—when you put your hopes and dreams in His capable hands–
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap or the seeds that you plant.” Robert Louis Stevenson
“YE ALSO AS LIVELY STONES, ARE BUILT UP A SPIRITUAL HOUSE, AN HOLY PRIESTHOOD TO OFFER UP SPIRITUAL SACRIFICES , ACCEPTABLE TO GOD BY JESUS CHRIST.” I PETER 2:5
When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior we become part of the body of Christ. In the verse above we are compared to LIVING STONES that make up the unseen temple of God. He is the cornerstone upon which we (the building of Christ) are built.
I am thinking today of how in our lives as believers we as LIVING STONES we are shaped and polished to fit into the place that God has for each of us to reside in “His living temple.”
This process is not always what we expect and it is not always comfortable but in end it brings great results as we shine as a beautiful precious stone of His creation.
Here is what a gem cutter will do to a stone that he decides is worthy of being made into a beautiful creation:
1. He positions the rough stone ( which aptly describes the new believer) on a holder and holds the stone against the edge of a revolving saw to trim off undesirable material. It never fails but just as a new believer is awash in the fresh excitement of his salvation that a time of ‘cutting off of undesirable material” begins. It is painful but needful. Just like a wise and loving parent will mold and shape the character of his child so will our heavenly Father begin the refining process.
2. The gem cutter selects a shaping wheel and applies an abrasive compound then holds the stone against it to further shape and grind facets. Now after having some of that undesirable material has been, shall we say, painfully removed. Now begins a slow abrasive process of producing facets in the gem that will make it shimmer and shine. Have you ever held a gem stone up to the light and marveled at those beautiful facets? They didn’t just happened they were designed and planned and sanded into those sparkling facets. Have you ever wondered ,”Why am I going through this trial or affliction? The Great Gem Cutter is sanding you to make you beautiful.
3. Now the gem cutter examines the stone for accuracy by using a magnifying glass ( have you felt like your life has been under a magnifying glass lately?} Now the gem cutter polishes the stone using a felt or canvas covered polishing wheel with polishing compounds.
When we offer up our life into His eternal, loving, and wise hands. He receives it joyfully. Excited about what we are to become in Him. He has many blessings and answers to prayer to generously give us but He will also begin to shape us into the “living stone” that is beautiful for Him.
He takes a life into His omnipotent and skilled hands and begins a work from the rough stone something beautiful will slowly emerge.
He knows just how to cut the stone to bring out the most beauty.
He knows how many facets are needed. Perhaps it is a facet of suffering, a facet of pain, a facet of disappointment, a facet of loss. Along with facets of joy and blessing and answered prayer.
He will craft the stone of our life with His wise and loving hand until it becomes a work of art.
No stone can shape itself. To be shaped by the mighty Hand of God is a privilege and a gift.
The gem cutter has the very best plan in mind for the gem he is working.
No matter what you are going through today be comforted by the fact that His mighty hand is holding you and shaping you for something better, something wonderful, and something beautiful.
If you have trusted Christ as your Savior you are—-“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar(set apart) people; that ye should show forth the praises of him, who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Which in time past were not a people, but now the people of God–” I Peter 2:9,10a
You are Spiritual Light bearers into a world of spiritual darkness. “Ye are the light of the world, a city set on a hill cannot be hid.” Matthew 5:14 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. v. 16
Let the Light that is in you shine forth today to those around you. Share the gospel message.
“Preach the word, be instant in season, out of season—–” II Timothy 4:2 In other words no matter how you feel. No matter how your day is going don’t forget to share the good news of the Gospel wherever you go. Always be ready for that opportunity to encourage, witness or share a Bible tract with someone you meet along the way.
SHINE SOME LIGHT INTO THEIR DARKNESS:)
This will not be a ‘simplemeditation” type message today but I feel it is a message that American women need to hear.
I watched a short segment on CNN the other night on the phenomenon of the movie “50 Shades of Grey” –the two guests of the host were debating the movie in regard to its furtherance of domestic violence–One woman said several times the book itself was poorly written and the movie had nothing to do with domestic violence and in the end it all turns out to the woman’s favor.
The other woman argued that the movie projected domestic violence.
Frankly I believe both women missed the point. (since it seems the largest part of the audience is women)
I haven’t seen the movie and don’t plan to ( I wouldn’t want those images stuck in my mind –which is what happens) but from all the reviews and film clips it is obvious that the movie is indecent and immoral. It focuses on sexuality outside the boundary of marriage.
Two problems with this–first of all sexually activity outside the boundaries of marriage is Sin and even though our society accepts living together –it is still Sin. God has not changed His definition of Sin lately. Guess He didn’t get the memo that living together should be just as good as marriage.
I know the word Sin has fallen into great disfavor in this current generation. Nonetheless Sin is real and it causes harm, humiliation and degradation to all her participate in it.
By the way God created sex. Yes–amazing isn’t it? He planned it to be a pleasurable moment between shared by a man and a woman within in the bonds of marriage. It is a time of intimate bonding that brings them together as one and enhances their relationship with each other. While obviously child bearing is part of the equation; it is much more than that for it gets a completeness and wholeness to marriage. Today’s portrayal of sex on TV and in the movies degrades sex down to an act simple lust and teaches our young people that that is all there is to it. Our culture has made sex into a spectator sport to be indulged in by all who choose to view it–which by the way is called voyeurism.
This book and this movi,e “50 Shades of Grey”, in its immense popularity is exposing the depths of depravity htat the women in our society and culture have sunken to. There seems to be no shame associated with reading the book or viewing the movie. Unlike the days of old (only a few decades ago ) it is not being viewed in some X rated theater where people creep in and out hoping not to be discovered.
What is wrong with this? It is a free society. We are simply exercising our right as women to free choice. What harm can it do?
In the book of Isaiah in the Bible we begin to understand the problem. Before Israel was judged and taken away into captivity the women began to become immodest and immoral.
Every great society in history has fallen when its women have begun to flaunt their immorality and to revel in. When women begin to assert themselves above men, begin to dress indecently and become bold in their immoral life styles a whole society suffers. Think for a moment of the results of all this free sexuality–STDs, HIV, abortions, destruction of marriages, and children abandoned to other care givers.
In the beginning Eve was influenced by Satan (the enemy of every woman). At Satan’s temptation to sin (disobey God) she looked upon the fruit of the TRee of Good and Evil and determined that it looked harmless and good. Then she tasted it and enjoyed it’s flavor(there is pleasure in sin for a short time) then she shared it with her husband Adam thereby sin entered into all generations of mankind to come. What were the awesome and wonderful results? She lost a special connection with her Creator that loved her. Her husband blamed her–imagine that happy marriage as he toiled endlessly in the fields to take care of her. She experienced great pain in childbearing and then one of her sons murdered the other. The only winner here was Satan.
God’s instruction against sin and immorality are meant for our good. Therefore He will allow sinfulness to abound only for a time (because of His great mercy) and then it will bring judgment just as in Noah’s day. Because sinfulness uncorrected destroys mankind and brings sorrow and harm to all people not just those who practice it.
Oh and by the way—the woman doesn’t win in the end. Not in the real world. The man just uses her and then casts her assides and that laughter you hear in the end—It is Satan.
THis was never God’s plan for us as women. He wants only our good. Flee from sin and evil and the one thatwould destroy your soul in hell and turn back to God and His ways and delivere our nation from judgment.
I fear that we live in a very thank less generation. It is so easy to find ourselves complaining about what we don’t have instead of being thankful for what we do have. I know that I find myself doing this more often than I’d like to confess. More than once I’ve found myself needing to change my point of view.
Here in America we are so rich! Even the poorest among us is rich compared to the desperate poverty of the third world nations.
I am tempted to take for granted the things I have and to long for yet more. I think our commercialized culture is a real instigator of this. Just think about all the commercials you are bombarded with during a one hour television program. Whether you consciously sign on or not your brain is receiving a constant message–” You do not have enough. You need more. Your life cannot be complete until you have purchased this or that product.”
Complaining and grumbling can lead to no good thing in our lives. Just read about how God dealt with the children of Israel and their complaining! But that being said; it is easy to fall into a grumbling pattern.
I’ve found an antidote to this and I want to share it with you. No matter what your lot in life is this “potion” will cure your grumblies and perk up your spirits in no time.
Just start thanking God for what He has done for you and for what He has blessed you with. Oh I know I don’t always “feel’ like doing this especially lately with my dread of winter weather and etc. but if I determine to set aside some time to be thankful even my “feelings’ will change.
I would like to share with you today a hymn that speaks to this very thing and could even act as a guide for you as you contemplate dwelling on more thankfulness in your life.
As believers in Christ I think you will find that we have much more than we ever imagined to be thankful for.
THANKS TO GOD FOR MY REDEEMER
Thanks to God for my Redeemer,
Thanks for all He doth provide!
Thanks for times now but a memory!
Thanks for Jesus by my side!
Thanks for pleasant balmy springtime,
Thanks for dark and dreary fall!
Thanks for tears but now forgotten,
Thanks for peace within my soul!
Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered,
Thanks for what Thou dost deny!
Thanks for storms that I have weathered!
Thanks for all Thou dost supply!
Thanks for pain and thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair!
Thanks for grace that none can measure,
Thanks for love beyond compare!
Thanks for roses by the wayside,
Thanks for thorns their stems contain!
Thanks for home and thanks for fireside,
Thanks for hope, that sweet refrain!
Thanks for joy and thanks for sorrow,
Thanks for heavenly peace with Thee!
Thanks for hope in the tomorrow,
Thanks for all eternity!
August Storm 1862-1914
In light of my post yesterday I thought I would add one thing that I was made aware of yesterday.
Apparently Dateline, or a similar TV program, did a segment some time ago about future events as far as being “micro-chipped.” It seems there is a movement hoping to bring this reality into affect for people by 2017. I thought this was interesting considering what the significance of that coming year may be.
The Bible tells us that when the Anti-Christ comes to power he will demand that everyone have a number on their person in order to buy and sell. Revelation 13:17,18
Could this be the beginning or end of that fulfillment of prophecy?
I cannot say; but it is certainly worth considering.
Again. what if we only have three more years to the serve the Lord on this earth? What should be our priorities? What should we be busy doing? Perhaps God is trying to get our (believers) attention. I know I easily forget the importance of serving God and not myself everyday. I’m easily distracted by worldly things and responsibilities and it is easy to say to myself—the rapture can’t be that near–I have plenty of time to witness for Him. But do I? Does any of us? None of us knows what day we might be called home from this earth by death itself. People who expect to live many years die in a few so Rapture or not our time upon this earth is precious. May we not waste it on selfish pursuits.
Here is a hymn that asks this question–
When Jesus comes to reward His servants,
Whether it be noon or night,
Faithful to Him will He find us watching,
With our lamps all trimmed and bright? (Matthew 25:1-13)
If, at the dawn of the early morning,
He shall call us one by one,
When to the Lord we restore our talents (Matthew 25:13-29)
Will He answer thee–“Well done”?
Have we been true to the trust He left us?
Do we seek to do our best?
If in our hearts there is naught condemns us,
We shall have a glorious rest.
Blessed are those whom the Lord finds watching,
In His glory they shall share;
If He shall come at the dawn or midnight,
Will He find us watching there?
Oh, can we say we are ready brother?
Ready for the soul’s bright home?
Say will He find you and me still watching,
Waiting, waiting when the Lord shall come?
Fanny Crosby 1820-1915 W.H. Doane 1832-1913
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” I Peter 3:15
I recently went to see the movie –Left Behind—-
I have never read the books or even seen the first series of movies on this subject so I am seeing it from a fresh perspective so to speak. I had no preconceived ideas before I went so I enjoyed the movie.
I thought it was good and TIMELY—-
I have been reading the book THE FOUR BLOOD MOONS BY JOHN HAGEE and also THE MYSTERY OF THE SHEMITAH BY JONATHON CAHN. These books point clearly to a coming crucial event in history. What that event will be exactly I cannot say. It appears to have some economic ramifications for America.
If you notice– the beginning of the Shemitah year, which began in September, has been met with several potentially disasterous events. The rise of ISIS not just in the Middle East but in our nation. The arrival of Ebola to our shores.
The Shemitah year is the year that Israel was told to keep as a Sabbath year. It was from September to September (on our calendar) Every 7th year they were commanded to let the land rest. In other words they were not to plant or harvest during that year. The land was to be left fallow and the orchards left so that the poor and needy could reap the benefit from them. At the end of this Shemitah year all debts were forgiven.
As long as the children of Israel obeyed this command they found favor with God but a time came when they would no longer keep this commandment. So God sent judgment in the form of captivity in Babylon which allowed the land to rest for the 70 years that the people of Israel had neglected to heed God’s command. While this was a requirement of the Jewish people it is not required of America but—–
America was founded by people with a great faith in God. They committed this great land to God and they promised if the people of this land ever strayed from faith in God then God would judge the land and it’s people.
Going back 7 years we can see a pattern emerging of God’s dealing with America on a Shemitah year. For instance the financial crisis in September of 2008. Go back another seven years to September of 2001. Need I say more?
This year of Shemitah that began this September will end in September of 2015. All signs point to it being a year of chaos and unrest across our land. This being said–never forget that God’s ultimate purpose is not to destroy a nation for their sins but to see a nation repent of their sins and turn back to Him.
God is holy, and just, and righteous and He must judge sin. He can’t just wink at it and let mankind sink into a downward spiral of evil doings that will lead to an eternity in hell. For this reason He is far more interested in the spiritual condition of man than his material condition.
The question always comes up–“Seeing all around us a nation in decay rapidly heading towards judgment from a holy God is the rapture of believers eminent?
Of course no one knows for sure. G od wisely kept the date of ” the rapture” hidden from us.
Will believers suffer through parts of the tribulation before we are taken up to meet Him in the air? Again there is no clear answer from God’s Word.
I happened on a John Hagee program on Sunday where he spoke of a rabbi who lived 900 years ago. This rabbi–Ben Samuel(I think is his name)–predicted future events. These events were figured out by segments of 50 years as is a Jewish custom. I didn’t take notes per se so I will just give you the last calculation of Ben Samuel’s prediction which is the 50 years since the six day war in Israel for Jerusalem. (1967). This would bring us to 2017 when he predicts –basically the rapture. I find this interesting in context with the teaching from the Bible that the generation that was born during 1949-1950 would be the last generation. (Luke 21:29-33) In fact this generation (who witnesses the rebirth of Israel) will “not pass away until All is fulfilled.” Could this mean the rapture and the tribulation would take place by the time this generation is 75 years of age?
Are the “End Times” this close? I don’t know–but–what if they are—what if–you and me are raptured in three years. Just think about that for a moment. Believe it for a moment as if you had a word of knowledge from God. What would you, as a believer, set as your priorities in this next three years? What is the most important thing that we can be doing? ( I don’t mean selling all your material possesions and going up to a mountain top to wait) I ask myself this question—
The world around us is trying to be ready for some coming disaster by storing up food and building bunkers. Buying gold and etc. Are these wrong things to do? I can’t say that they are–if we have stored up food for instance and we are raptured then perhaps that food will feed some hungry people “Left Behind”
A friend of mine mentioned that she has taken Bible tracts and put them in water proof bags and tucked them away in different places. When the rapture happens people will be seeking an answer to their spiritual need.
Of course the answer to my question is–to witness to as many people as I can in the next three years so that they might escape the disasterous events predicted to occur.
All of this is food for thought—-even if the “Rapture” did not occur in 3 years would you be sorry that you warned people of coming judgment and their need to be right with God? For God’s judgment will truly fall upon this great nation of ours if its people continue in their wicked ways denying God.
I’d like to share with you a song that was published in 1969. This song is played at the end of the LEFT BEHIND movie. It is a song I’d forgotten about but I think it is timely for what I have shared with you today.
Life was filled with guns and wars
And everyone got trampled on the floor.
I wish we’d all been ready.
Children died the day grew cold
A piece of bread could buy a bag of gold
I wish we’d all been ready.
There’s no time to change your mind
The Son has come and you’ve been left behind.
A man and wife asleep in bed
She hears a noise and turns her head –he’s gone
I wish we’d all been ready.
Two men walking up a hill, one disappears
And one is left standing still
I wish we’d all been ready.
There’s no time to change your mind
The Son has come and you’ve been left behind.
There’s no time to change your mind
How could you have been so blind
The Father spoke the demons dined
The Son has come and you’ve been left behind!
Anyone watching the news today has to be sobered by the events occurring around the world and here on our native soil.
Terrorism, deadly diseases, Christian persecution, and evil is abounding everywhere on the globe. I suppose that this is nothing new in the great scheme of things but it seems to be far worse in the 21st century than it was in the 20th century. Could it be that time is on the march toward a coming conclusion of the affairs of man on the world’s stage? Are we truly in the “end times” as preachers predict we are? None of this is certain and it is reliant on God’s grace and longsuffering.
But this has become painfully clear to me and perhaps to you as well—Troublesome times are coming and they are coming to America.
So far America has been spared the worst of the worst. Yes we have had our natural disasters and an attack by terrorists on American soil but we have not experienced the horrors that have plagued other countries for many years now.
I heard recently of a report to our church from missionaries to the Middle East that are crying out for a covering of prayer over them. They have seen the atrocities committed by ISIS towards Christians in those countries that are under siege by unimaginable evil. For this is what it is–it is an attack of Satan on believers.
The missionaries told of Christian families that were confronted by ISIS. ISIS first interrogated the children and demanded they deny Jesus. When the children refused they were beheaded in front of the parents. There can be no mistake that Christianity is under attack.
Here in the America it is cloaked in fine speeches of equality and free choice for everyone. The “Religion of Tolerance” abounds setting itself above the Christian faith. In other countries it is outright violent and deadly. But make no mistake either way it is an attack on every believer in Christ. Jesus said His name would be an offence to those who do not believe and it was never more clear than it is today.
Judgment is coming. A righteous and holy God will not tolerate man’s evil forever. He will step in to put an end to it. When he does our world will be in the grip of the “last days” before His coming to set up His kingdom of peace and joy upon the earth. But before that we know from reading Revelation in the Bible that a time of great trouble such has never been before will occur upon the earth. Those of us as believers have the hope of being “raptured” (taken up to heaven) before the time of tribulation begins but——–we have no idea when that will be and no way of knowing what trials and tribulation we may go through before we are raptured. We may be asked to take bold stands for our faith in Christ before that time. We may become martyrs for the faith before that time. We may suffer through times of want and dread and disease before that happens.
So what do we do? Cower in fear? It is tempting–Worry continually? Hard not to do–Become a doomsday prepper? Possibly if you are so inclined. Stick our heads in the sand and pretend it isn’t happening and surely it won’t happen here in our neighborhoods and towns. Again very tempting—-
What does the Bible say about these days? II Peter 3:11 says “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, (the earth and our possession of it) what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness. Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of the Lord.”
I want to share with you some thoughts over the next few blogs about what we can do to be ready for “anything” Satan throws our way.
Let’s start with “Gird up your minds.” In other words ‘prepare your mind for action.’
Isaiah 33:6 “and wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation the fear of the LORD is his treasure.” These are days when we must spend time in God’s Word and encourage our hearts and minds from it.
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed(fixed) on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Isaiah 26:3
Remember “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces—” Isaiah 25:8
the Lord is at hand. Be careful(worried) for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known unto God, and the peace of God which passeth understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” I Peter 1:13
Our minds need to be right before our hearts can be right. We have to remove our thoughts from the negative things that we hear every day and place them in to God’s hands replacing our worries and fears with scriptures.
And then share the gospel of salvation with others so that they might have a hope in the days to come.
The hymn that I would like to share with you today asks a question–“Are Ye Able?” said the Master–It is a question I must ask myself and then find the answer to this question in my own life.
Are ye able,” said the Master, “To be crucified with me?”
“Yea,” the conquering Christians answered,
To the death we follow Thee.”
“Are ye able,” to remember,
When a thief lifts up his eyes,
That his pardoned soul is worthy
Of a peace in Paradise?
“Are ye able,” when the shadows close around you with the sod,
To believe that spirit triumphs,
To commend your soul to God?
“Are ye able,” still the Master whispers down eternity,
And heroic spirits answer,
Now, as then in Galilee.
“Lord, we are able,”
Our spirits are Thine,
Remold them, make us like Thee, Divine:
Thy guiding radiance above us shall be
A beacon to God, to love and loyalty.”
Earl Bowman Marlatt 1892-1976——Harry S. Mason 1881-1964