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]

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Harmony of Humility

Humility is a word we like to skip over. It's not one that can easily be discussed without it rearing itself in our face. The more we talk about it, dissect it, attempt it, the more we see how truly humble we are not! At least that's the way I've experienced it. Today I came away with a new visual - one that may help in this area.
  • 1 Peter 5:5-7
    5 Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. [emphasis mine]
As I sat down to dinner (alone) last night I continued to read Hope Again, by C.R. Swindoll. In this next chapter he really hits hard on the word humility. The thing that jumped out at me -from the Scripture - is the “how” of being truly humbled. I see it in four small words, “under God’s mighty hand.” Here are my attempted thoughts on it.

That phrase brought a word picture to mind for me, that of an orchestra conductor, directing the musicians in their music under his mighty hand. Wherever his hand leads, the musicians follow closely, keeping an eye on their music (their part) with a closer eye on the Master Conductor. If they take their eyes off him and decide to play something other than their part – it will change the overall sound of the music and may in fact ruin what was planned. They must be willing to follow his hand no matter what. He may (like God's Spirit) hold a note a fraction longer than the music says to do. Or he may 'crescendo' the music greater and longer than written. His hand is what they must watch.

That must be how I can learn the 'harmony of humility' in my own life. I must practice and do my part (what’s expected of me) yet at the same time I must follow Jesus (closely) and never try to step out and lead on my own. That would prove disaster and He would not get (nor want for that matter) the glory for it.

As we desire 'to be humbled' under God's mighty hand, let's remember that when the conductor leads with his hand, and we follow it, the harmony will be like no other.

Choosing JOY,


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Shepherding the Flock

I've been reading HOPE AGAIN, a book by Charles Swindoll. Most of the scripture for the book is from 1 Peter. For anyone in any kind of leadership position his points are very noteworthy.

  • 1 Peter 5:1-4

To Elders and Young Men

1 To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ's sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. [emphasis mine]

Quoting Swindoll about Shepherds (or all leadership) over the flock:

"There is nothing quite as exciting or delightful as a shepherd who emits enthusiasm. Such zeal is contagious! His love for the Scriptures becomes the flock's love for the Scriptures. His joyful commitment to obeying God becomes theirs. No wonder Peter emphasizes eagerness. His passion for the unsaved becomes their passion. How refreshing it is to be around shepherds who are getting up in years but still eager and enthusiastic! Peter also highlights: an attitude of meekness."

To the flock (toward leadership) Swindoll writes:

"Be tolerant. A better word is patient. Try your best not to be too demanding or set your expectations too high. Confront when necessary... but even then be kind. Be tactful. Pray for them! Encourage them! When you do, you'll find them more willing to serve the Lord among you."

Very exciting, yet humbling advice on both sides! Let's do our part (on both sides) Amen? Amen!

Choosing JOY,


Saturday, September 22, 2007


With regard to comedian Kathy Griffin (not to be mistaken for actress/singer Kathy Lee Gifford) who has caused much controversy in the news media this past week. She has defamed the name of Jesus Christ in a blatant rage.

We must pray for her.

Here is what God's Word speaks about her as well:
  • Romans 1:21-23, 25, 28-32
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God,
He gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. [Italic mine]

We who claim the name of Jesus Christ are not surprised, but we will stand up for the Name of Jesus because:
  • Romans 1:16
16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. [Italic mine]

We will pray for Kathy Griffin. It is what we must do. I don't like controversy any more than you do. I don't like having to even deal with issues like this or waste time talking or writing about them. But... Jesus is God, He is LORD, and He will have the final Word! Let's take a stand on this one! He IS worth it!

Choosing JOY,


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

We Like Sheep...

I was away all day yesterday observing at Reformed Episcopal Seminary in PA. One of the 4- hour classes was "The Gospels". The class assignment had been for the students to read and observe the passage of the Lost Sheep in both Matthew and Luke and to read commentaries on both and give a report. The one interesting observation that came up was how the same account went out to both sinners (tax collectors and sinner) and believers (disciples).

  • Luke 15:3-7
3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
  • Matthew 18:12-14
12 "What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.

Food for thought:

Having raised sheep as pets - 1 named Suzie and 2 others named Cotton and Lace (pictured)- I have observed over the years many interesting traits about sheep. I have also read other known facts about them. Here are a few. Contrast them with our characteristics and see if any compare (just for fun of course)!!
  • Sheep are really dumb animals
  • They are (natural) followers - not leaders
  • They have no defence against wild prey (no horns, no teeth for biting, etc.) which makes them very vulnerable to the attacks of their enemies
  • They fall to their knees (bow) in submission when caught or held
  • They know their own Shepherd/Master's voice.
  • They are completely dependent on their Shepherd for their care.
  • If they stray (run away or get lost) or get into trouble (briers, wire, fencing) - they have no instinct to find their way home or out of trouble (like cats or dogs)....but are completely at the mercy of one who Shepherd's them.
  • When carried by the Shepherd (or owner) - they are limp, cooperative, and trusting
Are you as thankful as I am that we have the Great Shepherd to find us, save us, care for us, lead us, feed us, defend us, rescue us, carry us, and love us ? He's worth bowing to!

Choosing JOY,


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Remember this...

  • Psalm 71:5
For You have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth. [emphasis mine]

God has been my hope and my confidence. He was, is, and will be faithful forever!

There fore:
  • Psalm 71:8

My mouth is filled with Your praise, declaring Your splendor all day long.

Praise be to His Holy Name!

Choosing JOY,


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Lighthouse Video

  • Isaiah 53:4-5
4 Surely He [Jesus] took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted.
5 But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by his wounds we are healed. [mine]

This link is from - many of you might have seen it already but for those who haven't it is so worth viewing. If you are a woman get a box of tissues before you watch this. I also suggest watching it more than once so you get the full impact of it. This what to look for:

Creation of Man/The Garden/The Fall /Cast Out/Possession by an Evil World/Struggles of Sin /Nothing of yourself/Death by Crucifixion/Resurrection/Redemption

Choosing JOY,


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Radical FAITH

  • Hebrews 11:1

Now FAITH is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. [Italic mine]

  • Romans 1:17

For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."

Oh those verses mean so much to me. Faith is a gift that God gives us - not something we can ever conjure up ourselves. Good thing! The next step is to BELIEVE GOD for whatever promises He has for each of us or for our churches. This kind of faith is RADICAL because it is life-changing! That's a good thing. When you have what's called "radical surgery" on your body for something - they call it that because they get rid of all that is bad, all that is cancer, all that eats away at us. "Radical FAITH" does the same thing - it removes all the hindrances that keep us FROM Believing God for what He shows us!

The Lord often asks me, "Do you TRUST ME?"
I say, "Yes, LORD, I trust YOU.
He then says, "Then Believe ME for it!"

There is no answer from me that can say, "I'll believe You after
You show me."

No, that is NOT faith.
Now Faith is: being SURE of what we HOPE for and certain of what we do NOT SEE!

It's a done deal in heaven. We need to trust and believe Him with it on earth as if the promise has already taken place. We need to believe Him for it as if we have already received it - even visualizing it being done in our minds. That is faith.

I love to watch God work when we trust and believe! It's powerful stuff!

Praise Him in the meantime for that promise fulfilled!

Choosing JOY,


Saturday, September 8, 2007

Glory Purposes

Romans 9:14-23

14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." 16 It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display My power in you and that My Name might be proclaimed in all the earth."18 Therefore God has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy, and He hardens whom He wants to harden.
19 One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists His will?" 20 But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' "21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?
22 What if God, choosing to show His wrath and make His power known, bore with great patience the objects of His wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if He did this to make the riches of His glory known to the objects of His mercy, whom He prepared in advance for glory— [emphasis mine]

I am clay in the hands of Jesus.

But... am I soft and plyable in the Master's hands? He knows what He wants to make us - He knows the purpose for our lives. He is the Creator - the Artist - the Master Designer making us fit for the Kingdom - while He draws us to Himself in Jesus Christ!

Choosing JOY,


Friday, September 7, 2007


Can you tell I'm reading Genesis right now? I am studying it (again) in MSP and also in my own personal devotions.

This was my journal entry from yesterday...
  • Genesis 22:13-18
Jehovah Jireh

13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided."
15 The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, "I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me." [emphasis mine]

Abraham’s obedience to the LORD – proved life-giving to all who came after him. Do I ever stop to think about how my choices (in obedience or disobedience) might affect the next generations after me?

LORD, keep me sensitive to the feelings and needs of others. Make my heart full of compassion and grace but also keep it guarded and set apart for You - and only what You have for me.

Choosing JOY,


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Ever 'Pulled a Hagar'?

Have you ever "pulled a Hagar"? It will help you to read the story of Abram and Sarai (better known as Abraham and Sarah) .... and I'll explain.
  • Genesis 16
    Hagar and Ishmael
1 Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, "The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her."Abram agreed to what Sarai said. 3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. 4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, "You are responsible [blame] for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me." [emphasis mine}

Pulling a "Hagar" is exactly what Sarai (Sarah) did and Abram (Abraham) went along with it. They knew full well the promise that God had given - that THEY would receive the Promise from God for a child. Problem: they were not patient in waiting for that promise so they thought they'd help God along (we always think too much). They thought their circumstances (old age - past child-bearing years, etc.) would hinder God from fulfilling what He had promised. So (like me, we and the rest of the world) we think that we need to help God with His plans. Thus - we "pull a Hagar"!

What a mess it makes. People get hurt, we regret that choice the moment we make it (but it's often too late), then like Sarai and Abram we begin blaming another person, and then we get in trouble with God for our lack of faith! Talk about trying to do it our way - instead of God's way.

That's "pulling a Hagar."

Yesterday I was reading that very scripture when I was faced with just such a situation in my own life. I recognized this and now have to make a choice - whether to 'pull a Hagar' or wait for what I KNOW God has promised in my life. I think I'll let God do it His way - even if I have no idea how He will accomplish that end. It's not always an easy choice. But that's what FAITH is all about.
  • Hebrews 11:1
    By Faith
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. [emphasis mine]

How about you? Ever 'pulled Hagar' of your own? It could be in any situation... relationships, marriage, children, career, job, home, church, school? Got any to share?

Choosing JOY,


Monday, September 3, 2007

Revere HIM

Someone sent a LINK to me this week and I will attempt to post it here (below) for you to view and hear. This is done in the NKJV - but I would like to print out the NIV first.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-14
A Time for Everything

1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

9 What does the worker gain from his toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on men. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. 13 That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.
God does it so that men will revere Him. [emphasis mine]

LINK (cut and paste it):

If you can't bring it up this way - go to Canadian Bible Society website and on the first page it lists different scriptures. Click on Ecclesiastes 3 - VIEW and it will begin to play.

May you be blessed to know the Sovereign God!

Choosing JOY,