Chasing Butterflies and Blowing Bubbles

Another year ~ and in these latter years I now realize that I am in my second childhood ~ butterfly-net-clipart-A_Girl_with_a_Butterfly_Net_Royalty_Free_Clipart_Picture_100224-130807-147053and loving it.

This morning my thoughts were brought back to years ago when our home was a busy hub. On one of those days Jerry and I were sitting at the dining room table, observing an eventful scene at the kitchen counter between my mother and our youngest granddaughter, Emma. as they were eating ice cream.

Mother, who had Alzheimer’s disease and was living with us, was crying, and saying that she needed to go home. Emma had her hand on Mother’s knee and was talking to her. This three-year-old child was consoling a ninety-one-year old woman, who was listening and responding to her encouragement. I wrote about the incident as I related a young child’s understanding of what it means to want to go home.
Jerry and I could not remember the words, but only that it was an extraordinary, moving experience. Scan 152400000
Olivia was in the back yard chasing butterflies.Scan 152400002  I had just brought her home from kindergarten. She ministers in her own way.

My second childhood seems to be between a three-year-old and a five-year-old. Writing has become the main outlet for my witness to the grace and glory of my Lord. There are times when I get down to the nitty-gritty, really serious stuff that the Lord gives me, but it is difficult to keep at it until it is finished. He has done much for me, in me, with me, around and through me over the years. Much has been finished, but there is still much that lacks completion.

At this age my life is somewhat correspondent to my writing. Childlikeness is good, but always needs a goal, guidance and discipline, which comes from the heart and hand of our Father. The joy of life in Christ seems at times as if I am enjoying the things I used to do with the grandchildren ~ chasing butterflies, and blowing bubbles.Scan 152400001 But the Lord is not through with me yet. This is the second time around ~ and now I need to get back to the ice cream.

Gracious Father, thank you for your patience, your mercy and your grace with your children.  You know how weak we are, and how much we need you.  Thank you for the days and the years of guiding, of teaching, of training.  Thank you that no one can snatch us out of your hand.  Thank you for a love that is the homing device by which your Holy Spirit draws us home to you.  In Jesus’ name I thank and praise you.  Amen.

Reminders For the New School Year (Part 3) ~ Seeking

Matthew_6-33What is the difference between the things of the world and the things of God? What separates the kingdom of the world from the Kingdom of God? The things of the world are visible, easily seen, tempting and influencing and aiding our lust for these things.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” 1 John 2:16

Remember my granddaughter’s reply to my question of why children go to school?~ “To get a job, make money, and buy what we want.”
Education, knowledge, work, and money are the stepping-stones to satisfying the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. In these the adversary of our souls does his work and rejoices with us whenever we can afford (or buy with a credit card) a new product that we have seen advertised. If purchases are just to fulfill our desires he can claim us for himself and the kingdom of this world.

Spiritual Need
In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) Jesus speaks of the reality of God’s law for humanity; the essence of true life as God created it to be. He interpreted God’s commandments as He meant them to be understood and practiced in this life.

Jesus was revealing to the common people of His day a picture of successful living. He was here to transfer the written law from stone and paper to the human heart and life.

“Take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knows that ye have need of all these things.” Matthew 6:31-32

It is here that He emphasizes what God’s children should be seeking first; showing that their desires should be for something higher than this world offers, because our Father has already planned these things for us. He points out a specific difference in the life of the masses compared to life in the kingdom of God. The world’s concerns are only for the things of this world, and not for the things that God wants for us.

Jesus told His disciples that it was the Father’s pleasure to give us the kingdom; not just part, but the whole.  All this He promises for our eternity with Him, and prepares us for it here.

What It Means to Seek
The word “seek” in the New Testament means to look for something that is hidden. To seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness is to desire and continue to seek until we find what is hidden. In Part 2 ~ Asking ~ we saw that we are to ask for the Holy Spirit and for wisdom. With the Spirit of wisdom we have the guidance to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

When God created us in His own image He created us not just as physical beings, but also as spiritual beings, with needs for both. When we seek only what we need physically we are still poor and needy. We need bread and water and clothing and shelter, but the physical things are temporal. If no other life were promised to us these would be all we needed and would be enough, though they would have to be continually replaced.

In Matthew 4 Jesus is tempted by Satan to turn stones into bread. Although He could have done so, Jesus answers him from Isaiah, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

The words that proceed from the mouth of God are given to us by His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, which inspired the words of God to be written brings us to His Word, The Holy Bible, and guides us to find there the kingdom of God and His righteousness. The things of God and His kingdom are promised for us here and also for another life which is spiritual and everlasting, though now unseen to the human eye. They are eternal, never wearing out, never needing to be replaced.

Even as all wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Jesus Christ, so is the righteousness of God. We cannot earn a degree in righteousness; we cannot work or purchase it. We must, in faith, receive it as the Father’s gift to us and live in humility, praise and recognition of what Christ has earned for us.

 Righteousness is the law of His kingdom, and found only in Jesus Christ His Son whom He sent to bring His kingdom to earth, and through it to gather His people to Himself, for now and eternity. Christ is the King, who will reign until He has put all the enemies of this world under His feet, including all our desires of the flesh and for this world. He came to separate His people from the world, to prove those who belong to Him. He came, lived to fulfill all righteousness ~ the law of the kingdom ~ and to give His righteousness to us, who by His Spirit seek and find what He desires for us.

“Seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth,
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

Colossians 3:1

A formal education takes us through fourteen years of learning how to seek and acquire the kingdoms of this world. College and extended training adds more ability to fulfill the American Dream. How many years do we seek God’s word to find His kingdom and His righteousness, and to praise Him for providing us with all that we need for this life and for eternity with Him?

Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.” Psalm 105:4


Knocking

 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

 Sometimes we may begin a search for something, and because it is not easy for us to find, we give up and settle for less than our heavenly Father has prepared for us.

When Jesus tells us to ask, seek and knock it is with this in mind. He knows our tendencies to look for the easy way of this life, and thereby miss the greater life of the spiritual things. We ask in prayer, we seek through His Word, both of these in the power of His Holy Spirit. When by His Spirit He begins to teach us and to reveal His kingdom to us He works a greater desire in us to earnestly seek Him and all that He promises in His Word. We knock when with the whole heart we desire His presence, His power and wisdom above everything else, and at whatever the cost.

Knocking: “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsts for thee, my flesh longs for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;” Psalm 63:1

Answer:  And he said unto me, It is done . I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.” Revelation 21:6

He reveals a kingdom and a life that is greater than any we have known here. Our thoughts and desires are changed. We begin to hunger and thirst for His righteousness, and knock at the door of His heart until He opens the doors of heaven to us.
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Gracious Father, I have but one heart, one desire, one life here and forevermore. You have made it a heart for yourself. Fill it with your Spirit, Holy and Righteous. Transform me by the renewing of my mind through your word, and conform me to the image of Christ, your Son. Write on my heart, every thought, every word, and by your will work in me every deed that proves I am yours, a child after your own heart.  In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Reminders for the New School Year ~ (Part 2) ~ Asking

7129253_origJesus was not here on earth to bring us suggestions that might help us succeed in this life. He came on a mission ~ The Mission For Success ~ in this life and the next. He came to bring the knowledge that we need to strive, survive and thrive. Man’s wisdom and knowledge fail to bring God’s creatures to attain the excellence and the stature that He has planned for us.

Jesus instructed us to ask the Father, to pray to the Father, and to expect from our heavenly Father what we need. He is exceedingly abundantly able to do more than we can ask or think according to the power at work in us. (Ephesians 3:20)

Listen to how He has instructed us to think and ask, “according to the power at work in us.”

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” Luke 11:13

The power at work is the Spirit of God in us. We have no means on our own of learning from Him, understanding or living as He desires us to. The Holy Spirit is the constant teacher, through God’s Word, dwelling in us, teaching and writing on our hearts and in our memory what we learn and live by. Without His Spirit our children and we are simply puppets living by our own desires as our culture dictates.

We can learn and earn as many diplomas and degrees as we want in this world and still remain ignorant and fail in the pursuit of true life.  A formal education may give us the means to achieve the standards that men set for us, and totally miss the mark that our heavenly Father and Creator has set for us and calls us to.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” 2 Peter 1:3-4

The Spirit of God is His divine power in and through His Word, His text book, The Holy Bible, where we are taught of Him. He is the writer of the knowledge of God and the teacher given to all who ask of Him. He comes by the will of the Father to testify of Christ, His Son.

When we take our children to school, or we go to school, we are asking the teachers by their wisdom and knowledge to prepare our children, or us, for life here on earth.  When we come to God and His Word in the power if His Holy Spirit we are asking Him to prepare us and His children for His glory and eternal life with Him.  Are we asking in the right places and for the right things in this life? As His children we have the access to wisdom and knowledge that the world does not have. Are we flourishing and teaching our children what it means to strive for the excellence that is ours in Christ? Consider how many hours and years they learn from the spirit of the world how to live the life of the world. How many hours and years will be spent to accumulate in their minds and hearts how to live for eternity?  Only this preparation will bring true success here and eternally.

Why should we listen to what Jesus says? Why should we depend on God’s Word for living a successful life? Paul prayed for the church at Colossae for them “to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ ……………..

col-2-3-In-whom-all-the-treasures-of-wisdom-and-knowledge-are-hiddenWisdom Given Generously

 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5

In humility we ask, admitting that we lack wisdom. If we ask for wisdom what can we expect from God? It will be the divine power of His Holy Spirit bringing Christ to live and reign in our spirit, soul, and body, in our hearts, our minds, our wills, our impressions, our affections, our emotions, and our expressions. He is the way, the truth, and the life that God has planned for His children. Anything less than following in His footsteps will only produce a deception ~ at best, an imitation.

Dear Father, the wisdom of the world, comes from the world to achieve its own purposes. You teach us the difference when you teach us of Christ. So fill us with your Spirit that your continual presence be the test of what is genuine in this life.  Separate what is of you and what is of the world. Thank you for your divine power to destroy the strongholds, imaginations and false teachings of our culture. Enable us to teach our children about you, to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Reminders for the New School Year

 The spirit of the world says:

“In everything you do ~ HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!

The Spirit of God says:

“Whether therefore you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

“The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” (Shorter Catechism)

Anything less than this is a waste of the precious time and talent that God gives us here on this earth.

Years ago, when asked why children go to school, my young granddaughter replied, “So that we can get a job, make money, and buy what we want.”

God’s mandate for His children is for us to learn of Him and so live in accordance with His will and plan for our lives. He gave us minds to receive His instructions and hearts for Him to write on.

This does not mean that we bring children up in ignorance of what is needed for survival and success in this life. The hope of the whole word of God is for growth in the wisdom and knowledge that is above this world, a wisdom that enables the children of God to succeed and flourish in this life above all the wisdom of the world. It is the knowledge of the Most High God who created and sustains with all His provisions and protection. It is His Spirit working in the spirits of His children to know Him, fear Him, and love Him, to obey, worship and serve Him.   This is His working in His children for His own glory. Very few people in this world would pass God’s SAT. There is no equal balance between the two worlds, but there are certain things we should consider as we think about how and what we learn in this life.

FUN is not a Biblical concept, but it has become the center of our culture. It is antithetical to Biblical understanding of true life. In the following parts of this article, we will look at God’s mandate for His people concerning education and life.

rejoice-in-the-Lord-child-boy-smiling-christian-wallpaper_1366x768-1024x575

Music for God’s children ~ Whether Therefore ~ 1 Corinthians 10:31

Dear Father, your promises are revealed in your word, promises for an abundant life bound up in your Son, Jesus Christ. Draw us by your Spirit to see all things in light of your glory, the means of our joy and happiness in this world and the next. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Yet I Will Rejoice

Habakkuk 3:17-18 is one of Scripture Tunes recorded years ago.  Recently I added second voice and made the video as part of a project based on the Book of Habakkuk, which will include sermons, and other comments on how God works during times of adversity.

Claiming Our Rights

    God, our heavenly Father calls us to lay aside every claim to any rights to ourselves; and to lay claim to all the blessings, imagesand benefits that He promises us in Christ and His Word.

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God , and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Romans 8:17

We tend to settle with what we want and what we think we need, therefore not receiving what God has prepared for us as His children.  One of the first benefits is having His Word, The Holy Bible. In it we find all the treasures that we may claim in His name. It is last will and testament, revealing all that He wants us to know about Him and what He has bequeathed to us, remembering that we do not deserve anything, but all is of His grace.

            “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.”  Psalm 68:19

            “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits;” Psalm 103:2

Read the whole of Psalm 103 and find these benefits.

             “What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?” Psalm 116:12

We do not deserve, nor can we ever return anything but obedience, praise and thanksgiving for His benefits.

Read His Word daily as if looking for the rights that are given to us in His kingdom. It is an exhaustive search for which we find all that He wants us to. Only a few are listed here, because they are two numerous for an article; and the book has already been written. We need to search diligently for what is given to those who ask, seek and knock at the door of His heart.

His Love

              “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that  love him.”  1 Corinthians 2:9

               “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his  Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  1 John 4:10

His Mercy:

His Salvation through the forgiveness of sins

His Mind:  “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”  1 Corinthians 2:16

                       “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5

His Riches: And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

His Kingdom: “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32

                        “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Romans 8:32

 Dear Father, We thank you and praise you for every days provision of all that you give us in and through your Son, Jesus Christ.  We deserve nothing but your disapproval and wrath, but by your mercy and grace you have made us your own children, heaping upon us all your love and benefits.  Open the eyes of your children to see the waste of the world in those things that are never satisfying; and give the light of Christ to see eternal life in you and your eternal treasures.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen