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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Inspired by . . . A Season in Scripture VIII


A Psalm. Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for He has done marvelous things! His right hand and His holy arm have worked salvation for Him. 
   The LORD has made known His salvation; He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations. 
   He has remembered His steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. 
   All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. 
   Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody! With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD! 
   Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it! Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the LORD, for He comes to judge the earth. 
   He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity. (Psa 98:1-9)

Psalm 98 reads like a Christmas song to me this morning. Maybe it's just me or maybe its because this time of year every song seems to say, "Merry Christmas"

Or, perhaps, its because these verses reveal the very heart of what we are waiting for, what we are celebrating this time of the year.

Jesus is the marvelous thing that the Lord has done! For us! 

The little baby boy is His righteousness revealed! For us!

In the arrival of the Magi we see that, indeed, all the ends of the earth have seen this salvation.

And then the singing begins! The first CHRISTmas carols! Songs of the season are fun, in fact, Silver Bells is one of my favorites, but the true carols of CHRISTmas feed our souls even as our raised voices bring Him honor and glory!

Even the little boy with the drum knew that he stood before the King. He gave Jesus his best. In all our comings and goings this season, let us remember to do the same.


Shalom,


The series:
A Season in Scripture I
A Season in Scripture II
A Season in Scripture III 
A Season in Scripture IV

A Season in Scripture V 
A Season in Scripture VI

A Season in Scripture VII


Sharing inspiration here:
Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Faith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments, Heart Encouragement
#DanceWithJesus

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Inspired by . . . A Season in Scripture VII


Scripture Pictures

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over His kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. (Isa 9:6-7)

I can't read this scripture without the measure of Handel's Messiah accompanying the words in my mind. The wonderment of these verses makes it difficult to remain silent. How the earth must have struggled not to bloom under the feet of our Lord!

If we, mere humans, can feel thus about the Gift, imagine what moved the heart of the Giver.

The scripture tells us: "The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this."

The Hebrew word is qin'âh and can also be translated as jealousy. Now please do not be confused. God is not jealous OF us, He is jealous FOR us. We are His and He is ours and He is determined that nothing shall come between us.

Webster clarifies this a bit with his definition of zeal: fervor or ardor for a person or cause


God's love for us is a jealous love. Hannah Hurnard describes it this way:
Love is beautiful but it is also terrible - terrible in its determination to allow nothing blemished or unworthy to remain in the beloved.
Christ is the personification of God's terrible love for us. He is the instrument by which everything blemished is healed and everything unworthy is made honorable.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!


Shalom,

The series:
A Season in Scripture I
A Season in Scripture II
A Season in Scripture III 
A Season in Scripture IV

A Season in Scripture V 
A Season in Scripture VI




Sharing inspiration here:
Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Faith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments, Heart Encouragement
#DanceWithJesus

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Inspired by . . . A Season in Scripture VI



Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall He eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good. (Isa 7:14-15)

Isaiah 7:14 is probably the best-known prophecy concerning the birth of the Messiah. Yet what feeds my soul this morning are the preceding verses. What the "therefore" is there for.

Here in Isaiah chapter seven, we find King Ahaz and the city of Jerusalem besieged. Scripture tells us, "the king and people shook like forest trees shaking in the wind."

Now before you feel too sorry for King Ahaz the backstory here, given to us in 2 Ch 28:5, is that they were in this situation because of their sin. They had forsaken the Lord their God and God, in His sovereignty, had given them over to their enemies. 

King Ahaz was a wicked man. Yet he was of the house of David and as such, an heir to the Promise.

So here it is in the preceding verses of Isaiah seven that we see not only the foretelling of God's grace and mercy to mankind but we witness His grace and mercy to one, wicked, individual. 

God sends the prophet Isaiah to encourage King Ahaz. He tells him that those who have laid siege to Jerusalem will never rule. He tells the quaking king, "Have firm faith, or you will fail to stand firm."

This is God's mercy on King Ahaz and the kingdom of Judah.

But God doesn't stop there. God also extends grace to the king. 


Remember, King Ahaz had forsaken God. Instead of serving and trusting in the Lord, he worships idols and other gods. He relies on the strength of man to help him rather than the Lord. God knows this. He knows Ahaz has no faith to believe in the prophecy.

So God goes beyond mercy and graciously offers King Ahaz confirmation of the prophecy by a sign of the king's choosing. How does the King respond?

He rudely refuses God's offer! He would rather persist in his unbelief that be beholden to God.

God reveals His plan to save all of mankind to a faithless, rebellious king in the midst of a besieged city.  Seems a bit odd, doesn't it? A bit pathetic maybe? What's the point?

God. God is the point. God's character, the truth of Who He IS.

This is what speaks to my soul this morning.

His immeasurable grace and mercy. His sovereignty over all.

It is revealed in this passage of scripture as He looks down from heaven on His city, Jerusalem. Besieged because of sin.

It is revealed 700 years later as He looks down from heaven on a lowly manger in Bethlehem.

It is revealed today as He looks down from heaven and continues to extend His grace to a world still besieged by sin, content to persist in their unbelief.

It will be revealed one day soon when He comes down from heaven to rule and reign in Glory.

Let us sit quietly, savoring these truths and cherishing Him as we wait.


Shalom,



The entire series:
A Season in Scripture I
A Season in Scripture II
A Season in Scripture III 
A Season in Scripture IV

A Season in Scripture V










Sharing inspiration here:
Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Faith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments, Heart Encouragement
#DanceWithJesus

Monday, December 11, 2017

Inspired by . . . A Season in Scripture V



And again Isaiah says, "The root of Jesse will come, even He Who arises to rule the Gentiles; in Him will the Gentiles hope." 
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Rom 15:12-13)

Hope is a powerful thing. Our hope, as Believers, is in Christ. In His power to save. In His return.

Our hope is not a wishful thinking kind of hope, as some may think. Our hope is set on Christ and the expectancy of receiving in Him all that is promised. [click to tweet]

The hope set before us. Christ, the anchor of our lives. (Heb 6:19)

Our hope is assured and the substance of our hope produces faith.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Heb 11:1)
Our hope is the evidence of things not yet seen. What is this evidence? Christ Himself. In us, the hope of glory!
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: (Col 1:27)
What mystery! What glory! What wonder! What grace!

That Christ came first as a babe and died as a man to redeem us. That Christ came then into our hearts to guide us. That He will come again to make all things right.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope in your hearts this Christmas.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Inspired by . . . A Season in Scripture IV



I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: He that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: He shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore. (Psa 121:1-8)

Psalm 121 is one of my favorite psalms. The idea of looking, physically seeking help from the Lord, is a powerful attitude. The true and only help we really need is fulfilled in the salvation that only He offers. 

Salvation. Being saved from the penalty of my actions. The penalty of death.


Wow, that sounds a lot like personal accountability. My wrong actions have a penalty. That penalty is death. 

Not death as in the end of this life.

But death as in eternal death. Separation from God.

You think you are separated from God now. But that is not so. The worst of this life doesn't begin to compare to the reality of eternal death.

Only Jesus can guard us against this death.

Only His life, His death, His blood can protect us.

Only He, as One Who suffered, as One Who was tempted as we are but did not sin, can take unto HImself the penalty we have earned.

This is the promise of Psalm 121. This is the HOPE of Christmas.


The promise of help from an all-sufficient, all-powerful God. Jesus is the promised Help.

The promise of protection. Jesus is the promised Protector. He intercedes for us at the right-hand of God.

The promise of surety against temptation. Jesus is the promised Guardian. He will not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability. (1Co_10:13)

The promise of eternal salvation. Jesus is our Savior.


Shalom,

The entire series:
A Season in Scripture I

A Season in Scripture II
A Season in Scripture III

Sharing inspiration here:
Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Faith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments, Heart Encouragement
#DanceWithJesus

Friday, December 8, 2017

Inspired by . . . A Season in Scripture III


There is much more of the knowledge of God to be got by the gospel of Christ than could be got by the law of Moses; and, whereas then in Judah only was God known, now all shall know Him, (Heb_8:11). But that is knowledge falsely so called which sows discord among men; the right knowledge of God settles peace. ~ Matthew Henry




And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. (Isa 11:1-6)
Sitting in the early morning darkness of my home hope is stirred once more as I read the promise of this scripture. 

We see, as with other prophecies, that the Messiah comes from the stem of Jesse. The house and line of David. He is, in every way, qualified to do the work for which He was sent. He will be righteous in His judgment and the exercising of His power will be exact. He will bring peace and tranquility to all. Not only unity between men but safety and security for those who would have none.

As I sit pondering these truths I can't help but wonder why anyone would reject such a Savior. But then, I think most people first see a set of rules before they see redemption.

Don't fall into that trap, Beloved. Don't think you have to be a certain kind of person or follow a set of rules before God will accept you. He loves you as you are. Truly.

Give Him that part of you that snaps at the world before the third cup of coffee. Those selfish ambitions and secret loathings. Give Him the shame and the habits you just can't seem to stop. He judges rightly. But here's the best part: If you're found wanting the deal isn't off.

Whatever we lack, God provides. He cleanses, He redeems. Whatever is broken is mended, whatever is wrong is made right. Whatever pieces of you that have been picked apart and taken by others are remade by Him.

Only the One Who made you whole can remake you whole.

Don't believe the lies - go to the source. Open a bible and read His promises. Learn Who He really IS, not who the world wants you to believe Him to be.

Prepare your heart to receive Him. He is coming soon . . .


Shalom,






Sharing inspiration here:
Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Faith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments, Heart Encouragement
#DanceWithJesus

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Inspired by . . . A Season in Scripture II


God, endow the king with Your own justice, his royal person with Your righteousness, that he may govern Your people rightly and deal justly with Your oppressed ones. Psalms 72:1-2
Psalm 72, the last recorded prayer of David, was written for his son, Solomon. A dying blessing, a prayer of a king for his successor, a prayer for the subjects to sing to their new king.
May he fear You as long as the sun endures, and as the moon throughout the ages. v. 5
As you read through and ponder these verses one thing becomes clear - no earthly king could succeed at all these things.  Solomon, certainly, the wisest of all, with a wisdom given to him by God, was more likely to succeed than any other. Yet, we know the end of his story.
For he will rescue the needy who appeal for help, the distressed who have no protector. He will have pity on the poor and needy, and deliver the needy from death; he will redeem them from oppression and violence and their blood will be precious in his eyes. v. 12-14
Reading these verses in light of our New Testament reveals the precious promises of the coming Messiah. We see the prophecy of prosperity and timelessness of the kingdom of Christ.

The darkness of these days can not blot out the coming Light:

  • There shall be a righteous government. v. 2 All the laws of Christ's kingdom are consistent with the laws of equity. No one will be exempt from the last judgment. The world will be judged in righteousness. (Acts 17:31)
  • There shall be a peaceful government. v. 3 While Solomon's reign was peaceful, true peace is the glory of God's kingdom because it reconciles man to God and men to one another. For He is our PEACE.
  • There shall be a protective government. v. 3; 12-14 The poor and needy shall be, in a particular way, protected. Because they have no helper and because they cry unto Him, He has promised to answer their prayers and to help them. Christ is the poor man's King.
  • All wrongs will be made right. v. 4 Proud oppressors shall be reckoned with. Christ will take away their power to hurt and punish them for all they have done. He shall save us from the power of Satan. Both the old serpent who seeks to deceive and the roaring lion who seeks to terrify and destroy us.
  • Religion shall flourish. v. 5 Faith in Christ brings about the fear of God. So as Christ's government promotes devotion to God, so it promotes both justice and charity among men. v. 7 Righteousness will endure.
  • Christ's government shall cover the whole earth. v. 8 He will have dominion from sea to sea. He shall reign over all. From those who dwell in the wilderness, to those in cottages to those who dwell in the finest palaces. 
  • The Lord Jesus shall reign forever! v. 5, 7 It is Christ and Christ alone Who will be feared throughout all generations and Who will endure as the moon forevermore. His name shall endure FOREVER!
Men shall be blessed. v. 17 Truly and forever blessed in HIM.

As we wait in the darkness of this day may we hold fast to the promise of Gen 12:3; that in HIM all the nations of the earth will be blessed! It is a promise soon to be fulfilled!

Shalom,



The entire series:
A Season in Scripture I


Sharing inspiration here:
Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Faith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments, Heart Encouragement
#DanceWithJesus

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Inspired by . . . A Season in Scripture I


"Begin this wintry month with God...Let us wrap ourselves in the warm garments of our Lord's promises." -Spurgeon

Advent is where the story begins.

During this season of waiting, we choose to enter the story as it happened for those who came before us. As people of God waiting for the long-expected Messiah.

We wait with anticipation, with longing, and with hope.

Yet even as we enter this posture of waiting we do so with the Light already burning brightly in our hearts. This side of the Cross we practice the "already but not yet" kind of waiting.

With each generation of believers the wait is lessened but the groaning and anticipation increase.

The prophecy of His coming begins before the creation of the world. 
   But from you, Bethlehem in Ephrathah, small as you are among Judah's clans, from you will come a king for Me over Israel, one whose origins are far back in the past, in ancient times.
   Therefore only until she who is pregnant has given birth will he give up Israel; and then those of the people that survive will rejoin their brethren. He will rise up to lead them in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
   They will enjoy security, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. Then there will be peace. Micah 5:2-5a RE
The King James version says of the king, "whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." v.2b  

Everlasting= o-lawm': always, continual, eternal

This scripture can refer only to Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the One Who was and is and is to come.

It's an amazing and wondrous thing to find ourselves living in the very midst of this prophecy! Can you sense the wonder of being part of something so much bigger than ourselves?

As the days continue to shorten and we find ourselves beginning our days in darkness and coming home each night in the darkness, may each glimmer of light remind us of the One Who goes forth in the majesty of the Lord.

She who is pregnant is about to give birth. We anticipate His coming.

One day the Messiah will return. Then His greatness will reach the ends of the earth. Then there will be peace.

We anticipate His coming.


Shalom,







Sharing inspiration here:
Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Faith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments, Heart Encouragement
#DanceWithJesus

Friday, December 1, 2017

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 48:52

Hello, friends.

Someday I hope to be able to write with grace about my absence from this space. As so many of my friends who suffer far more than I do, write in theirs. Until then, I hope that you will continue to return here when there are new offerings. And I pray the words and images, however sporadic, will always bless you.


Patio View

God blessed us with a quiet, peaceful place to rest during these last couple of weeks. We were also blessed to have the opportunity to reconnect with friends and family. 


Cactus Wren
Abert's Towhee
Verdin

We finally met, in real life, my brother's adorable little boy, Liam, who is now two. He is our miracle baby who the doctors said would not live and on top of that, arrived five weeks early! God is in control and He is good. It was also fun to reconnect with Liam's older sister, Sophia, who just turned five. We were in Arizona almost five years ago to the day when she came home from the hospital herself! Say it with me, "Where does the time go?"

I'm so very thankful for my brother, his wife and their beautiful children. I will remember the feeling of their sweet little hugs for a very long time to come.


Those Arizona sunsets . . .

I was also blessed with the opportunity to reconnect with several of my girlfriends. Many of whom I had not seen, in real life, for nearly 10 years. It was a fun evening filled with a lot of laughter!

Despite all the fun, we are very glad to be back home. Like most of you, we are decorating our home with greenery, bright lights and other festive fare in anticipation of the holiday season. 


Agave Blossom

We are also preparing to enter into to a season of quiet anticipation. Advent, the season of waiting, begins this Sunday, December 3rd.

I hope you will join me here as I share my thoughts and a series of scriptures focusing on the coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


Blessings,







Sharing inspiration here:
Nature Notes, Through My LensBird D’pot,
Saturday’s Critters, Life thru the Lens,
Wild Bird WednesdayOur World Tuesday,
Community Global, Photo Friday, Little Things Thursday