Archive | July 2014

No Love, No Profit

…and though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity (love), it profiteth me nothing. I Corinthians 13:3.

This verse makes me think of my Christian brothers and sisters who are suffering all over the world. For example, in the news, I have been reading of Christians in the Iraq town of Mosul.  The reports are that they are threatened to convert to Islam or die. A link to this story can be found at: http://www.worthynews.com/17180-islamic-state-to-christians-in-mosul-convert-or-die

As Christians, when we would like to see someone converted, we offer them hope, salvation through Christ, a new life, forgiveness, joy, comfort, and the companionship of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  He bridges the gap that separates us from a Holy God.  We know that the person who does not know Christ will not have salvation or eternal life, and we don’t want to see that person die in their sins, and be separated forever from God.

Only a hateful person, one who does not know a loving God, would want to kill someone that won’t convert to their faith.  How does a religion justify murdering someone because they do not convert? What religion is that, and can it even be called a “religion”?

I was told a long time ago, that all religions are man’s attempt to reach God, but Christianity is God’s way of reaching man.  It is because of love that a man will lay down his life for someone else, but Christ did this for us while we were yet sinners!  That’s love with a profit! 

I pray for my fellow Christians who are suffering, that they will stand firm in the Lord, and in His mighty power.  To live is Christ, to die is gain!  May you be encouraged, strengthened, and may God give you knowledge to handle each situation you’re in.  I also pray for the Lord of the harvest to send workers, and that we will one day be able to stand before God.  Lord, help us to be good ambassadors for you, while there is yet time. Forgive us of our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  Help our actions to be done in love. Thank you, in the name of Jesus, the One who is able to do all things, and who loves us dearly – even enough to die for us. Amen.

-Dawn-

Miracle of Water into Wine

Although I don’t fully understand it, this story of the first miracle that Jesus performed is told in John 2:7-10.  There is a wedding feast, and the wine runs out.  Mary, the mother of Jesus tells Him there is no wine.  Jesus seems to rebuke her at first, and says His hour has not yet come. Still, He performs this miracle.

Mary believes Jesus will do something, and she tells the servants to do whatever Jesus tells them. There are six clay or stone pots, used for ceremonial cleansing or purifying of the Jews. They can each hold 20 to 30 gallons of liquid, and the servants are told to fill them with water.  They fill them to the brim. Then, some of the water is dipped out, and given to the governor of the feast. He calls the bridegroom, and tells him that usually the good wine is brought first, and after people have drunk well, then the wine that is worse is brought out. The governor tells him that this last wine is the best wine, better than the first. 

Wine cannot be made with just water by any normal means. There is sugar and yeast added to increase fermentation of the base ingredient.  Then, you have to wait a while to let it ferment, it might be days or weeks.  Last, it is bottled, and stored to continue to ripen until ready, months or years later.  So, this is a real miracle.  The base liquid is water, immediately after filling the jars to the brim, it was dipped out and given to the governor of the feast.  

Something that stood out to me, is that the jars used were for the purifying of the Jews. It also struck me that Jesus does miracles when we are empty, broken, weak, and when nothing and no one else can help. Then, He displays his power and glory. In this case, He was providing for the wedding guests, and helping them to continue enjoying the celebration of this happy marriage.

Towards the end of Jesus’s life, just before He was crucified, Jesus drinks wine at the Passover Feast.  When He shares the wine with His disciples, He tells them it represents His blood that was shed for them. There must be a symbolic truth to that first wine miracle that correlates with this wine at the Last Supper?   

Jesus also said that He wouldn’t drink of the vine again, until the kingdom of God has come. We will enjoy that great celebration in heaven with our bridegroom, Jesus, and the last will be very good!

Lord, help us to fill our wine skins with this new wine, – your blood that was shed for us.  Cleanse and purify us, and make us holy, so that we can enjoy that wonderful celebration with You, when God’s kingdom comes. 

-Dawn-

Find Your Gift

God has given us so many gifts! In the Rocky Mountains, one of them is huckleberries.  They taste like a tangy blueberry. We were getting some firewood today, and came across a monster patch of berries. I picked a few.  It was such a warm day, that after a lot of physical work, I used the huckleberries to make a barbecue sauce to put on our grilled burgers.  

I mixed ketchup, mustard, honey, huckleberries, and garlic pepper seasoning to make the sauce to put on the burgers. My other favorite thing to make with Huckleberries is Huckleberry Delight. It is made with a shortbread crust, topped with whipped cream, cream cheese, and powdered sugar mixture, then a layer of a huckleberry jelly is added. It’s made with cornstarch, huckleberries, and sugar in a saucepan, and finally to finish the desert,  more whipped cream goes on top.  It’s probably not that healthy, but it is really good! That recipe is in the Rocky Mountain Berry Cookbook, by Bob Krumm.

Here are pictures of the huckleberries:

 

Picked Huckleberries

Picked Huckleberries

Huckleberry Bushes

Huckleberry Bushes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Huckleberry Bush

Huckleberry Bush

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.  Romans 12:4-8

God generously gives us gifts, and He sees how unique we are, so He gives to each of us in accordance with our faith, a different gift.  This verse tells us that everyone who believes in Christ has a gift.  There is prophecy, service, teaching, encouraging, giving, leading, and showing mercy. I would like to be able to use these gifts to the fullest.

My devotions encouraged me to look for, and use the gift or gifts God has given me. I want to be useful for His purpose, whatever that might be at any given time. I want to be aware of these gifts, and think about how I can use them in serving the Lord with the life I live.

-Dawn- 

The Sum of the Law

Jesus is a great teacher, and He gets down on our level to make it simple.  In Matthew 7:12, He says, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”  

Even though it is such a simple thought, childlike, it is really the most important thing for us to do, in making a difference for good in the world. It is love in action.

If you meditate on this one idea, it might change your life, and if you do it as a Christian, it will drive every point home that you’ve ever learned. 

Jesus loved, even when He was hated.  He wept with others who experienced sorrow.  He healed the brokenhearted, and lifted up those who were cast down.  He was exemplary at treating others better than Himself.  A role model, a mentor for us who are trying to follow Him.  

I know it is easy to follow these words as long as others treat us the same way, but when they return evil for good, it is way more difficult. I think of some good examples though, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Corrie Ten Boom who was a prisoner during the holocaust, and I think of the firefighters I’ve worked with who were willing to risk their lives to save others. I think of the EMT’s that face dangers every day, and love to help people.  

Maybe you know some heroes? That is what I think of when people care enormously about others.  

Just think, child abuse, murder, gossip, cheating, stealing, adultery, abortion, and many other hurtful things would be rare, if we just did this.

Let’s try to be good students of the greatest teacher that ever lived, and remember the sum of the Law.

-Dawn-

Cowards

Before I write about my devotions today, I want to share that God led me beside some still waters. I went for a hike into to a beautiful mountain lake this weekend.  Here are some pictures.  

Mountain Lake

Mountain Lake

Beside Still Waters

Beside Still Waters

Just looking at the water gave me such a calm, and feeling of closeness to  the Lord.

I hiked in with my husband, and a friend, to visit my son who was having fun with his youth group.  They were having a great time, playing Frisbee, making a raft out of logs, eating, sitting around the campfire, and enjoying the companionship of other believers. 

Now, for a message that is salt and light, in a world that needs the real message, I listened to my devotions on YouTube.  It was a speech by Franklin Graham.  

He talked about not being cowardly, as cowards, and the fearful, will not enter the kingdom of heaven, according to Revelation, Chapter 21, verse 8. You can listen to Franklin’s message at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNZj9NjDt34

This is a real message, not watered down, so if you are offended easily, you might not want to watch it.  It offers hope to sinners. His message has always been that we are sinners in need of a Savior.  We do not want to stay in our sins, and we need to know what sin is, so we can be forgiven.  He really spoke to me, when he said that being fearful, and cowardly is a sin too.  We need to stand up, and present the truth, even if it means we will experience persecution for doing so.

Stand firm in the Lord, and in His mighty power.

-Dawn-

The Untamed Tongue

We can tame a lot of things, from animals to fish in the sea, but no one can tame the tongue.  

Here is how it is said in James 3:8:

But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

Then it goes on to say that we bless God, and then curse men, who are made in God’s image. Earlier, it states that horses can be bridled, and made to go where one wants them to.  Large ships can be steered with small rudders, but that small tongue, it seems no one can make it do what it should do, or keep it from saying things it shouldn’t.  We can kindle large fires with it, ones that are difficult to quench.

As I wrote in previous posts, I can relate to the Bible, because it’s about people like me.  I have an untamed tongue, and I am quick to speak, slow to listen.  When I am hurt, I lash out; When I am belittled, I reprimand; When I want something, I am demanding.  This verse is another that convicts me, because I bless God, and then curse my fellow man with that same tongue.

There’s some consolation in that James says no one can tame the tongue.  I am not sure it is possible. In my devotions today, the writer said that when he is tempted to say something hurtful to someone, he tries to think of something good about the person instead.  He also says that he has so many faults of his own, that he tries to remember all the things people could say about him, before he says something bad of someone else.  That is good advice.

What would Jesus say?  He did reprimand people, and at times called them hypocrites, and some religious leaders, He called white-washed tombs with dead bodies inside.  I think it is okay to tell the truth when it is done in love, and to show someone the error of their way.  I also think we have to use our words to encourage, to love, and to offer hope to a hurting world. Sometimes, it is best to not say anything, as there are no words for the moment.  

I just know I am really guilty of saying the wrong things. I need to build up, not tear down.  

Lord, help me to use my speech for the good of mankind, who are made in Your Image.

-Dawn-

Be Still, and Know that I am God:

Psalm 46:10, that is a hard verse to follow.  I am not a “still” person.  I am a person who has to do things. In Luke, Chapter 10,  I think of the story of Mary and Martha.  Jesus goes to their home,and Martha is busy doing things, preparing for a feast, but Mary, sitting at Jesus’ feet, is enjoying His companionship.  Martha even goes as far to ask Jesus to tell Mary to help. But He instead tells Martha that she didn’t have to do so many things, that few things were needed, and Mary was doing the right thing.

How many of us neglect the right thing? To sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him, and enjoy His companionship is a far better place to be.  I have a hard time doing that too.  I do dishes, clean the floors, only to look behind me, and see the dogs have tipped over their water, and tracked through the house. Then, my son has eaten again, and there are new dishes.  Beds need to be made, The garden needs to be watered. Laundry needs to be folded.  Bills need to be paid.  How do I become “still”?

Chores are a renewable resource.  You never get them completely done.  

Jesus says in Psalm 23, that He will lead us beside the still waters. He will make us lie down in green pastures.  I need Jesus to make me do that.  

Help me to be still, and know that you are God,  

-Dawn-