Scripture Pieces

Matthew 5:6-10 spoke to me in my morning bible study.  It is half of the Beatitudes (the beginning focus on humility, mourners and the meek and lowly).  It continues on to “those who are happy.”

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The entire book of Matthew seems to be a guide — how to live a life that is pleasing to God, and how to be a light in dark places for others to find Christ.  We are often the only positive example of Christianity a non-believer might see.

I, myself have overreacted in various life situations, I have hurt others with my words and I have been hurt by the words and actions of others.  We are human, we are not perfect and imagining a life that is; sets us up for failure.  I see each day as a new start, a new beginning, a new opportunity to change the heart of another.  We are not put on this earth to merely live and exist, we are ultimately here to share the kingdom of God with all people, to live righteously (not perfect) and to love God with our heart and soul.

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Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.’

Romans 1:6-7 And you, dear friends in Rome, are among those he dearly loves; you, too, are invited by Jesus Christ to be God’s very own—yes, his holy people. May all God’s mercies and peace be yours from God our Father and from Jesus Christ our Lord.
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Pieces of Renewal

Something just happens to our spirit when Spring is near.  Warmer and longer days, more sunshine, bluer skies, and the opportunity to cast off the weight of old man winter!

Isaiah 25:1  O Lord, I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God; you do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them, just as you said! 

Finding a new church, a bible passage that speaks to you, having conversation with a trusted friend – that can give another outlook, these are all tantamount in our walk with Jesus.  Sometimes we need to breathe fresh life into our life — just as we accomplish, taking a deep breath.  Out with the old, in with the new.

May you be blessed, experiencing new life; in your own and those around you.

 

Pieces of the Word

Ezekiel taught six principles that helped the people of this time period discover God on a personal level and understand what good can be gained from living in harmony and having a peaceful heart.

  1. God works through human messengers.
  2. People need to trust in God’s sovereignty.
  3. God’s word never fails.
  4. God can be worshiped anywhere.
  5. In order to receive blessings, you must obey God.
  6. God’s kingdom will come.

Ezekiel was devoted to the word of God, and he taught that we must overcome our obstacles.

How?

I have told you all this so that you will have peace of heart and mind. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world.”
“If I can?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if you have faith.”

 

 

 

Pieces of Poetry

Often quoted, but rarely interviewed, Mary Oliver is one of our greatest and most beloved poets. She’s just released a new volume, Felicity, at the age of 80. And so we’re revisiting the interview she granted us earlier this year on the wisdom of the world, the salvation of poetry, and the life behind her writing.  (the interview link)

I was more moved by phrase: “the salvation of poetry” than by the entire article!  It spoke to me on a very spiritual level.

The Psalms, Song of Solomon, even Proverbs are similarly — pieces of poetry scattered throughout the bible.

There are very few actual verses relating to the word “poetry” but I did find one that was appropriate (the other was on the act of war).  Acts 17:28 For in him we live and move and are! As one of your own poets says it, ‘We are the sons of God.’

Psalm 95:2 Come before him with thankful hearts. Let us sing him psalms of praise.
Ephesians 5:19 Talk with each other much about the Lord, quoting psalms and hymns and singing sacred songs, making music in your hearts to the Lord.

 

 

Pieces of Patience

What does it mean to “wait on God”?  Is it an opportunity or challenge?  Perhaps both?

Psalm 62:  I stand silently before the Lord, waiting for him to rescue me. For salvation comes from him alone. Yes, he alone is my Rock, my rescuer, defense and fortress. Why then should I be tense with fear when troubles come?

Psalm 27:14 Don’t be impatient. Wait for the Lord, and he will come and save you! Be brave, stouthearted, and courageous. Yes, wait and he will help you.

I do believe that we experience many of the same types of trials over & over again, until we understand the concept of “waiting on God,” waiting for a decision to come, rather than our feeble attempts to fix or control the situation.

Past failures never prevent God’s willingness or ability to use us.

 

Pieces of Love

1 Corinthians 13  If I had the gift of being able to speak in other languages without learning them and could speak in every language there is in all of heaven and earth, but didn’t love others, I would only be making noise. If I had the gift of prophecy and knew all about what is going to happen in the future, knew everything about everything, but didn’t love others, what good would it do? Even if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, I would still be worth nothing at all without love.

Love is the ultimate gift, when we profess our faith – share it with the love of Jesus.  The heart of Jesus; we are for many — the only bible they will ever see.

Let your life reflect that love.  Go in peace, live in harmony.

It is not our place to judge or demoralize, I am no better than you, I do however, have a heavenly promise – my fate is sealed, nothing I can do or say now or ever will remove me from the love of my Father.  Having a relationship with God is like no other.  It guides my life, refreshes my spirit, gives meaning to the ordinary and brings out the extraordinary in many circumstances.  I am blessed.  I am loved.

Romans 3:21-22  But now God has shown us a different way to heaven—not by “being good enough” and trying to keep his laws, but by a new way (though not new, really, for the Scriptures told about it long ago). Now God says he will accept and acquit us—declare us “not guilty”—if we trust Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, by coming to Christ, no matter who we are or what we have been like.

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Confusing Pieces

Usually at least once a week I am mystified by a situation in my life and confusion sets in.

Our first instinct is to fix it ourselves.  BIG mistake.  The more we try to fix, the bigger the problem becomes.  It’s as if we are taking one small hill and overnight turning it into a mountain.

Philippians 4:8  Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.

Psalm 71:15   I cannot count the times when you have faithfully rescued me from danger. I will tell everyone how good you are, and of your constant, daily care.
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We do best when we don’t go it alone.  Put your faith and circumstances in God, He will never lead you astray.

Pieces of Physical Pain

There are two schools of thought when dealing with chronic pain.  1) Deal with it, internalize, tell everyone you are fine when you are not and 2) Deal with it, find other avenues for venting (journaling, pain management, psychological therapy, etc.) and acknowledge your pain when asked.

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What is the biblical take on chronic pain?  Is there one?

One thing I discovered is that there are plenty of verses relating to physical pain:

Oh, that God would grant the thing I long for most—to die beneath his hand and be freed from his painful grip.
He complained about a headache and soon was moaning in pain. His father said to one of the servants, “Carry him home to his mother.”
I am worn out with pain; every night my pillow is wet with tears.
When Jesus arrived in Capernaum, a Roman army captain came and pled with him to come to his home and heal his servant boy who was in bed paralyzed and racked with pain.
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I have lived with chronic pain since 2008.  My sacroiliac joint was acting up.  It never got better and seven years later it brought me to a pain management doctor.  I was not gung-ho about medicine to relieve pain; I still wanted to live; which meant being able drive, work, function as a human being.   And it did, finally.  Eight months later we found the solution.  It does take trial and error and a doctor who ‘gets’ you.
In my opinion, it also takes lots of prayer; your own and those of others.  What are we to lay at the altar?  Only the minuscule things?  I think not.  I believe the bigger the request, the more power lies in the prayer and ultimately, EVERY ANSWER TO PRAYER acknowledges our relationship with God.

Stronger Pieces

Happy 2016!  This year our focus will be on strengthening our faith, looking at challenges with different eyes and learning that God is always, ALWAYS there.  No matter what. 

But Abraham never doubted. He believed God, for his faith and trust grew ever stronger, and he praised God for this blessing even before it happened.
What holds us back on our walk of faith?  Disbelief, fear, anxiety, emotional turmoil?  Feeling abandoned, betrayed, worthless?  Live on the positive, uplifting side of grace.
For Jehovah God is our Light and our Protector. He gives us grace and glory. No good thing will he withhold from those who walk along his paths.
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May you walk in faith, grace and the love of Jesus.  He is all you need.

Overwhelming Pieces

Today, a prayer was answered that came from a very heavy heart. 

I believe when we intensify our prayer time, come to Jesus with everything we have, and all that we do not, with a pure heart and true honesty, when we lay down the hurt, grievances, heartache – God desires to free us from it.  And by freeing, we are saved.  Again and again, we are saved by the love of Jesus.

“Don’t recite the same prayer over and over as the heathen do, who think prayers are answered only by repeating them again and again. Remember, your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!
There is never a place in our heart our life that our Father doesn’t know or can’t reach.  Oftentimes we have very little faith, we believe our situation is so dire that God can’t fix it, but most of the time – we don’t need fixing, we need only to fix our eyes and heart on God, let him do the work.  Let him in.  Let him love you.