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

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Psalm 5 – In my own words

Vs 1 – O Lord my God, won’t You please listen to my cries for help, even when I lack words and groan in my spirit.

Vs 2 – Please listen to – attend, regard, consider – my cry for help for You alone are my God and it is to You alone I pray.

Vs 3 – In the morning when I rise, I will cry out to You in prayer and You hear my voice.  May I rise and seek Thee with eagerness.

Vs 4 – You are righteous and holy God and take no pleasure in wickedness.  Evil cannot dwell with You.

Vs 5 – Those who boast and brag will not stand before You.  You hate sin and iniquity, evil, mischief, falsehood, unrighteousness, and wickedness. 

Vs 6 – Those who are unrepentant liars and who speak falsely will be destroyed.  For You O God abhor – loath, utterly distain – the man who sheds innocent blood and is filled with lies and deceit.

Vs 7 – Unlike the unrighteous who have rejected You O Lord, it is by Your lovingkindness which flows abundantly that I will enter Your house.  O Lord when I come to Your holy temple I will bow down in reverence to You.

Vs 8 – Please lead me in paths of Your righteousness for foes seek to devour me.  Make the pathway straight before me.

Vs 9 – Nothing that the unrighteous and ungodly say is reliable and true.  Inwardly they are deceitfully wicked and bound for destruction.  When they open their mouth they only speak words of death and destruction.  In deceit they will flatter if they think it will be to their advantage.

Vs 10 – Lord God, I ask You for justice.  Should they continue on in their wickedness and unrepentant ways that You will find them guilty.  Let their deceitful ways cause them to fall.  As their sin and transgressions mount push them away with great force for they are ungodly and rebellious against the One True, Living and Holy God.

Vs 11 – Let all who love You, those who have repented of their sins and received forgiveness in Christ, take refuge in God and be glad.  Let them sing with joy because You keep and shelter them with Your great love and protection.  May those who have been redeemed love You and proclaim and exult Your Holy Name.

Vs 12 – It is God alone who blesses the righteous – those who have been forgiven of their sins and made righteous in Christ.  Your surround him with grace, forgiveness and mercy and are a shield about him.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Angels Walking by Karen Kingsbury – Heartwarming, Touching, Loving and Redemptive

Angels Walking, by Karen Kingsbury, is her newest book about Tyler Ames, a talented up and coming baseball player, whose life takes an unexpected turn.  Just how would Alzheimer’s patient Virginia Hutchinson impact Tyler’s life for eternity?  How would those changes ripple out and affect Tyler’s broken relationships with his parents and former girlfriend Sami Dawson?  How in the world do angels figure into the story?  Well…you’ll have to read it to find out.

I’ve only read one other Karen Kingsbury book, but there was something about Angels Walking that drew me in.  Perhaps it was Virginia the Alzheimer’s patient or maybe I was intrigued by the thought of angels, God’s messengers, at work in our lives.  I knew I would find this book somewhat painful because my mother had Alzheimer’s but I wanted to read it and I’m so glad I did.

Karen Kingsbury is a very gifted writer and has a beautiful turn of a phrase.  She has a way of expressing feelings or a scene in a very vivid way that stays in the mind of the reader.  What came through in this book were love, grace, forgiveness and redemption.  I was reminded to never give up or stop praying and know that God is at work in our lives.  Karen’s Christian faith is interwoven throughout this book in a beautiful way.   

There were a couple of times when Jesus Christ and salvation came up, but I found it fell short of a clear presentation of the gospel because sin wasn’t mentioned.  Without knowledge of my sin, I don’t know of my need for a Savior. 

I recommend Angels Walking by Karen Kingsbury and look forward to future books in this series.  Your heart will be touched when you read this book and perhaps some healing will also take place in those broken places in your life.

I would like to thank the publishers at Howard Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read Angels Walking in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to provide a favorable review. 

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Psalm 4 – In my own words

Vs 1 –O LORD my God, I ask You to answer me when I call out to You in prayer.  For You alone are God, the One True Living God.  The God who is my righteousness.  In Your mercy, You provided relief for me when I was distressed.  I humbly ask You to please hear my prayers and be gracious unto me.

Vs 2 – What kind of world do I live in when my honor is viewed as reproach?  Unrighteous men just how long do you plan to love and pursue that which is worthless and try to deceive others?  Do you have no fear of God?

Vs 3 – I want you to know that God has set apart for Himself godly men and women.  May I be that godly woman through His work in me. The LORD Himself hears me when I call out to Him.

Vs 4 – I beg you foolish men to turn from your wicked ways and tremble and do not sin against God.  Meditate on God’s Word all day long, even when you lie down on your bed.  Be still and know that He is God.  Take time to think upon God.

Vs 5 – My own righteousness will never save me.  Yet I  have repented of my sin and received Jesus Christ as my LORD and Savior.  My sins have been forgiven through His perfect sacrifice on the cross.  May I be sanctified and offer the sacrifices of righteousness in gratitude and thanksgiving.  May I love and trust the LORD. 

Vs 6 – People who don’t know You and even those who do feel the weight of oppression ask who will show good to us.  But I know You LORD as You have revealed Yourself in the Word of God.  I ask You to show us the light of Your countenance. 

Vs 7 – You alone LORD have put gladness in my heart.  A gladness that does not depend upon things or favorable circumstances.  It’s a gladness that can not be taken away.  It’s greater than when I received grain from a bountiful harvest or when the new wine is poured to overflowing.

Vs 8 – When I lie down and sleep I am at peace.  You alone O LORD make me to dwell in safety and I am secure in You. 

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Whatever you do

If all that I do and say is in the name of the Lord Jesus shouldn’t that impact what I do, what I say and how I do it?

Psalm 3 – In my own words

With a recent move to Texas it’s safe to say that much of my life has been turned upside down.  But thankfully the Word of God has been there to encourage, convict, correct and strengthen me in the midst of all this change. 

Below is my rendering of Psalm 3 in my own words.  Be sure to read this scripture in your Bible and hear God’s inerrant Word for yourself.

Vs 1 – When I look around me LORD, all I see are adversaries and it seems like they have increased exponentially.  Many join their ranks to rise up and come against me.

Vs 2 – Many people speak against me and even say things about my soul.  They mock me and say that “even her God will not deliver her.”  But let me pause and think on what I know to be true from Your Word and from what You’ve already done in my life.

Vs 3 – You alone O LORD are my shield that surrounds me.  You God are my true glory and You lift my head.

Vs 4 – I cry out to You O LORD…out loud.  I don’t care who hears me or what they think because I know that You hear me and will answer me from Your holy mountain above. 

Vs 5 – When I laid down I was able to sleep and got much needed rest.  When I awoke I reminded myself that the LORD has and will continue to sustain me.

Vs 6 – I will not be afraid – even if I’m up against 10,000 people or more.  Even if they came against me in one big force and surround me. 

Vs 7 – I will call out to the LORD God Almighty, “please save me O God – for You have protected me and smitten my enemies on the cheek.  You have raised Your hand and shattered their teeth.  Who O LORD can stand against You?

Vs 8 – Salvation and deliverance comes from You LORD.  His blessing will be upon the people of His own choosing.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good – What An Absolute Pleasure

What an absolute pleasure it was to read Jan Karon’s newest book Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good!  With this new book, readers can continue to follow the lives Father Tim Kavanaugh and his wife Cynthia and a wonderful mix of characters in the lovely fictional town of Mitford, North Carolina. 

When reading this book felt like I was going home and seeing the people whom I love, who are a little quirky.  But isn’t that part of what makes them so loveable? 

Jan Karon’s writing is exceptional.  Characters come to life and are well developed over time.  The story is simple yet rich and complex in the ordinary adventures called life.  A composition of vignettes told through the perspective of everyone’s favorite Episcopal priest, Father Tim who is now retired.  The cast of characters is wide ranging and yet a beautiful blend of people I would like to know.

Jan Karon doesn’t strive to be edgy.  Instead she creates characters that are real and likable even with their imperfections. 

My favorite thing about this book is how the characters Christian faith is interwoven throughout the story.  I loved reading Father Tim and Cynthia’s prayers.  I loved the compassion and brokenness that came through when Father Tim wept as he told of the failure and sin of fellow clergyman.  I learned that I want to have that kind of love and compassion that desires repentance and to restore a fellow sinner.  I so appreciate the sharing of the Gospel message in a simple way, but one so fitting the storyline.

I can always tell a book is really good when I’m thinking about the characters after I’ve set the book down and can’t wait to get back to them.  The only downside to this book is that it ends, but hopefully the story will continue in another book by gifted writer Jan Karon.

Even though this is the latest book in the Mitford series, it makes a good stand alone book.  I do caution you though, you will likely want to go back and read the earlier books when you fall in love with the characters. 

Jan Karon is one of the best writers of her generation and I am grateful to have read her latest book Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good. 

I would like to thank Putnam publishers for providing me with a copy of Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good to read in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

Friday, August 29, 2014

God's Will

Psalm 2:6-12 – In my own words

Vs 6 – But as for Me, the Lord God Almighty, I have set in place My King upon Zion My holy mountain.

Vs 7 – My Son the King said I will surely tell of the decrees of the Lord God.  My Father has said to Me, 'Thou are My Son – My Beloved Son.  Today I have brought You forth.

Vs 8 – 'Ask of Me My Son and I will give You the nations of the worlds as Your inheritance.  Even to the ends of the earth will be Your possession.

Vs 9 – Those wicked nations who have rejected You, You will break them with a rod of iron.  You will shatter them and they will be like broken pottery.'

Vs 10 – Kings of the earth be wise and discerning.  Listen to My warnings you judges. 

Vs 11 – Work and serve the Lord with gladness and in holy reverence.  Rejoice with fear and trembling.

Vs 12 – Show respect and pay homage to the Son of God for He alone is worthy.  If you don’t, you may find yourself of the wrong side of God’s anger and you will perish because of your stubborn hard heart and unbelief.  There is a day coming in which God’s just wrath will be poured out.  But blessed and happy is the man who takes refuge in Jesus Christ the Son of God. 

Psalm 2:1-5 – In my own words

Vs 1 – What in the world is going on?  Why are the nations causing a commotion and in an uproar?  They get together with the ungodly and the unrighteous people and seek to plot and plan something that is vain and empty and can do no good.

Vs 2 – The kings of the earth gather together to take a stand against God and desire to overthrow God’s rule and reign over them.  The rulers will get together and seek counsel on how they can come against the Lord God Almighty and His Anointed One Jesus Christ.  The problem is that they are a band of wicked and ungodly men who have rejected the Lord and His righteousness. 

Vs 3 – They say let’s rip off these fetters that the Lord has placed on us and tear them apart.  We will throw away the cords which have bound us. 

Vs 4 – But the Lord sits enthroned in the heavens above and throws back His head and laughs at them.  He scoffs and makes fun of their ridiculous plans.  They really don’t have a clue about Who He is and who they are. 

Vs 5 – Right now the ungodly and unrighteous man thinks he is something and he is on his high horse.  But I’m telling you, there is a day coming in which they will know the full force and weight of God’s anger and fury.  For God’s fury will one day be poured out against the ungodly and unrighteous, those who are unrepentant and have rejected God and His rule and reign in their lives.  They will soon quake in terror.

Psalm 1 – In my own words

Vs 1 – How happy and at peace is the man who does not listen to the advice and counsel of the ungodly, wicked and condemned, nor will he stand in the path of those who willfully choose to do that which is wrong before God, nor will he sit down with and make a place with those who mock and make fun of God, His people and God’s way.

Vs 2 – But this man takes great pleasure in knowing, understanding and keeping the law of the Lord.  He meditates and thinks on it day and night. 

Vs 3 – You can be sure, that man will be like a tree on the banks of a stream of water.  Like that tree he will be nourished and bear fruit in due season.  He will not dry out and die for the Lord will bless and prosper what this man does.

Vs 4 - But it’s a whole different story for the wicked who reject God.  They are like chaff that will be blown away by the wind.  Nothing that they do will last. 

Vs 5 – The wicked will not be there when the Lord God Almighty rewards and judges His godly people, those declared righteous by the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  The wicked won’t be seen when the righteous are judged.

Vs 6 – You can be certain that the Lord knows the righteous and what they are doing.  He also knows the wicked and that there is coming a day in which they will be judged rightly.  They will be in the place of torment forever as a penalty for their unrepentance and sins.  For they have rejected Jesus Christ and His perfect atoning sacrifice on the cross as payment in full for their sins.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Beginning Again

Today, I finally finished writing out the book of Proverbs.  It all started over two and a half years ago when I decided to write out the book of Psalms in my own words during my morning devotional time. 

I really grew to love writing out the Psalms and was amazed at how God spoke to me during that time.  No matter what I was going through there was a timely reminder about God and who He is.  I found comfort, encouragement, strength, peace, rebuke, wisdom, woodshed times, grace and mercy among many other things. 

It took two years to get through the book of Psalms and when I concluded it, I thought I would just start back at the beginning and do it all over again.  But I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to carry on with writing out the book of Proverbs.

I struggled at times to complete writing out Proverbs.  I felt like I was going through a dry season and truly missed the deep, intimate fellowship I felt while going through Psalms.  I found myself wanting to slap the son that the father was instructing to stay away from the adulterous woman.  (“For Pete’s sakes, what is it going to take for you to get it boy?”)  Things were not quite as repetitive when I got into more general instructions found in Proverbs and I learned afresh wise instruction in how to live a godly life. 

Now that I’m done with Proverbs and tomorrow plan to start going through Psalms again.  I’ll be in a whole different place in my life this time around…about 32 months after I originally started this practice.  Soon we will be in a whole new state, Texas, and our lives in many respects will be turned upside down.

I’m so looking forward to the reminders that no matter what, God is always there and He never changes. 

Lord…keep my heart and mind close to You.  Help me to see You, the God who never changes, in fresh ways and know with confidence that You are there with me in all my circumstances.  Help me to grow in truth, wisdom and holiness.  May I be a woman after Your own heart.