1 TIMOTHY 3:16-17

"All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us...God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work."

Sunday, May 29, 2011

PSALMS - I'll Fight For You

"I'll fight for you."

In California, we have this TV commercial. It's an advertisement for a personal injury attorney. Now, if I needed someone to represent me – I'm not thinking I would go to this guy. He's a little "creepy" just sayin'.

But I love his tagline –

"I'll fight for you."

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" landed me in Psalms 35. It's one of the imprecatory psalms. The word "imprecatory" means cursing.

These are psalms that call upon God to deal with enemies. To some ears, these psalms might sound extremely harsh.

But, let's be honest.

When we feel like we're being attacked, don't we want a little *harsh* to come to the rescue?

Psalms 35 was written by David – possibly when he was being hunted by Saul.

He is afraid, confused, frustrated.

After all, he was the anointed king – and now he's running for his life?

So where does he turn?

He appeals to God – who is always just:

"O LORD, oppose those who oppose me. Fight those who fight against me. Put on your armor, and take up your shield. Prepare for battle, and come to my aid. Lift up your spear and javelin against those who pursue me. Let me hear you say, 'I will give you victory.'" (Psalms 35:1-3)

Are you in a season of life when you feel like you're running from the enemy? Do you feel like you're under attack?

Are you afraid, confused, frustrated?

Do like David did – turn to God.

He'll answer…

"I'll fight for you!"

Stand behind His victory…

…and you will stand firm!

I close with the words of Charles H. Spurgeon – his commentary on the beginning of Psalm 35:

"Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me. Plead against those who plead against me; strive with my strivers; contend with my contenders…beat them at their own weapons.Every saint of God shall have this privilege: the accuser of the brethren shall be met by the Advocate of the saints.

Fight against them that fight against me. If my advisers try force as well as fraud, be a match for them; oppose thy strength to their strength. Jesus does this for all his beloved -- for them he is both intercessor and champion; whatever aid they need they shall receive from him, and in whatever manner they are assaulted they shall be effectually defended. Let us not fail to leave our case into the Lord's hand. Vain is the help of man, but ever effectual is the interposition of heaven. What is here asked for as a boon, may be regarded as a promise to all the saints; in judgment they shall have a divine advocate, in warfare a divine protection."

(Linked today with Charlotte and Ginger at Spiritual Sundays, and Peggy at Super Sunday. Please feel free to hop on over to my other blog during the week - Sharon Sharing God)

"When in doubt, search God out!"

Sunday, May 22, 2011

LUKE - Accident Forgiveness

Weren't we all teenagers at some point in our lives?

Notice I'm not asking how long ago that was!

Did you ever do anything you felt REALLY bad about?

(OK, I better see every hand raised out there in Blog Land!!)

I can recall one incident so vividly, it’s like it happened last week.

My dad and uncle owned a business in Pasadena. And at some point in time, they decided that it was a good idea to lease two company cars – two brand-new 1970 Pontiac Firebirds. I'm pretty sure that this was my "hot shot" uncle's idea!

My dad's car was awesome!

One night, I needed to borrow a car to go to a church party. OK, I'm 16, the ink is barely dryon my driver's license, and my dad lets me use HIS car. He actually offered it to me!

I know!! Honestly, what was he thinking?!

After picking my jaw up off the floor, I graciously accepted…

"OK, Dad, if you insist."

I went to the party, and when it was over, a bunch of my friends and I thought it would be coolto drive over and see a boy that I had a secret crush on – because I was behind the wheel of a radically "hot" car.

We thought this was a great idea, because nothing screams "GOOD DECISION" like a car full of 16-year-old girls!

Anyway, we got to talking, got to flirting, and time ran away. When I finally headed home, my 11:00 PM curfew had disappeared in a teenage fog of…

Oh, he's so cute!
Do you think he likes me?
How's my hair look?


OK, so now it’s like 1:00 in the morning, it's pouring rain, and I have to park the car in the garage. Our driveway was very steep, and Dad parked his car on the right-hand side of the garage, so you had to make kind of a sharp turn at the top of the driveway, just past a retaining wall.

You KNOW what's coming, don't you?

Yes, I made that turn, just a LITTLE early, and heard the most awful sound as "brand-new" Firebird met concrete block wall. Man, it still hurts today.

I tried backing up…SCRAPE.
I tried going forward…SCRAPE.

The car was sorta stuck on the wall.

In a panic, I finally just gunned the engine and the car leapt forward, almost piling intothe corner of the garage. I got the car parked, and looked at it. There was a huge dent, andmassive scratches right through the paint, all along the whole side of the car. OH MAN! I quietly entered the house so I wouldn’t disturb anyone's sleep…

OK, OK, yes…I was trying to sneak in! You guys are awful strict!

I was almost to my bedroom when I noticed my mom sitting alone in the dark, shivering with fever and chills, sicker than a dog with the flu, waiting up for me.

I didn't sleep much that night.

The next morning I got up early, bringing all $200 in my savings account, to confess to my dad what I had done to his car. He told me to keep my moneyhe would "take care of it."My dad didn't get mad, he didn't punish me – He forgave me.

Jesus told His disciples a similar principle about forgiveness, and it's found in today's "Bible Pick 'Ems":

"If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks for forgiveness, you must forgive." (Luke 17:3-4)

Jesus took forgiveness very seriously – it was His whole mission on earth.

Can we do any less?

"…and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us." (Matthew 6:12)

"'Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?'
'No, not seven times,’ Jesus replied, ‘but seventy times seven!'"
(Matthew 18:21-22)

(Linked today with Charlotte and Ginger at Spiritual Sundays, and Peggy at Super Sunday. Please feel free to hop on over to my other blog during the week - Sharon Sharing God)

"When in doubt, search God out!"

Sunday, May 15, 2011

OBADIAH - Road Trip Home

Ever been on a road trip?

Well, I have – several! But the one that sticks out in my mind is the one I took with my family in 2002.

It all started with a random remark from my banjo-playing youngest son – "Hey, wouldn't it be fun to visit Nashville?" Well, the rest was history. We planned a trip that took us 5,445 miles in 9 days(I know, because we recorded every single mile on the odometer!)

We retraced Route 66 all the way to St. Louis, Missouri – and then we dropped down into Tennessee, and made our way west through Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona – until we reached sunny California again.

I remember that last stretch home. We decided around 9:00 PM one night in Arizona that we were done…finished…kaput. My oldest son and I felt wide awake. So, we looked at each other and thought – why pay for a night in the hotel? Let's just get on the road and get home…

It was a very, very looooonnnggg overnight marathon!

I think we single-handedly cleaned out every Starbuck's Frappucino in every gas station along the way! Caffeine was our best friend. We arrived home early the next morning – none the worse for wear – though a bit bedraggled…

Life is like that, isn't it?

We travel a long journey, logging many miles on the experience odometer – enjoying the ride – but always heading to a final destination. We're all headed home.

Today's "Bible Pick ‘Ems" reminded me of this road trip.

"But Jerusalem will become a refuge for those who escape; it will be a holy place. And the people…will come back to claim their inheritance…Those who have been rescued will go up to Mount Zion in Jerusalem…And the LORD himself will be king." (Obadiah 17, 21)

Obadiah was bringing God's message of judgment to the land of Edom. But he was also talking about the restoration of the people of Israel. He acknowledged that the journey would be long, and bumpy, and fraught with suffering and trials. But, he also assured them that they were heading to a final destination.

They were headed home.

We are, too.

Things aren't much different than they were in Obadiah's day. We wonder how much longer evil will continue. We long to be released from the effects of sin. We want to arrive at our final destinationwhere we can rest in the eternal blessings of our heavenly home.

We'll get there, my friends.

God has promised that.

He has promised a destination – a home with Him forever.

He has promised a refuge for those of us who will escape eternal judgment. A holy place – a place set apart, a place prepared. A place where we will claim our inheritance bought by Jesus on the cross.

We who have been rescued, are making our way to Jerusalem.

And once we get there, we will reach the feet of the LORD – we will be home.

"And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven…I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, 'Look, God's home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever." (Revelation 21:2-4)

Yes, I'm a bit exhausted from the long haul home! And these last miles, toward the tail end of my journey, are the hardest at times. But I have my eyes fixed on my destination.

I'm headed home.

And what a glorious home it is!

A home with the Lord…forever.

Are you making your way to Jerusalem?

(Please join me with Peggy at Super Sunday, and Charlotte and Ginger at Spiritual Sundays. And feel free to visit my daily blog, Sharon Sharing God, during the week!)

"When in doubt, search God out!"

Sunday, May 8, 2011

PROVERBS - A Proverbs Tribute to My Mom

Who can find a virtuous and capable [mother]?

I can.

She's my mom.

She is more precious than rubies.

I think my mom is priceless.

[I] can trust her, and she will greatly enrich [my] life.

She is my confidante, my listening ear and shoulder to cry on. She's my best friend. I can't imagine my life without her.

She brings good, not harm – all the days of her life.

My mom has made my life's journey so much easier, so much better. She always thinks of my best interests.

She finds wool and flax and busily spins it.

My mom always made sure that I had nice, clean clothes to wear.

She [brings] her food from afar.

I can't count the miles she has walked in the grocery store. She still sneaks food to me!

She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household…

I couldn't begin to count the meals my mom prepared – the sack lunches she packed. All that food was her way of saying, "I love you."

…and plan the day's work.

My mom planned her days – always working to maintain our household, while at the same time creating a home.

She goes to inspect a field and buys it.

My mom was wise with money – she knew when to save it, and she knew when to give it away.

She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.

Yes, even now when her steps have slowed, my mom continues to work tirelessly for the betterment of our family. And she is never too tired for me.

Her lamp burns late into the night.

How many times did my mom stay up late at night, waiting for me to come home safely? Or how many times did she lose sleep, just to talk with me? She still does.

She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.

My mom is the most generous woman I know. She unselfishly shares her money, her time, her heart – with family, yes – but also with strangers.

She is clothed with strength and dignity.

My mother is poised and charming, modest and honorable. She has never dealt with anyone harshly. She possesses a quiet strength that I try to copy.

She laughs without fear of the future.

My mom knows to whom she belongs – both now and forever. She has total faith and hope in the Lord who holds her securely.

When she speaks, her words are wise.

I still turn to my mom for counsel and advice. She speaks from experience. She speaks from a lifetime of following the Lord. She talks, and I listen.

She gives instructions with kindness.

My mom has never made me feel stupid, or inconvenient, or bothersome, or tiring. Her discipline was always given with love. She has always held my heart with kindness.

Her children stand and bless her.

I bless her!

She is a treasure beyond measure. She carefully watches all of her children, and her grandchildren. They are never far from her thoughts or her prayers.

There are many virtuous and capable women in the world – but you surpass them all!

Oh Mom, you're the absolute best!

Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised.

My mother's face shines with the graceful glow of the Holy Spirit. I love her for herself – and I love her for leading me to the feet of Jesus.

Reward her for all she has done.

Mom, these words express just a small portion of the love and gratitude I have in my heart. For words will never begin to tell you what I owe you. Thank you for being such a great mother, such a caring friend, and such a kindred spirit. Thank you for bringing Jesus to me, and for helping me along as I seek to follow Him. I'm so glad you're still a part of my life - and that I'll always be your little girl.

I can't wait to spend eternity with you!

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY, Mom – love you forever!

****A very Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there!!****

(Thoughts based on Proverbs 31)

(Please join me with Peggy at Super Sunday, and Charlotte and Ginger at Spiritual Sundays. And feel free to visit my daily blog, Sharon Sharing God, during the week!)

"When in doubt, search God out!"

Sunday, May 1, 2011

DANIEL - Behind the Scenes

Have you ever gone to a play?

I love to go to plays. I'm fascinated by them. I love the stories, I love the characters, I love the costumes and the makeup and the sets – I guess because I really love make-believe.

I just love watching all the action onstage.

But, for everything that I see happening in front of me, there's so much more going on backstage.

I know – I've acted in a play. And believe me, there is important activity going on behind the scenes – activity the audience is totally unaware of.

It's the same way in our own lives.

We're living our lives – lives that we can feel and see and know. And yet, there is important activity going on behind the scenes. The Bible makes it abundantly clear that there is a real, active, vibrant, important spiritual realm – and we play a key role in it.

Today’s "Bible Pick 'Ems" reminded me of this truth.

Picture it as a play –

The setting is the Kingdom of Persia. One of the characters is King Cyrus. It's the third year of his reign. The main character is Daniel, who was also known as Belteshazzar. He's the hero, if you will.

He has had another vision – a vision that concerned events certain to happen in the future –times of war and great hardship.

The date is April 23, and Daniel is standing on the bank of the Tigris River.

(That's the backdrop…)

All of a sudden, he looks up and sees a man dressed in linen clothing, with a belt of pure gold. His body looks like a precious gem. His face flashes like lightning, and his eyes flame like torches. His arms and feet shine like polished bronze, and his voice roars like a vast multitude of people.

(Cue the bright spotlight…)

Daniel's strength leaves him – his face grows deathly pale – and he feels very weak.

Then the man speaks:

"Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you." (Daniel 10:11)

(Cue Daniel…)

Daniel stands.

"Don't be afraid Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to be humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer.” (Daniel 10:12)

Daniel stares, amazed and speechless.

"But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me…Now I am here to explain what will happen…" (Daniel 10:13-14)

I'm stopping the action here – you can read the rest of the story sometime – it's well worth it!

But I want to point out a few really crucial points. In Daniel's *visible world*, he'd been fasting and praying – in mourning for three weeks.

But oh my! What had been going on backstage??

God saw Daniel.

God heard Daniel's prayer – from the moment he uttered it.

God sent an angel to Daniel in answer to that prayer.

But, for 21 days, that angel had been delayed – in spiritual battle.

Michael came to the rescue.

And the angel continued on his Heaven-sent mission.

That's a lot of action going on backstage – important activity going on behind the scenes – activity that Daniel was totally unaware of.

I find this whole passage fascinating. It's a peek behind the curtain, a peek into the wings, a peek backstage. We are given a glimpse of the reality of the spiritual realm a real, active, vibrant, important spiritual realm.

And the Bible makes it abundantly clear that we play a key role in it.

There's a war going on. And our prayers matter. Yes, indeed, God hears them as soon as we utter them, and He responds – sometimes in ways that we don't see.

But He responds.

Let's always remember that there's a reality we don't see, but it's real. And God is saying to our hearts –

"Don't be afraid, for you are very precious to Me. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!"

And never stop praying…

"The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results." (James 5:16)

(Today I am linked with Charlotte and Ginger at Spiritual Sundays, and Peggy at Super Sunday. Also, please feel free to visit my other blog during the week, Sharon Sharing God)

"When in doubt, search God out!"