Believing the Promises of God - in His Word

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed… Without weakening in his faith… Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised. ~ Romans 4 [selected 18-21]

Friday, June 29, 2007

Yesterday or Today?

Too often we stir up (in our minds) the problems of yesterday - of who we once were perhaps making mistake after mistake in our choices for life. We remember the baggage we once had and tend to recall that to our mind's focus.

Rather, we need to be reminded of the new creation we are in Christ for us who believe. Who are we today?

Ephesians 1:3-14 Spiritual Blessings in Christ

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love 5 He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8 that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 And He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
11 In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of His glory. [emphasis mine]

Beth Moore in her book, Believing God, sights these truths from this passage:

  • We are BLESSED

Do we believe it? Do we live like blessed, chosen, adopted, accepted, redeemed and forgiven people?

Remember who you are in Christ is no match for who you were before you received Him into your heart. He gives a clean slate, a new start!

Next time you are tempted to use the line, "that's just who I am," or "that's just the way God made me." Think again! He makes all things new! Even your heart!

Choosing JOY,


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Matter of Trust

  • Proverbs 3:5-6

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. [emphasis mine]

My good friend, Annette, called yesterday to share with me all the wonderful things God has been doing in the lives of some people she has been praying for. Each circumstance is different but she has been praying that each one of them "trust the Lord for His best". God is answering those prayers and those people are praising Him as a result. They are also seeing that it could only be through the Lord's power that those specific results came. So cool.

I said to Annette, "Such a simple concept, 'trusting God', yet so few are willing to do it."

She replied, "Just like 'knowing' the Lord, people want to make it so complicated when actually it's very simple."

We rejoiced together in all that God is doing among us. You don't have to hold a title of 'Pastor', or 'Elder' to be in 'ministry'... you just have to touch other lives and pray. Ministry is right in our own back yards.

In the early church... word spread fast about the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Acts 11:20-24

20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks [Gentiles] also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
22 News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord. [emphasis mine]

Let's encourage one another daily in prayer and thanksgiving to our God!

Choosing JOY,


Monday, June 25, 2007

Am I Content?

  • 1 Timothy 6:6-19

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Paul's Charge to Timothy

11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in His own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To Him be honor and might forever. Amen.
17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. [emphasis mine]

A wise young man shared this passage with me yesterday. I had already studied it a month ago. It is power-packed with good stuff for us who believe. It speaks about our faith - our wealth (or lack of it) - holiness - perseverance - accountability to God and others - the Glory and Honor of God - our hope - God's provisions - our enjoyment - generosity - where our treasures should be - and the meaning of true life! Take a breath and take it all in. Then ask yourself (as I did): Where is my faith, my hope, my treasure? Do I enjoy God? Am I content?

Choosing JOY,


Friday, June 22, 2007

I'm Still Clay

I've been sharing with you - what God is teaching me. But many times He stops to pour a song over me to show me how much He loves me. It stops me in my tracks and makes me listen to His voice and feel the tenderness of His whisper. This is one of those songs.... one I am singing back to HIM. It's called: I am Nothing by Jeremy Camp from his CD called Beyond Measure.

Seems I’m always in this place … where the things I seem to take,
are the things I wish would fade.
I always purposed in my heart…
to do things the right way,

then I realize I’m still clay.
In this piece that’s being shaped…
will be a beauty You create.

I am nothing without Your love. I’m unworthy but Your death has been enough. I’m completed by Your touch. But I feel like I’ve been given so much. So I thank You…. I thank YOU!

I wouldn’t even face…all the troubles of the day
if it wasn’t

for Your grace.
Sometimes I even wait…
to see if I’m awake,

seems so good, I can't relate.
Your every Word I crave…
I’m grateful for every breath I take.

When I’m feelin’ all my shame...
You won’t let it stay,

I sail away into Your love,
I’m taking every day…
to give my life away.
It’s the only way I know.

I am nothing…
You are Everything!
So I thank You.
I thank You…..Lord, I thank You.

He's my Potter - my Redeemer - my Faithful Friend!

Choosing JOY,


Thursday, June 21, 2007


  • Psalm 149: 3-6
    3 Let them praise His Name with dancing and make music to Him with tambourine and harp.
    4 For the LORD takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with salvation.
    5 Let the saints rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds.
    6 May the praise of God [1st tool] be in their mouths and a double-edged sword [2nd tool - the Word of God] in their hands… [notes and emphasis mine]

I challenge you to read all of Psalm - chapters 145-150 all in one sitting. Just look at the tools that God gives us to equip us for the abundant life in Christ! With what tools are you working out your salvation? Above are just two that top the list of many!

Check out the word "extol" in many of these chapters:

  • Psalm 145:2, 10

2 Every day I will praise You and extol Your Name for ever and ever.

10 All You have made will praise You, O LORD; Your saints will extol You. [emphasis mine]

"EXTOL" is a word of praise (in my opinion) that can be given to no other - than GOD alone! What a great word to use to praise our God, the King! Try it this week. What a great tool! How many other times can you find "extol" in the Word?

Choosing JOY,


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Treasure to Trash

  • Lamentation 1:1-3,7a, 10,11

1 How deserted lies the city, once so full of people!

How like a widow is she,
who once was great among the nations!
She who was queen among the provinces
has now become a slave.

2 Bitterly she weeps at night,
tears are upon her cheeks.
Among all her lovers
there is none to comfort her.
All her friends have betrayed her;
they have become her enemies.

3 After affliction and harsh labor,
Judah has gone into exile.
She dwells among the nations;
she finds no resting place.
All who pursue her have overtaken her
in the midst of her distress.

7 In the days of her affliction and wandering
Jerusalem remembers all the treasures
that were hers in days of old.

10 The enemy laid hands

on all her treasures;
she saw pagan nations
enter her sanctuary—
those you had forbidden
to enter your assembly.

11 All her people groan as they search for bread;
they barter their treasures for food to keep themselves alive. [emphasis mine]

Do we ever "lament" over our sin? Do we think of the grave consequences that it will bring upon us? Do we realize everything that is at stake when we choose to disobey a Holy God?

  • Look at what happens to our treasures when we choose to sin. They (God’s blessings) were many – but we have to “recall them to mind” because they are gone.

  • The enemy stole them when we allowed "idols of our heart" to enter the sanctuary of our temple. We had to barter them in order to get food to keep us alive.

  • We went from “treasure” to “trash” – all over the fleeting and momentary pleasure of sin.

It's no wonder that the Prophet Jeremiah "lamented" over the city of Jerusalem when she was carried into captivity. He was grieved (for God) over her sin. She once had treasures untold - now she lay desolate.

Repentance begins in the heart. It's a turning from that sin - to the Living God. Obedience is key. Sin is an issue that we don't like to talk about - we want to beg forgiveness for it - and get on with it. Perhaps if we spent more time lamenting over it - it wouldn't come so easily the next time. Perhaps if we thought about the treasures that could be lost (over it) we would be slower to jump in the water.

I asked myself all these things today... how about you?

I DO NOT want to grieve the heart of God! I DO NOT want to lose the treasures that He has given so lavishly. I want to lament, repent and obey (with joy).

Let's not allow our "treasure" to be burned like "trash"!

Choosing JOY,


Sunday, June 17, 2007


On this Father's Day my family and I wish to share with you some scripture passages that have meant so much to us over this past year in what God did to show us His love and to show us His power along with His mercy and all sufficient grace.

We gathered around Bob's grave today to celebrate. We sang songs of praise to our God, read these scriptures and spoke about his life - in reflection of what God did a year ago (today) when we poured hundreds of verses over Bob for more than three hours... all in preparation for his "healing" and his "home-going". In both, God was faithful!

If you want to take time to read these on your own - we read and shared from:

  • 1 Corinthians 13 / Psalm 16:7-11 / Psalm 63 / Psalm 40:1-3 / John 14:1-3 / Psalm 30:1-5 / Psalm 31:3-5

1 Peter 1:3-9 (Bob's favorite passage that he claimed through his cancer)

Praise to God for a Living Hope

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. [emphasis mine]

We know Bob was singing with the angels today - giving praise to His (our) heavenly FATHER - face to face with a new voice that expressed the joy of his soul - for the joy of his salvation!

We dedicated his bronze grave plaque that reads:

2 Cor. 12:9

Praise, honor and glory to the Father!

Choosing JOY,


Friday, June 15, 2007

Everything or Nothing

  • John 15:1-5

The Vine and the Branches
1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.
5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. [emphasis mine]

I have known these verses in my head for 30-some years... until last month when God spoke them to my heart. I can't shake that last part - it keeps me down under (His wings) - following behind (His lead) - listening always for (His voice) - obeying eagerly (His commands)!

Now look at the contrast to this:

Philippians 4:13 - KJV

13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

We can have it all by cooperating with His agenda - or we can fail and accomplish nothing when we seek our own agenda! And it's always our choice - He never forces anything upon us. He just invites us to seek His best! It's everything or nothing!!
Abiding in His arms and...
Choosing JOY,

Thursday, June 14, 2007


If you are a visual person like me, this will mean so much more to you.

As I am finishing up Desiring God by John Piper I can't help but share what he writes at the end of his book about why he wrote the book. He quotes:


  • Psalm 27:4

One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple.

  • Isaiah 6:1-3
Isaiah's Commission

1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above Him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:

"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of His glory." [emphasis mine]

After quoting these passages he says:

"The human race does in fact crave the experience of awe and wonder. And there is no reality more breathtaking than God."

Now I want to add one more passage about the The Ancient of Days, from Daniel that has meant so much to me over the last 2 months. It too, speaks of the breathtaking glory of our God:
  • Daniel 7:9-10

9 "As I looked, "thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took His seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of His head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze.
10 A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before Him. Thousands upon thousands attended Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.
[Emphasis mine]

Can you imagine that day - to be in the Presence of Almighty God, The Great I am, the Ancient of Days? Are you ready for it? I can't wait!!!

Praise and Glory to the King of Kings!

Choosing JOY,


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Who's Working Here?

It was quoted to me many years ago by a former Pastor, Tom Raney:

  • Never allow your service for God to become a substitute for your relationship with Him.

I don't even know if that was his own quote or someone else's (sounds like something that Oswald Chambers might have said) but it has had a profound influence upon my life for a long time. I have never forgotten it and I've shared it with many over the years.

It reminds me of how easy it is to fall into that trap of just - doing, doing, doing for God and neglecting the personal time with Him that He so desires (as well we should too).

As Believer's in Christ, many times our mind-set is to "work for the Lord" but God tells us over and over in His Word that if we will trust HIM - HE will work for us in ministry and in our personal lives. I don't know about you but that is profound - and it takes the burden off our "doing"- when God is the One doing the work.

  • Hebrews 13:20-21

May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. [emphesis mine]

He will equip us - He will work in us!

  • John 6:9

"Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?" [emphesis mine]

We all know the end result of this passage... 5000 + people were fed... all because of placing his faith in "anointed hands" (Jesus' hands). But who did the work? Not the boy - not the disciples - GOD did!

How hard are you and I working for the Lord these days? Maybe it's time to let Him carry the load that was intended for Him. That would give us more time to spend working on our relationship with Him. ...Just a thought!

Choosing JOY,


Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Hope of Your Calling

  • Ephesians 1:17-19a

17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and His incomparably great power for us who believe. [emphasis mine]

I hope you will take time today on this Lord's Day to meditate, ponder, chew on and swallow the many promises and principles that are found in this short passage. Paul is speaking here but my heart is asking for the same thing for myself and for all of you who read this...

I asked a few weeks ago: What is it that you are believing God for in your life? If you said, "nothing" I will pray for you. We must always be trusting God for much in our lives. Every day we need the gift of faith to believe God for great things and we should expect much from Him (spiritually) if we are to exercise that faith.

One of the most precious things that God has revealed to me in this past year is that God allows us (and invites and expects us) to participate with Him in what He has already purposed in our lives ...and the lives of those around us.

  • Jeremiah 29:11-14

11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity.

It's that relationship thing. It's two-way. God desires a relationship with us - even in our sinful, unbelieving state - He wants it. That is Love! The Unconditional Love of God. But He wants our heart. He went to the extreme to provide for that relationship - through His own Son, Jesus (the sacrifice) on the cross of Calvary!

Once we receive and embrace that gift... He offers a continual relationship and all the tools we need to keep it going! Prayer (the connection), His Holy Spirit (the power), His Word (the truth), His love (the gift)... and the list goes on!

Praise Him with me, Beloved! I am so in love with our God for Who He is - and I pray that you are too!

Choosing JOY,


Friday, June 8, 2007

A Firm Place to Stand

  • Psalm 40:1-3
    For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

1 I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.

I posted this yesterday - but today it was gone - so I'll try a shorter version.

Examine the promises in this passage. You're in a "pit" covered knee deep in mud and mire and you're sinking fast. You can't move or get out . You cry out (in prayer) to God and HE TURNS to YOU... and hears your cry. And HE takes action.

Look at the pattern here...
  • PRAYER>>>>> OBEDIENCE>>>>>

Choosing JOY,


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

A Copper-Lined Lifestyle

  • 2 Corinthians 9:7-11
7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written: "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

I went back to this passage again today just to see from the Word how we are called to give generously because God gives us everything we need.

  • John Piper writes this in his book Desiring God:
"Why does God bless us with abundance? So we can have enough to live on, and then use the rest for all manner of good works that alleviate spiritual and physical misery. Enough for us; abundance for others."

Did you hear that?

Enough for us; abundance for others.

That's backwards from what we tend to do in everyday life. I know many times my thinking is to keep the abundance and give the leftover (what's left ; the scraps) to the needy. He's saying just the opposite and so is the Word of God. It says God gives us riches (abundance) so that we can be generous to others.
  • Piper goes on to say:

"The issue is not how much a person makes... The evil is in being deceived into thinking a six-digit salary must be accompanied by a six-digit lifestyle. God has made us to be conduits of His grace. The danger is in thinking the conduit should be lined with gold. It's shouldn't. Copper will do." [emphasis mine]

  • 1 Timothy 6: 17-19

17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

May God's Word speak the fresh warm breath from God's mouth that it truly is. May it settle on you today and penetrate all the way to your heart... where God changes us into HIS image!

Choosing JOY,


Sunday, June 3, 2007

The Glory of God

A few weeks ago I took a photograph of a sunset over a group of trees along the road going to my church. I had it blown up and framed where I also added this verse to the picture before it was printed:
  • Romans 1:20
For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

I went to church with my son, Jeff, and his family today. He wrote a new song entitled: Invisible God based on this passage from Romans. In the song the words Righteousness and Faithfulness kept jumping out at me as he sang.

God has shown me His glory in many different forms in recent months.... in a sunset, a quarter moon at dawn, or an orange moon at midnight. Now... I tend to gasp with great excitement when I think about the Creator and worship HIM rather than the creation itself.

Even last winter God had this thing with showing me snow. New fallen snow is a sign of God's holiness and purity and remindd me that He desires those qualities in me. Even lightening and thunder display His power. How is His power displayed in my life?

The next time that you gaze upon a rainbow, a harvest moon, a colorful sunset, or even a thunderstorm - be reminded with JOY of what this verse from Romans says: It will show you God's Invisible qualities - namely His power and His divine nature... like...
  • HIS Purity
  • HIS Holiness
  • HIS Righteousness
  • HIS Mercy
  • HIS Grace
  • HIS Faithfulness
  • HIS Salvation

Then... think of how HE wants to see them displayed in your life and mine! What a challenge. Even the very skies above declare and proclaim Who He is and what He has done, how much more should we?

  • Psalm 19:1

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.

As John Soper often ends his messages..

Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the Presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. - Jude 24-25 KJV

Choosing JOY,


Friday, June 1, 2007

Make it Count

  • Ephesians 1:18-21
18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of His mighty strength, 20 which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. [emphasis mine]

As I read this passage last night and also today it reminds me that once we have our hearts enlightened to the truth, there is no turning back. We now have the power to live out our lives as Christ and God the Father intended, in victory.

This also makes me think that those who don't understand [believe] the truth of God's Word already believe in "something". We need to share with them - that what they believe should produce something in their life... something that will count for all eternity!