Monday, June 29

All Things Are Held Together

In the beginning, God created…

David said, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” (Ps. 19:1-4 NIV)

In other words, the heavens present the creations of God’s handiwork like a singing and dancing chorus line, parading across a vast, cerulean stage. Daily, they declare the knowledge of God, and nightly, they sing their own special praise songs, but their divine drama goes unnoticed.

Seeing the vast universe that God has created, some people plead ignorance to the knowledge of the Creator and His Word in action.

Paul says they have no excuse, “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities - His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” (Rom. 1:20 NLT)

Though the vast outer limits of celestial bodies silently declare the truth of God’s eternal power of creation, His handiwork is nowhere more evident than within man’s body.

God’s Word fashioned man in His Own image, as if He drew near to form him with His own hands out of the earth, as a potter in total absorption with his clay, taking time to sculpt him. Though God spoke man into being with His Word, He initiated a personal relationship with him as His special creation, as a hands-on project.

The Potter took His time with His most prized possession, and through His Word, molded here, patted there, adding more in this spot, a little less in that spot. Can’t you just imagine that Adam looked like one of Michelangelo’s statues when God was finished?

When God finished creating man, He knew every intricate organ, ligament, and cell in man’s body. He knew every hair on his head. And He knew exactly what that body needed to be held together.

The Word says, “Christ Himself is the Creator who made everything in heaven and earth, the things we can see and the things we can’t…all were made by Christ for His own use and glory. He was before all else began and it is His power that holds everything together.” (Col. 1:16-17 TLB) Including man’s body.

Quite some time ago, a friend sent me an email that had been circulating at the time and has since become quite renowned. It looks deep into the complexity of man’s body, into the cellular level, and shows what God created to hold our bodies together.

Many of you have probably read about or seen a video by Louie Giglio on laminin. If you haven’t, let me explain. (At the end of the post is a link to the video.)

Laminins are a family of proteins in our bodies. They are cell adhesion molecules and, with other proteins, literally are the glue holding our skin, organs, tissues, and cells in place and allow them to function properly. Without laminins, we would fall apart.
Now…here’s the cool part. This is what a laminin looks like…

Isn’t that awesome? We are held together by Christ in the cross…not only spiritually but physically as well. No one can e-v-e-r tell me there is no God!

“His power…holds everything together.”

I have no excuse not to believe. Do you?

~~Blessings, Lynn~~

If you’ve never seen the Louis Giglio video on laminin, it is awesome. Click here.

Thursday, June 25

The Fruitful Soil

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.” (John 15:1 KJV)

“Now here is the explanation of the story I told about the farmer planting grain: The hard path where some of the seeds fell represents the heart of a person who hears the Good News about the Kingdom and doesn't understand it; then Satan comes and snatches away the seeds from his heart. The shallow, rocky soil represents the heart of a man who hears the message and receives it with real joy, but he doesn't have much depth in his life, and the seeds don't root very deeply, and after a while when trouble comes, or persecution begins because of his beliefs, his enthusiasm fades, and he drops out. The ground covered with thistles represents a man who hears the message, but the cares of this life and his longing for money choke out God's Word, and he does less and less for God. The good ground represents the heart of a man who listens to the message and understands it and goes out and brings thirty, sixty, or even a hundred others into the Kingdom.” (Matt. 13:18-23 TLB)

The Lord says…

“If the ground is not turned, I cannot plant My seeds. A life as a lovely green meadow with its abundance of wild flowers is a fair picture of beauty. But there’s more to be had from the rich soil lying beneath the surface blanket of a lovely green pasture. Cultivating this meadow can produce a harvest of fruit, of nourishment, of good things for others.

The Hand of the One tilling the soil is the One Who loves it the most and sees the greatest potential in it for harvest. The roots beneath the surface must be ripped out that the ground might be tilled and furrowed, giving room to accept the seeds of growth.

Open your eyes and see as I see. I see beautiful golden fields of wheat, waving their ripened grain in the breeze, ready for harvest.

A life in the Hands of the One guiding the plow will be a fruitful meadow yielding a harvest of grain as bread-corn for others. A life uprooted and turned over, welcoming the plantings of the Master Husbandman, will gladden the hearts of others with its lovely field of produce.”

The deep furrows made upon your soul serve only to open it to receive the words, comfort, love, healing, and power of the Lord that they may take root and flourish with a crop of tasty fruit.

God is the Master Husbandman Who sometimes must dig deep into one’s life, knowing where the best soil lies, and dropping in His seeds of encouragement, peace, and blessings that they may grow for the use of others.

“The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.” (2 Tim 2:6 KJV)

The Husbandman knows His soil and purposes to have a harvest. Allow Him to do His tilling in your life and to plant the seeds of Word into your heart that you may give back to Him that bumper crop.


Monday, June 22

Going Down to the Creek

Long before dry cleaners and spot removers, spin cycles and fabric softeners, clothes had to be washed by hand. When the dirt and grim of labor disguised their true colors, clothes needed to be washed.

The women who lived by a river or creek took their families’ laundry down to the water’s edge to pound out the dirt on the rocks. As they walked the worn path, and as they scrubbed their clothes, they would converse with one another, sharing the loads of their lives as they shared their loads of laundry.

After a discussion with a dear friend about a difficult circumstance in her life, she told her husband of our conversation. He said it had been a good idea that we talked about the problem together. It reminded him of days gone by when the women went down to the creek to wash their clothes and commune with one another.

Paul exhorts us to “Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:2 NLT) When you share your burden with another, scripture says, “That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you.” (Ex. 18:22b NIV)

Is there one with whom you can walk alongside when he or she is in a circumstance of conflict, to share their load, to put a loving arm around them, to offer them a shoulder on which to cry, to speak the right words or say nothing at all? Are you a fellow creek-goer in someone else’s life?

My friend thanked me for “going down to the creek” with her. The next morning during her quiet time with the Lord, she told Him she wanted to go down to the creek and wash out a few things with Him.

So, what about you? Do you have one with whom you can go down to the creek, making your load lighter? If you do not have a fellow creek-goer in your life, the Lord will always be that friend to you, to walk the path with you down to the creek to share your heavy load or to help you wash the dirt out of a few things.

Do you have a worn path to the water, where you go to wash away the accumulated dirt of life that has disguised your true color?

Prayer: Lord, may I often be found down at the creek, being cleansed of all that hinders my relationship with You, while also lightening the load of another as we meet You there.

~~Blessings, Lynn~~

Thursday, June 18

Forgiveness is a Choice of the Heart

Forgive? How can I forgive the one who…

* sabotaged my husband’s business.
* introduced my child to drugs or alcohol.
* stole my identity, leaving me with a financial mess.
* abused me sexually as a child or did so to my child.
* kidnapped my child and sold him/her for sex trafficking.
* lured my teenager from the internet into running away.
* drove down the wrong side of the expressway at night in a drunken stupor and killed my whole family.

Maybe none of this has happened to you. So, do you forgive…

* your husband for having an affair?
* your best friend who lied about you?
* your mother-in-law who has never said a kind word to you or about you?

First and foremost, God forgives us…

The Word tells us that, in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (Eph. 1:7a NKJV) That precious pouring out of His blood is as a veil of disappearance, leaving no trace of whatever we put under it.

When God forgives our sins, He removes them “as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us,” (Ps. 103:12 NKJV) tossing them “into the depths of the ocean,” (Micah 7:19b TLB) never to emerge.

We forgive others…

We forget that forgiveness of others is not optional. No right relationship with God can prevail apart from forgiveness of others.

Jesus declared this in His Sermon on the Mount, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matt. 6:14-15 NLT)

He said that when one prays to first “forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” (Mark 11:25 NLT) Not forgiving or holding a grudge, as the saying goes, is like taking poison in the hope that the other person will die.

Forgiveness is a choice of the heart. So, if we don’t first forgive others, what are the consequences? If we do not forgive others, we destroy our flow of intimacy with the Lord and also hinder our prayers. The Bible says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.” (Ps. 66:18 NKJV)

We ask others to forgive us…

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” (Matt. 5:23-24 NIV)

Leonardo daVinci learned a great lesson in forgiveness. While painting the Last Supper, daVinci had a bitter falling out with his assistant, who started it all because he had some burr under his saddle against daVinci. As daVinci painted the faces of the disciples, he came to the face of Judas and spitefully painted the face of his assistant.

When daVinci came to the last face to be painted, which was Jesus, he drew a blank. He could not put a face on Jesus. Then, God spoke to him and told him he must forgive his assistant. So daVinci went to him, crying and begging the man’s forgiveness. The assistant complied.

When daVinci removed the face of the assistant from Judas, he was then able to paint Jesus, for he clearly saw His face.

We forgive ourselves…

If God has forgiven us and forgotten our disobedience, then we cannot hang onto unforgiveness of ourselves. Since God keeps no catalog of past accounts, He has no eternal archive; therefore, we should not either. The only memory of it, then, is in our own minds, not God’s!

Do you have angry, old bones hidden away in the closet of your heart?

* How long does it take for you to forgive a hurt?
* How long will you be separated from the face of Jesus?
* How long does it take for you to ask another to forgive you?
* Do you cling to unforgiveness, victimizing myself as a form of self-abuse?
* Have you forgiven everyone of everything, or do you drag the unforgiveness of your past behind you in a little red wagon or maybe in a U-haul?

If our sins nailed Jesus’ hands and feet to the cross for our forgiveness, then why do we hold a grudge, offense, or unforgiveness in our hearts against our brother or sister, who has also been forgiven?

Lord, “forgive [me of my] sins, just as [I] have forgiven those who have sinned against [me].” (Matt. 6:12 NCV) And when I find it difficult to forgive, help me to be willing to forgive. As David said, “Search me, O God, and know my heart…See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Ps. 139:23a, 24 NIV)

Is forgiveness the choice of your heart?

~~Blessings, Lynn~~

Monday, June 15

The Parable of a Different Christian

What makes us, as Christians, stand out from the crowd? Do we look like the world?

Christians are to stand out and make a difference, in a positive way, of course. But are we doing it? Are we distinct, in any way, or divergent in the manner in which we run our lives or our businesses from the way the world runs their lives and businesses? Or do we just blend in with everyone else?

At a young age, Jesus declared, “I must be about My Father’s business,” (Luke 2:49 NKJV) in other words, the affairs of His Father, all those matters that pertain to the activities and establishment of the Kingdom.

If Jesus’ mission involved all that pertained to the working of His Father’s Kingdom, then we need to learn to function in, take care of, and promote those same concerns. What kind of “business partners” or “sales reps” are we?

So, let’s look at it as a parable…

God is the Owner, the Proprietor, the Manufacturer, and the Repair Department of His establishment. His Son ran the business for a while. However, He had to go on a long business trip and, in His absence, He transferred His authority and power to His beloved by signing the company policy over to her in blood. Leaving her in charge as the administrator of all His work, He commissioned her to act in His Name and invest on His behalf.

Using her authority, the Bride is to run the Kingdom’s business, to watch the store, to be in charge of maintenance, to supervise the workers, to keep an eye on overhead, to replenish inventory, and to do all according to the Owner’s business plan that the Kingdom business might grow.

How then is the Bride living up to her duty and responsibility? How is she spending her time while waiting for her Beloved Bridegroom to appear? Is she equipping herself? Is she a good manager of the Kingdom’s business? Well, let’s see.

Her schedule is so full of forty million activities that she doesn’t have time to read her handbook with her job description, and, consequently, she doesn’t even know how to behave on the job.

She is negligent to exercise her authority and to uphold the duties of her position. Her management skills are less than desirable, as she fails to keep an eye on her salespeople, for some are no longer persons of ethical character.

She lost the ability to manage the cash register and debt proliferates from her multiplicity of credit cards. Her advertising lacks appeal and promotes her own name. Her public relations people sometimes use questionable tactics, turning others away from the benefits of the business.

Her business practices are no different from anyone else’s. No longer seen as upright in character, she looks the same, talks the same, and acts the same as her competitors, who just laugh at her hypocrisy.

Her job is in jeopardy, for she is slowly forfeiting her business rights and she doesn’t even realize what she is losing. She is lax in asserting her influence, so the opposition flourishes while she is out on a coffee break.

Will the tactics of her biggest competitor cause the company to go bankrupt before she sits up and takes notice? Will he seize the property, rendering the business inoperable?

What is she to do? It’s simple. She needs to follow the Manufacturer’s Instruction Manual! The Owner left it for her to read. Why doesn’t she follow it?

After telling one of His parables, Jesus asked Peter, “Who then is the faithful, thoughtful, and wise servant, whom his master has put in charge of his household to give to the others the food and supplies at the proper time?” (Matt. 24:45 AMP)

The Lord asks the same of each of us, “Are you a wise and faithful servant of the Lord? Have I given you the task of managing My household, to feed my children day by day? Blessings on you if I return and find you faithfully doing your work. I will put such faithful ones in charge of everything I own!” (Matt. 24:45-47 TLB)

On the other hand, Jesus said that the “servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes… For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” (Luke 12:47, 48b NKJV)

And this servant’s penalty for being unprepared? God will “appoint him his portion with the hypocrites,” (Matt. 24:51b NKJV) for “it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” (1 Cor. 4:2 NKJV)

Are you faithful and daring enough to stand out as a different Christian?

~~Blessings, Lynn~~

Wednesday, June 10

The Shoes

(Since my computer has been resurrected from the cyber grave, yet is not fully ready to venture out again, I’m posting this story which was prompted from a photo of shoes, spun from a couple of stories I had heard, but I used another photo here as it fit better.)

The dark gray skies overhead threatened an early snow. Rushing shoppers, all bundled up to ward off the cold, crowded the sidewalks, lost in their to-do list for Thanksgiving. Oblivious to their surroundings, no one noticed a small, shivering boy standing in front of the shoe store, his nose pressed against the window, barely dressed and only flip-flops on his dirty feet.

However, one man did see him and stopped, dead still in his tracks, causing others to bump into him. He didn’t notice the bumps and grumblings, but he did notice the small boy because he had a son about the same age. Thinking how he would feel if this were his son standing there, barely clothed, the man…

Sliding up next to the boy, the man stood there for a moment, and then said, “They have some nice shoes here, don’t they?”

“Yeah,” came the soft reply.

“Which ones do you like?”

“That pair over there…the cool running ones.”

“Oh, I’ll bet you can run fast, can’t you?”

“Yes sir. I sure can. Like the wind!”

“You know, I have a little boy just about your age.”

“Oh, yeah? I’ll bet he has shoes like that.”

“Yes, as a matter of fact, he does. But I have an idea.”

“Yeah? What’s that?”

“How ‘bout I take you into the store and buy you that pair of shoes?”

The boy stood there motionless for a moment. Then, with tears in his eyes, he looked up at the man. “You want to buy me shoes?”

“I sure do. Your feet must be freezing and I’d love to buy them for you.”

The boy couldn’t even answer. The man took the boy by the hand and walked into the store. Finding the manager, the man described the pair of shoes and asked the manager to please get a pair in the boy’s size and some socks. Then, he said he and the boy would be in the restroom and would he please bring the shoes and socks in there.

The manager gathered the shoes and socks and, upon entering the men’s restroom, found the man on his knees washing the young boy’s feet.

“Can’t stick dirty feet into clean, new socks and shoes, now can we?”

The young boy just stared as the man lovingly washed away all the accumulated dirt and gently dried his feet.

Feeling he was intruding on a very special moment, the manager quietly placed the shoes and socks on the floor without saying a word.

After the man place the socks and shoes on the boy’s feet, he stood up and, with hands on his hips, said, “Okay. Let’s see how they look. Walk around.”

The little boy couldn’t move. His feet felt glued to the floor. He looked up, tears now streaming down his little face, and said, “Mister, are you Jesus?”

The boy’s words took the man’s breath away. So overcome with emotion, the man could barely speak. Finally, he muttered, “No, son, I’m not. But I know Him very well. And this is a gift from Him.”

“This is the greatest Thanksgiving ever. Would you tell Jesus thank you for me?”

“Well, let’s go for a walk and I’ll tell you how you can do that yourself.”

~~Blessings, Lynn~~

Tuesday, June 2

The Secret Hiding Place

When the bank is overdrawn and bills pile up…
When kids are sick and doctors’ visits are out of the question…
When relationships fall apart and bring heartache…

…know where I run to hide when all these trials and hurts enter my life with a vengeance? As a child running to the security of its father’s lap, I run right into the shelter of God’s presence, His secret hiding place.

David knew this hiding place so well and wrote of it many times. In the Psalms, he said to God, “Hide me under the shadow of Your wings,” (Ps. 17:8 NKJV). “I shall live forever in Your tabernacle; oh, to be safe beneath the shelter of Your wings!” (Ps. 61:4 TLB)

This reminds me of a story I heard someone tell. It happened years ago when a massive fire overwhelmed the Grand Teton National Park. Afterwards, as several men walked through the ashes, one man saw a charred bird and gently moved it with his foot, only to find, beneath the mother, three living baby birds, all of which immediately hopped off. The mother had protected her precious ones under her wings, bringing them deliverance from the fire, for she gave up her life that they might live to take flight.

God’s overshadowing Presence is the same for us, covering us with His wings of protection and rescuing us from the fires of hell through the exchange of Jesus’ death that we might live to have eternal life.

Psalm 91 is a beautiful example of that secret hiding place in the Lord. Verse 1 says, "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." God's secret shelter is like a feathered retreat, a nested refuge. In the first part of verse 4, it says, "With His feathers he will cover you, and under His wings you shall seek refuge." When defined, the meaning of this verse is much richer.

If we reworded it according to its definitions, it might read like this, “Like a mother hen, He will lay the feathers of His wings over you, and cover you with His mantle of protection when you flee to Him for refuge in hope and trust; He will overshadow you, defend you, hedge you in, and stop the approach of the enemy.” How great is that!

As David so aptly put it, “And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by.” (Ps. 57:1 NKJV)

When trials overwhelm you, in what do you take refuge? Where do you hide?

Prayer: Lord, when the waves of life’s circumstances attempt to overwhelm me, I know I can run to You and You will welcome me with open arms, covering me with Your mantle of protection and care. I pray that all those who need to feel Your feathered retreat will do so today. Amen.