Do you ever find yourself wearing a MASK? Join me today at Laced with Grace to chat about that!
Do you ever find yourself wearing a MASK? Join me today at Laced with Grace to chat about that!
I recently shared this at the Cafe.....thought you may enjoy it as well.
I recently looked out my window and saw the strangest sight. Now for the outsider looking in, I am sure they would not even noticed it. For many, it would not have been in the least bit unusual. But, for us, it was a strange sight. In fact, it was worthy of calling the whole family around to stare out the window in disbelief!
Are you wondering what this amazing sight could have been?
It was a large white and gray colored CAT prowling around the INSIDE of our eight foot privacy fence!
What could be strange about a cat wandering around our yard, you wonder?
Well, we don’t OWN a cat! In fact, we own a LARGE dog who absolutely was going crazy at the thought of an intruding feline invading his space!
Our yard was NOT this cat’s home. In fact, this yard could have been very dangerous to the animal if we would have allowed our dog to have his way and let him outside. But, watching the cat, you would have never known that. He seemed completely comfortable roaming around this strange yard. In fact, he LOOKED like he “owned the place.” Our yard, to any passerby, appeared to be his home.
But, it’s not.
I thought about how I can so easily forget where my home is as well.
I make the mistake and believe this world is my home, strolling through, completely comfortable, as if I “own the place.”
“Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul.” 1Peter 2:11, The Message
Many times I walk around “too cozy” or too comfortable in THIS world, accepting things that are not glorifying to God. Sometimes I have been distracted and deceived, led astray by my longings for the “worldly” things my flesh desires. Other times, I seek the approval of the world, instead of God. And, there are times when I mosey along in this world, not even aware of the danger, like the cat in my yard. Oh, how I want to remember at these times that THIS WORLD IS NOT MY HOME!
The NIV translation puts it this way:
“Dear friends, I urge you, as strangers and aliens in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.”
Lord, help me to remember this world is NOT my home. Help me to remember that You have set me apart from “the world.” Lord, help me to never be “cozy” here, but to keep my eyes and heart to be set on “things above.” Thank You, Jesus for Your forgiveness and Your Power to live this way! In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.
Visit the Cafe for more inspiration....
"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14
Father, give us deep insight into Your Word today in the name of Jesus Christ!
Yesterday we were looking at idol worship with the children of Israel (and thinking about idols in our own lives!). Remember God's people were spit into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah? We were following Israel and learning how they turned to other gods because they did "not trust in the Lord their God."
The Lord becomes very angry with them and "removed them from His presence." How sad! The chosen people, the children of God, to be removed from His presence. I am reminded of when Moses and the children of Israel were wandering in the wilderness, and the people were constantly grumbling and complaining and NOT trusting God. God at one point gets so fed up with the people, that He tells Moses, "OK, go into the Promised Land. I will send an angel before you to drive out your enemies. BUT, My presence will NOT go with you!" Moses refused to go! He said he would rather be in the desert wilderness WITH God than in the abundant, wonderful land of promise flowing with milk and honey WITHOUT God! What faith! May I always have the same attitude!
So, Israel is removed from God's presence, and we shortly read that God allows them to be taken into exile. But, notice this only happens after they "persisted in all their sins and did not turn away from other gods." And, we read that God had continually "warned them through all His servants the prophets." Proverbs 1:30-31 says, "...since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes."
Yesterday we were cutting apples for a snack. The first one we cut into looked beautiful. It was large and red and looked delicious. But, when we cut into it, it was BLACK on the inside! It was so gross! There was no way anyone would want to eat this fruit.
As I think on this verse, I wonder how many "bad apples" I have eaten because I have refused to accept His advice or listen to His rebuke? How many times when the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit has tried to warn me, do I turn my head and walk in my own ways because "I know better" (at least I think I do!)? Oh, Lord, give me ears to hear and a soft pliable heart to obey!
Well, what really got me in today's reading is when we read about Judah (the other kingdom of the children of Israel.) Verses 18-19 say, "So the Lord was angry with Israel and removed them from His presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left, and even Judah did not keep the command of the Lord their God. (NOW LISTEN TO THIS!) THEY FOLLOWED THE PRACTICES ISRAEL HAD INTRODUCED." And, sadly, they, too were removed from God's presence.
Wow! I was pondering this, and I wondered how many times do I look to other Believers INSTEAD of God and His Word in how to live? Sometimes we even begin rationalizing sin because we see other Believers doing it, and we think, "Well, if they are doing it, it must not be that bad. Maybe it is OK..." My mom (and maybe yours, too!) used to say to me when I was a kid, "If everyone else jumped off of the bridge, would you do it?"
For me, this story really brings home the fact that although I treasure the encouragement of others, I need to keep my eyes on Him and look to God to guide my walk. I need to seek Him daily. I need to "set my heart and mind on things above, not on earthly things." (Col. 3:1). I need to read His Word so that I can be filled with His Truth. I need to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide me! I need to heed His warnings that He so generously gives!
Jude (New Test., right before Revelation) says, "But dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said, 'In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.' These men follow mere natural instincts (here is where our own "reasoning" comes in!) and do not have the Spirit. But YOU, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most Holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit."
So, my dear friends, I pray that you, too, will build yourselves up in the most Holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. My prayer is that you continue to seek Him with all of your heart. Keep your eyes on the eternal. And, finally, may you bask in His presence! May you be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God! May you be filled with all grace, love, and joy!
Be blessed today! Keep pressing on!
"To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy- to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen."
"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God every time I remember you. I always pray with joy... being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to COMPLETION until the day of Christ Jesus."
Glory! Yea! He is working in all of us- keep pressing on, dear ones!
Have you read 2Kings lately? Love "Kings".... This is the history of the people of God. They are God's children (supposed to be holy and set apart, remember?). The Israelites are divided into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah. (Remember Jesus is called "Lion of Judah"?) Now, both kingdoms have kings who rule, and 1Kings and 2Kings is about the people and the rulers of this time period. This takes place after King David.
What always amazes me about the people is that they continuously turn to other gods and idols to worship. Remember what God gave them as their first commandment to follow?
"You shall no other gods besides me." And then, "Do not make and worship idols." They serve Almighty God! But, they continue to turn to other gods.
When I taught 6th grade, we studied mythology- Roman, Greek, and Egyptian. We see Roman idol worship throughout the New Testament . Egyptian mythology is during Old Testament times. These people believed if they worshipped and paid homage to each individual god, the god would do something for them. There were gods for fertility, for the "afterlife", for success in war. When the Israelites turned to these "gods," hey thought the gods would help them in some way- with the harvest, fertility, or warfare success. Just to get an idea of how evil these practices were, "Adrammelech" and "Anammelech", gods of the neighboring people, required human sacrifice-their children!
So, the question always is, why do God's people continously turn away from God? And, how does that relate to me today?
Before we go there, let's take a look at 2Kings 17. This is what is happening in the Kingdom of Israel. "They worshipped other gods and followed the practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before them, as well as the practices that the kings of Israel had introduced." They look around and they start thinking, "Hey, maybe that will work for us!" They see the "world" around them trying things, and it seems to be working. They have harvests, they are doing OK. Nevermind that the Lord had driven them out years before! Nevermind that God had given the Israelites supernatural victory over them! They start to wonder if there are "better" ways of doing things.
"The Israelites SECRETLY did things against the Lord their God that were not right."
First of all, we can never do things in secret- God always knows! God knows the secret things! Secondly, if we are doing something in secret, then we know, deep down, it is wrong. We want to keep our sins in the darkness! But, Psalm 139 says, "If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to You."
How many times do we think we are doing things "secretly", somehow getting away with it? But, it is not secret from God!
So "they worshiped idols, even though the LORD said, 'You shall not do this'." God is so good, though! His heart cries out for us. He doesn't want us to go down these paths that lead to destruction. So, God sent prophets to warn the people to turn from their idols and worship only the LORD. But, the Bible says they were "stiff-necked and would not listen." Oh, God! How many times I am "stiff-necked" and won't listen despite Your warnings?! I go along my own way, thinking I know best, looking to the "world" to help me!
Now listen to this! They "did not trust in the LORD their God."
Well, there it is! It boils down to TRUST. Are we going to trust in the LORD our God, even when times are tough, or are we going to seek other ways to "bail us out?" You see, I get impatient or wonder if God's watch is broken! I don't like His timing! Or, life becomes uncomfortable and I turn to idols to comfort me...... a bit of chocolate.....a glass of wine....facebook....a shopping spree.....a TV show....
But, God tells me to wait! Wait for Him.....look to Him....trust Him...turn to Him.
It is a matter of faith! Am I going to trust in the One who alone is trustworthy, or am I going to trust in the ideas of the world around me?
Well, Sisters, my prayer for you today is that You will "trust in the Lord with all of your heart. I pray you will NOT lean upon your own understanding (we think we are so smart at times and then we find ourselves turning to idols), but acknowledge Him in ALL of your ways, and then- THEN (HERE IS THE PROMISE!) HE WILL MAKE YOUR PATHS STRAIGHT, HE WILL DIRECT YOUR STEPS."
Father, we give You all the glory! Thank You for Your patience!
Mother Theresa said, "I know God will only give me what He knows I can handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much!"
I so hope you can join with us At the Well sometime this week for the last (boo! hoo!) installment of Makeover of the Heart. It has been a wonderful and amazing 6 weeks watching as God has been working in our hearts and transforming our lives!
Come on over!
Well.....after eight or nine times of getting up with Aaron last night ( and several days of Abigail and Aly already having this junk!), I remembered this blog post from February 2008! I was giggling at 3:00 A.M as I was REBUKING the PUKE!!! Rereading it has encouraged me and I hope it blesses you as well! Here it is:
First published 2/8/2008
OK, now that I have your attention with that title.........!
It has been sooo long since I posted anything- since Jan. 18th. I have "written" so many posts in my head over the past few weeks. Does anyone else blog in their head?????? Anyway, it has been a crazy time for the Berta family and the enemy has been in full force on the prowl, attacking at every opportunity.
It began right after Christmas, with my hormones taking a weird swing, which resulted in a 36 day long period, trips to the doctor, exams and an ultra sound. I am great, praise God! But, I have a whole new appreciation for the woman who bled for 12 years and was healed by Jesus!
January continued with two repair man visits for our washing machine, extensive dental work replacing two crowns and 3 hours of drilling (ouch!), purchasing an elliptical machine that was malfunctioned (and several phone calls to Nordic Trac and Sears, who were both wonderful!), my 40th birthday (which was awesome, including a big party), 3 ice/snow storms, about 25 inches of snow, four snow days with the kids home, various school projects for my 3 oldest kids, and now the "sickies" running through 4 of my 5 kids, including Abigail, our baby. Ashley, the second child to come down with this junk, threw up blueberry oatmeal, which took the whole morning trying to remove the stain. Just when we sure we over it, Aaron threw up in his bed. (Will I ever get caught up on the laundry?????)
Today, while praying for Aaron, I couldn't stop laughing when I said, in the name of Jesus, "I rebuke the puke!" Thank you, God that you have a great sense of humor and that truly you do not give us more than what we can bear.
Interestingly, I am speaking in February at a ladies' retreat. Now, experiencing attack before a conference or retreat has been something I have come to expect from the enemy. He doesn't have any new tricks. He tries to distract me and steal the joy from my life. I know the temptation is there for me to question/doubt what I am speaking and teaching: God is great..... that "He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world."...... that "I am more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus"..... that I will have trouble and tribulation in this world, but praise be to God, Jesus has overcome the world! And, "I can do all things through Christ Jesus who gives me strength."
Now, you may be wondering what I am speaking on at the retreat. The message is about leaning on Jesus in daily life- depending on your relationship with Jesus Christ to triumph over the mundane day-to-day trials and tribulations of life, all the while experiencing joy and peace. God is so good! He always gives me lots of examples/experiences from my daily life to use as examples in my talks. LOL. Seriously, God does allow me, as a speaker, to live out the Truth I am going to be sharing with women. I am able to sympathize with their daily trials and share how God helps me.
The enemy wants us to believe that our God isn't interested in the "small" things of life. So many times it is not the HUGE disasters or crisis, it is the accumulation of all the ordinary things that get us down. We get distracted with life and all of its circumstances and we forget to bring it all to the feet of the One who can help us. Or, we think we should be able to handle it. The enemy whispers to us, "failure" when we struggle. We allow Satan to suck the joy from our lives, and we get "down trodden."
Beloved, our God is able to do "immeasurably (can't even measure it!) more than all we ask or imagine..." The Amplified says, "He is able to carry out His purpose and do super-abundantly, far over and above all that we dare ask (love that) or think[infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]...." And, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." God doesn't want to be there just in those horrible, devastatingly hard times of life, He wants to be there when we are living every day. He wants to be our joy, our peace, our Rock, and strength.
James tells us, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4.
I want my faith to be complete! I want to be mature in my faith! I don't want to lack anything! I know that in this life the washing machine will break down. I know kids will sometimes get sick. I know sometimes I will oversleep. There will be snow days. Things won't always go the way I've planned. But, my attitude in these daily trials is so important! I am going to purpose in my heart to remember that "the joy of the Lord is my strength." In all things, I am going to rejoice in Him. "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."
Finally, because I have an enemy, because he does try to suck joy from my life and discredit my testimony of Jesus Christ, I need to put on the armor of God daily, standing firm against him. Ephesians 6:10-18, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood (our husband, our kids' teachers, the check-out clerk, our neighbor, a friend who has betrayed us....) but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of the dark world...Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when (not IF) the day of evil comes, (the trials of daily living), you may be able to stand your ground....Stand firm with the belt of Truth buckled firmly around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish ALL the flaming arrows of the evil one (all of his plans and schemes- sickness, disease, broken appliances, disobedient children......). Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With all this in mind, be alert (that is a BIGGIE!) and always keep on praying for all the saints."
Father God, I come before you and praise your holy name! Jehovah, you are awesome, amazing, glorious! I love you, Lord! Father, I thank you for this opportunity to write, write, write all that has been on my heart. Thank you for sleeping babies and a quiet house. Lord, I pray this entry may encourage some precious heart that has been "down trodden" with the burdens and worries of life. Jesus, you tell us to come to you with our daily burdens. And, you promise that you will take them and trade them for a yoke that is easy and light. Lord, you promise that "you will give us rest." Remind your people, remind ME, daily that you are a God that cares about every struggle, no matter how big or small. Fill us with inexpressible joy that your Word promises. Remind us that this earth is not our home and that we have a glorious inheritance waiting for us. Remind us that Jesus tells us we will have trials and struggles here in this fallen world, but to take heart because He has overcome the world! Hallelujah! Lord, you don't want us to be depressed, beaten down, ready to give up. No! Lord, your Word tells us that we can have abundant life here on earth and that our joy is NOT tied to our circumstances, but tied to you, Jesus! Fill us, fill me, with this Truth to overflowing! In Jesus' precious name I pray. Amen and amen and amen!
He loves us with an everlasting love. He has drawn us with loving kindness. He will build us up again and we WILL be rebuilt. Hallelujah!
I had the most amazing experience this weekend! I was speaking at a ladies' retreat where the most beautiful, precious young lady accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior! What an HONOR and PRIVILEGE it was to witness this!
Please pray for "C" as she experiences her New Life as a child of the Most High God! Pray for her protection. Pray for PASSION as she gets to know her beautiful Savior. Pray that she would fall IN LOVE with Jesus!
Yay! Week 5 of our Bible Study is up and ready At the Well! Please join me this week where we will be sharing about PRAYER.
HOW do I pray????