Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Joyfully share victory news

I have been studying Psalm 68 recently. This morning I progressed to verse 11. The whole passage has been a real blessing as I have been 'unpacking' it, but verse 11 practically 'jumped off the page', so to speak.

KJV version reads: "The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it." Probably due in part to the 'victorian' flavor of this version (as well as a seeming bias against women by the men of that day) the deep meaning was 'glossed over'.

The NASB translated this verse: "The Lord gives the command; The women who proclaim the {good} tidings are a great host:"

ASB puts it: "The Lord giveth the word: The women that publish the tidings are a great host.

Whatever God's word is (other parts of this Psalm unpack the message) this verse says it is the women's 'job' to joyfully share the good news. WOW!!!

And even more exciting to me is the concept that this joyful sharing is not just one or two women. The numbers are great!

I'll share more later but I got so excited I wanted to share this good news with you too.

And sharing God's good news is an excellent way to experience God's kind of peace in the heart.

Bringer of Peace

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A short time to 'slow down'

The past two weeks we have been BUSY! This Sabbath was such a relief as well as a blessing to be able to lay aside the hustle and bustle and running too and fro.

Almost 2 weeks ago we agreed to help move a friend. Friday afternoon we pretty much completed almost everything. Another friend said they would help us to try to get our friend's car moved.

That seemed enough to keep us busy but there seemed to be plenty more all about the same time.

Our church is planning on having 2 weeks of meetings concerning Victory in Jesus. I have agreed to work with the younger children during that time. I had planned to use another program that I had used last week but presently I have decided to instead do what I call the 'Sanctuary Map'.

I am currently presenting this to a small group every Sabbath so it would be easier, I think, to just use the same material. This age of children most of the time enjoy repetition.

This Friday one of my sisters came by to visit, with a friend. It has been so good to see her. She is helping me to improve some of my 'sanctuary' items while she is here. I have assembled some pieces to represent the articles of furniture and the gate of the earthly sanctuary as described in the Bible so that as we share with others about the earthly Sanctuary they not only 'hear' but can 'see' and even, in a limited way, experience some of the lessons God was trying to teach human beings through this 'map'.

We had recently taken the items representing the sanctuary to a weekend meeting being held in Dalton Ga. There we presented the 'sanctuary map' and a few of its meanings to a group of junior age young people.

My sister has come up with some ideas on how to improve the looks of the seven branched candlestick so we are working on that presently.

I am rather 'tired' this evening so will leave you for now.

Until we meet again, may the Spirit of the Lord fill your heart and life with His JOY, which is your real strength.

Yours in Christ,

Bringer of Peace

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Another aspect of living in God's plan

I seem to have taken quite a while to 'digest' Psalm 66. I finally posted my current paraphrase in the link to the right (if you wish to look at my present understanding of that chapter). There is quite a bit of 'life' and 'living' covered in that Psalm.

I think I found out where the phrase 'through hell and high water' may have come from. Verse 12 refers somewhat to that thought in the KJV: 12 we went through fire and through water but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy [place]. In looking up the meanings of 'hell' and 'water' I found some very interesting concepts. After trying to grapple in my mind with what the author meant I put that part of the verse like this. People have attacked our identity, causing pain (like fiery hell) and humiliation (like someone 'pissing' on us),

God has not promised that life here on planet earth will only be sweet and nice, with everyone treating everyone else the 'right' way. Since we are living in a war zone, called by some the 'great controversy between Christ and Satan, attacks by God's enemy against us in all sorts of ways is currently a 'way of life'. But the later part of the same text gives 'God's' perspective more: yet through these experiences You. God, have matured us and satisfied us abundantly.

We serve an awesome, loving, caring God. I honestly don't believe that He has any desire for all of the experiences we often label as 'hell and high water', but even through them all God still loves us and as we keep on focusing our thoughts on what God is really like the ending of this Psalm helps us to 'read the last chapter', so to speak.

19 If I believe lies about God, He can't always get through me, but He still listens and continues working to answer my heart cries. 20 God is so good, for He has not stopped loving me - even though I don't deserve His love.

I believe God has been enabling me to let go of lies about Him to enable me to be set free in a deeper way. And as the first part of Psalm 66 so aptly put it, "Let everyone express Joy to God." This kind of JOY is not just passing excitement, wanting to 'jump and shout' kind of experience. I just read a statement that described the kind of JOY I believe a more mature Christian begins to experience. "Then talk of the promises; talk of Jesus' willingness to bless. He does not forget us for one brief moment. When, notwithstanding disagreeable circumstances, we rest confidingly in His love, and shut ourselves in with Him, the sense of His presence will inspire a deep, tranquil JOY." and "The purest JOY springs from the deepest humiliation. The strongest and noblest characters rest upon the foundation of patience and love, and trusting submission to the will of God"

Combining that kind of JOY with God's kind of PEACE - which in the Bible is described as "Peace that passes all understanding" - it appears to me God has something 'out of this world' for us to experience in our hearts even while we are still 'here'.

I have much to do today so I must go for now. Until we meet again, may you experience in your own heart God's kind of JOY and His kind of peace - even in the middle of whatever life experiences you are in at the moment.

Bringer of Peace

Friday, April 10, 2009

Update in April

It has been a while since I've had time to sit and write. So much has been happening that it seems 'write time' has been scarce.

With all the comings and goings, though, God has been evident in His directing both experiences and 'consequences', if that is the correct term. Maybe I can explain a little while giving a short summary of some of our recent activities.

We had been asked to go to Dalton Ga. to share good news about Jesus with Juniors and youth while their parents were in meetings during the first weekend in April. Last year this same group had met and they estimated that there could be upwards of 50 or so in the class this year. For whatever reason there were only perhaps half that many but the Lord blessed anyway.

In preparation for the classes and based on the estimate given us we had started preparing materials several weeks ahead of the trip. By printing the lesson books on my home printer I figured we could do the 'job' for considerably less than printing at a printing or copy shop.

In the past whenever I have been asked to do a presentation it is almost certain that I will experience some kind of equipment 'failure'. This time was no exception. But by the time I was using the 'fourth' printer even I began to wonder at times what was going on. To make a long story short I now have a second new printer (the first 'new' one died after less than 100 prints).

I have been considering getting my material printed 'commercially' but finances are still tight, so for the time being it appears we will still continue doing our own. I am thinking of printing small amounts on a regular basis so that when the next 'call' for my material comes I might already have some on hand. Of course, in a small two bedroom house that means storage space which at the moment is also a factor that has to be considered. Time will tell.

While plans for the trip were progressing other activities were also going on in our lives. A dear friend of ours has been having challenges which drew upon our sympathies and time. I am so thankful we have been able to assist in various ways to ease our friend's challenges and I thank God for enabling us to share what resources we have with others who also have needs.

Another situation that has been a learning experience for us has been ongoing for some time. We had agreed to let a certain person stay at our farm some time back. This past November it appeared we might possibly be moving in the near future so we told those staying on the farm about our plans to move. All residents living here will have to leave if we move - their living here is dependant on our occupancy). One of the residents, or so it has seemed, decided we were just angry with them and that our letter of intent to move was just our way of trying to get rid of them. About the same time it became evident that everyone was going to have to help more financially in order for all the bills to be paid. As a result, as I mentioned earlier, the one person took it our letter of intent and the need for more assistance with utilities as a personal 'affront' and decided to 'leave' (in a huff, so it seemed). A friend offered them a place to stay free of charge but after two months the person found reason to be offended and left there too. That helped me to realize the problem was not really ours.

Well, we are back from Georgia, having driven many miles in 'sunny snow showers' - a very interesting experience to have the sun shining and snowing at the same time - and we are working to get back into the swing of every day life (whatever that is).

Through all of the above experiences we have seen God guiding and teaching and revealing. I am more than ever convinced that God's meaning of judging is that He will reveal what is hidden so intelligent and true decisions can be made by those who love Him.

I have to go for now but I pray that all who read the above will experience just now the fact that God not only loves you but He is eager to give you the experience of peace in His love.

Bringer of Peace