He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. - Colossians 1:15-16

Friday, March 20, 2015

Just Asking



During this morning devotional time I started thinking about grumbling and complaining. 

Do I see grumbling and complaining as my right when I’m going through difficult circumstances or dealing with difficult people?

Do I recognize grumbling and complaining as a sin?  Does that stop me from doing it?

What does my grumbling and complaining reveal about my heart? 

Does it show a lack of trust in God and an unwillingness to yield to Him and His will for my life?

Does it reveal a since of pride because I think that I deserve better than this?

Is a grumbling and complaining Christian a good witness for Christ?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Loved Back to Life – by Sheila Walsh – I Highly Recommend This Book



I was privileged to read and highly recommend Sheila Walsh’s new book Loved Back to Life – How I Found the Courage to Live Free.

Sheila is a very gifted writer.  She shares about her struggle with depression and pain in her own life with openness and transparency.  She is real and honest.  One would think that a book about depression would be a downer and hard to read.  On the contrary, I found this book almost healing and filled with hope and compassion.   

Sheila shared about her trust and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that she held onto, even in the darkness of depression that threatened to drown her.  Her Savior has walked with her and never abandoned her.  Throughout the book she brings the reader back to the life giving truth found in Scripture.  I especially liked the chapter, Following the Shepherd. 

I was shocked and saddened at the reaction of the people around Sheila when she sought treatment for depression.  Instead of encouraging and walking alongside her she was blamed and accused of lacking of faith and told that God would never use her again.  Hopefully, these days there is less of a stigma to those who battle mental illness.  We don’t blame someone diagnosed with cancer or diabetes.  But why is it that we may blame someone with depression or other mental illnesses? 

What most touched me the most was Sheila’s compassion for hurting people.  As a host of the 700 Club, which featured incredible stories of people whose prayers were powerfully answered, Sheila wondered what about the people who aren’t healed or whose marriages and businesses fail, or whose loved one dies?  Why not feature stories about them too?  Learn how the Lord is walking with them in their trial or how they need help.

I would recommend this book for someone who is struggling with depression or mental illness or has a loved one who is.  I would also recommend this book for Christians, to help us examine ourselves and our responses to people who are hurting.  For those who don’t know the Lord, I also recommend this book.  You may just find the Good Shepherd who will walk alongside you in your trial. 

I would like to thank the people at BookLook and Thomas Nelson Publishers for the opportunity to read Loved Back to Life by Sheila Walsh in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Surprise Encounter




I’d like you to meet Ray who is in the picture above. 

I brought the dinner bell bird feeder in to the kitchen to clean it and fill it with some fresh bird food.  You can imagine my surprise, and Ray's, when I was removing the bottom tray and realized that someone was still on it.  Yikes!!!

I quickly prayed that the Lord would let me get the feeder back outside before Ray flew away.  Thankfully Ray stayed put and I got the feeder back outside. 

In taking a closer look it appears this sweet little bird is blind in one eye.  He finally got off the feeder so I could clean it. 

Thankfully our kitties were taking a nap and were unaware of what had transpired.

Monday, March 09, 2015

A Call to Repent



This year in Community Bible Study we are studying the Servants of God which includes the books of Joshua, Judges, Ruth and 1 & 2 Samuel.  Despite having gone through this study previous God is still teaching me new lessons through His perfect and inerrant word, the Bible.

In last week’s lesson we saw the end of Saul and his sons.  Saul had started out his kingship with some promise.  He was humble, he chose not to take revenge against those who were against him and he defeated an enemy that threatened to enslave the people of Jabesh Gilead. 

Unfortunately Saul’s promising start didn’t last.  Before long he became prideful and was disobedient to God.  That started him on the wide road that leads to destruction until finally the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and the kingdom was ripped from his hand and given to his neighbor David. 

It would be many years before David would be king and he learned much about God during those years on the run and often spent in the wilderness.  Thankfully he recorded his praise and worship and poured out his soul during the dark times when he was hunted by Saul.

Something I saw afresh in the life of Saul was God giving him another chance to repent and turn from his wicked ways. 

This would be the last time that David would see Saul alive.  When seemingly given another opportunity to kill his enemy, David chose not to kill Saul.  In Samuel 26 David chose to take Saul’s spear and water jug, but not his life.  He called out to Saul’s commander of the army Abner.  But when Saul hears David’s voice he responds.    

17 Then Saul knew David’s voice, and said, “Is that your voice, my son David?”

David said, “It is my voice, my lord, O king.” 18 And he said, “Why does my lord thus pursue his servant? For what have I done, or what evil is in my hand? 19 Now therefore, please, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant: If the Lord has stirred you up against me, let Him accept an offering. But if it is the children of men, may they be cursed before the Lord, for they have driven me out this day from sharing in the inheritance of the Lord, saying, ‘Go, serve other gods.’ 20 So now, do not let my blood fall to the earth before the face of the Lord. For the king of Israel has come out to seek a flea, as when one hunts a partridge in the mountains.”

21 Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Return, my son David. For I will harm you no more, because my life was precious in your eyes this day. Indeed I have played the fool and erred exceedingly.” – 1 Samuel 26:17-21

Even in his deteriorating mental state Saul recognized his sin and confessed it.

I believe this was God’s mercy extended to Saul one last time before he died to genuinely repent. 

Did he repent?  He said the right words and acknowledged his wrongdoing.  But his actions thereafter don’t demonstrate a repentant heart.  Shortly thereafter Saul sought out a medium because the Lord was not responding to his inquiries. 

I know that if Saul had genuinely repented that God would have forgiven him.  God has told us in His Word that a broken and contrite heart He will not despise.

Even the message that Saul heard through the medium was another chance to repent.  He was inconsolable, afraid and severely troubled, but he didn’t repent, he didn’t turn and walk the other way.  What a sad ending to a life.  Soon thereafter Saul and his sons would be killed by the Philistines and there would be no more chances to repent.  It is appointed for a man to die once and then comes judgment. 

Lord…please give me a tender heart for You, ears to hear You and a heart to obey You.  Though I am a sinner, please help me to genuinely repent and return to You when I am headed in the wrong direction.


Sunday, March 08, 2015

Sin and the Great Exchange



In our lives today, I don’t think we get the full picture of sin. 

As I read through Leviticus recently I had a small inkling into how wrong, ugly and utterly abhorrent sin is to God.  God who is holy, perfect, just and righteous.    

If, like the Jews, I had to place my hands on the animal that was my sin offering, confess my sins and slit its throat to shed its blood (which would cover my sin) I might have a better idea on how horrifying sin is to God. 

If I want to see what sin looks like to God, I need to look at what Jesus Christ endured on the cross.  The sinless Lamb of God sent to take away the sin of the world.  Look at the punishment He endured so that my sins would be removed, not just covered.  Thank You Jesus for paying my sin debt that I could never repay, not even with an eternity spent in hell.  May I have a better appreciation and understanding of sin and it’s high price.  May sin loose its hold on me as I focus on Christ.  Thank You Jesus for crediting Your righteousness to my account.