To God Belongs All


Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. Deuteronomy 10:14

kit: To Honor Lulu by Kristmess Designs

Monday, May 22, 2017

Belly of the Fish


Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the belly of the fish, saying, “I called out to the LORD, out of my distress, and He answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and You heard my voice. For You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all Your waves and Your billows passed over me. Jonah 2:1-3

When my life was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, and my prayer came to You, into Your holy temple. Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to You; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the LORD!” And the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land. Jonah 2:7-10

To those who believe and teach others that all roads lead to heaven, please pay attention above to "those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love." Idols are anything that we love, value, honor, respect, serve, etc. more than God. They can be made of wood, metal or something else, or they can be loved ones, our job, our possessions, celebrities, fame, etc. We are supposed to love God most, first, best, always seeking His glory, and then we can be sure He will provide us with what we NEED. (Matt. 6:24-34) He'll give us the desires of our heart, but it's interesting how those desires will change when He really is our first love.  Don't forget the verse begins with "Delight yourself in the Lord..." (Psalm 37:4) Our treasure in heaven is Him if we really love Him (and to know Him IS to love Him). (Matt. 6:19-21, 1Pet. 1:3-9)

The disciples were fishermen and they cast wide nets in search of a great harvest of fish (representing fishing for men), but they THREW OUT the bad fish they had caught! (Matt. 4:17-23, Matt. 13:47-50) God was not satisfied with Jonah's merely making a profession of faith in Him (or being born a Jew). He expected Jonah to OBEY Him as well, or pay the consequences. (Jonah 1:9-12, Heb. 12:5-9, Rev. 3:19)

We can learn an important lesson from Jonah. He said that he would "pay what he vowed" to the Lord, and then clarified that "salvation belongs to the Lord." Even though we can't earn salvation, obedience to God is still expected. All who possess the faith of Abraham are "Jews" and "his offspring," and as we know, Abraham  didn't merely claim to believe in God, but he OBEYED God. (Rom. 2:28-29, Gal. 3:29, James 2:17-26) What we do AFTER we are saved is evidence of the fact that we ARE saved (or that we made a false profession and empty vow of faithfulness--in which case, God's great and wonderful promises are not for us).

kit: Splash by Kristmess Designs

Sunday, May 21, 2017

In Deed and Truth


Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.
1 John 3:18

kit: Teal for Two by Kristmess Designs; template by Amanda Kay; flower photos by my friend Cheryl at My Corner Online (http://mycorneronline.com/)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Prayers for You


I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel. Philippians 1:3-5

kits: You Gnome and Cabin in the Woods by Kristmess Designs, Wood Whimsy by Sherwood Studios, Tender Earth by Stolen Moments Designs, What's the Rush by Connie Prince

Friday, May 19, 2017

Walk In All His Ways


“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,  and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good?" Deuteronomy 10:12-13

papers and stacked borders: Teal for Two by Kristmess Designs

Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Blessing and a Curse


“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse:  the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today,  and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known." Deuteronomy 11:26-28 

stacked papers: Tangerine Grunge by Kristmess Designs

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Possess It and Obey


For you are to cross over the Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that the LORD your God is giving you. And when you possess it and live in it, you shall be careful to do all the statutes and the rules that I am setting before you today. Deuteronomy 11:31-32

stacked papers: Tangerine Grunge by Kristmess Designs

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Rejoice That The Lord Has Blessed You


And there you shall eat before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your households, in all that you undertake, in which the LORD your God has blessed you. Deuteronomy 12:7

stacked papers: Tangerine Grunge by Kristmess Designs

Monday, May 15, 2017

Exalt the Lord


Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at His holy mountain; for the LORD our God is holy! Psalm 99:9

kit: Tangerine Grunge by Kristmess Designs

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Holy is He


The LORD reigns; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!  The LORD is great in Zion; He is exalted over all the peoples.  Let them praise Your great and awesome name! Holy is He! Psalm 99:1-3

stacked papers: Tangerine Grunge by Kristmess Designs

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Saints Shout for Joy


“Let us go to His dwelling place; let us worship at His footstool!”  Arise, O LORD, and go to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your might.  Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness, and let Your saints shout for joy. Psalm 132:7-9

kit and stacked borders: Tangerine Grunge by Kristmess Designs

Friday, May 12, 2017

Like His Teacher


A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. Luke 6:40

kit: Tangerine Grunge by Kristmess Designs

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Make Sacrifices Forever


In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’  “For thus says the LORD: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to make sacrifices forever.” Jeremiah 33:16-18

kit and stacked borders: Tangerine Grunge by Kristmess Designs

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Joy, Praise and Glory


And this city shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them. They shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it. Jeremiah 33:9

kit: Tangerine Grunge by Kristmess Designs

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Disciplines His Son


Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you.  So you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God by walking in His ways and by fearing Him. Deuteronomy 8:5-6

kit: Tangerine Grunge by Kristmess Designs

Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O LORD, and whom you teach out of your law,  to give him rest from days of trouble, until a pit is dug for the wicked. Psalm 94:12-13

But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. 1 Corinthians 11:32

"Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?  "Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like:  he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.  "But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great." Luke 6:46-49

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.  In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.  And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.  For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”  It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?  If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.  Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?  For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.  For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.  Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,  and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.  Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.  See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;  that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal.  For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.  For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest  and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them.  For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.”  Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”  But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,  and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,  and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.  See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.  At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”  This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.  Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,  for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:1-29

Monday, May 8, 2017

Great Treasure and Trouble


Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble with it. Proverbs 15:16

kit and cluster: Singing the Blues by Kristmess Designs

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Anything So Great


Ask now about the former days, long before your time, from the day God created human beings on the earth; ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything so great as this ever happened, or has anything like it ever been heard of?  Has any other people heard the voice of God speaking out of fire, as you have, and lived? Deuteronomy 4:32-33

kit and stacked border: Singing the Blues by Kristmess Designs

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Great and Wise


Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you. 6 Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.”  What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him?  And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today? Deuteronomy 4:2, 6-8

kit and stacked borders: Singing the Blues by Kristmess Designs; scales and tablets from web (altered)

Friday, May 5, 2017

Testing You


And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that He might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. Deuteronomy 8:2

kit and stacked border: Singing the Blues by Kristmess Designs

Do you love Jesus? I mean REALLY love Him, in the way that He defined with His own words--not just in your own way (the Word "according to you," loving only the fluffy words that promise good things for yourself and people you love), but ALL of His words?

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.  “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.  In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.  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.”  Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?”  Jesus answered him, If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.  Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. John 14:15-24

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.  As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.  “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command you. John 15:8-14

“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit,  for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.  The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.  Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?  Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like:  he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.  But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great. Luke 6:43-49

Why did Jesus say that our righteousness needs to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees of that day? What were they doing wrong?  Did they not believe in God? They claimed to, and they did lots of "good works," but all of it was according to the letter of the Law and not the spirit of it.  (Matt. 15, Matt. 23, John 4:23, Heb. 10:5-7) God told them repeatedly that He wants the sacrifices of being just, caring for the poor, widows and orphans, loving Him and each other from their hearts--not by rote and ritual according to a set of rules--but they preferred to earn salvation by their works rather than rest in God's love and accept salvation on His terms, (even if it differed from what they expected, which it did, since they misunderstood Isaiah 53 and other Scriptures foretelling Jesus' suffering, death and resurrection).  (Heb. 3, 4) The Pharisees and scribes loved the prestige, profit and power they had over the people in enforcing rules (to which they had added many details not specified by God) and didn't want to give it up--not even for God's own Son. 

We are covered in Jesus' righteousness when we believe; however, we are not meant to immediately set about soiling our pristine white garment. (2Pet. 2, especially 2Pet. 2:22, 2Tim. 2:19, Heb. 10:19-39, especially Heb. 10:26-27, Rev. 3:2-6) Today, we still have false teachings about works and other ways to salvation, as well as people on the other side of the spectrum who teach that God loves sin now that Jesus died for it. In what universe could that possibly ever make sense?  But it's profitable to tell people what they love to hear, and that is all the wolves in sheep's clothing care about. (2Tim. 4:3, Matt. 7:15, Acts 20:26-31, 1Tim. 6:3-12, 2Tim. 3:1-9, 2Pet. 2 -  What is the opposite of "denying" the Master who bought us? It is obeying Him--not only "believing" in Him in our heads, but having the beginning of wisdom--the fear of the Lord and doing as He says! Psalm 111:10, Jer. 23:21-22)

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.  And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:  “Blessed are the poor in spirit [humble], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  “Blessed are those who mourn [due to unrighteousness - Malachi 3, especially Mal. 3:16-18], for they shall be comforted.  “Blessed are the meek [gentle], for they shall inherit the earth.  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.  “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.  “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.  “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.  “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.  “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.  Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:1-20

We are under the "law" in the form of two main commandments given by Jesus, because by fulfilling them, we will fulfill them all.  It is not possible to perfectly keep these two and yet somehow break any of the others.  (This should give us a clue that since God doesn't contradict Himself, He is not telling us to "love" anyone by approving of their sin, joining in their sin, or causing them to sin. 1Thess. 4:3-8) No one can do this by their own power, and indeed, we all slip--but the Holy Spirit within us, IF we are truly born again believers (John 1:12-13, 3:3, 1John 3;24, 4:13), will help us to desire to know and do God's will and He will help us--that includes His convicting us when we have sinned so that we will repent and receive forgiveness. (Philip. 2:12-16, Eph. 4:17-32, 1Thess. 5:19-22) God gives us a way out whenever He allows us to be tempted. (1Cor. 10:13, James 1:13-16)

And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”  Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  And you shall 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: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him.  And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”  And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions. Mark 12:28-34

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.  For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.  Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.  The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Romans 13:8-14

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. James 2:8

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;  for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.  Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.  But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.  For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.  But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.  If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.  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 1:19-27

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:5-10

So we have choices. We BELIEVERS can love God with ALL our heart, soul, mind and strength and SHOW IT by obeying His "royal law" to love our neighbor as ourselves and the "law of liberty" by behaving as children of God SHOULD, not using our freedom to sin and cause His holy name to be defiled.  (Rom. 6, James 2:14-26) Or, we can pretend that God doesn't see inside of our wicked hearts, and do as we please, as though that is how we show love for Him (or anyone, for that matter).  (Rev. 2:21-23, Matt. 15:18-20) But just remember, if you choose the second one, don't claim His promises for yourself. Those were made to those who love Him. You will know if He loves you when He disciplines you for disobeying Him. (Rev. 3:15-19, Heb. 12, 1Cor. 4:18-21, 11:32) If He lets you get away with it indefinitely (He is patient - 2Pet. 3:9, Gal. 6:1-10), you are not a legitimate child. (Heb. 12:8) (If we don't believe that Jesus, the Son of God, died for our sins and rose from the dead, then we have condemned ourselves and should only fearfully expect punishment. John 3:16-18, 2Thess. 2:7-12)

Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away.  But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.  None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.  But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—  these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 1 Corinthians 2:6-10

Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.  So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:21-22

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? James 2:5

For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. Hebrews 10:36

For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.  If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.  If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.  Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.  Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.  For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,”  and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 1 Corinthians 3:11-20

Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High,  and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”  But to the wicked God says: “What right have you to recite my statutes or take my covenant on your lips?  For you hate discipline, and you cast my words behind you.  If you see a thief, you are pleased with him, and you keep company with adulterers.  “You give your mouth free rein for evil, and your tongue frames deceit.  You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son.  These things you have done, and I have been silent; you thought that I was one like yourself. But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you. Psalm 50:14-21

Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible. Ephesians 6:23-24

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,  obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:8-9

If you are a false teacher who tells people that God expects NOTHING of them except to believe, repent! Teachers will be held to a higher standard on judgment day. (James 3:1) Faith is a gift from God, but we who have been adopted as God's children were meant to do good works so that God will be glorified in us. (Eph. 2:8-10, Matt. 5:16, John 13:35, 15:8, Titus 3:8, Rom. 8:13-17) It is of NO USE for an unbeliever to try to please God. (Heb. 11:6, 1John 2:23) Once we have been redeemed by Jesus, we BELONG to Him, heart and soul. (1Cor. 6, especially 1Cor. 6:19-20) That is when we can begin to show that our love for and faith in Him is genuine by the way we respond to His great love in saving us. (1Pet. 1:6-7, Rom. 8:16-23, Rev. 3:18) We are meant to endure until either He takes us home or He returns for those of His own still living. (Read the letters to the churches in Rev. 2, 3, Matt. 25, Philip. 3:8-21, John 14:2-3, 1Thess. 4:16-17.)

And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.  For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.  Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward.  Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.  If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting,  for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works. 2 John 1:6-11

And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.  If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. 3:1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.  And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.  Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.  You know that he 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.  Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he 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.  No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s 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.  For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.  We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.  Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.  We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.  Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.  By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.  But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?  Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.  By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him;  for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.  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.  And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.  Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. 1 John 2:28-3:24

The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.”  Even as he spoke, many believed in him.  To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:29-32

Let us examine ourselves (2Cor. 13:5) and ask God to reveal anything in our walk that He is not pleased with. The more we read our Bibles, the more we will be able to discern His will, build our faith (according to knowledge of the truth - Col. 1:9-12) and yield to His indwelling Spirit so that we can have a clear conscience and be filled with His joy. (1John 4:18)

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,  making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,  addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,  giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,  submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:15-21

"My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.  Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.  These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and your joy may be made full." John 15:8-11

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Seek Justice


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

kit: Spring Bouquet by Kristmess Designs, template by Little Green Frog Designs (retired)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Better Little


Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.
Proverbs 16:8

kit and cluster frame: Spring Bouquet by Kristmess Designs

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Itching Ears


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

kit: Spring Bouquet by Kristmess Designs, template by Little Green Frog Designs (retired)

Monday, May 1, 2017

Lends to the Lord


Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his deed. Proverbs 19:17

kit and cluster: Spring Bouquet by Kristmess Designs