Christian

Daily Scripture, 5/9/19

“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8

With Love, 

AA55AA1F-EA36-49A9-92BE-41FD67348618

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

All Scriptures are NIV unless otherwise noted.

Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

realchristianwomen.blog 

Christian

Daily Scripture, 4/16/19

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

With Love, 

AA55AA1F-EA36-49A9-92BE-41FD67348618

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

All Scriptures are NIV unless otherwise noted.

Photo by Vincent van Zalinge on Unsplash

realchristianwomen.blog 

Christian

Daily Scripture, 3/25/19

“Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” Psalm 116:7 AMPC

With Love, 

AA55AA1F-EA36-49A9-92BE-41FD67348618

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

All Scriptures are NIV unless otherwise noted.

Photo by Bharathi Kannan on Unsplash

realchristianwomen.blog 

Christian

Daily Scripture, 3/20/19

“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8

With Love, 

AA55AA1F-EA36-49A9-92BE-41FD67348618

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

All Scriptures are NIV unless otherwise noted.

Photo by Cris Saur on Unsplash

realchristianwomen.blog 


Christian

My First Love

I was stopped in my tracks as I read the letter to the church in Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-6).

1″I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary … 6You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”

It sounds like a strong church! But one thing is going to bring them down. What is it?

4 “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”

How had they changed? What things did they stop doing?

The Amplified Bible says, “… you have left your first love [you have lost the depth of love that you first had for Me].”

When Jesus was asked, “What is the greatest commandment?” he replied,

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” Matthew 22:37

I began to ponder this. How do we love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind? Would we even know if we, like the Church at Ephesus, left our first love? I’m sure the Ephesians thought they loved the Lord with all their hearts. After all, look at all the great things they were  doing. But something must have changed.

I have searched the Scriptures, prayed, and asked other Christians, seeking the answer to this question: What does it mean to love the Lord with your whole heart?

Is it an emotion? An act of our will? Obedience? Praise?

Is it possible that the Ephesians went about the activities of church life, minus the passion of one who has been forgiven? Did they forget how thankful they once were for His forgiveness and love?

I can only infer that as we go about the business of “church”, it is possible to do many good things, yet forget how we first loved Him.

Perhaps now we are busy doing (like Martha) instead of sitting at His feet (like Mary).

The importance  of “loving God with all my heart” has been on my mind for several weeks. I ask myself, Do I love Jesus with all my heart? And more importantly, what does Jesus think?

I started thinking about how I show love to my children. For one thing, I tell them – a lot!. So last night I started my prayer like this:

Lord, I love you. I love you with all my heart and soul and mind. Thank you for forgiving me of my sins. I remember how on fire I was for you when I first experienced the forgiveness that “washed me white as snow” and “removed my sins “as far as the east is from the west”.

 My heart was flooded with peace because the heaviness of my soul, the anguish of guilt vanished.. I remember how I devoured the Scriptures as I discovered your promises. Give me a heart like David, whose Psalms reflect his deep love for you …..

So let us think back to how we first loved Him. Let us ask ourselves, Do I tell Him that I love Him everyday? And let us ask Him to help us to never forsake the love we had at first.

Scriptures

 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

    so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; Psalm 103:11-13

Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18 

With Love, 

AA55AA1F-EA36-49A9-92BE-41FD67348618

This is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

realchristianwomen.blog 

Christian

A Shepherd’s Perspective

“I have concluded based on my years of experience that sheep are stupid. Not just stupid but mind-numbingly stupid— sometimes I wonder how they manage to breath and eat.” Glenn Brunkow, Rancher¹

*********

I’m re-reading a fascinating book by Phillip Keller called A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23.² Keller was a shepherd for years and relates many things about sheep that most people don’t know.

The book is eye-opening and provides a deeper understanding of our relationship with the Lord, the Great Shepherd. It’s no accident he calls us His sheep!

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” Psalm 23 KJV

The shepherd watches over his sheep day and night. They cannot take care of themselves and they get into all kinds of trouble. They will drink polluted water, wander off and be attacked by a wild animals, get stuck in the same fence repeatedly, etc.

“He who watches over you will not slumber;” Psalm 121:3

Sheep are fearful, timid, and skittish. A rabbit hopping by suddenly can send them into a panic. But they calm down when the shepherd walks into view and they are comforted. So many times in my life, when I was in a panic, the Lord has comforted me and calmed my fears. That’s when I wonder how people who don’t know Him get through tough times.

We do “not want” because Jesus is always with us, in good times and in bad.  Our joy and peace comes from His presence in our life, not in what we have or the way life goes. We are content to be led by Him, doing His will.

One thing I found interesting is the fact that like humans, some sheep refuse to follow the shepherd and instead do their own thing. (Ouch!)

This can result in lots of serious problems for the sheep, problems they would have never experienced – if only they had followed the shepherd. (I think this parallel is pretty obvious!)

Keller tells how he would lead his sheep to a clean, clear stream and a stubborn ewe would go off and drink from a polluted, parasite-infested puddle instead. Isn’t that what some people do? We choose the unclean ways of the world instead of the ways of God.

“Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.  By this he meant the Spirit,” John 7:37-38 NIV

A good shepherd provides good forage for the sheep, lush green vegetation, so that the sheep can have plenty to eat, grow, and thrive. However, some sheep will wander off and eat from barren, dry brush instead. Many times, we prefer to feed on the barren ground of the world around us instead of the peace and comfort that comes from dwelling in His Word and His presence.

The final parallel I want to share is the most extraordinary. Sheep must have plenty of pure clean water. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to lead them to a lush green field heavy with morning dew.

The sheep can keep fit and hydrated for months just by grazing right before dawn when the field is heavy with dew. The sheep feed heavily and are most content at this time of day. A good shepherd will make sure his sheep have this opportunity to drink in the “still waters” of dew.

“In the Christian life it is of more than passing significance to observe that those who are often the most serene, most confident and able to cope with life’s complexities are those who rise early each day to feed on God’s Word.” (Keller)

These are just a few of the many insights from A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller.

I don’t know about you, but it gives me great comfort to know that I don’t have to be smart to thrive. I need only to follow Jesus, the Great Shepherd.

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6 NIV

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11 NIV

“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, truly I tell you, 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 perish.” Matthew 18:12-14 NIV

With Love, 

AA55AA1F-EA36-49A9-92BE-41FD67348618

This is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog 

¹https://www.agupdate.com/midwestmessenger/opinion/columnists/glenn_brunkow/the-questionable-intelligence-of-sheep/article_69540f07-7577-5559-bfde-a31ea95acc0c.html

²ISBN 0-310-26790-0 available on Amazon

Photo by Patrick Schneider on Unsplash

Bible, Christian

Does Complaining Make You Feel Better?

That’s why we complain isn’t it? To feel better. After all, I’ve got to get this off my chest! I need to vent!”

But does it really make you feel better? I decided to do an experiment. What would happen if, instead of complaining, I thanked God.

Here’s what happened. The more I complained about my situation (to other people), the angrier I got. But when I thanked God for the positives in this situation, the more at peace I became.

What does God’s Word say about it?

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” Philippians 2:14-16 NIV

The Amplified Bible makes it crystal clear: ” … in the midst of a [morally] crooked and [spiritually] perverted generation, among whom you are seen as bright lights [beacons shining out clearly] in the world [of darkness], 16 holding out and offering to everyone the word of life.”

God knows that when we complain, it has a negative effect on us. In other words, it isn’t healthy. But more than that, a person who doesn’t complain is refreshing to be around. That person shines like a star in the darkness holding out the word of life.

The Israelites complained about everything after God brought them out of Egypt. We tend to think, “How can they complain after God so spectacularly brought them out of slavery?” But are we any different? Hasn’t God brought us out of bondage to sin, and yet we complain about every little thing?

Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I chuckle every time I read the following passage written by Beth Moore from her book, Breaking Free. She states the exact opposite of Philippians 4:6-7 to drive home a point.

“Do not be calm about anything, but in everything, by dwelling on it constantly and feeling picked on by God, with thoughts like, ‘and this is the thanks I get,’ present your aggravations to everyone you know but Him. And the acid in your stomach, which transcends all milk products, will cause you an ulcer, and the doctor bills will give you a heart attack and you will lose your mind!”

It’s funny because that’s what we do!

Next, I did some research. And there’s plenty of information on it. Consider this article from Penn State University.

“Complaining is also bad for your health. When you complain, your body releases more of the hormone that shifts a human into fight-or-flight mode, the hormone known as cortisol. This directs oxygen, blood, and energy from any system that is not crucial to survival. Frequent complaining results in extra cortisol being released, which puts a person more at risk for high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and strokes.

So what can we do to stop ourselves from complaining? Every time you find yourself making a negative observation, make a positive one instead. It is recommended that a person takes time to think about what they’re grateful for. Doing this can reduce cortisol by 23%, according to research at the University of California, Davis. Decreasing the amount you complain will have an overall more positive impact on your health. So why not start today?”¹

So now science is saying what God said almost 2,000 years ago! I’m convinced. It’s time for me to stop complaining.

With Love, 

AA55AA1F-EA36-49A9-92BE-41FD67348618

This is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog 

 

¹https://sites.psu.edu/siowfa16/2016/10/21/what-does-complaining-do-to-your-brain/

Photo by Jose Aragones on Unsplash