restoration from sin

Yesterday was an interesting day. I read the book of Amos; it’s not very long. But the interesting part is how everything (throughout the day) fit together like a puzzle.  Let me explain through the Scripture and the activities:

Amos 1:3  “The people of Damascus have sinned again and again…

Amos 2:1 “The people of Moab have sinned again and again…

Amos 2:4  “The people of Judah have sinned again and again…

Amos 2:6 “The people of Israel have sinned again and again…

See a pattern?  Now, read this, which I saw yesterday on a poster:

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. – 2 Chronicles 7:14

Need more?  I also read this yesterday:

Amos 9:11 “In that day I will restore the fallen house of David. I will repair its damaged walls.

I no longer believe in coincidences. I happen to believe that all things work out for a reason…

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God – Romans 8:28

So you may be asking, “Now what? How does all this fit together?”  First: If you read closely, to me, the combination of all these things reminds us that if all these people sinned (and I didn’t list all of them), then how much better are we? Haven’t we sinned? Second: God tells us that if we, His people, humble ourselves and turn back to Him (God), then He will heal us. 

What are we waiting for?  We know we’ve sinned (individually….and as a country).  Let’s turn this country around NOW and seek God!

the empty chair

empty_chairA woman’s daughter had asked the local minister to come and pray with her mother.
When the minister arrived, he found the woman lying in bed with her head
propped up on two pillows.

An empty chair sat beside her bed. The minister assumed that the woman
had been informed of his visit… ‘I guess you were expecting me, he said.

‘No, who are you?’ said the mother. The minister told her his name and then remarked, ‘I saw the empty chair and I figured you knew I was going to show up..’

‘Oh yeah, the chair,’ said the bedridden woman ‘Would you mind closing the door?’
Puzzled, the minister shut the door. ‘I have never told anyone this, not even my daughter,’ said the woman.

‘But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it went right over my head…’

‘I abandoned any attempt at prayer,’ the old woman continued, ‘ until one day four years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘ Prayer is just a simple matter
of having a conversation with Jesus. Here is what I suggest.. ‘Sit down in a chair;
place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair.

It’s not spooky because he promised, ‘I will be with you always’.. ‘Then just speak to him in the same way you’re doing with me right now…’ ‘So, I tried it and I’ve liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day.

I’m careful though.If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she’d either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm.’

The minister was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old woman to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with her, anointed her with oil,
and returned to the church.

Two nights later the daughter called to tell the minister that her mama
had died that afternoon. Did she die in peace?’ he asked.

Yes, when I left the house about two o’clock, she called me over to her bedside,
told me she loved me and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found her .

But there was something strange about her death. Apparently, just before Mom died, she leaned over and rested her head on the chair beside the bed. What do you make of that?’

The minister wiped a tear from his eye and said,
‘I wish we could all go like that.’

Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive.

I asked God for water, He gave me an ocean.*
I asked God for a flower, He gave me a garden.*
I asked God for a friend, He gave me all of YOU…

If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.

Happy moments, praise God.
Difficult moments, seek God.
Quiet moments, worship God
Painful moments, trust God.
Every moment, thank God.

On God’s love:

Psalm 36
7 How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.
 8 They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.
9 For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light. 
10 Oh, continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You, And Your righteousness to the upright in heart.

I’m so glad we have such a loving God!  He takes care of us and lets us share in His righteousness (whether we deserve it or not!). He loves us, which is why He allows us to come to Him in our good times and bad. Thankfully, when we listen and follow Him, we have more of the good times and “are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of [God’s] house!”

a prayer for forgiveness

. . . sometimes we feel like we can do no good. We may feel that we have greatly let down God in everything we do. However, God gave us the Bible to remind us that He is a loving God, willing to forgive, and that we are not without hope!

The Bible even shows us that some very great and Godly men also failed at times:

2 Samuel 24: 10 David was conscience-stricken after he [committed the sin], and he said to the LORD, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, O LORD, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.”

Thanks to God, we too, can pray this same prayer! However, God does not want us to think that we can sin, pray for forgiveness, and then suffer no consequences. There are consequences for our actions. The passage above is followed by a response by God to David:

15 So the LORD sent a plague on Israel from that morning until the end of the time designated, and seventy thousand of the people from Dan to Beersheba died.

David’s sin was great, and so were his consequences. Remember, though, . . . David was a man “after God’s heart.” He was a devout Christian, following the ways of God, but he still sinned, and had to pay the price.

As we go about our activities in this world, we, unfortunately, will also sin. We will fall to temptation and have to pay the consequences. However, there is hope in the Lord!  The Lord promises to make David a “great name” among the people of the earth (2 Sam 7:9). God promises an EVERLASTING covenant with him (2 Sam 23:5). This is verified in the gospels of Matthew and Luke where we find that God’s only Son, Jesus, comes from David’s ancestry.

I can think of know better way to be known by, than to be a part of what Jesus has done and will do. The neat part though… is that WE HAVE THAT OPPORTUNITY TOO!  We can be a part of Jesus’ kingdom when we come to him for Salvation. We too can share in the heavenly eternity that God created for only His children!  If you want to share in this opportunity, click this link and read about how to come to know God today:

John 3:16″For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

a proverb for the day

I used to really enjoy reading chinese proverbs. There’s some really good ones out there.

  • He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.
  • Man who waits for roast duck to fly into mouth must wait very, very long time.
  • Do not remove a fly from your friend’s forehead with a hammer
  • Never write a letter while you are angry.
  • One cannot refuse to eat just because there is a chance of being choked.

They all seem to relate some really good advice or fact, right? Well, believe it or not, the same is true, but even more so for those proverbs we find in the Bible:

 He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul,
      But he who is careless of his ways will die.  – Proverbs 19:16

Now, you may be left hanging with a question after reading this proverb: “which commandment?” Aren’t there Ten of them?

Does it really matter? We should follow ALL of God’s commands, even those that aren’t considered “Commandments.” Follow God – Protect Your Soul!

a simple quote

from Matthew 16

16“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

time to trim the trees . . .

I noticed yesterday that my yard bushes and trees are looking shaggy again.  And some of them are already about 10 feet tall again.  I remember when we first moved into our house here: the trees were only about 5 foot tall in the front. For years they stayed about that height, then one year I trimmed them. 

Then…the following year they grew easily a foot.  I trimmed again, and the next year they grew two feet.  Now this year, just a few months after trimming, one tree has grown about 4 feet!!! Yikes!  Why?  Professional landscapers will tell you that trimming trees/bushes will actually yield more growth. And, we are obviously supposed to remove those trees/bushes that are dead.

Well, lets see what this has to do with Scripture:

 John 15: 1-2 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 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.

Jesus tells us that if we are dead (bearing no fruit), then we will be “cut off.”  But those of us who are working for God (bearing fruit), then we will be “pruned.” 

So, if things are not going your way, exactly as you desire, then one of two things has happened.  You have cut yourself off from God and are not following His ways. Or you are simply being tested (pruned) in order to make you stronger and bear more fruit.  I hope it’s the latter (pruned).

We ALL struggle, but have faith and be patient for God will grow in us more fruit than we could ever imagine!

behaving wisely?

Yes . . . the Bible says we should behave “wisely” . . .

                 Psalm 101

1 I will sing of mercy and justice;
         To You, O LORD, I will sing praises.

 2 I will behave wisely in a perfect way.
         Oh, when will You come to me?
         I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.

So what is “behaving wisely?” According to this passage, we should sing praises to the Lord, while we walk with a “perfect heart.” That’s behaving wisely.

The question remains: Will you behave wisely today?

. . . in the end

Most everyone wants to know “when is the end of the world coming?” Jesus answers the disciples in Matthew 24

3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains.

 9“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Some say that the current events are representative of the end of age. I don’t dispute or support this argument – I simply do not know. However, I do know that there is a limited amount of time that each of us spend here on earth. Therefore we have a responsibility to act NOW and when the end does come, we must STAND FIRM in our faith to the very end.

Start NOW – tell others today!
Finish FIRM – keep the faith to the end!

29“Immediately after the distress of those days
   ” ‘the sun will be darkened,
      and the moon will not give its light;
   the stars will fall from the sky,
      and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ 
30“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 31And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.