This isn’t an easy confession. I am a self-centered person. Most of my prayer life centers on what I need. I’m most driven to my knees when I’m suffering some unfair treatment—at the hands of others or by the cosmos. I know, in my mind, God allows suffering to draw us closer to him. But I’d like to get past this—hitting the floor in simple worship.
A.W. Tozer writes, “In all else he (the natural man—you and me) may willingly accept the sovereignty of God; in his own life he rejects it. For him, God’s dominion ends where his begins. For him, self becomes Self, …” The Knowledge Of The Holy Page 29
It occurs to me that often, when I’m struggling to know God, even when I’m in worship, Self is asserting itself. If I’m honest, much of my desire to know my Creator is in an effort to manipulate life. I want to know how to approach the Throne to get my prayers answered. On my own I mess up my life by doing it my way, and my deepest desire at that time is to learn how to get my world in working order.
This is the “good works” attitude. I thought I’d progressed past the idea that I can gain God’s favor by doing it right. No one gets it right. Salvation is by God’s free unmerited grace. Maybe I need to forget working on what I should do to please God, and just love him.
Jesus said, if anyone would follow him, he should deny himself, (get rid of Self) and take up his cross. (sacrifice) (Matthew 16:24)
I’ll attempt to sit back and worship God for who he is and not for what he can do for me. As a sinner, saved by grace, I’m not sure I can appreciate the wonders of God without focusing on how they benefit me. But I’ll ask Almighty God to help me get beyond almighty self. I want to love God, just to love him.
I recommend The Knowledge of the Holy for deep thinking. I was not paid for the recommendation and purchased the book with my own money.
There are some days - many days - when I need a positive thought to lift my spirit. Listen to these positive thoughts. The best thing about them is they are true!
In heaven everything will be pure and unadulterated. All of our thoughts will be holy.
In heaven we won't say, "I wish, ..." because every longing we've ever had will be satisfied. We'll be totally content.
I heaven we won't spoil things like we did on earth. The air will stay fresh and clean. Rivers will sparkle. No garbage will mar the beauty of the landscape.
These lovely thoughts are a few snippets from the book "Snapshots of Heaven" by Joyce Vollmer Brown. If you're like me, you'll want to read it over and over. Sometimes I flip it open and read just a page or two. They are all beautiful insights into heaven, you may not have considered before, and each one is true. They are all based on Scripture.
Read my full review on Christian Living @ BellaOnline.com.
Find this book on Amazon.com . (I purchased it myself and was not asked or paid for a review.)
Read more about heaven in my article Water of Life on Christian Living at BellaOnline.
My husband Jim, battled emphysema and a bone marrow disorder for many years. When he didn’t have the strength or the breath to walk, I pushed him in a wheelchair to doctor appointments and blood transfusions. We knew one or the other illness would take his life. We knew he wouldn’t get better, only progressively worse. But we had faith. We believed in God’s promise of Heaven. Our faith and our love for each other grew stronger throughout set-backs and treatments.
One weekend I called the EMS to take Jim to the hospital, as I’d done on several other occasions. We expected he would receive treatment and I’d bring him home. But this time the doctor informed us the bone marrow disorder had become acute leukemia. There was nothing he could do. My husband might live long enough to go home with hospice care. But that wasn’t to be. I sat beside him in his hospital room and held his hand. In the middle of the night, the love of my life took his final labored breath. I sat with him, feeling the lingering warmth leave his body, called relatives and forced myself to leave him.
While I drove the lonely streets in the dark, reality hit. I shouted, “What will I do without you?” I pounded the wheel and reduced speed, as street lights blurred through the tears filling my eyes. A dark, empty house greeted me and I prepared for bed. In the silence, I knew I would never again hear the sounds of Jim coming home or feel his weight on the other side of the bed. Never another kiss goodnight. The loneliness of a first night as a widow was something I couldn’t have anticipated.
I had faith. I knew in my mind, Jim was with Jesus. But mental knowledge didn’t seem to be strong enough for that black night. After caring for him for so long, preparing medication, massaging his aching muscles—my hands were empty. There was nothing I could do for him now, and my faith faltered. Was Heaven real or a story in a book? Was Jim with Jesus or in the morgue at the hospital? Was he happy? Those questions threatened to suffocate me.
There was nothing I could do but go to bed and wait for morning, when family would arrive. I laid my head on the pillow. Then, the instant I closed my eyes, I saw them—a group of men sitting around a campfire, in my backyard. They were big men and wore white. The fire glowed from the center of the circle. In fact, they all glowed white. I didn’t have time to think about who or what they were. God’s perfect peace filled my being. On the most horrible day of my life, I was filled with intense peace, deeper than I’d ever thought possible.
I slept soundly that night. Every night for at least two weeks, I experienced the same vision—angels standing guard, keeping me company. Just like Elisha’s servant, in 2 Kings of the Bible, God opened my eyes to the truth. My beloved husband had simply stepped through the curtain into a world more real and glorious than the world here. He was healthy and strong and happy.
I still struggle at navigating life as a widow. But when things get tough, I look into the yard where angels sat at a campfire that night, and I think perhaps they’re still there.
"The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them." Psalm 34:7 ESV
Believers are experiencing growing resistance to their Christian belief. How is the Christian expected to give a defense of their hope-as we're told to in the Bible- without entering a heated exchange?
Gentleness, goodness, joy, kindness, love, patience, self-control. These are attributes of the Fruit of the Spirit. They are ours when we put our trust in Jesus. It may be a surprise that they are already ours. They came when the Spirit took up residence. Many of us forget to put this gift into use.
Read about arguments, using the Fruit of the Spirit and how conflict is good for us in this week's article:
Argue With Patience and Humility
Read more about the Fruit of the Spirit.
Have you noticed how much you can learn from children? From innocence, and laughter, to abandonment in wholehearted play. Thinking back a few years, I remember a year when my granddaughters impressed me with their completely different shopping personalities. It’s taken me a while but I’ve come to realize it was a teaching on prayer.
Those girls were in search of gifts from their grandmother. They knew grandma loved them and wanted to grant their wishes. They handled it in three different styles and I learned from each.
One was tentative, not positive on how much grandma would spring for. She needed to be encouraged.
One was specific. She knew exactly what she wanted and asked for it.
One was joyful. She happily asked for everything she could get, not afraid of being turned down.
These three girls have inspired me in prayer.
Read the whole story here. This link will take you to my site: Christian Living @ BellaOnline.com
It is my goal to not only memorize Scripture, but to delve into the true meaning of a verse. What does it mean to me? Does it call for a change of heart? Does it call for a change in the way I live?
This week, in the Christian Living Site of BellaOnline . com, I'm contemplating Ephesians 2: 8-9
Memory Verse Ephesians 2:8-9
This week, I'm pulling apart 1 John 4:10 to get a clearer picture of the meaning of this popular memory verse.
“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." This is in the King James Version. Feel free to pull out your Bible and read it in your favorite translation.
The Bible's meaning of love is a lot deeper than mine and it includes self-sacrifice without the need to be loved in return.
This is the closest relationship, I can think of, to our relationship with God.
It was easy to love my child at birth, she cuddled in close. She could have pushed me away; I would have still loved her. After nights without sleep because of the care all newborns require, the boundaries of love were stretched, but still firm. Children grow up and push away. They are sometimes hateful. They rebel and make dangerous choices. We love them because they belong to us, just as we belong to our Father.
Not a perfect comparison. We know not all parents withstand the rebellion of children. We are sinful, but God is sinless and shows us perfect love.
Read the whole story on BellaOnline's Christian Living site. Memory Verse About Love.
The mirror reveals the natural aging process. The wasting away of the natural body. But we know this body isn't what we live for. Jesus Christ has guaranteed us eternal life. He is renewing us day by day. One day we will meet him face to face and live with him in Heaven. I can't wait to meet you, while we worship together at the throne.
This week's article on BellaOnline . com is Renewed Not Wasting Away.
I love studying Bible characters. For February, and Valentines Day, how much do you know about romantically linked people of the Bible?
For instance, Ruth has her own book in the Bible - Who became her husband?
Sapphira stood by her husband. They didn't make the best decision. Who was Sapphira's husband?
Take the quiz at Christian Living on BellaOnline. You'll find more couples to match and all the answers. You'll even find a little story about the incorrect answers.
Sweethearts of the Bible Quiz
When you're finished, come back and let me know what you think.
Stress is a killer. It doesn't let you rest. It keeps you from accomplishing anything good. It keeps you from enjoying the life God has given you. Yes, I seem to be thinking of stress a lot lately.
I got through the Christmas season, which should be all joy and love and peace--except I made it stressful by planning too much and trying to live up to certain standards. Now it's January and I should be resting, but I'm in catch-up mode. A new woman's group is beginning and I volunteered to host a meeting. Why did I do that? My carpet needs cleaning. - I'll call a service this afternoon and get that done. And I'll get on Pinterest to find some good food to serve. Yikes, I forgot. I have to have a lampshade repaired, too. Not sure where to go for that.
BSF is underway again after our Christmas break and of course I'm still working, so--please remind me to limit my volunteering for other things.
Stress happens when I'm trying to do it all on my own power. Leaning on Jesus Christ is where Peace comes from--also wisdom in knowing when to say "No." I just have to remember peace is already mine. Jesus promised it.
My article on BellaOnline this week is about Peace-a Fruit of the Spirit.
The mundane becomes inspiration.