Monday, February 22, 2010

Count it all JOY - continued

Has today ever been a day calculated to test the 'count it all joy' protocol.

That may be easy to 'say' when you can 'count' blessings and consider them joy.

Can a person say that when it appears that the devil might be trying to have a 'hayday'.

The events are not what are so important as the fact that several people were willing to 'stay by' and pray. What do you do when someone is hurting so bad they can't eat? they can't stand to go to church?

What do you do when it isn't just one or two people, but several? when 'words' seem inadequate to the point that it seems when one says something the meaning seems to be misinterpreted or worse?

Is that the time when God says that it is appropriate to 'count it all joy'?

Is it time to 'count it all joy' when someone you really respect seems to be hurting and in the process appears to lash out?

I believe that God is very interested in each one of the above people and He is looking to find someone(s) who can let these folks know that they are loved - even the way they are right now.

I also believe that God allows us to have gone through previous experiences to enable us to love even when it hurts.

I have a long way to go, but I'm also thankful that God loves for me to be with Him. And the more I experience that 'joy' the more I can share it with others around me.

'The trying (things getting pretty intense) of your faith (choosing to accept God's will) works patience. But let patience have its perfect work, perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Thanks for listening. God loves you as well as me. That can also bring peace as well as joy.

Maiden, Bringer of Peace

Sunday, February 21, 2010

In God's care

This past year has been interesting in more ways than one. When my husband lost his job over a year ago we wondered how our lives would proceed. On the other hand, God has never forsaken us and we didn't expect that to change. God's way of providing changes from time to time but He doesn't change his love to us or His care for us.

In January, due to some changes in unemployment 'status' that the government decided to do we only received one week's unemployment 'insurance'. We have been thankful for what we have received but we thought maybe it was time for us to learn to live on even less 'obvious' support.

Even though unemployment 'assistance' changed, the utility bills kept coming. We also had some other expenses we were not anticipating during February.

While this was going on, I had begun pondering a text near the beginning of James. "Count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations, for the trying of your faith worketh patience. And let patience have her perfect work that ye may be perfect and entire wanting nothing. "

One morning, actually about 3 a.m. I got up, still thinking about the above verse. But it became more than mere thinking, I actually began to 'sing it'. I know a lot of scripture portions to music but that had not been one of them, so I quickly picked up some music notation paper and began to write the melody down. It is fast becoming one of my more favorite choruses.

More than just singing the words, though, I do believe God is enabling me to 'digest' the meaning of that concept.

"God, I love for you to be with me, even when things seem to be going wrong, intense, in directions I haven't planned for, or even when I am being challenged. Your presence with me is what is giving me joy. Even when finances would seem to attempt to overwhelm me, I know that You not only care but are in the process of supplying our needs. I praise You, God. Even more, Father, the more I learn to 'lean' on You, the closer I perceive You to be. Even before I 'see' answers to my needs I can 'count it all joy' so that when the answers become 'visible' I can thank you as well as praise how You have worked things out 'again' and 'again'.

This past week we received a reduced amount (calculated weekly) but since it was for about 6 weeks the amount was enough to pay some on our utilities so that 'nothing' will be turned off.

Count it all JOY!

Last week a couple of friends came over and helped Duane cut, split and stack more wood. Previously to their coming we estimated maybe three day's wood supply left for wood stoves.

Count if all JOY!

Last week I was able to get my printer replaced with a new one so I could 'print' again.

Count it all JOY!

This past week we have had a few warmer days and the wood stack hasn't gone down quite so quickly. We still have quite a bit of snow on the ground (it began at over 2 feet which is quite a bit for this part of the country) but the last two snows have 'fizzled' and for at least three days the 'warmer' (40s to 50s) have been melting the white stuff away.

Count if all JOY!

Even though our son and his wife are out in Idaho they have been keeping in touch by phone. I have been praising the Lord for some of the things we have been learning together as we have spent some quality time looking at some passages of scripture together at different times.

Count it all JOY!

For some time I have been compiling some scripture 'songs' that correlate with the studies on the Bible 'sanctuary'. I was able to complete that project this past week.

Count it all JOY!

There is more but I at least wanted to share a few things God has been doing to show that He loves for us to be with Him as well as we loving for Him to be with us.

Count it all JOY!

It is getting late so I will leave for now. But until we meet again, remember to 'count if all joy'. . .

Bringer of Peace

Monday, February 15, 2010

Count it all JOY

Those who have read this blog previously may have 'picked up' that I believe real JOY and PEACE belong together.

Recently the text from James 1, 'count it all joy' has been factoring in to my like experience quite a bit.

Then last evening I had the wonderful privilege of 'unpacking' this portion of scripture even more with my brother who often can stretch my thinking processes way beyond what I would probably go otherwise - and for that I am grateful.

In no way am I going to be able to 'yet' but down all I have learned, but for now I'll share a few thoughts.

When I use the term 'joy', the definition I am using is that one mind 'loves for another mind to be with it'. I love for my husband to be with me. Because he responds to me because I love for him to be with me, that gives me joy. (He also experiences joy because he loves for me to be with him as well.) Real Joy takes two minds to produce it, or rather I should say, 'experience it'. A person can be 'happy' when 'alone', but genuine joy can only be experienced when two minds synchronize, harmonize, together. Two minds can refer to a relationship of two friends loving to be together. Joy can also be experienced between parents and child(ren). Another illustration, as mentioned above can be between a husband and wife. There may also be other combinations of human minds synchronizing together that can produce true joy. Two minds can also refer to a person synchronizing, or 'agreeing' with, God - which is still two minds.

The text (James 1:2-) says (KJV) 'Count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations . . .'

Some other words need to be properly understood to get a more accurate meaning of this scripture.

The word 'Count' denotes 'being the leader', 'to go before', 'take authority over',

The word 'fall' can also mean 'surrounded', or 'encompassed'.

'Temptations' also can refer to 'experiments', 'trials', 'tests', 'proving' and 'challenging problems'.

Before I proceed let me say that a correct understanding of what we are to count all joy is not completely included in just this one verse. The whole passage is vital to a proper understanding.

But for now let me give you a suggestion or two how to apply it (mainly from personal experiences.)

As I have been telling God that I love for Him to be with me (and He loves to be with me too) I experience the mind building power of real JOY.

When I face (encounter) an experience that could be labeled a 'temptation', or 'trial', or 'challenge' as I am experiencing the joy of knowing that I love for God to be with me, then, in Christ, I can be encompassed with the situation and yet know I am not alone, for Jesus is there.

God has been enabling me to experience just a little bit of 'counting it all joy'. I want and need lots more joy, and since God loves for me to be with Him as well as I love for Him to be with me, my joy will 'grow'. In particular as it is combined with genuine PEACE.

God's kind of peace - coming to the point where I can 'rest' in His love, trusting that He will work out in my life what He sees best for me - combined with the above joy, enables me to grow to be like Him in the way He intends for me to grow.

These past few days have given me quite a few opportunities to 'count it all joy' and to practice trusting God to give me His kind of peace.

With the 'extra snow' both Duane and I have been working to get 'dug out'. A friend came by Friday and was able to give us the 'extra' help needed to enable us to get our car out to the main road. Some folks were really in need of groceries so we made a quick trip to town for some essentials.

By Friday evening, however, both Duane and I began really feeling the effects of both shoveling snow and trying to keep the wood brought in for the wood heating stoves. We have gone through a lot more wood this winter than in some past years.

By Sabbath morning neither one of us felt up to doing anything or even going anywhere.
Sunday morning I was getting more 'perky' but Duane's chest muscles (we hope that is all that is involved) were not yet ready for more 'activity'. I was able to fill the wood boxes so he didn't have to 'hurt more'.

This morning he seems to be a little closer to normal for which we are both thankful.

According to the weather forecast we may be in for some more snow. Interesting.

A couple of mornings (early, early) ago I was up and was thinking on James 1:2. The more awake I became a melody for that verse also began to form in my mind. I went over to the keyboard and while there wrote the chorus down on 'music' notation paper.

I am still singing it, and the more I learn of the meaning of this special words of God to me, the meaningful the chorus becomes to me.

I am learning more, but for now I must go.

Until we meet again, may God's JOY and PEACE be with you.

Bringer of Peace

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A close one

It started snowing last evening. Predictions went all the way up to a foot more of snow or more.

But the few times I saw a tv weather forecast it appeared to me that we were rather 'near the edge' of the storm, rather than in the middle as we were in the last one less than a week ago.

Well, the snow stopped some time this morning. We may have gotten possibly 3 inches but it is not wet as the last snow. We are very grateful for the lesser amount.

I re-opened some of the 'walks' around - to the other house and such. Fortunately we still have enough wood for the wood heating stoves, although we will need to bring in more soon.

On a prettier side, the snow itself is beautiful. It sort of looks like icing on a cake.

Well, even though we still have lots to do that is beckoning us to take care of, I am doing some online work and Duane has been reading a book for a while this morning after some hot split pea soup for breakfast.

We are very thankful that our electric power has been on during all of these storms. One of my friends did get a bit chilly one night and another one about overdid it while shoveling snow, but otherwise we are doing quite well, as far as I know right now.

Maybe it is just as well to slow down now and then.

I have been compiling music that goes along with the 'Armor of God' studies from the Passport to Life. I rather enjoy when I get time to work on that project.

Until we meet again, may God's peace be with you.

Bringer of Peace

Saturday, February 6, 2010

More Snow

Maybe I'll get some pictures later, but for now I think we are well over a foot and rising.

It is beautiful. Yet because this snow is 'wet' we have become concerned about our house roof.
It is almost flat so my hubby decided he better get some of the snow off our roof before damage.

Enjoy the day.

Bringer of Peace

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thoughts, and Snow

There is one thing I know Satan wanted from Jesus. The devil wanted Jesus to break His perfect trust and love relationship with His heavenly Father.

Every aspect of Jesus' life was harrassed by the devil. Satan didn't really care too much about the 'body', if you please, of Jesus. But this Jesus was His arch enemy since days long before the creation of this world.

But Jesus had come to this world to reveal how a person - a human being - could and would act and respond when connected to the Creator God of the Universe.

So, Satan threw at Jesus every tactic he had developed over about 4,000 years of practice on human beings who had sooner or later 'fallen' and disconnected from the love of God.

What is temptation? Anything that would get us in any way, shape or form to choose any will other than God's will for us - to not trust implicitly that God loves us and wants only what is best for us.

What is God's will for me? Jesus said it quite simply. I am to Love God with everything I have in me in fact I am to Love God even more than anything or anyone else. Then very similar to that I am to love everyone else the same as I love myself.

What happens when someone does or says something that causes something inside of me to 'resist'? feel offended? get defensive? start blaming? fear? become ashamed?

I can't tell what happens to others, but I am becoming aware that when that happens in me it is a good sign that I am not, at that point in time anyway, in full agreement with or synchronized with the mind of Christ.

And the ONLY remedy is to put my thinking, my 'eyes', my feelings, back toward Jesus.

I am not saying that I will never have pain when I am connected to Jesus. That doesn't mean that I will never get hurt, that I will suffer no abuse, that no one will tease me or make snide remarks, or much worse things, which we sometimes want to label as 'persecution'.

I am coming to the conclusion that the closer I come to Jesus the more those kinds of things 'may' happen, but on the other hand, I may actually notice them less and less. Why? "Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith. Who for the JOY that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame. . . ." As I focus on who Jesus is and on what God is really like, He has promised that He will change me to become what I am focusing on by my choice and His power. In other words He will change me into becoming like Him.

He has already begun that work and has also promised to complete it.

And as I look to Jesus, He tells me that brings Him great JOY. And the Joy of the Lord is my strength.

Recently I have been also realizing that when I delight to have the Lord with me - not just for Him to delight for me to be with Him - that I get more of the JOY as well.

I have mentioned these things before but I'll say it again so as to not 'miss' a very special point here.

'JOY' without corresponding 'PEACE' is a nice experience but not of great value. When both JOY and PEACE are experienced, sort of 'in tandom' (not necessarily at the same moment, but in some way related with each other in an experience with another mind) that combination causes my mind to 'grow'.

Sometimes, especially when I am experiencing both JOY and PEACE with the Lord, I have found it can be enhanced when I am in closer to 'nature' during these times of 'growing'.

We have been having several snow falls this winter. One storm gave us about 24 inches. This past week or so we got another 6 inches and the 'latest one added about 3 or so more inches of snow. During this past snow I went out to shovel snow off some of our 'walks'. I at least try to keep the path between the two houses here on the farm open and, if the snow isn't too deep we also keep some other paths available as well. I had opened up several of the paths but as I did so I felt such an urge to take a 'walk in the snow'. I asked Duane to go with me and we walked down to the mail boxes and got the mail. It was dark by then but with the reflections from the white snow it didn't seem so 'dark', and the snow coming down was also so lovely. We spent part of the walk time thanking the Lord for His mercies. Snow is used in the Bible to represent the cleansing God wants to do in me. Even though in our daily living we can get 'too much' snow, we can never get 'too much cleansing' from our loving Lord.

Whether we get just a few inches or another 2 ft. of snow, just remember that God is more in earnest in getting you and me cleaned up - whiter than snow -than we are.

I'll try to keep posted as to our progress in white, but until later, may God's peace be with you.

Bringer of Peace

P.S. If 12-24 inches weren't enough, starting tomorrow, there is another storm predicted for early next week which can also give us more snow of possibly several inches. For those of you in the north you are probably chuckling and wondering why all the problems with just a 'few inches' of snow. I used to be farther north but it has been quite a few years now. And Virginia is supposed to be south.