Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Joy Bubble Moment

It seems as though the whole world has had a tough couple of weeks, so I thought a smiling face and a few rays of sunshine were in order!

Its been foggy and cloudy and generally "driech" (Scottish word Ian taught me:) here the past week. Friday afternoon we coming back from lunch with our grandson in the back seat when the sun FINALLY came peeking out for the first time in days. Aidan was almost asleep, but when we turned the corner and the sunshine hit his face he giggled and squealed with joy...I think we all felt that way! I had to snap a photo- pardon the quality, my cell phone is a cheapy, lol.

This was a fine example of one of those Joy Bubbles I talked about in a post last year. Joy is always there- the scripture below is an example of the foundation of joy that cannot be shaken- but sometimes it needs a bit of help getting to the surface.

I will bless the LORD who has given me counsel;
My heart also instructs me in the night seasons.

I have set the LORD always before me;
Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will rest in hope.

For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore

Psalm 16:7-11

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

God did NOT send that Earthquake

...and I get indignant that anyone would try to claim He did!!

God is not in the business of sending judgment on people in this day and age...there is a vast difference between the Old Covenant and the New and better Covenant we have with Jesus the Messiah.

There is also a vast difference between a curse and a judgement- which 99% of the people who are upset with Pat Robertson missed..he didn't say that God sent the earthquake, but it sure got twisted up that way in the reporting. Not saying I agree with him talking about it like that, just saying he didnt say what they said he did...

I know there are a lot of people who may disagree with one or both of the above opinions, or have questions about why I believe this way. Rather than go into a long discourse here in the post itself, I invite you to comment, ask questions, or reply with your opinion- politely please! I will answer, I love debate- its healthy for our faith to "reason together" about things like this.

I plan to do a follow up post in a week or so with scriptures and afterthoughts, but for now please add your two cents to the conversation.

ALSO: see my post Dont Blame God for more info and links to a couple of good Bible teachings on the goodness of God.

PS Yeah I know, photo has nothing to do with the post~its one of the photos I took of the delightful fairy frost that we had here last week (meteorologists called it hoar frost, but I think it was fairies;)...just wanted something soothing and peaceful to go with this slightly heated rant.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Rays of Grace: A New Etsy Friend

As some of you may know, I am a jewelry maker by profession, with shops on Etsy, ArtFire and many other fine craft venues.

Recently, I was delighted to be featured in a treasury on Etsy and even more delighted to find this wonderful new photograpy shop featured right next to me.

Susan from Rays of Grace is a great photographer & includes some of my favorite Bible verses on her Faith Art prints.

With the sale of these prints, Susan says: "100% (yes ...100%!) of the profit from any Faith Art sale will be donated to missions. My current focus is: Breaking Chains - a ministry that rescues girls sold into slavery in Mexico."

She also features some of her work on Notecards, the next thing on my shopping list after I recover from Christmas;)

You may click on any photo to be taken to that item's listing or click on: Rays of Grace on Etsy to go to the shop itself:)

as with all of my original photography here on this blog, Susan's photos in this post are her original artwork and may not be copied or reproduced without permission.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Great Adventure

"God has a plan beyond anything that we have ever known...tomorrow should be so filled with holy expectations that we will be living flames for Him. God never intended his people to be ordinary or commonplace. His intentions were that they should be on fire for Him, conscious of His divine power, realizing the glory of the Cross that foreshadows the Crown."
~Smith Wigglesworth

What an amazing adventure-learning to live in the power of God, learning to walk not only in the path He has set out before me, but in the exact footsteps He has ordained- therein lies success! Here are some verses along these lines:
The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD,
And He delights in his way.
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
For the LORD upholds him with His hand.
~Psalm 37:23-24

O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself;
It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.
~Jeremiah 10:23

But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).

And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires.

If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit.]
~Galatians 5:16,23-24 (Amplified)

Our beloved Heavenly Father promises to teach us and guide us into this great adventure..all we need to do is learn to listen and follow and walk in that which He has already provided.

Some good teaching series about this general subject can be accessed at no charge at the links below:
How to Fulfill Your Destiny by Andrew Wommack
The Power of the Holy Spirit by Andrew Wommack
The Spirit Led Life by Keith Moore
Hungry For the Holy Spirit by Keith Moore

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Now THAT'S Empowerment

In the fascinating world of internet self-improvement you don't have to look far to find someone offering help "empower" you with life changing insight, a daily positive outlook or a maybe even a new marketing plan.

While the idea of empowerment is good in theory, most of the people offering to package it up and sell it to you are missing the ultimate source of true power. Jesus said it plain and simple: "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you" (Acts 1:8a). In fact, it was so important that Jesus commanded his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they were baptized in the Holy Spirit to receive this power!

As Christians we all have God's mighty power within-when you were born again you became a "new creation" in your spirit (2 Cor 5:17, Gal 2:20)- but we must choose to "walk in the spirit" (Gal 5:25) and "not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of (your) mind" (Rom 12:2).

Paul spoke of this when praying for believers:
For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;(so) that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.
~Colossians 1:9-11

The Amplified translation points this out clearly in the prayer Paul prayed for the Ephesians:
May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality]. ~Ephesians 3:16

In his Life for Today Study Bible, Andrew Wommack higlights a very important point that sums up why I dont believe in "self-empowerment":
"Paul's prayer is a sermon in itself on how to walk in the fullness of God. The first thing Paul mentions is the Lord strengthening us through the power of the Holy Spirit. Many well-meaning Christians fall quite short of what God wants them to be and what they want for themselves, because they are trying to live for God instead of letting God live through them (see note 1 at Ro 7:15). The key to all victory in the Christian life is learning how to depend on the Holy Spirit for our strength (see note 14 at Ga 2:20)."
—Andrew Wommack's Life For Today Study Bible Notes, Note 5 at Eph. 3:16

As we begin a new decade, I am spending some extra time meditating on these glorious truths. It is delightfully amazing to me that our beloved Father would come and live inside our spirits, that He would make this power available to us!! I know God has paths set out for me to walk in. I am "His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that (I) should walk in them" (Eph 2:10). I know He is concerned with every part of my life~ from the mundane daily chores, to being excellent in how I conduct my earthly business, and all the way to how I let the rivers of living water flow from my innermost being to bring His Kingdom to the lives of those in need around me.

I want to wish you all a Happy and Blessed New Year, and encourage you to join me in learning more about "the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe"!!
"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." ~Ephesians 3:20-21